Monthly Archives: August 2017

Technology Transfer Case Study

Pathfinders for Independent Living, Inc., a nonprofit organization, was founded after the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA.) Pathfinders provides information and assistance to elderly and disabled individuals and their caregivers on how to live as independently as possible. Its core value is to Promote Self-Reliance. The culture within Pathfinders is one of friendly support. Pathfinders’ IT leadership proposed a project to design and build a network infrastructure that would provide security for sensitive data, data storage, Internet access, email access, updated applications and hardware, and user training. Changing the environment would affect the organizational structure and culture of Pathfinders. This paper discusses the organizational changes that occurred due a change in technology.

  • Technology Transfer

Technology transfer describes activities that have the aim of establishing measurable process improvement through the adoption of new practices. Assistive technology reduces the gap experienced by disabled and elderly individuals in accomplishing daily activities. Some of these technologies are text telephones, Braille computer monitors, infrared pointing devices, artificial limbs, and assistive software. Introducing and encouraging the use of these technologies and many others to Pathfinders’ consumers, is a responsibility of the independent living specialists. The independent living specialists assist the consumers in identifying the assistive technologies needed, applying for funding to purchase the technologies, and educating the public on the various technologies available. However to provide its services to its consumers, Pathfinders had to adapt to current information technologies.

  • A Strategy for Technology Transfer

Recognizing the relationship between technology transfer and process improvement is fundamental to Pathfinders’ approach to change. Technology cannot be changed without some impact on the process or personnel that use the technology, be it an increase in productivity, a reduction in cost, or a fundamental change in method. A number of key issues had to be addressed for the technology to be successfully transferred. These are divided into several categories; technology issues, process changes, and changes in culture.

  • Technology Issues

Pathfinders would join the Information Age by installing, new computers, file servers, network printers, a local area network (LAN), and Internet access. The installation process required preparing the PCs before delivering them to Pathfinders, then a visit to the office site to build the network and deploy the equipment. The PCs were standardized on Microsoft applications. Following the installation of the network, etc., training on the use of the software was provided. With the installation of the infrastructure complete, each independent living specialist and the executive director had a personal computer, email, and Internet access. Designing and building a training center provided the opportunity for anyone to come in and learn more about computers and office application software. Pathfinders provided some basic training courses. Additionally, computer books were available for use with the computers to learn how to use the programs. Access to the Internet was provided. Funding was allocated through federal funds to support the changes in technology.

  • Process Changes

Before the technology changes, there were only two stand-alone PCs available for use by the staff, these PCs were very old, running DOS applications. Employees were forced to share the PCs or use typewriters to complete correspondence. Data was maintained on floppy disks and hardcopy. Access to the Internet for research was accomplished by going to the local library, which consumed valuable resources of time and personnel. Deploying the new infrastructure significantly changed the way the employees worked. The changes in infrastructure gave real-time access to the Internet, consumer data, and improved data security.

  • Changes in Culture

Prior to the deployment of technology, the employees were equal in their knowledge of using the available tools at Pathfinders. With the delivery of their network, a fundamental change occurred within the employee dynamics. An atmosphere of resentment developed due to an imbalance of knowledge and workload. Some of the employees went out of their way to grasp the advancement in technology thereby, improving themselves and their work processes. They pursued the educational opportunities offered to them by Pathfinders and enhanced their knowledge of computer applications. Productivity for these individuals increased, causing an increase in satisfaction by Pathfinders’ consumers. Pathfinders operations depend heavily on federal grant money. Each year Pathfinders must forecast how that money will be spent and report that the goals of the previous year have been met. The Federal reporting system began as a hardcopy report that evolved to an online reporting system. Without the changes in technology, Pathfinders would find it difficult to apply for Federal grant money or report its disbursement.

