GEER Brings Multi-Room Digital Sound to Vermont

first_imgGEER Sound & Communications announces the arrival of the Sonos Digital Music System in Vermont. Vermonters can now enjoy their digital music library throughout their entire home and control it from the palm of their hand.So many people have discovered the versatility of a digital music system through the Pod® said Dave Geer, president of GEER Sound & Communications. Using Sonos we help people listen to their digital music collection all over their homes – so they’re not tied to their computer or their earphones.The Sonos system enables user control and customize what they listen to with a small wireless device with a full-color LED screen.The Sonos system generally costs less than a traditional whole-house analog system because much less wire is installed.GEER Sound & Communications is the only authorized system integrator of the Sonos line in Vermont.About GEER Sound & Communications Inc.GEER Sound & Communications designs, installs and supports systems to meet its customers’ sound, video and multimedia presentation needs. Since 1992 GEER Sound has developed solutions ranging from sound systems for homes and small churches to multimedia classrooms at Champlain College to the sound systems at UVM’s Gutterson Fieldhouse and Ira Allen Chapel. Other clients include IDX, Dartmouth College, General Dynamics and more. More information about GEER Sound & Communications is available at www.geersound.com(link is external).About Sonos Inc.Sonos is the developer of wireless multi-room music systems for the digital home. The award-winning Sonos” Digital Music System is available direct from Sonos or at more than 500 retailers and custom integrators in North America. For more information visit www.geersound.com/sonos.htm(link is external)-end-For more information please contact Dave Geer, President of GEER Sound & Communications at 802-893-6260.last_img read more

The difference between decisive and dictatorial leadership

first_imgAs a logophile, one of the things I love about words is that — get this — they mean things.Profound, I know. I’ll give you a moment to recover from that.OK, now that you’ve caught your breath after that devastatingly insightful opening thought, let’s continue. (And yes, I’m saying that with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek.)What sometimes happens is that folks will use all sorts of different words to try to reframe and redefine what something is or what something means. Or they’ll just use a word that doesn’t actually mean what they’re using it to mean.For example, and with apologies to Alanis Morissette, ironic doesn’t mean some coincidental thing that you find humorous or irritating or something. Ironic actually refers to something that is the opposite of, or a reversal of, what you think is supposed to happen or what you expect to happen. So while “Ironic” certainly made for an infectious pop melody, Morissette’s assertion that wedding day precipitation was ironic was, in fact, not. continue reading » 17SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Digital wallets are secure – but you can do more to keep member data safe

first_img 9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr As discussed in Part 1 of this series, digital wallet usage is expected to rise dramatically in the near term, giving consumers a host of faster, more convenient payment options at checkout. While experts regard technologies such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay as highly secure, there are added steps credit unions and their members can take to further protect account data.Responding to Yellow Path RequestsApple Pay remains the most widely used digital wallet today and has its own authentication process for tokens that credit unions need to understand. Here’s how it works:When the cardholder adds a card to Apple Pay, both Apple and the network run the request through a number of risk parameters to ensure that the requester is indeed the valid owner of the card. This may include things like the user’s history in iTunes and address verification. If it passes, the card will be tokenized and enabled on the phone. continue reading »last_img read more

Hurricane Matthew underscores unique value of credit union cooperative networks

first_img 10SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr For all of its natural power and destructive force, Hurricane Matthew was not been able to disrupt the ability of the credit union industry to provide financial services to members.The unique cooperative spirit of the movement helped make this possible. Major exponents of the industry’s “people helping people” commitment are the CO-OP Shared Branch and CO-OP ATMnetworks managed by CO-OP Financial Services, which maintain financial services lifelines between impacted credit unions and their members.According to Credit Union Times on Friday morning, October 7, 2016, nearly 40 credit unions in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas publicly announced branch closings for Thursday and Friday and Saturday because of Hurricane Matthew and its 100-plus miles per hour winds that affected more than six million residents. continue reading »last_img read more

