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What Are the Prerequisites for the CCNA?

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The CCNA is a Cisco certification required for most IT professionals. There are actually a few versions of the exam, but the most common is the CCNA Routing and Switching certification. This exam can be taken at the Associate level, so there aren’t many concerns as far as prerequisites go.

The only real limitations are that a person under 13 years will not be permitted to take it, and a person between 13 and 17 must have parental consent. For those 18 and older, there are no restrictions, as Cisco does not require any previous exams to become eligible for the CCNA.

Still, just because there are no real prerequisites, this doesn’t mean the exam isn’t challenging. It’s a 90-minute test consisting of both multiple-choice and performance-based questions. Anyone taking the exam will have to thoroughly prove their knowledge and problem-solving skills in a limited time. It can be stressful, and it’s recommended to have both theoretical knowledge as well as practical networking experience before taking the test. The following are the best ways to prepare for the CCNA.

Study materials

There are plenty of study materials that can get you started. These range from official study guides, video courses, labs, and more. There is a list of Cisco approved materials for those wishing to follow that path, though there are a variety of options from other vendors as well. Regardless of whether you pursue free or paid options, you’ll need to do your best to cover all of the content that could appear on the exam. The methods you choose will likely depend on your learning style.

In general, it’s recommended to take a self-paced video course, regardless of your knowledge level. These will generally measure your knowledge at the start of the course to ensure you aren’t bored with concepts you already know nor overwhelmed at the beginning with unfamiliar ideas. You’ll likely need some additional materials, however, as it can be easy to miss some ideas when watching videos.

There’s an official Cisco Certification Guide available in ebook and hardcopy forms which many argue to be the best study guide available. It’s also impossible to replace hands-on experience through any number of study guides or lab courses. Luckily, modern simulation tools like GNS3 can let you practice the majority of performance-based content you’ll see on the exam.

Practice tests

To get a better idea of what the real exam will be like, you’ll need to take some practice tests. While no practice test can show the same questions that will appear on the current exam, there are many tutoring packages out there that include a CCNA practice test with real questions from past exams. These questions are obtained directly from Cisco and Pearson and can give you a good idea as to the structure of the exam. If you’re able to complete these in the allotted time, you should stand a better chance at the real thing.

Additional preparation

No matter how you decide to prepare for the exam, you’ll likely be doing some combination of self-study and seeking outside help. External training options like expert boot camps and live courses may be just what you need if you require a more personal touch. These options generally include several hours of live instruction, and boot camps will let you schedule appointments with an expert instructor.

The real key is that you need to understand your own learning style and pace, something you’ll hopefully have good experience with from previous classwork. Luckily, you can have a combination of everything you think will work for you before you attempt your exam.

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Top Tools to Help Logistic Professionals

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Transporting goods and produce through a shipping fleet can be a too complicated job, particularly if you find yourself managing a large convoy of vehicles. Not only do operational managers in logistical businesses need to organize their drivers, but they also need to manage stock and ensure that deliveries meet their deadlines.

That’s a lot to do, but thankfully in the modern-day, there’s a lot of new technology that can help make this line of work a lot easier to organize and control. With the technology ranging from computer software to devices installed into a vehicle, here are some of the top tools that are helping logistic professionals.

Fleet Tracking

The ability to track an entire fleet through GPS and other measures has made the administrative side of logistics far simpler for drivers and managers. Instead of filling out information such as hours driven manually, these tracking devices do it all automatically, providing an effortless and accurate way to store this data.

These tracking devices, such as the Azuga GPS can also monitor the route that drivers are taking and empower observers to know if the drivers are taking the most effective route. Plus tracking devices can help them plan to be more efficient in getting their goods from one point to another.

The GPS can also be used to measure the quality of a trucker’s driving, being able to pick up on excessive acceleration, hard braking, or hard turning. Knowing that they’re being monitored can deter drivers from bad practices, making them better and more effective.

Stock Management Software

As well as managing vehicles, logistical companies also have to manage and keep tabs of the different types of stock these vehicles are transporting. One of the best ways these businesses track their stock is to record them in various stages of their transportation process through the use of barcodes and barcode scanners.

Doing this provides up-to-date information on where the stuff is and in what stage it’s in. One of the best tools for scanning barcodes is the Scandit mobile app, due to its ability to be used on both Android and iOS devices and how it’s able to scan hard-to-reach or battered barcodes with ease.

Co-Pilot Directions App

When driving large vehicles, sometimes using traditional GPS systems might not be the best option, as a lot of them won’t be able to account for roads where trucks might not be able to travel through, which can lead to decreased efficiency. To combat this, there is the co-pilot mobile app which offers robust and accurate mapping and direct routing.

This app is particularly good as it goes above and beyond with additional algorithms that can help truckers avoid heavy traffic and other obstacles so that they can get to their destination quickly and efficiently. It also takes into account the truck’s height and width so that it knows which tunnels, roads, and bridges it can drive through, on, or under. Tools such as this allow logistical companies to increase their productivity, allowing them to take on a higher volume of contracts which can increase profit.

Final Thoughts

Technology is available to help your logistics business perform to the very best of your ability. It can transform simple processes and streamline more complicated tasks, giving you more time and capacity to deal with more pressing issues.

Someone could say that to ignore the multitude of benefits the technology can bring to your business is to set yourself up to fail, especially in today’s tech-driven world. Take advantage now of the apps and tracking systems ready for you to implement and see how you can go from strength to strength in your company.

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The Benefits of 3D Scanning in Prototyping

3D Design

The ability to take an object and reverse-engineer it to create an identical copy of it without the schematics of the design has changed the way industry does business.

The technology that enables people to perform this process is called 3D scanning or 3D modeling and it is used in various industries, including manufacturing, VR, healthcare.

