How technology is changing the way public administration works
Apr201725

 

We live in an era dominated by technology – technology that is often concerned with communication and the transmission of information. While such technology is designed to make our lives more convenient and fun, there are some areas in which information and communication are essential. How would the government and the deliverance of public administration function without either? Indeed, in a world so governed by technological innovation, it’s only right that politics should be seen to be leading the way. After all, communication is absolutely vital for the operation of our country. A study conducted by the National Academy of Public Administration and the ICF in 2016 found that 90% of federal leaders said that technology helped them to better serve the people, with productivity vastly increased; the importance of technology has never been more evident.

Information technology is shaping our country beyond recognition, in much the same way that our ever-changing political landscape does. How can technology assist public administration and the delivery of policy, as well as the preparation of those entering civil servant positions?

Six ways that technology is revolutionizing public administration

There are numerous technological advancements changing the way that public administration operates, from those increasing accessibility and convenience, to those improving security and reach. In a sector as fast-paced and current as politics, it’s essential that the very latest technology be applied wherever possible; the field of public administration and the implementation of policy and governance should be at the very fore of innovation.

Here are just six of the ways that technology is revolutionizing public administration, ensuring that government policy and the organization of offices are more efficient than ever before.

Ease and accessibility with mobile technology

Mobile technology has crept into every aspect of our lives, delivering communication, entertainment, and a vast network of information straight to our fingertips. Mobile devices and tablets are a great way for public administrators to stay in contact with the world, and one another, at all times; rather than being restricted to their offices, administrators and politicians have access to file sharing, internet access, and email services regardless of where they may be. The increasing sophistication of such devices is vastly altering the political landscape.

Improved teaching capabilities in the field of public administration

Aside from the obvious political roles, a career in public administration could involve any one of a number of roles. Those choosing this pathway may find themselves working as civil servants, for an educational establishment, in a role with federal government, as company directors and managers, or research associates. As you’d expect, entry into such jobs is highly competitive and subject to strict entry requirements; many positions will require a specialist degree, or a master’s in a related subject. Technology is making the teaching of such qualifications more enriching than ever before, and enables students to study from home, as well as abroad. Resources are now readily available, making entry into public administration an attractive prospect. Are you keen to explore your potential in public administration? Click here if you are interested in USC’s online MPA degree option; this is just one of many routes into an exciting and fulfilling career.

The emergence of social media on the campaign trail

New President Donald Trump is as famous for his use of Twitter as he is for signing controversial bills and making outlandish statements; his aptitude for turning to social media when he has something to say will likely shape his administration. Social media has quickly become a vital tool for those hoping to research politics and source news stories, and for public administrators to gauge opinion and reach out to constituents. Without sites such as Facebook and Twitter, the world of politics would perhaps seem out of touch and inaccessible with the vast majority of the voting public – particularly those aged 30 and under.

Improved security with data encryption

There’s nothing like a campaign trail and impending election to raise questions of security, so it’s reassuring to know that encryption technology exists and is under constant development to ensure its success. It’s absolutely imperative to our country and its government that sensitive and valuable data is kept safe; without it, our public administrators would be fighting a losing battle.

Comprehensive storage solutions within the cloud

The amount of paperwork needed to run a country must be pretty extensive. Imagine, then, how many storage devices and memory sticks would be needed to back up even a fraction of the legislation that our new President has passed so far; even computerized documents need to be stored somewhere. Cloud storage is absolutely vital to public administration, enabling all information to be organized on one centralized and remote server. Cost-effective and secure, such a means of storing data is the best way forward in a modern world.

Reducing costs with environmentally friendly technology

Stepping away from information technology for a moment, it’s still incredibly important to recognize the technological leaps forward that we’re making with regards to environmental awareness. The increasing use of solar, wind, and waterpower is making it far cheaper for public administrators to run their offices, and for politicians to acknowledge the need for sustainability.

The possibilities for new technology and public administration are seemingly endless – as long as world leaders and those working beneath them are willing, and able, to embrace such developments. At a time when new technology and incredible innovations are all around us, it has never been more important for politics, and world offices, to keep up. Leading the way, their technological capabilities are shaping the future for each and every single one of us.

Essential gadgets for your car
Apr201706

For as long as there have been cars to drive, there have been gadgets with which to accessorize them. Fifty years ago it was all about fitting the best stereo system, additional driving and fog lamps and two-tone horns. These days, of course, modern automobiles feature surround sound entertainment systems, climate control and Bluetooth connectivity as standard.

Yet like everything else in the 21st century world, car technology has got smarter and more complex as the years have gone by, and the business of in-car gadgets is as buoyant an industry as ever. Here we look at some of the accessories you might want to consider to make your life on the road comfortable, enjoyable and safe.

Gadgets for gadgets

This is the age of the gadget. We all have smartphones, many of us have tablets and they all need charging; this is an area where car manufacturers have been slow to catch up. After all, while the average family car is designed to seat five people, most still have one single charging socket available through that most 20th century of devices, the cigarette lighter.

On a long journey, you are likely to be using this socket for your GPS device anyway. True, some modern cars have a second charging outlet in the back, and a few even have a USB socket, but these are still in the minority. And even then, with a family of five, the battle will be on to get there first and plug in.

