Author: Greg Clary

My Life Lesson: Love Wins

My first volunteer trip to Honduras was in the winter of 2009. A church group was making the journey to build homes in the second poorest country in Central America—and though I had heard amazing stories from my friends about prior mission trips, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

We touched down at the Tegucigalpa Airport, which boasts the world’s second most dangerous takeoff and landing according to the History Channel (no big deal!), and drove 2.5 hours to Southern Honduras. As we made the trek, I was initially shocked—even haunted—by the living conditions… mud huts, scattered litter everywhere, the pain of poverty palpable. All throughout that drive, I watched and listened to my friends and travel companions. There was excitement in their voices, and their eyes were bright as if they didn’t see what I was seeing. I wondered to myself, how could they not be saddened by what was passing before their eyes? I would soon learn, however, that I was the one who had been blind.

The next day when we arrived on the construction site, the sadness that had consumed me during that long trip from the airport was quickly replaced by something else. It may sound somewhat cliché but the moment I encountered the people of the village, my heart was filled with love. Rarely had I experienced such sincere warmth, love, and gratitude. Gratitude, warmth and love from people who had far less than anyone I had ever met before. The joy of the Honduran people in the midst of those $2/day wages, gnawing hunger, having no real shelter, few clothes on their backs, and often no shoes—it’s something that most people would have to experience to believe. The love and joy were simply mind-blowing.

I made that first trip to Honduras in 2009 because I wanted to ‘give back’ as people always say. I wanted to get out of my air-conditioned, luxury-laden, big-house living (relatively speaking), overfed bubble and do something for somebody else. I must say, before going, I did not know the magnitude of the bubble. Throughout that first trip and during the eight subsequent visits I’ve made to Honduras over the past eight years, I discovered more about love. The pure love of those experiences is something I want to share.

I want to spread the stories of my experiences as much as possible, and first to my children. I hope to take my 16 year-old daughter to Central America within the next year. She’s put our first trip on hold due to another mission trip she’s taking to New York City this summer—and that’s okay with me. My heart is full in the knowledge that she wants to give back to others, and I have no doubt that she will experience love in a new and life-changing way.

For anyone who may be interested, the groups I work with locally include Sharefish, Mercy and Grace, and North Carolina Baptist Men. Each group has certain specialty areas but the trips I’ve attended focus on construction, education and medical projects. I'm also a fan and supporter of BC Serna, who I had the chance to meet briefly at a conference. He encourages young people to travel to Central America to serve and raises money to sponsor their travel. Check out the group with which he travels.

Top 5 Takeaways from Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2015

Microsoft Hololens

This past week Mi-Corporation's CEO, Greg Clary, and VP of Sales & Marketing, Gautham Pandiyan, ventured to Orlando, FL for Microsoft's 2015 Worldwide Partner Conference. While the entire conference was inspiring, informative, and a huge success, read on for their top 5 highlights from the event.

1. Making a Positive Impact

Hearing CEO Satya Nadella's Vision Keynote on Day 1 of WPC15, talk about "impact" and "making a difference" energized us. We are delighted to see that Microsoft shares our deepest core belief at Mi-Corporation that mobile information positively impacts the world.

"Together with our partners we are transforming the business world for the next era." - Satya Nadella

 

2. Upgrade Your World

At WPC there was a lot of buzz around the upcoming Windows 10 release, including the launch of Microsoft's #UpgradeYourWorld global charity campaign.

When Windows 10 officially rolls out on Wednesday, July 29, Microsoft will also launch the Upgrade Your World campaign, where they will partner with 10 global and 100 local nonprofits to help them support their missions and promote awareness of their causes.

Additionally, Microsoft will also start a crowdsource-based nomination process for 10 more nonprofit groups each in 10 countries. Mi-Corporation is proud to support this campaign through our own charitable work with local nonprofits such as the Ronald McDonald House of Durham, Sharefish, Healing Place of Wake County, and Communities in Schools of Wake County.

 

3. Windows 10

Mi-Corporation's own Gautham Pandiyan gave a fantastic speech during the Windows 10 session.

Gautham highlighted the business case for Mobile Solutions for agencies, with the example of NC Department of Agriculture, who saved ~$220,000 in taxpayer dollars and turned a 4-week process into a 1-day process to provide better citizen service with a tablet solution and mobile forms. He also discussed what we find most appealing about Windows 10 as a leading Mobile Solutions provider:

  • Universal apps -- design once and deploy to all types of devices from tablets to smartphones and more
  • Enhanced handwriting entry support -- for that natural inking and workflow of field inspectors on clipboards

 

4. Simplicity + Innovation

Microsoft is simplifying their marketing message from Azure to Windows 10 to Office--and we dig it. Not only is their new messaging more simplistic, but it is interlaced with the promise of innovative technologies such as HoloLens, Windows 10 Universal Apps, and Cortana Analytics.

