Advancing Technologies

June 2017,

Thank you for reading our June 2017 newsletter.

For those who read our newsletters and follow us on social media, they notice that we release solutions on a very regular basis. We are proud to have our 6th solution Dynamics Software Copy Released Product available on the Microsoft AppSource! Copy Released Product is a powerful Dynamics Business Optimizer that saves significant time in the creation process of newly released products and their related data thereby enabling cost reduction. We should invent an app that saves significant time in writing blogs 😊. The current solutions on AppSource work with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations, soon to be renamed (again) to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Enterprise Edition. Easy, Great, Everybody Understands, Period. I wrote about Microsoft’s good job on continuously changing names of products earlier this year, so I am not going to repeat complimenting them. But just changing names is not proving innovation or advancing technology to make customer’s life easier. Also as I have written on innovation earlier in my innovate or die blog, we are still alive and kicking and the AppSource Apps as well as our other releases proof of our commitment to innovation. One of the big drivers behind the Dynamics 365 concept is to have users use more of the Microsoft software and be more productive with it to realize people’s full potential. Our solutions add value to that realization.

value_1

Sometimes we struggle finding the right names for our solutions as well. All our solutions are built on top of (or if you will embedded in) a business application of Microsoft. They optimize, advance, enhance, improve, strengthen, empower, increase, revamp, lift, amend, elevate, polish, sharpen, charge functionality based on our industry best practices and latest technologies adding value to our customers. So, they are all advanced enhancement value add business optimizer technologies solutions modules add-ons, making the lives of our customers easier 😊.

Technology only make sense if it is making our lives easier, but sometimes it works in reverse without even knowing it. This spring I read in an article (de Volkskrant, Martijn van Calmthout) that more icebergs than ever float around on the transatlantic routes. And that is dangerous as you probably have heard that on April 15, 1912 the Titanic disaster happened resulting in more than 1500 casualties. What you might now remember or know is that the SS Eastland, a Great Lakes cruise ship, capsized in the port of Chicago on July 24, 1915. 814 people died and that was a direct result of that Titanic catastrophe. The SS Eastland capsized as there were too many life boats hanging on that non-stable vessel. These life boats were added as there was a nefarious shortage of life boats on the Titanic to help save the number of people on the Titanic. This example is described in Edward Tenner’s book Why Things Bite Back. In this book Edward is proving that a lot of technologies deliver contrary results.

In other areas think of people smoking more after introducing light cigarettes, antibiotic creating more deadly bacteria’s, wider and more lanes resulting into more traffic and traffic jams, etc.. But for me the best example of reverse technology are escalators. Escalators? Yes, escalators! These are designed to move groups of people faster from level 1 to level 2 or from level 2 to level 1 by letting the stairs move with the direction of the one walking the stairs. This is the theory. In reality people are lazy and the majority of the people stand still on the moving stairs. The result is that the journey from level 1 to 2 is actually taking more time compared to taking normal stairs. The escalator paradox.

esc

Recently some London researchers did research and measurements on the New York Penn Station escalators. Why would London researchers do research in New York if there are enough escalators to look after in London? Is it because they are standing right sides instead of left sided? Anyway, as almost everywhere people on the right side are standing still and the rest are in hurry and run on the left side passing the right sided people. From their observations it appeared that this way less people are transported upstairs than if all people would have stand still. Their Conclusion as published in the New York times: don’t walk on an escalator as that goes faster! What a paradox, but total nonsense. Instead of not walking, everybody should walk as that goes fastest. The problem is that people are lazy and they don’t want to go back to January 2015 when The Penn Station escalator known as No. 25 was screaming and the broken Penn Station Escalator can mean a tough climb.