Fintech and your lending process

first_img 19SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr “Alexa, tell me the best auto loan.”Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and voice recognition technology are recent examples of the growing effect that fintechs continue to have on credit union lending.For instance, Square’s decision to file for a bank charter and ongoing partnerships between fintech and financial industry stalwarts are reshaping our industry and how we interact with members today and, more importantly, in the future.To help assess this dynamic industry, here are a few questions credit unions can ask when considering new technology solutions to enhance their lending process: continue reading »last_img read more

Is it time to make the leap to a new, better core processor?

first_imgThe days of floppy disks, dial-up modems and VHS tapes have come and gone, and we’ve moved on to ever-more advanced technology. Yet many community credit unions still cling to their outdated core processing software. What gives?Due to a number of factors, many financial institutions may be using core software purchased 20 to 30 years ago. To keep up with changing technology and ways of doing business, a Band-Aid solution has been to layer “ancillary” products on top of it, like online and mobile banking software. But this creates a muddled IT situation that makes it difficult to manage, launch new products and keep up with regulations.Is that really the best way to go about business for your credit union or your members?It’s time to tear off the Band-AidAccording to industry reports, there are several reasons cited for NOT changing core processors. Hesitance to impinge on staff time, fear of account holders feeling the impact during the switch and price ranked at the top of the list.To sum it up, it has to do with not having enough time to evaluate all of the options and do a thorough comparison.This mirrors what I’ve seen from clients through the years, as well. Pursuing a new core processor is a huge undertaking. As a result, many credit unions will delay beginning the process as long as possible to avoid dealing with the aforementioned side effects. But if your system is outdated, you’re only making things worse by delaying the inevitable. It’s time to get over the fear, put a plan in place and rip off that Band-Aid so you can start reaping the benefits of an updated core processor.All hands on deck — and then someAs I mentioned, a core processor conversion is a long process. It’s best to start two years before your current core processor contract expires. During this time, you’ll likely take on few if any other large initiatives and you may need more people power along the way.To provide the best service to your members and not overload your current staff, don’t be afraid to hire temporary support during this timeframe. It’s a common practice and can even lead you to individuals that have the potential to join your organization full-time, down the road. A third-party recruiter that specializes in the financial industry (like JMFA Recruitment Services) can help you find the perfect fit for temporary positions.And since you can’t magically create more time in the day, you may want to consider hiring an expert contract negotiator that can take the lead for you on the core conversion process.What a third-party negotiator can do for youProfessional contract negotiators streamline the process and find the best value for you. Extensive industry experience and knowledge give your credit union the upper hand when evaluating contracts and negotiating the best terms, because professionals know what to ask for and how much other institutions pay for similar services. In a lengthy process like core conversions, a professional contract review provides even more benefits along the way, including:Discovery. After a thorough review of your current situation — including any problems staff may be experiencing with the current system, plus any wants, needs and new application requirements — your consultant can work with you to find the best solution for your organization.RFPs. Acquiring competitive bids for services can be a time-consuming process. A contract negotiator will send out requests for proposals (RFPs) to trusted vendors, on your behalf.Evaluation. A contract expert can provide an apples-to-apples comparison of the RFPs and help your team narrow down your options, providing clarification, guidance and advice.Coordination.  To save time, the consultant will set up all meetings between your staff, the negotiations team and vendors — including demos and presentations — so you don’t have to.Negotiations. A professional negotiator will review all vendor proposals, using a proprietary database, to ensure you are receiving the very best rates.Final negotiations. When you have chosen a vendor, the contract experts will complete the “best and final offer” negotiations, contract order and contract review. After you sign the contract, they will transition you to the vendor’s implementation team. As you can see, having help along the way can prevent your staff from getting bogged down by the administrative details of the search process. Plus, when it comes time to negotiate, you will get the best deal and most favorable terms.A core conversion success storyOur contract negotiations team recently helped a client institution complete a core processor conversion. In this case, our client had already narrowed the options to two vendors. From there, we helped evaluate each vendor’s proposal and negotiated the final offers for our client to choose from.Here’s their story:They had been on the system for over 20 years. It was the first — and only — core processing system they had ever used. They had no real idea how outdated the system was until we started showing them what else was available. Plus, the vendor had not released any enhancements in quite some time and they weren’t fixing anything, either — just patching or offering a work-around. It seemed to our client that the vendor was phasing out the system.Also, over the past 10 years, the institution had increased loan volume and the existing core system seemed to them more challenging for their changing needs. In all that time, the rep who serviced the account never offered a different core that was better suited for the institution. If that would have happened, the vendor might have been able to keep them as a client!By seeking expert advice on evaluating options the institution was able to make the switch without increasing costs.They got a much better system for the same price. In the end, they are paying less for their item processing and clearings, and for debit card processing. They also received a huge incentive to switch, so that took care of implementation costs.After implementing the new core processor, our client experienced:improved operating efficiency;the capability to provide a better online and mobile banking experience to account holders;a much better solution for commercial loan repayment structures; andthe ability to offer more deposit products and services like sweep accounts and rewards checking. Start thinking aheadThe core conversion process can take some time, but the efficiencies, value and growth potential you’ll see afterward will make it more than worth it. If you’re not satisfied with your current core processor, check your contract today to see when it’s set to expire. Mark your calendar for when it’s 24 months from the expiration date—and make a plan to tackle this project head-on. 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Kelly Flynn Kelly has over 15 years of sales and management experience helping financial institutions of all sizes. She leads a team whose charter is to optimize the value of every contract … Web: www.JMFA.com Detailslast_img read more

