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House setting up ‘genius bar’ to prepare tech for coronavirus teleworking

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The House is setting up a “genius bar” on Capitol Hill on Monday to ensure members of Congress have their offices tech-ready for teleworking in the event of coronavirus quarantines, Fox News has learned.

The bipartisan leaders of the House Administration Committee alerted House members Friday of the coronavirus preparations underway, including the ability to purchase new laptops and cellphones for teleworking.

In an interview Saturday, Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., called the tech services that will be available Monday a “genius bar” so staff can inspect their laptops and telework equipment in case office operations are shuttered because of the coronavirus.

HOUSE PREPARES FOR TELEWORK SCENARIOS AMID CORONAVIRUS THREAT

“They’ll set up a Genius Bar and what that means is we want our offices to be prepared,” Davis, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, told Fox News.  “… See what equipment you have that can be workable in the event of a possible emergency. And if you don’t have that equipment, we’re going to tell you how to get that type of equipment ready, just to be prepared.”

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill.

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill.

The tech precautions are necessary to make sure constituents can still be served.

“If we’re not prepared in the House of Representatives, then we’re not going to be prepared to address any … constituents’ needs either,” Davis said.

Changes are already underway at the Capitol complex. There’s more hand sanitizing stations and additional bathroom instructions on handwashing, Davis said. Some people have replaced handshakes with fist or elbow taps. And the bins used in security screening stations to collect phones, keys and wallets are being cleaned or replaced, Davis said.

So far there are no conversations on holding House sessions remotely, Davis said, but there is a feeling that with more testing for the coronavirus underway, it’s a matter of time before the tourist-rich Capitol is affected.

“You’ve got 535 people flying into the House, in the Senate, each week from all across this nation; you have millions of people that visit our nation’s capital each year. If we are not doing something like this, we would be shirking our responsibilities,” Davis said.

CORONAVIRUS: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

Davis and the chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., sent members a bipartisan memo Friday outlining the coronavirus preparations, as first reported by Fox News.

“With the increase in testing kits available, we’re going to see the numbers diagnosed go up. So, we have to be prepared in the House,” Davis said.

Teleworking is not very common at the Capitol since the heart of politicians’ daily work is face-to-face meetings with constituents and visitors. Each member of Congress has a relatively small staff that juggles everything from answering phones, greeting guests, helping constituents, and working on legislation and media affairs.

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The House and Senate passed last week an $8.3 billion bill that President Trump signed into law to fund the public health response to the outbreak. The package does not include additional funds for members of Congress to safeguard their offices, but Davis said the House has enough resources to ensure there is a “continuance of government operations” in case staff are infected or quarantined.

The preparations come as two major D.C.-area political conferences that attracted plenty of politicians announced COVID-19 virus concerns. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) said Wednesday a group of attendees had potentially been in contact with a person from New York who had contracted coronavirus.

And on Saturday, The American Conservative Union (ACU), which hosts the high-profile Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), confirmed that one of this year’s conference attendees has tested positive for the virus.

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Apple Posts iPhone Sales Fall In Two Years

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Mixed results. Delayed launch of the iPhone 12 by several weeks sees Apple post its largest decline in iPhone sales in two years

Apple has felt the financial impact of its decision to delay the release of its iPhone 12 handsets by a number of weeks.

On the whole, the iPad maker produced mostly positive financial results, but Apple recorded the biggest iPhone sales fall in nearly two years because of the delayed launch.

Apple had announced in its July earnings that the launch of the iPhone 12, usually slated for September, would be delayed due the global Coronavirus pandemic.

iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini

iPhone decline

Examining Apple’s financial results for the fourth quarter and its year-end figures, it is mostly positive.

For the fourth quarter ending 26 September, Apple posted a net profit of $12.7bn, down from $13.7bn.

Revenues came in at $64.7bn, slightly up from $64bn.

Moving over to the full year results, annual profits were a staggering $57.4bn, up from $55.2bn in the previous year.

Full year revenues were $274.5bn, up from $260bn in the previous year.

But Apple’s main money maker (the iPhone), saw the biggest fall (20 percent) in two years as iPhone revenues were down at $26.4, from $33.3bn in the same year-ago quarter.

This led to shares in Apple falling in after-hours trading.

“Apple capped off a fiscal year defined by innovation in the face of adversity with a September quarter record, led by all-time records for Mac and Services,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

“Despite the ongoing impacts of Covid-19, Apple is in the midst of our most prolific product introduction period ever, and the early response to all our new products, led by our first 5G-enabled iPhone lineup, has been tremendously positive,” said Cook.

“From remote learning to the home office, Apple products have been a window to the world for users as the pandemic continues, and our teams have met the needs of this moment with creativity, passion, and the kinds of big ideas that only Apple can deliver,” Cook concluded.

 

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How manufacturers can ready labelling for the compliance wave – Med-Tech Innovation

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Ken Moir, VP, NiceLabel, explains what a wave of new regulations will mean for medical device manufacturers.

Medical device manufacturers are coming under increasing pressure ahead of a wave of regulations coming into force over the next few years. These include the EU’s Medical Device Regulation (MDR); the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Class I, and the in vitro diagnostic regulation (IVDR) which comes into effect in May 2022.

Even after that, there are other application dates in multiple different countries on the horizon. The message is clear: now is the time to take a standardised approach to unique device identification (UDI) compliance, and select a process that can be scaled to cover upcoming regulations. Labelling will be a big part of that process. 

