Tag Archives: online

A

SRP Improves Power Outage Map Features

This monsoon season Salt River Project electric customers now have access to more information, thanks to improvements that have been added during the year to SRP’s online Power Outage Map.

The SRP power outage page has been reimaged and allows for easier navigation. On mobile devices, the map is full screen and allows users easier control. Also, reporting an outage is now integrated into the outage page.

“We are constantly looking to improve our customers’ ability to learn about power outages in their area,” said Glen Traasdahl, director of SRP Technology Services. “By looking at what services our customers use and combining it with their valuable feedback, we roll out improvements all year long.”

The new-look outage page now contains more accurate information about each outage, with color-coded boxes that better describe the size of the outage. For example, during the season’s first summer storm on July 3 when more than 14,000 customers were out of power, SRP’s outage map looked like a rainbow with multi-colored boxes showing specific outages in yellow (1 to 100 customers affected), orange (101 to 500 affected), red (501 to 1,000 affected) and purple (more than 1,001 affected). Also, if the outage is a major one in which customers will be out of power for an extended period, a blue box will show the location of where customers can go to pick up free ice.

SRP is also working to provide faster, real-time information, with a goal of providing customers an outage update within 30 minutes of the start of the outage, said Wayne Wisdom, SRP’s director of Electric System Operations. He said that quicker information should be available later this summer.

“We’ll communicate the actual cause in the 30 minutes after the outage has begun for as many outages as we can,” said Wisdom. “If we are not able to determine the cause in this first 30 minutes, we’ll at least update the outage reason within 30 minutes by letting customers know that we’re investigating it and will get a cause identified as soon as we can.”

Wisdom said SRP currently represents outages based on geographical boundaries. Any customer who has signed up for e-notification and whose account lies within those boundaries is notified, he said.

“In the future we may still describe the outage based on a geographical boundary, but we will only notify those customers who are actually affected by the power outage. This means we’ll be able to be more descriptive in our communications,” he said. “For example, today we indicate that a power outage has been reported in your area. In the future, we’ll be able to say that your account/premise is being affected by a power outage.”

SRP first made its expanded power outage map available for all customers in advance of the 2012 monsoon season. Prior to that, the website feature was available only to SRP customers with a My Account ID. That was also the first summer storm season in which the SRP outage map was made available from a smart phone or tablet, which is particularly valuable to affected customers who are looking for real-time information about the estimated time that power will be restored.

By signing up for a notification on My Account, SRP’s online management tool, customers are also able to be alerted via email or text when their home is in an area where an outage has occurred. SRP also routinely posts updates and outage information on Twitter and Facebook during major storms. To get connected, follow @SRPconnect on Twitter or “like” SRP’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/srpconnect. During a power outage, SRP customer service representatives can be reached at (602) 236-8888.

SRP is the largest provider of electricity to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, providing electric service to more than 990,000 customers.

122375084

Phoenix among top markets in Price Performance

Homes.com, a leading online real estate destination and complete lifestyle resource, released the Homes.com Local Market Index, a new summary of price performance on repeat sales properties in the U.S. Utilizing home pricing data for the period ending March 2013, the index showed 96 out of 100 markets for single-family properties advancing on a monthly basis.

“We’re pleased to provide such a comprehensive pricing index for our dedicated consumers, real estate professionals and partners,” said Brock MacLean, executive vice president of Homes.com. “The new Homes.com Local Market Index provides an exceptionally detailed review of local market pricing trends, performance and growth indicators, leading the way for healthy conversation about America’s real estate markets and—in many of these local areas—their imminent recovery.”

Unlike other existing housing indices, the Homes.com Local Market Index provides:
* Expanded Coverage – Goes beyond the typical 20 markets by covering the top 100 markets or CBSA’s in the U.S. as measured by the U.S. Census Bureau.
* Localized Information– Index values are compiled at the census track level and consolidated into a zip code or neighborhood area. Local index values are compiled into a consolidated index for each CBSA.
* Local Market Variance – Provides a highly detailed view of neighborhood or zip code performance, with many local index values often varying 25% within the same market.
* National Overview – Includes an overview of national statistics, providing a comprehensive picture of the overall health of the economy and the contributing factors to the housing market.

The most recent Local Market Index shows monthly increases in 96 out of the top 100 markets, a sizable improvement from the 75 out of 100 that gained in February and a significant indicator of a nationwide rebound. The Honolulu, Hawaii market again posted the largest monthly increase in March, climbing 2.40 index points from February. The second fastest growing market in March was Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-N.C. with a gain of 2.23 points. On a year-to-year basis, Honolulu, Hawaii had the largest gain at 22.55 index points; the next closest market was Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale with a gain of 18.18.