Asylum-seekers forced to wait in Mexico celebrate Trump defeat with cries of joy and prayers

first_img– Advertisement – The Trump administration knew exactly what it was doing in forcing asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for their U.S. immigration courts. After despicably and falsely claiming that the policy has “successfully provided protections” to asylum-seekers, the administration then admitted in court that the policy is in fact forcing people into danger, like advocates have said.A report from a human rights organization at the beginning of the year tracked nearly 820 public reports of violence against returned asylum-seekers, a number that has since grown to over 1,100, BuzzFeed News reported. While the courts blocked the policy in February, the Supreme Court the next month allowed the administration to keep going ahead with enforcing it as litigation continues. But its days are likely numbered.Then-candidate Biden’s immigration plan indicated that Remain in Mexico would be the first of the Trump administration anti-asylum policies to go. But when exactly that will happen is another question. While a recent report said that reinstating the full Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would be a Day One priority for Biden, BuzzFeed News reports he would address Remain in Mexico within his first 100 days in office.- Advertisement – That it’s a priority is of course important. It means these families are being heard. But because the outgoing administration has forced them to have to wait for so long already, in complete defiance of U.S. asylum law, their hope and the hope of advocates is that a rescission comes sooner rather than later in those 100 days. “People are just so incredibly happy, so hopeful for the first time,” immigration lawyer Taylor Levy said in the report. She urged advocates to continue pushing the incoming Biden administration for urgent relief for these families. “‘Desperation’ and ‘hopelessness’ have been the prevailing adjectives I would use to describe the asylum-seekers stuck in Mexico, and now there’s just finally hope,” she continued.center_img Jose Lopez, an asylum-seeker from Nicaragua, told BuzzFeed News that the mood at the camp was jubilant. “[P]eople shouted and cried,” the report continued. Some had placed balloons along the Rio Grande that featured the words “Bye Trump” and poop emojis. (It’s okay, you can laugh.) “Others, he said, prayed when the race was called on Saturday.” Like Hidalgo, he said Biden’s victory was also theirs. “We thanked God because he heard our cries,” Lopez told BuzzFeed News. “We were victims of a project that was truly harmful to people’s humanity … We thought we were invisible to the world, but we weren’t to God. We’re overjoyed right now.”- Advertisement –last_img read more

Three stages of emotion on COVID-19 journey: Where are you now?