 

5. Unprecedented Networking Opportunities

WPC 2015 was a fantastic opportunity to meet key Microsoft executives and sales representatives from around the globe. As the 2015 Public Sector: Government Partner of the Year, it is essential for us to work with Microsoft to understand how we can make a difference to their business, and how they can make a difference to ours.

 

We look forward to continuing to make a transformative impact for organizations with mobile solutions and to upgrade our world with all of you!

 

Using Mi-Forms for Email: Eating Our Own Dog Food

dog food

dog food

At Mi-Corporation, as at many companies, email is one of our main modes of communication aside from meetings and phone calls. Very often these days, I find myself emailing the key members of my team from my phone, using voice dictation. I happen to use Google's speech recognition technology via a Samsung Galaxy S4. As user interface designers, we are very aware of the number of steps any given function takes, such as with sending an email.

For example, sending an email to a team member from my phone requires:

1.  opening the Android email app

2.  tapping the compose icon

3.  positioning the cursor in the To: field

4.  entering a few characters of an email address (possibly as few as one or two)

5.  selecting the email address from the list of auto-completed choices

6.  dictating the body of the email

7.  tapping the send icon.

To test our Mi-Forms mobile data capture software on phones, we have designed a Mi-Forms form to perform this function.  It performs this function in fewer steps than the Android email app.

Steps include:

1.  Opening the Mi-Forms app

2.  Selecting recipients by tapping checkbox choices (for me, key members of my team)

3.  Dictating the body of the email

4.  tapping the send icon.

Mi-Forms Chrome screenshot

The Mi-Forms client software uploads the data to the Mi-Forms Server, where emails to the selected members of the team are formatted and sent.   Smartphones certainly provide other ways to quickly dictate emails, but our Mi-Forms solution gives us another way to eat our own dog food.

Eat Your Own Dog Food Definition | Investopedia

 

A colloquialism that describes a company using its own products or services for its internal operations. The . . .

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/eatyourowndogfood.asp

Amusement Park Companies Use Mi-Forms for Safety Checklists & Inspections

kings dominion

Last Friday, I took my family to Kings Dominion in Virginia.  Kings Dominion is an amusement park with many thrilling rides including the “tallest, fastest roller coaster on the East Coast.”  After riding the Intimidator 305, I am not going to argue with them.  It reaches speeds of 90 mph and has an 85 degree drop from 305 feet.  Another coaster – the Volcano – accelerates riders to 75 mph before they ‘erupt’ upside-down from the volcano.

Kings Dominion is owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company.  Cedar Fair is doing really well financially – they reported adjusted EBITDA of $391 million for 2012, and they expect over $400 million of adjusted EBITDA in 2013.

Imagine the liability concerns of amusement park owners with rides like these.  Some injuries do happen despite the best efforts of park owners—Amusementsafety.org is a website that reports the safety incidents for most major amusement parks.  While state laws and legal defense teams protect amusement park owners, safety is the number one concern.

Amusement Park Companies like Cedar Fair and Palace Entertainment have Daily Safety Checklists to keep track of the inspections and maintenance checks performed on all park equipment to maintain the parks’ high standards of safety.  At Palace Entertainment, key personnel are alerted by e-mail if inspections have not been completed by a specific time each day.  This allows the corporate office and park management to respond immediately and avoid any safety issues that might arise due to inadequate inspections or maintenance procedures.

Electronic reports also track all guest safety incidents and provide the guest, park, and employees with digital records to facilitate insurance and legal paperwork.  Guest information, including electronic signatures, can be captured digitally using Mi-Co’s Mi-Forms, providing an effective record of any incident while relieving the parks and corporate offices of the expense of managing paper documents.

The Mi-Forms System from Mi-Co can provide amusement park companies like Cedar Fair and Palace Entertainment the following benefits:

  • Daily Safety Checklists and email alerts to designated personnel
  • Mobile electronic signature capture and capture of details to document guest incidents and safety and maintenance procedures
  • Robust and secure storage and retrieval of data like park name, park response, date, and time
  • Full audit trail support to maintain the integrity of maintenance and signed incident records
  • Electronic records to reduce storage space, processing time, and time to data availability

The Mi-Forms System works to provide amusement park companies with real-time notices and electronic records so that they can make quick, safe, and cost-effective corporate decisions.  Secure audit-trailed records allow park operators to effectively deal with incident reports and potential liability issues. This ensures that all park customers at all locations stay safe and receive the best service and support from the park staff and corporate offices.

**Disclaimer – Gregory Clary is not an investor in Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, but he is seriously considering it.**