  • Conclusion

Careful consideration was employed to determine if a change in IT infrastructure was warranted within the Pathfinders organization. Potential obstacles were identified and anticipated. One of those obstacles was the affect that a change in technology would have on the organizational culture of Pathfinders verses the improvement in customer service. Pathfinders identified that resistance to change and fear played a role in the effectiveness of the change. Additionally, Pathfinders identified that as the staff moved along the learning curve, acceptance of the technology increased and fear of the technology decreased.

Emerging Technologies

Nano Technology

Nano technology is important because it will have massive effects across every area of life. As I write this, researchers are working on a nano particle to target cancer cells in lungs. In 2004, Rice University tested gold nano particle cancer treatment. In this treatment, these 150 nanometer gold particles were injected into the blood stream of cancerous mice. Gold particles at this size pass into tumors, but not healthy tissue. The researchers then passed infrared through the mice. The tumorous cells absorbed the infrared, heated up, and were destroyed. They are also working on quantum dots that allow doctors to easily identify multiple diseases quickly and accurately. But the uses don’t stop there. Nanotechnology will drive down the scale of electronics. This will lead incredibly small devices. The applications are limitless. And you can bet that the military will be clamoring for nano technology. The military is looking to have numerous nanotechnologies online by the year 2015. Such advances include performance enhancing nanotechnology that aids bodily functions. These will include response times, oxygen use, and heightened senses. But nanotechnology can also be used for reconnaissance and combat. Nanobots could scout areas without being seen. They could also enter into enemies for espionage. They could kill targets from within the host’s body. The possibilities are frightening.


The bionics revolution is already underway. There have been four major cases of robotic limbs recently, the latest being a woman. The robotic limbs take advantage of the functional nerve endings in the limb stump. These nerve endings are used to actuate the robotic limb and to provide feedback to the brain. More money is being poured into robotic limbs every year.

  • Functional bionetics are implants that enhance our lives. And you may be surprised to know that people are actively doing this as I write. People are inserting tiny electronics in their bodies that will unlock their front doors and their cars. The same technology is being used to unlock computers. But it doesn’t stop there. There is talk of implanting devices that will carry health information. You could be carted into a hospital totally unconscious and they would be able to access all of your past medical history. Most of this is done through RFID technology.
  • Bionetic networks will be networks of connected bionetic devices. This would allow people to share sensation, feelings, and communication. If this sounds completely fictional, I invite you to consider the work of Kevin Warwick, Professor of Cybernetics at the University of Reading, England. He has implanted an extra-sensory device that interfaces with one put in his wife. They were implanted in their arms. The first experiments are aimed at exchanging sensory inputs, like pain. The hope is to extend that to other, more complicated neurological processes like thoughts and emotion.

Bluetooth Technology

Bluetooth technology is a type of the wireless technology that eliminates the need for the number of inconvenient cables and devices that are used to connect the computers, mobile phones, digital cameras, handheld devices and new digital appliances. Bluetooth enables the users to connect to a wide variety of telecommunication and computing devices easily, without cables. It makes rapid ad hoc connections, automatic unconscious connections between two or more digital devices. Bluetooth provides the opportunity of using the mobile data in different applications. Bluetooth makes wireless communication between the two devices in a localized area of a room of office or home very easily. Bluetooth technology uses radio-based links and all the connections between the devices and invisible and instantaneous.

By Bluetooth technology your laptop can send print request to a printer in your next room. Bluetooth is actually a standard for wireless communication between the devices in a relatively small area and it is therefore works fine in the personal area network (pan) using radio frequency. Any two devices that follow the Bluetooth standard can communicate with each other. A number of the Bluetooth devices like digital camera, mobile phone and handheld pc can form a network. You can send emails to your mobile phones from your laptop without any physical connect between your laptop and your mobile phones.

Features of Bluetooth technology

  • Bluetooth technology uses radio waves for communication in 2.4 GHz
  • It supports multi point communication not just point to point.
  • Bluetooth works in a small area of 10-15 meters.
  • Bluetooth offers speed of 1-2 mbps.
  • Bluetooth chipsets are less expensive though more expensive than IrDA.