first_imgHow Indonesians are feeling on COVID-19. (JP/File)The first is a short-term stage marked by sudden disruption, along with lifestyle changes and a growing sense of a loss of freedom amid quarantine. This is followed by confusion and uncertainty, which is indicated by mental fatigue due to prolonged lockdown, the economic impact kicking in and thoughts about life and livelihoods arising. The third is the acceptance of the new normal, with long-term behavioral shifts and a new outlook on life.“People take time to adjust to the new normal they have been presented with, which has a sudden impact on day-to-day behavior,” the document explains.“As the COVID-19 [situation] lasts, people increasingly worry about finances. They prepare to plan for the long term and let go of heavy spending occasions,” it reads. “With the acceptance of the new normal people will move toward a more long-term alignment, find new ways to manage life.” People around the world are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic differently. Some are anxious, others unperturbed. Some may find it difficult to get organized, while for others there is no option but for life to go on as normal.People find a sense of security and the freedom to socialize and leave the house the most difficult things to give up in their daily lives, according to market research firm Kantar Indonesia.The change in lifestyle has generally resulted in a three-stage emotional journey stemming from behavioral shifts, according to a Kantar Indonesia report titled COVID-19 Impact on Indonesian Attitudes & Behavior: Learning for Brands. Stages of consumer’s emotional journey during COVID-19 pandemic. (JP/File)Kantar Indonesia’s stages of emotional journey and feelings were created based on surveys on Indonesians’ psychological state amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in line with recent academic research into the impacts of COVID-19 on society’s mental well-being. Psychology experts are warning of the pandemic’s profound and pervasive impact on global mental health as people around the world struggle to cope with isolated living and anxiety spikes.Read also: Pandemic shifts business landscape, strategyBased on a sample of 6,428 people, Kantar Indonesia measured Indonesians’ COVID-19 anxiety meter and found an exponential increase in anxiety over the novel coronavirus within two weeks in March. On March 25, 68 percent were concerned but said they knew what to do, while 10 percent were very concerned and don’t know what to do. On March 13, the numbers had been at just 30 percent and 13 percent, respectively.“We see that Indonesians are concerned but assured,” Kantar Indonesia wrote. “Indonesia and Malaysia are the only countries in the region that have maintained a net-positive sentiment in their social media chatter about COVID-19.”center_img Topics :last_img read more

Privacy watchdog approves French contact tracing app

first_imgThe idea is to send an alert to those who have downloaded the app if they come into close proximity, for example, on public transport, with those who have tested positive for the new coronavirus and who are on the app register.A number of European countries are considering using similar technology as a means of allowing a relaxing of confinement.The CNIL move came as France, which has listed 22,614 COVID-19-related deaths to date, looks to May 11 to start relaxing nationwide lockdown restrictions imposed six weeks ago.The government is due to unveil deconfinement measures on Tuesday in line with a range of recommendations Saturday from its scientific advisors relating to issues such as schooling and the wearing of masks. France’s privacy watchdog CNIL on Sunday gave a conditional green light to a government-backed scheme to monitor people infected with coronavirus.The issue of how to keep tabs on sufferers has sparked privacy concerns in several countries but the CNIL gave the nod to the StopCovid scheme subject to civil liberty guarantees and regular oversight.The French device will, if the country is to begin a gradual emergence from lockdown on May 11, enable creation of an index of sufferers via a smartphone app along the lines of a model touted notably by Singapore. The French government insists its scheme would see the app deployed on a voluntary, anonymous, temporary and transparent basis with all data stored in France in a bid to encourage maximum take-up. ‘Exceptional’ contextCNIL said the context was “exceptional” as France faces up to a global health crisis, adding that StopCovid meets EU norms as long as “certain conditions are respected,” noting the government usage guarantees.The body added that nobody should be penalized, for example being denied a transport ticket, for refusing to use the app and said the scheme’s effectiveness would depend on widespread adoption.Latest opinion polls show less than two in five French people have confidence in the government’s ability to face down the COVID-19 crisis.The French government intends to begin relaxing some restrictions from May 11, including reopening schools and getting public transport back to normal.But a study released last Tuesday by the Pasteur Institute estimated only six percent of France’s population will have been exposed to the new coronavirus by then, meaning the rest will have no immunity and will remain at risk of infection, leading to fears a second wave of the disease would wreak renewed havoc.Critics of using high-tech means to track people have warned any centralized schemes could provide governments with reams of personal data and facilitate mass state surveillance.Decentralized systems can on the other hand allow data to be stored on individual devices.The European Commission has also recommended that data harvested through contact-tracing apps be stored only on users’ own phones and be encrypted. Topics :last_img read more

