May 19, 2020

Amazon to take business success to new heights with drone delivery program

Amazon
e-commerce
Drones
innovations
Business Review USA Staff
2 min
Amazon to take business success to new heights with drone delivery program

Online juggernaut Amazon caused a stir when it announced that it would be delivering packages in automated drones. The delivery program, called Amazon Prime Air, intends to be able to deliver packages to customers within 30 minutes of their order.

The announcement caused many to wonder just how exactly this system would function?

A Customized Delivery Program is in the Works

Amazon drones will be somewhat like a hybrid of an airplane and a helicopter. They’ll be around 55 pounds and able to deliver packages that weigh five pounds or less within a range of 10 miles. This works out well for Amazon, as many of the items they sell tend to weigh under five pounds.

The drones are in the prototype stage at this point, but different styles will be created based upon the weather conditions they will face. Different drone types will also be needed to serve different residence types, from rural farmhouses to apartments to high-rise condos.

The pricing of this plan hasn’t been established yet. While some consumers have speculated that the sight of drones in and around their cities will be off-putting, Amazon reps expect that it won’t take long for people to see the drones just as they do UPS or FedEx trucks.

Highly Automated and Intuitive

The drones will be customized to Amazon’s evolving business model as well as consumer needs. Amazon intends that it be highly automated and very intuitive. However, buildings with locked entrances such as apartment complexes may have to designate an accessible space within a common area where all residents’ packages will be delivered.

The 30 minute delivery window is set to bring online shopping to new heights of satisfaction and convenience. Waiting a few days for a delivery might be fine for many items; however, drone delivery will satisfy those who simply can’t or don’t want to wait for their order.

While some details still need to be worked out with the FAA, Amazon is confident that its Prime Air program will one day be a reality.

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Jun 12, 2021

How changing your company's software code can prevent bias

Deltek
diversity
softwarecode
inclusivity
Lisa Roberts, Senior Director ...
3 min
Removing biased terminology from software can help organisations create a more inclusive culture, argues Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR at Deltek

Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day. 

Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at  and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization. 

Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.

Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?  

We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization

What impact can exclusive terms have on employees? 

Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.    

Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code

Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!

What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?

What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.

What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology? 

My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve. 

 

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