Those two markets also had the largest year-to-year gain last month. Monthly declines in markets were very nominal, with the largest decrease being a -0.45 index point in the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pa. local market. Year to year, Jackson, Miss. fell the farthest at -1.35, followed by Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark. at -1.21.

Overall, the top gaining markets this month were evenly spread across all regions except the Midwest. By contrast, a majority of the worst performing markets were concentrated in the Northeast, with only one in the Midwest.

prevention trial - brain scan images

TGen scientist launches innovative online research project

A scientific researcher at Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) has launched a first-of-its-kind online memory test to help better understand human cognition and how it might relate to Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders.

Dubbed “MindCrowd”, the study seeks to attract 1 million individuals, aged 18 to 80, willing to complete the 10-minute online memory test at mindcrowd.org. Researchers will use the test results to build a base of data for further study on how cognition and memory changes as people age.

Eventually, the researchers want to leverage this newly-gained biological insight into therapeutic application — treatment. The hope is for the online test to go viral with friends, families and colleagues challenging one another to take the test and compare the results.

MindCrowd is the brainchild of TGen Associate Professor Dr. Matt Huentelman who believes understanding how the brain works in healthy individuals will foster the development of new medicines and therapies for those with brain disorders. Dr. Huentelman’s TGen lab studies the genomics of human neurological traits and diseases with a specific focus on learning, memory and Alzheimer’s.

“MindCrowd is the first research project of its kind,” said Huentelman, an expert in genomics as it relates to memory. “By harnessing the power of the Internet, we can study a million – or more – individuals to help bring us closer to a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders. Combining our knowledge of human genetics and neuroscience with an online research study like MindCrowd is a revolutionary approach to understanding our differences in brain performance and how it may influence risk for disease. We expect to add significantly to our understanding of cognition and how genetic factors impact our memory as we age.”

The MindCrowd project has two phases: Phase I involves memory testing of 1 million or more study participants. Following an in-depth analysis of Phase I test results, researchers will then solicit a subset of Phase I participants willing to donate a DNA saliva sample and undergo an additional round of online testing.

Participation is encouraged from a broad range of ages, backgrounds and cognitive abilities. Those taking the test are free to remain anonymous, although it is encouraged that people share basic data to help the project succeed. The test does not predict or diagnose any condition, rather it provides data on one type of memory and how these processes change as people age and have varied life experiences.

MindCrowd is a collaborative effort among leading scientific research institutions and organizations including TGen, the University of Arizona, Banner Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative and others.

Visit www.mindcrowd.org to take the test.

technology

ASU adds Cutting-Edge online Engineering Degree

The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU) announced plans to offer its renowned Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.) in Electrical Engineering in an online format beginning in the fall 2013 semester.

“Today’s rapidly changing world requires innovative approaches to education,” said Paul Johnson, dean and professor of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. “We offer an impressive online platform that delivers science and engineering fundamentals, technical training, practical experience and student support. Our goal is to ensure that anyone who is motivated to pursue an electrical engineering degree, but needs a flexible format, has the opportunity to achieve their educational and career goals.”

The 120-credit hour degree program includes core-engineering courses and a minimum of 45 upper division credit hours in specialty courses. Upper division specialty courses examine topics such as analog and digital circuits, electromagnetic fields, microprocessors, communications networks, solid-state electronics and electric power and energy systems.

“Students in our program, whether on campus or online, learn and work with faculty who are leaders in their fields – from nanoscale electronic devices to the U.S. electric power grid,” said Stephen Phillips, director of the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering.

The new online program’s labs and simulations will also leverage some of the latest and most innovative learning technologies and platforms. This includes a combination of practical hardware and industry-standard design with simulation tools that will provide students with the applied skills needed in today’s global engineering environment.

“Our program integrates science and engineering fundamentals with real-world experience and state-of-the-art learning tools from the first day,” said Phillips.

ASU first offered an online graduate degree program in engineering in 2002. It has continued to expand availability of both graduate and undergraduate online engineering programs to provide flexible “any time/any place” learning for students in Arizona and around the world.

healthcare

ZocDoc will bring 600 jobs to Valley

A New York company that helps patients connect with doctors through an online service is opening a Scottsdale office and will hire more than 600 workers in the next three years.

ZocDoc is a free service for patients that also lets them book appointments online. Gov. Jan Brewer and Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane announced the office opening on Tuesday.

Brewer has made three other major jobs announcements in recent weeks, including a new General Motors information technology innovation center in Chandler that will have 1,000 high-tech employees.

All three are benefiting from incentives from the Arizona Commerce Authority.

The Commerce Authority also was involved in Tuesday’s announcement.

The company says it will hire nearly 70 people to staff the office by year’s end.