A recent study showed that workers lose up to 40% of their productivity as they had to switch task and systems during the day by multitasking. (Source: American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/research/action/multitask.aspx). The average company is losing a lot of productive time in the prospect to cash process. Looking for customer account details in a  CRM system (if any), financial and outstanding details in ERP or financial system, details of the items sold and used in other transactional systems. Users switching between these systems lose a lot of time. The problem is that when we jump from task to task or from system to system, we aren’t really getting more done. We’re forcing our brains to constantly switch gears, working harder to do things at a lower level of quality, and exhausting our mental reserves, the escalator paradox? On another note it is estimated that only 2% of the population is actually proficient at multitasking, and ironically, these people are the least likely to actually multitask. The problem is that we all think we’re part of that 2%, and use our perceived ability as justification to juggle too many tasks. In fact, recent research indicates that people who multitask the most often are likely the worst at it. Instead you better implement Dynamics 365. Great companies obsess over productivity, not efficiency.

Do you want to be more productive? Stop multitasking and buy Dynamics 365 optimized with Dynamics Software solutions! With Dynamics 365 being integrated with Office 365 a lot of info coming from Dynamics 365 products become visible in for instance that email, no need to switch systems. I think it is a technology that really make the users life’s easier. And that is not an illusion.

Readers of my blog know I am a fan of optical illusions. The escalator paradox made me think of a famous auditory illusion, the Shepard tone. The Shepard tone is an audio illusion which seems to get forever higher but never really does.

Spectrum view

Figure: Spectrum view of ascending Shepard tones (linear frequency scale)

Ascending Shepard Tone – Escalator upstairs:

This is the direction executives would love to see their revenues and profits go. It is like sales targets, they continue to rise every year. And if you have done a great year, you get punished the next year as they expect you to always do better.

Here is an example of a descending Shepard tone – Escalator downstairs

And that is how executives hate to see their revenue and profits go.

So, endless tones and endless targets. (this piece is inspired by http://awesci.com/shepard-tone-an-incredible-auditory-illusion). I hope you were able to hear the tones. Do you know if your tone deaf or not? I am not. I did the test on ToneDeafTest.com and the Result: I am not tone deaf!

Stage A: 11/12
Stage B: 12/12
Stage C: 12/12
Final score: 35/36 = 97%

Congratulations, you are not tone deaf!

The test helps understand the Shepard tone. The Shepard tone reminded me of the endless Penrose stairs of my favourite artist and master of optical illusions Maurits Cornelis Escher (http://www.mcescher.com/).

visual illusion

The visual illusion of the stairs helps you to relate better to a relatively lesser known auditory illusion.

stairs

If you start going up on the endless stairs, you always keep moving up. Even after you come back to the same place, you still keep going up. An impossibility. But it’s something that fools your eyes. The same thing if you go down the stairs. The Shepard tone sounds like a tone that is continuously going down, endlessly. Only, it isn’t. It’s actually a much smaller looped sound that starts from a high point and then goes down. These little loops have been placed one after the other. If you do not carefully listen to it, you’ll never find the exact point at which one loop ends and the next loop starts. You’ll always interpret it as a continuously going up or going down sound. Just like the continuously going up or down stairs. Notes are not simple frequencies. A single note is usually composed of several other frequencies. To not overwhelm us with data, the brain puts all these frequencies together and we hear a single sound (note). Also, our brains like continuity. So, it cherry picks the frequencies from the loop’s notes that makes us hear a continuous sweep. This is the reason we hear no individual loops. In case you still don’t get it, then watch this video.

Note that the arrows in the video are the frequencies. If you want to know more on some auditory illusions, have a look below.

I am sure we all suffer the McGurk effect, but maybe more on that next time. The tone and stairs also reminded me to Hilbert’s Hotel which I wrote about in my Power of the Customer blog. And with that the circle is round. Microsoft wants their users to use more of the Microsoft software they already have and with that grow their revenues and profits. With the ability to offer the cloud infrastructure, the personal productivity apps and the business apps, Microsoft is the only vendor who is able to offer that all. So, there is no reason to not be productive and realize people’s full potential. As mentioned the circle is round, is it really round?

Or are these circles again optical illusions? Watch this Crazy Circle Illusion

Enjoy the good summer and buy our solutions!

Kind regards,

On behalf of Dynamics Software

Eric Veldkamp

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