How Bluetooth technology works

Bluetooth is a high speed wireless link technology that uses the radio waves. It is designed to connect the mobile phones, laptops, hand held devices and portable equipments with almost no work by the end users. Unlike infrared Bluetooth does not require line of sight between the connecting units. Bluetooth technology is a modified form of the current wireless LAN technology and it’s more acceptable for its relative small size and low cost. Bluetooth devices are protected from the external interference because they change their frequency up to 1600 times in a second. Bluetooth radio technology provides the bridge between the existing data network. Bluetooth guarantees security at the bit level and the authentication is controlled by the end user by using 128 bit key. An important face of the Bluetooth technology is that it instantly forms a network when two or more devices come closer in the range of each other.

Bluetooth technology benefits

Bluetooth technology is a convenient choice of communication in a wire free, short range environment. Bluetooth is a globally available standard for connecting the devices like mobile phones, digital cameras, laptops, mp3 players, cars, stereo headsets etc. Bluetooth enable devices do not need to install any drivers. The key benefits of the Bluetooth wireless technology are its built-in-security, low cost, easy of use, robustness, and ad hoc networking capabilities. The Bluetooth wireless technology is available globally. Many manufactures from the different companies are busy to implement the technology in their products. Bluetooth technology operates in the 2.4 GHZ, one of the unlicensed, industrial and scientific radio bands. Bluetooth technology is a free of charge service but your mobile phones set should support the GSM and CDMA technology.

Mistakes Technology Companies

1. Using a form license and/or services agreement that doesn’t fit your business model

Capturing exactly how you want to provide your product or services to your customer, allocating the risks, and creating each party’s obligations and rights, is not a simple or quick process. Replicating some other company’s form agreement not only exposes you to risks that you may not be aware of, but potentially violates the other company’s copyright in their agreement, and raises the risks outlined in the other points of this list. Having a customized agreement created for you that aligns with your business processes, mitigates your risks, and addresses the laws that apply in your jurisdiction for your industry is a key component in running a successful technology business.

2. Undervaluing technology

What is your technology worth? It’s a difficult question, and value can be measured and determined in many ways. Many new technology companies feel compelled to undercharge for their technology in an effort to break into the market. Although there is certainly some merit in that, I see vendors consistently undervaluing what their technology is worth, leaving significant revenue on the table. Understanding the impact and loss to the customer if they DON’T license your technology is the first key to pricing your product. Plus, under-pricing your product can create an impression that the technology is cheap not a label that will build a positive reputation of your company in the long run.

3. Offering liberal source code escrow release conditions

For software developers, you know that your source code is the crown jewels of your business. It is the core of your technology, representing months or years of your blood, sweat, and tears. Yet many software companies are willing to give it away, for free, to their customers. How? By entering into a source code escrow agreement with a customer and allowing it to be released to them in situations where the code still holds value for you. Many customers will demand the source code be released to them if you stop supporting the software, but the intellectual property in the code may still be used in your other products or technology, effectively giving your customer the tools it needs to duplicate your technology. Creating very narrow and specific source code release conditions can minimize this impact.

4. Using overly broad or subjective acceptance testing

It is not uncommon or unreasonable for customers to want to kick the tires of your technology before they pay for it. Problems arise when the customer has an unreasonable expectation of what the technology is supposed to achieve, and either want to withhold payment, or force you to provide extra services to meet that unreasonable expectation. This especially manifests itself when a customer includes acceptance testing language in a contract which is not tied to objective and realistic standards. Although it can be a laborious effort, taking the time to objectify these standards with the customer in the contract can save you significant time down the road, and get you paid faster.

5. Giving away intellectual property ownership too liberally

Many technology companies develop customized technology for their customers, or make customized modifications to their existing technology on behalf of a particular customer. And most customers argue that if they’re paying for it, they want to own it. But giving away your company’s intellectual property in these instances can prevent you from reusing it for other customers effectively shutting down a potential source of revenue in the future. And many times, your customers may not need to actually own the developments a license right can often do the trick.