Animal Advocates

By Alyssa
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When a story in the news calls into question human treatment of animals, it often evokes wide-ranging and strong emotional responses.  In part, this is due to a progressive belief about the humanlike capacities in animals.  And perhaps because of the increased association between animals and human values, animals are increasingly being seen as powerful ambassadors for businesses – with an added bonus being that today’s companies are always on the lookout for ways to be more innovative in their operations to stand out in a crowded market.

For one thing, animals are recognized as a means to improve both customer and employee experience. For example, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is employing “canine ambassadors” in its luxury hotels in Canada, and also offers special amenities to its canine and feline guests, including water and food bowls, treats, toys and pet sitters. Many companies are Society-AnimalAdvocatesallowing animals into the workplace as a means of reducing stress and increasing employee satisfaction.

People are also increasingly concerned about animal welfare when it comes to deciding with whom to do business.  A recent survey of 1,500 UK consumers found that 74% say meat coming from animals that are well looked after is among the top issues they consider when deciding whether a food company is ethical.  And more business are declaring themselves to be cruelty-free, in part to engage with consumer values.  Examples include UK-based personal care products company Burt’s Bees, Belgium-based household cleaning products producer Ecover and Netherlands-based pet food manufacturer Yarrah Organic Petfood.

To read more about how changing perceptions of animals is affecting the business world, read the article “Animal Advocates” in the recently released issue of Compass.

The Secret to Creating Market-Winning Experiences

By Estelle
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In the recent post “A New Spin on Washing Machine Design,” we explained how customers today expect more than just a product when they do business with a company.  According to a recent Eventbrite survey, 78% of gen y respondents said they would rather spend money on an experience than a thing, and 77% said their best memories come from an experience!

In the case of a Washing Machine, white goods manufacturers have come a long way in developing a better consumer experience just in the past decade.  However, more can be accomplished by all high tech manufacturers in their design and delivery of the next-generation products that capture consumers’ hearts and minds.Page11_Sim_Process_and_Data_Mgt-slm

By leveraging integrated and collaborative realistic simulation technology your organization will be able to overcome industry challenges, such as globalization, more complex products, and shorter time to market, while saving time and money.

A recent 7-minute e-Seminar explains how you can use Realistic Simulation integrated within the Industry Solution Experience – Smarter, Faster, Lighter powered by the 3DEXPERIENCE platform from Dassault Systèmes.  It might sound like a mouthful of tech speak, but this technology can transform the way products are designed and delivered to your customer.

washing_machine_overlayThe e-Seminar includes examples of using simulation to collaborate on the analysis of durability and noise and vibration while maintaining complete connection to the performance requirements.


It won’t take long to watch this 7 minute e-Seminar, “Leveraging Integrated Simulation to Develop Market-Winning Experiences”.  It will be worth your time, and we encourage you to share this with others in your organization as you discuss the technologies and processes you need to use to deliver market-winning experiences. Watch now  !



Quantum leap

By Catherine
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Written by Catherine Bolgar

In the future, quantum computers will harness individual atoms or photons to do calculations that are currently impossible.

A quantum computer operates according to the very different rules of the quantum world, where, for example, atoms, photons (light particles) or subatomic particles can be two different things, or in two places, at the same time. So a computer made of atoms could do many computations simultaneously, explains Simon Benjamin, professor of quantum technologies at the University of Oxford, U.K.

In the future, quantum computers will harness individual atoms or photons to do calculations that are currently impossible.

In regular computers, a bit is a 0 or a 1. In quantum computers, a property called superposition means a bit—called a qubit—can be a 0, a 1 or both at once. “It sounds nonsense,” Prof. Benjamin acknowledges.

iStock_000000350047_SmallNevertheless, researchers are testing different kinds of qubits in different settings. Oxford University uses individual atoms of calcium in a vacuum, trapping them with electric fields so they don’t touch anything. “When the rest of the world touches a qubit, it makes it collapse and be either a 0 or a 1, and you’ve ruined it,” Prof. Benjamin says.

Oxford researchers use an ion trap which removes one electron from an atom, giving it an electrical charge, and making it easier to move. The ions are then shot with lasers, to create a ground state, an excited state, or a superposition (i.e. both states at once).

Controlling qubits is hard,” he says, but Oxford’s qubits are “arguably the best in the world, based on how they behave.”

Another approach is a superconducting quantum computer, which needs to be kept in a large refrigerator close to absolute zero. The computer consists of a little chip and superconductor. Electricity swirls around the superconducting ring, clockwise, counterclockwise or both at once. Researchers are seeking the best material for the superconducting ring, which may be aluminum, niobium or graphene.

A third approach, called a nitrogen-vacancy center, uses pink diamonds, whose color comes from a nitrogen atom where there’s a missing carbon atom. “You can put an extra unit of energy in that center,” Prof. Benjamin explains. It produces light, which will tell you whether you’re storing a 0 or 1 there.

“It’s a race among those approaches and some others,” he says. “In a few years’ time we’ll know who has won.”

Martin Laforest, senior manager, scientific outreach at the Institute for Quantum Computing, University of Waterloo, Canada, agrees it’s too soon to pick a winner. But he believes that superconducting qubits have momentum because they capitalize on nano-fabrication and microwave technology that have been developed over 50-60 years and push them to the extreme.

Although small computers with quantum properties exist, they aren’t yet faster than the best classical computers. In time, however, what might a quantum computer be able to do?

Like conventional computers in the 1940s, the first quantum computers could be powerful code-breakers. They could also be used for simulation, a potential game-changer in pharmaceuticals, clean energy and new materials.

Simulation could, for example, lead to better superconductors that transport solar energy collected in, say, the Sahara, to anywhere in the world. “Superconductors allow us to conduct electricity with zero loss,” Dr. Laforest says. “The problem is they work at minus 100 degrees Celsius and below. But imagine a superconductor that works at room temperature. We can’t do it now because we don’t fully understand how superconductors work. Our computers aren’t powerful enough to simulate how they work.”

Pharmaceutical design is mostly trial and error because “we don’t know exactly how a certain molecule of a drug interacts with the human body, or how the shape of a molecule interacts with other molecules, so we can fix any problems,” Dr. Laforest says.

Simulating molecular interactions is too complex for today’s computers, partly because molecules behave according to the rules of quantum mechanics. “But a quantum computer already works with quantum mechanics,” he says.

Similarly, quantum computers could be used to create new materials with new properties, such as strength, flexibility or conductivity. “These things would have a big impact on society,” Dr. Laforest says.



Catherine Bolgar is a former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Europe. For more from Catherine Bolgar, contributors from the Economist Intelligence Unit along with industry experts, join the Future Realities discussion.

Photos courtesy of iStock

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