May 19, 2020

The most interesting uses for drones today

Amazon
Drones
shell
DHL
Sumit Modi
2 min
The most interesting uses for drones today

A branch of Domino’s is set to become the first pizza delivery service to offer drones as a delivery method.

 

The pizza giant conducted a demonstration earlier this week in New Zealand. Why New Zealand? With its small population and relatively flat landscape, the nation was one of the first to allow commercial drone deliveries where many others continue to struggle against prohibitive airspace rules.

While Domino’s is confident that drone delivery will become a regular service, the rule that drones must be kept in sight at all times could still prove restrictive, unless this changes.

Drone delivery in the United States will be legal at the end of this month, provided they do not cross state lines or over people. Until then, here are some of the novel uses for drones currently occurring or being planned in the rest of the world.

Amazon Prime Air

In June this year, Amazon announced that it would team up with the UK government to test small delivery drones with the view to take orders weighing less than five pounds directly to customers in less than 30 minutes. The service is not yet operational, but Amazon is confident that it will become used worldwide.

DHL

DHL was an early player in drone delivery. Earlier this year, it completed a three month trial of its Parcelcopter, which successfully undertook 130 autonomous delivery procedures in varying conditions. The Parcelcopter is set to become commonplace for DHL.

Shell

The oil giant is using drones to in some of the biggest energy plants in Europe, since the sector is so high-risk. Many accidents have potentially been avoided thanks to this innovation.

Park rangers in Africa

A drone has been developed which can catch poachers in African national parks using thermal vision technology.

Television companies

Various TV companies are attempting to utilise drones for filming – however, this hasn’t always worked out well. BBC journalists have previously been questioned after breaching safety protocols, and three Al Jazeera reporters were arrested when their drone was spotted trespassing.

 

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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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