A study on recent advances in office automation.

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Conduct a study on recent advances in office automation. Information can be obtained from any relevant sources e.g. Computer centres, companies etc. You can even choose to conduct interviews or administer questionnaires of certain departments in your office that have recently introduced the newest office equipment.

Briefly discuss the equipment, how it’s being used, the adjustments that various people are having to make to the equipment and the advantages, and disadvantages that the users of the equipment find and plausible solutions

ANSWER 1        

In today’s fast paced and ever changing advances in technology, even a casual observer on the street can see that it is having an enormous impact on corporations and the way they operate. Thousands of new programs and computer applications have helped corporate employees to operate more efficiently and productively.

Early applications of software technology, starting with the use of computers for accounting and maintaining mailing lists, have dramatically improved the productivity of the individuals in corporations. Other improvements followed, as word processors, spreadsheets and bar code readers (EPOS) let each individual in the company perform his or her task more quickly, more accurately, and with less repetitive drudgery.

In today’s discussion we shall talk about the introduction of new technology and communication equipment that is used in Chicago O’Hare Airport.

Frequentis Nachrichtentechnik an Austrian company that is among the world’s leading companies in its field started producing Voice Communication Systems (VCSs) soon after war world II. Today the company uses state-of-the-art technology to develop telephone and radio communication systems, receivers and transmitters for air traffic control, remote control systems, and controller working positions.  

Frequentis Nachrichtentechnik recently developed and installed the first fully digital voice communication system in the world known as the VCS 3020. The VCS 3020 is an extremely flexible system that has a capacity of up to 2,000 connections and is already very successful in the market. The company also recognise the rapidly changing traffic situations, which require flexible communications methods, so the feature of a possible splitting functions has also been implemented. This standard feature allows the air traffic controller to use radio and telephone simultaneously, for instance, using the right earphone for one function and the left earphone for the other. The new VCS 3020 include the development of a flat screen with ‘tactile feedback’, which have replaced the traditional, less reliable key panels. The smooth surface of the new screen with colour display incorporates reliable touch- screen buttons are new improvements made which also saves space through the layered structure of each panel.

From the start, Frequentis have realised that the most important part of the system is the “Man- Machine interface” and the goal here is to make it immaculate.

Hannes Bardach, managing director of Frequentis Nachrichtentechnik understand that the VCS 3020 is a very complex system but controllers don’t have to be complex when operating them.

“We make sure that the machine is adapted to the user, and not the other way around,” says Bardach. (Thackara, 1997, p. 228)

To coordinate and develop its expertise in this area, Frequentis has established a ‘human factors competence centre’ to study the man- machine interface. Frequentis involves controllers themselves in the design of new communications systems. This cooperation has led to many improvements in VCS 3020.

According to Hannes Bardach the firm will need to provide maintenance, consultations and training to Chicago O’Hare Airport, air traffic controllers who operate on VCS 3020.

Now the firm will need to make adjustment that involves in the teaching of operating the new system. This is only one of the hurdles that the Chicago O’Hare Airport will need to face, as air traffic controllers will now learn to use and adapt to the new system. But as mention above Frequentis have realised that the most important part of the system is the “Man- Machine interface” and the firm ensure that the machine is adapted to the user, and not the other way around. Air traffic controllers will need to undergo training and to understand the proper use and functioning of such systems. Adapting to VCS 3020 shouldn’t be much of a problem as most features are design and build to the convenience of the user, which will cut down all unnecessary barriers to operate it. On the other hand even before any teaching is done the reallocation of work schedule and routine work practices will also need adjustments as training will take up a huge amount of time to cover the learning requirements of the system. Air traffic controllers will need to adjust, replan and allocate time on daily routine, work schedule and lessons on operating the system. Changes in those who are directly involve with the new system can now be seen, as the initial part of the introduction is taking place.

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Bigger hurdle now are the blending of using both the old and new system at the opening stage of the daily operation of the system. Management will need to decide whether to continue the old communication system for several months while the change over take place or an immediate change over once the operational training is complete. Chicago O’Hare Airport have chosen a blending of both as the old system is used daily while the new system slowly fit into the communication centre, this process took the airport several months to complete involving hundreds of air traffic controllers making ...

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