What EU MDR means for labelling

For many medical device manufacturers, the immediate focus is the EU MDR, scheduled to apply from May 2021. Any medical device manufacturer shipping product to the EU will need to comply with MDR.

Even organisations that have had to comply with previous device directives, will notice the new regulations introduce significant changes which impact labelling. For example, labels need to be in a human-readable format, which manufacturers can supplement with machine-readable information, such as RFID or bar codes. Labels must be legible, according to the user’s technical knowledge, experience and training. There are also specific requirements for sterile barrier labelling, absorbed materials and warnings related to harmful substances.

Meeting these requirements will likely require a complete redesign of a business’s existing labels. In tackling this challenge, manufacturers should look beyond the regulation and uncover the hidden costs and problems in their existing workflow.

Quality and validation

In the context of EU MDR, one of the key areas is quality control. Manufacturers should be encouraged to digitise quality assurance by incorporating review and approval workflows into their label management system. This will provide improved accuracy, transparency and efficiency. Their label management system also needs to enable them to lock down UDI information to reduce the likelihood of errors.

Organisations also need to consider how they will handle and approve mass label changes. Instead of manually creating thousands of label designs for each SKU that then need to be approved, they need to implement a labelling system that can automate mass label changes and approvals.

One of the critical tasks before going live is completing system validation. Here it can help to use a validation tool that aligns with regulatory requirements, which can simplify compliance with industry standards and make it easier for them to maintain a validated, compliant labeling solution. They need to be aware that by standardising on a single labelling platform with a digitised quality workflow, they only have to validate one system, as opposed to individually validating multiple, disconnected modules.

How cloud-based labelling helps

Once they have created an MDR-compliant labeling process, manufacturers will want to ensure their labels stay compliant, no matter who prints them. Manufacturers need to consider granting their suppliers and contract manufacturers remote access to their labelling system using cloud technology. In this way, they can guarantee their labels are accurate and compliant, because they are printed based on templates and data housed in their own systems. They control who has access to what, and they get a complete history of every label that’s been printed. They can also manage labeling centrally and reduce security risks without placing an additional burden on IT resources.

Digital, cloud-based labelling can ease the burden on IT departments and expedite the label creation process. It gives MDMs an easy-to-use tool to visually lay out the label; a digital, visual workflow for quality control; the ability to automate mass label changes and approvals; and label printing that’s integrated with the business systems that house UDI data. 

Seeing it as an opportunity

Ultimately, manufacturers need to take advantage of the opportunity that MDR compliance presents. By adopting the right technology and implementing a digitised cloud-based labelling approach, they take cost out of their quality control and integration processes and minimise IT resources. They can also drive agility in this way. If manufacturers can ensure they are compliant with EU MDR and if they have standardised on a modern digital system, ideally in the cloud, they will be well placed to make any adjustments required to comply also with new UDI requirements of national and regional regulations yet to be put in place. The more agile their system is, the better prepared they will be to handle the regulatory future. 



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Apple Q4 results: Record quarter in India, says Tim Cook

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Written by Nandagopal Rajan
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Updated: October 30, 2020 7:59:02 am


Tim Cook, Tim Cook open letter, open letter by Tim Cook, Tim Cook on racism, World news, Indian ExpressTim Cook’s statement on India also aligns with research firm Canalys’ data which showed double-digit growth to nearly 8,00,000 units in the corresponding quarter. (File)

Apple has announced another record quarter of revenues despite the pandemic, with strong performance in international markets including India. “Geographically, we set September quarter records in the Americas, Europe and rest of Asia Pacific. We also set a September quarter record in India, thanks in part to a very strong reception to this quarter’s launch of our online store in the country,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an earnings call following the announcement of financial results for Q4 2020.

Cook’s statement on India also aligns with research firm Canalys’ data which showed double-digit growth to nearly 8,00,000 units in the corresponding quarter. Canalys Research Director Rushabh Doshi too had pointed to the direct to customer online store, though it went live only in the last 10 days of the quarter.

In a release, Cook said despite the ongoing impact of COVID-19, Apple is in the midst of its most prolific product introduction period ever, and the early response to all our new products, led by our first 5G-enabled iPhone lineup, has been tremendously positive. “From remote learning to the home office, Apple products have been a window to the world for users as the pandemic continues, and our teams have met the needs of this moment with creativity, passion, and the kinds of big ideas that only Apple can deliver.”

Also Read | Apple developing search engine to take on Google, says report

Coming soon after the launch of its new iPhones, Cook said in the earnings call that he was very “bullish on this cycle”. “It is the strongest lineup we’ve ever had by far. We do have a very large, loyal and growing install base and we’re also reaching out to switchers. And so I’m very optimistic there,” he said, also calling 5G a “once-in-a-decade opportunity”.

“There’s a lot of excitement around 5G and we’ve got some aggressive offers in the marketplace. And so when I think about all of those, and I look at the initial data points that we’ve got on the iPhone 12 and the 12 Pro, we are off to a great start.”

Also Read | Apple buys self-learning AI video company to improve apps

Cook also acknowledged the impact of the pandemic on Apple’s supply chain, saying “we are constrained today… and that’s not a surprise”. Cook added: “We haven’t taken orders yet for the iPhone 12 Mini or the Pro Max either. And so those are coming. And so we shall see. But right now, we are supply constrained. We are also supply constrained — for avoidance of any confusion — we’re supply constrained on Mac, where supply constraint on iPad, and we’re supply constrained on some Apple Watches as well.” He said this means Apple has a “fair number of areas right now of focus” and was working really hard to remedy those as quickly as they can.

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