This is where a multi port USB charger can come in very handy. These plug directly into your cigarette lighter and can simultaneously charge up to four devices. Perfect to prevent those family disputes in the back on a long journey.

Look after your tires

If we take another look back 50 years in the rear view mirror, we can see that cars were nowhere near as reliable as they are today. Back then, it was important to carry a tool kit, some spares and a bit of mechanical knowledge. Today, in the rare event of a breakdown, you just need to place a call on your cellphone, so that a mechanic can plug your car in to his laptop and diagnose the problem.

That’s all fine, with one exception – the part of the car that forms the link between you and the earth beneath you. Sure, there have been some technological developments in tire technology over the years, but in essence they are the same rubber, inflated components they have always been, and are just as vulnerable to punctures.

There are a couple of gadgets on the market to help you look after your tires. Monitoring systems are now available that keep track of your tire pressures and temperatures in real time and send an alert to your phone if anything untoward is detected.  

Of course, knowing there is a problem is one thing, but you also need to be able to do something about it. That is where a portable automatic tire inflator can come in very handy to minimize the time spent parked on at the side of the highway and get you moving again quickly and safely.

Keeping the car tidy

Whether you are a lone commuter or a family chauffeur, there is something about cars that gives them the propensity to turn into garbage cans on wheels. From drinks cans on the go to spilled shopping bags in the trunk, there is always something rolling around and creating mess and distraction.

There are all sorts of gadgets available to help here that are as relevant today as they have always been. An in-car garbage can helps keep all the waste in one place, and means no more juice cartons squashed and leaking under the seats for weeks. And how about a handy net for the trunk? These are wonderful for keeping shopping bags upright and preventing that heart-sinking sound of tins and vegetables rolling around the car as you pull out of the parking lot.

Enjoy your ride

Whether we are commuting to work, driving the kids around or taking long road trips, the truth is we all spend more time in our cars than ever. These gadgets can make every trip more enjoyable, less stressful and, most important of all, safer for you and your family. So why not treat yourself, and make your car a better place to be?

The importance of user experience in online gaming
Apr201705

 

 

If you’ve spent any time at all as part of the online gaming industry, either as a player or developer, you’ll be familiar with the term ‘user experience’ and its abbreviation ‘UX’. If you’re new to the scene, the phrase probably seems self-explanatory – and rightfully so. Indeed, game design and user experience often go hand in hand, creating a mutually beneficial relationship for those either side of the screen.

So, user experience is?

Okay, so the concept of user experience refers to the act of fulfilling expectations, and of creating a product to be enjoyed with very little fuss or effort. It’s the overall experience a person gains from playing a particular game, or accessing certain content. From registry and initial navigation, to the motions a person must go through to play a game, user experience is everything; user experience can determine the success of failure of online titles, in fact. You see, unless they’re entertaining, cater to the needs of players, and offer a reward of some kind, online games are destined to founder without a trace. Besides, a positive user experience has benefits for both developers and players, bringing in revenue and providing an engaging form of entertainment.

How can games garner a positive user experience?

User experience is a vital consideration across the online gaming industry, where there’s very little brand loyalty; gamers are constantly looking for the biggest bonuses, and best value for money, which makes them prone to straying from one particular operator. We’ve established that user experience is important, for both gamers and developers. So, how can it be achieved?

Consider usability

Although user experience refers to so much more than a game’s usability it’s vital that developers consider how a game will be accessed, and navigated, before filling in the other blanks. Usability refers to a game’s ergonomics, screen size, and controls, as well as its overall design. How will players find their way around? How many different screens will the game rely upon, and how long will sessions last for? What commands is the game likely to rely on? Above all, how usable is the game? Online titles must enable their players to achieve their end goal with few obstructions; if it’s likely to frustrate or confuse, a game will rarely succeed.

Rely on reviews

The online casino is just one example of a gaming genre that highlights the importance of user experience; while some bigger casinos can rely on their branding alone, others must focus on user experience in order to stand out in this saturated market. Like other gaming operators, online casinos must be prepared to listen to reviews, analyze their own performance, and pair gameplay with expectation in order to engage players. Luckily there are some comprehensive sites dedicated to reviewing online casinos with jackpots of every kind, ensuring operators are able to keep in touch with trends – and players are able to find the sites that provide the best user experience.

Tailored content for a targeted audience

If a game’s user experience is falling short of expectations the most important thing for developers to do is assess their target audience; is the game specific enough for the demographic? Does it feature content, challenges, and goals that a particular audience can relate to? While it would be nice to create a game that appeals to all kinds of different users, nothing is going to please everyone. It’s better, therefore, to focus on one kind of player and engage them as best you can. The best thing about gamers is that they come in all shapes and sizes – different ages, too. User experience is a completely personal concept, and it’s far easier to provide a positive one if you know to whom you’re attempting to appeal.

Of course, there are multiple ways for game developers and online operators to improve user experience, including beta testing, rewards, time consideration, and gaming resources; we’ve merely scratched the surface. Hopefully this brief blog post has provided a little inspiration though, and inspired any avid gamers to think a little more carefully about the work that may have gone into creating that engaging user experience. When it comes to online gaming, nothing is ever left to chance.

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