IPE’s Top 400: Dutch managers increase share of European institutional market

first_imgTop 20 European institutional managers Company2014 Total2013 Total 6Amundi255,098231,406 11Aberdeen Asset Management138,402145,784 31/12/13 (€m)31/12/12 (€m) 8Natixis Global Asset Management165,400164,755 20Robeco Group74,65563,506 4APG343,000324,000 2BNY Mellon Investment Management434,653271,005 18Schroders88,74076,175 19F&C Management77,16197,557 12BNP Paribas Investment Partners137,192148,359 16MN92,23890,464 Dutch asset managers are growing in prominence in IPE’s definitive ranking of Europe’s largest institutional managers, with PGGM Investments for the first time among the 10 largest firms by AUM, according to IPE’s Top 400 Asset Managers 2014 survey.PGGM, responsible for the assets of healthcare sector pension fund PFZW and a number of smaller Dutch funds, saw assets under management (AUM) increase by €21.8bn to €154.9bn, causing it to enter the Top 10 at ninth place, ahead of Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management, with European institutional assets worth €152bn.The Dutch manager also saw one of the largest percentage increase in assets at 16.4%, behind BNY Mellon Investment Management (BNY Mellon IM) 60.3% rise from €271bn to €434.6bn, and the 17.5% increase witnessed by fellow Dutch manager Robeco.BNY Mellon Investment Management has risen to become one of Europe’s largest managers of institutional assets – second only to BlackRock. The BNY Mellon IM affilliate Insight Investment recorded a year-on-year AUM increase from €249.8bn to €328.8bn. At the beginning of 2013, currency manager Pareto Investment became part of the Insight group. center_img 3Legal & General Investment Management381,975366,975 7PIMCO202,759207,392 15Union Investment108,203100,887 17Helaba Invest89,59482,532 13Goldman Sachs Asset Management International134,580130,622 14UBS Global Asset Management122,080112,247 5State Street Global Advisors260,121243,623 1BlackRock625,065614,716 10Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management152,047199,731 9PGGM154,898133,081 The breakdown of Europe’s largest institutional managers also saw Legal & General Investment Management and Dutch pension manager APG fall one rank, respectively, despite AUM increasing at both firms.Natixis Global Asset Management rose one spot to eighth despite only a slight increase in assets, followed by PGGM.Its rise contributed to DeAWM falling two places to round out the Top 10, after its AUM declined €47bn.BNP Paribas Investment Partners, which has been in the Top 10 for the last three years, fell two places to 12th, behind Aberdeen Asset Management.Both saw AUM fall, with BNP seeing an €11.1bn slump.MN saw its fortunes continue to rise as it claimed the 16th spot, rising one place and climbing from 21st three years prior.F&C Asset Management, recently acquired by Canada’s Bank of Montreal, fell to 19th, ahead of Robeco, a new top 20 entrant with €74.6bn in assets. The Orix Group-owned manager is another Dutch success story, rising from 31st place in 2011’s Top 400 to 23rd last year. It has seen its AUM increase by €11.1bn.Currently only four of the top 20 managers are based in the Netherlands.Germany was tied with the Netherlands, although only two of the four German managers consider their base to be exclusively in the country – Union Investment ranked 15th, while Helaba Invest came in at 17th.Both firms saw assets increase by a similar amount – €7.3bn and €7bn, respectively.Readers wishing to order a hard copy of the IPE Top 400 Asset Managers 2014 or looking to request it in a digital or Excel format should contact Emma Morgan-Jones at morgan.jones@ipe.com.last_img read more