ECA_039

CareSimply Helps People Find Caregiver Online

CareSimply, the newest way to find and hire trusted local caregivers at affordable prices, is now available to families that need home care in California and Arizona.  CareSimply customers have more control over whom they hire, and they can expect to pay up to 50% less than they would pay traditional agencies for home care services.

The way it works is simple: those in need of in-home care can easily search for trusted, pre-screened caregivers in their area, evaluate them, interview them and decide which caregiver is best-suited for their needs. Each caregiver has an online profile which highlights experience, certifications, client reviews, and more, so those searching can feel confident in hiring their caregiver.

In addition to screening every caregiver to ensure they are reliable and trustworthy, CareSimply handles all insurance, paperwork, and taxes associated with caregiving to make the complicated process easy for customers.

“Traditionally, there are two ways to find in-home care,” said Matt Larson, General Manager and Founder of CareSimply. “You either go through an expensive agency that does not offer much control in the hiring process, or you hire a private caregiver, which requires a lot of time and effort. CareSimply takes the best of both worlds.  Clients work directly with caregivers, thus avoiding expensive agency fees, and we do all the hard work for you including screening, background checks, taxes and more.”

CareSimply appeals to caregivers for several reasons. It is free for caregivers to use the service, and they set their own hourly rate and determine their own hours, offering  greater flexibility. CareSimply charges a small service to clients when they hire a caregiver through the site.

CareSimply plans to roll out to additional geographies in the coming months.

Founded in 2012, CareSimply is the easiest way to connect caregivers with people that need local, quality in-home care.  It is an incredibly reliable, affordable and simple way to hire quality care services and manage household employees. CareSimply services range from companionship to Alzheimer’s care. CareSimply is backed by seed investor Right Side Capital Management and startup foundry Sandbox Industries

online

The Secret To Success For The Nation’s First 100% Online Public University

Colorado State UniversityOnline education was not a new idea, but the scale and scope of what it could achieve may not have fully been realized when the Board of Governors for the Colorado State University System pioneered a new vision for a completely online, independent university in late 2007. As a state university system with ground campuses in Fort Collins and Pueblo, trailblazing with such plans was an especially risky endeavor. But the Board’s vision and conviction remained unwavering, and they created a university with both the innovation and flexibility of for-profit institutions and the quality and academic standards of a public university within the renowned CSU System.

That university is Colorado State University-Global Campus. Ranked as a top online university by the Online Education Database, CSU‑Global’s success can be attributed to its innovative design and continual advancements in key areas related to its students. The mission of CSU‑Global differs from other universities that offer online courses because it was specifically designed for adult learners and working professionals. Its degree programs are all based in the development of practical knowledge and leadership skills that can help students advance their careers through education.

Courses are designed and built exclusively for the online learning platform, making the curriculum more engaging and interactive than traditional classroom lessons simply placed into a virtual space. Faculty are specially trained to teach and mentor in the online environment and are equipped to communicate with students from anywhere in the world.

“CSU-Global has a recognizable name with strong credentials,” stated Amy Stanton, a recent graduate from the Bachelor of Science in Business Management program. “I was a working mom who wanted to finish my education. My time was limited but my drive was strong. This program worked well for my busy schedule.”

Stanton is one of the many students who benefit from the online format of CSU‑Global’s degree programs and courses with no set class times or locations. The structure of the CSU-Global coursework includes discussion posts and other written assignments due Sunday nights throughout an 8-week class. Students can work during their lunch break, children’s nap times, Saturday mornings, or any other times that are most convenient for them.

“I had the opportunity to finish my degree without stopping my life…which helped me succeed in my profession. I am now an insurance agency owner who feels I can manage my family and career,” Stanton said with pride.

CSU-Global President, Dr. Becky Takeda-Tinker, agrees that CSU‑Global’s fully online learning platform is one of the many reasons why the university has grown so quickly, “Earning a degree is a significant and worthy aspiration,” she said, “but our students know that education is only part of their overall life goals. At CSU‑Global our students can find the time to excel in class as well as in their personal and professional lives.”

CSU-Global students receive one-on-one advisor support from admission to graduation with the ultimate goal of making sure they can complete their degree or other learning goals. CSU-Global’s fixed tuition rate ensures that the cost of obtaining a degree won’t go up, and allows incoming students to budget for educational expenses in advance. Maximizing transfer credits from previous colleges attended, identifying alternate ways to secure credit, and the accelerated 8-week courses helps adult students finish their degree as efficiently as possible. A full scale Career Center is also available to all students and alumni to help increase their earning potential and help businesses find highly motivated and talented employees.

“We are truly driven by our student’s success,” continued Dr. Takeda-Tinker. “Our hard working faculty and staff are inspired daily by their accomplishments. Our students are the real secret to all of our success as a university.”