By taking multiple snapshots of a real-world object from various angles, 3D scanners can reproduce a virtual model of that object, which can then be viewed from all angles using software such as CAD. These models can then be sent to a 3D printer, now available for purchase commercially, to produce a replica of the scanned object.

There’s no doubting the influence of 3D printing, particularly on the manufacturing industry. The positives include greater scope for creativity in design, less material wastage, the faster process from design to product, the plastic is lighter yet stronger than metals, and it’s cheaper.

In this article, we delve a bit deeper into three areas of business 3D scanning can benefit companies prototypes and products.

Saves Time

Designing new parts, or replacements can be a long process that requires the knowledge and time of an expert such as an engineer who will need to hand-draw the design or design it from scratch using specialized software. With 3D scanning technology, however, the design process can be simplified immensely.

Reputable 3D scanners, such as the Artec Eva, use advanced technology to ensure that every inch of the object that is being scanned is accounted for on the design. Capturing up to 16 frames a second, the scanner also automatically provides the precise dimensions of the object. The designer can then alter the virtual design to better suit their needs without the need to tamper with the original object. What makes the Artec Eva stand out from the rest is its portable design, which allows for quick, high-resolution 3D scanning for almost unlimited applications.

More Flexibility in Designs

Having a scan of an object during the design phase of a prototype allows the designer greater flexibility in their design from the start as they have the power to edit and make improvements on their system quickly and easily without the need to build multiple physical prototypes. This can save a company both time and money during the design and testing phase of a prototype.

Designs can be Shared Globally

When a product is in the design stage, it is not uncommon to see it being shipped around the world for testing before it enters mass production. With 3D scanning technology, a design can be shared with anyone who has the software to read it, and it can be physically reproduced through 3D printing technology anywhere in the world. This means that a design can be accurately reproduced to its exact specifications without the need for expensive and time-consuming shipping at design shops around the world with just a copy of the 3D file.

When combined with 3D printing, 3D scanning technology has the potential to change the way people design and produce new products as well as make industries more streamlined and cost-efficient.

However, some would say there is still some way to go before 3D printing is ubiquitous in manufacturing and design, particularly with new entrants. The printers are cost-prohibitive for startups struggling with funding. The reliance on plastic doesn’t sit well with everyone, and there’s the ongoing impact it has on jobs. However, there will always be teething problems with new tech, including the displacement of workers.

What do you do with your production staff? Watch this space, new industries will appear with 3D printing, and there will be new jobs.

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Innovation

How To Grab Attention On Video Conference Calls

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We are in the age of ‘COVID-19’, and our lives will never be the same again. We’ll be working from home more often and using video conferencing for meetings with colleagues, management and customers. In-person meetings allow for verbal and non-verbal cues. Body language can play a significant role in negotiation, for example.

Changes in body language or small facial expressions can provide observers, i.e. the meeting attendees messages on how to respond to get the right outcome. If you’re someone who uses non-verbal cues to sway discussion in your favour, then video-conferencing is a challenge. So how can we get what we need from these online meetings using what we have at hand, i.e. the small visuals of meeting attendees?

In this article, we provide tips on how you can get your points across, even when the other attendees are more extroverted than you.

Use The Camera

Focus on the camera and what it can do for you. There is a temptation to stare at your screen and the other attendees in the meeting. Get past this action as soon as you can. Allow yourself a few minutes to view all the other participants then turn your attention to the meeting’s contents.

Active listening is required and if it helps you to remember what is being discussed – take notes. To assist this action further say which participant explained the point, for example, Attendee John (Manager): “we will now always work from home two days a week”.

When you’re talking stare into the camera and not at the attendees faces on your screen. While this is very unnatural, and at first, you’ll think you’re rude or ill-mannered by not looking at the attendees like you would if you were in an in-person meeting. However, looking deeply into the camera not only focuses you on what you’re saying, but you also won’t get distracted with attendees non-verbal distractions.

Mastering the skills for video conferencing productivity will take practice. The multi-tasking of taking notes while actively listening and remembering to optimise the time spent looking into the camera will be your juggling act!

What you’re working against is human nature and the obsession we have with ourself. Dale Carnegie says if we’re not thinking about a project, we’re thinking about ourselves. A lot of time is spent and indeed wasted thinking about how we feel, what we want, and what other people think of us, so you can see what you’re up against to master video conference meetings as an active participant or meeting lead.

Use Your Voice

Understanding the basics of human nature can be gained from studying neuroscience or neurolinguistic programming. Introverts are less likely to sit tall or speak up than extroverts; however, they can practice doing both, and without the non-verbal cues getting in the way, video conferencing is a great levelling feature.

When you’re on a video call, always speak louder than your usual speaking voice. Plus use your voice to express yourself through using pitch, high and low, vary it to keep your audience engaged. For extroverts, they are experts in changing tone and adding volume to grab attention and express themselves. Introverts will also master this skill in the knowledge that they are in the room with the meeting attendees and that no one is spending much time thinking about them!

Backgrounds

What is in the background when you’re on a video conference call? Take care to have a bland background, so your frame is not the meeting’s distraction! Ideally use a plain white wall for your background. If that’s not possible, make sure the shelves behind you have only the objects you don’t mind your work colleagues and customers viewing, i.e. do not place intimate or personal items on the shelves that will end up being the topic of discussion.

Visual Appearance

Even though you’re working remotely and most often from your home, avoid wearing your leisure apparel. Your appearance should be what your colleagues would expect to see if they were sitting next to or opposite you in a meeting room. Once again, the objective with your appearance is to avoid being the distraction.

Summary

If you’ve been reluctant to use video conferencing, these tips will boost your confidence to use the technology without distraction.

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