Posts Tagged ‘Software’

Prisons Are Using Sophisticated Software To Predict How Parolees Will Behave After Release

April 18th, 2014

Big data can help states decide whom to release from prison

IN MONTY PYTHON’S “Life of Brian”, the Jerusalem crowd picks wrongdoers for Pontius Pilate to release according to whether their names begin with “r”, since they find it amusing that the Roman governor cannot pronounce that letter. (“Welease Woger!”). Two thousand years later, America aims to select prisoners for parole by more rational criteria, such as “Are they likely to re-offend?”

It turns out, however, that granting parole wisely is hard. Parole boards may be biased, perhaps without realising it. In general, they tend to overestimate the likelihood that a prisoner will re-offend, says Lance Lowry of AFSCME Texas Correctional Employees, a warders’ union. Many fear that if they free a thug who then commits an atrocity, their reputation will be ruined.

This makes them err on the side of severity. In Ohio, for example, a paroled murderer was arrested last year for allegedly murdering a 13 year old girl. (He later died in custody.) The parole board took a beating in the press. Being granted parole in Ohio is now only slightly more likely than winning the lotto, says Barry Wilford, a local lawyer. Among applicants given hearings, in some months less than 1% are released. (In neighbouring West Virginia the average is 48%.)

Help may be at hand, in the form of “risk-assessment” software, which crunches data to estimate the likelihood a prisoner will re-offend. Such software tends to increase the proportion of applicants who are granted parole while also reducing the proportion who re-offend. Two such programmes, LSI-R and LS/CMI, appear to reduce parolee recidivism by about 15%. Developed by Multi-Health Systems, a Canadian firm, they were used to assess 775,000 parole applications in America in 2012. Four-fifths of parole boards now use similar technology, says Joan Petersilia of Stanford University.

The data that matter include the prisoner’s age at first arrest, his education, the nature of his crime, his behaviour in prison, his friends’ criminal records, the results of psychometric tests and even the sobriety of his mother while he was in the womb. The software estimates the probability that an inmate will relapse by comparing his profile with many others. The American version of LS/CMI, for example, holds data on 135,000 (and counting) parolees.

It is better to be guided by software than one’s gut, says Olivia Craven, head of the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole. Donna Sytek of the New Hampshire Parole Board agrees. Unaided, parole board members rely too much on their personal experiences and make inconsistent decisions, she says.

Software can be used to help make better decisions not only about whom to release, but also about how to manage parolees on the outside. South Carolina uses a programme called COMPAS, developed by Northpointe Inc, an American firm, to help with rehabilitation. It tells officials which factors are likely to be “feeding into” a person’s criminal behaviour, says Shaunita Grase, the official in charge of making it work. If COMPAS concludes that a parole applicant’s delinquency was fuelled more by lack of education than, say, household strife, it might make sense to let him live at home as long as he attends evening classes. If his education is irrelevant, limited resources might be better spent on, say, anger-management training.

In some cases, software may actually reduce crime. ORAS, a programme designed for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, flags the low-risk criminals whose likelihood of reoffending actually increases the longer they are locked up alongside violent criminals. So says Jennifer Lux, an ORAS designer at the University of Cincinnati’s Centre for Criminal Justice Research.

Some officials dislike all this new technology, notes Mr Lowry. Some resent having their gut feelings overruled. Others are sorry that software makes it harder to disguise political favours, such as respecting the wish of a state senator to see the man who burgled his house denied parole.

However, it meets a need. America’s prisons are overcrowded–with less than a 20th of the world’s population, it locks up nearly a quarter of prisoners–and ruinously expensive. If software helps cut the cost of incarceration without endangering the public, states will surely use it.


‘Pharmalive’ new software application for pharmacies, distributors unveiled

April 18th, 2014

‘Pharmalive’ a software application meant for pharmacies, drug distributors and pharmaceutical sales executives is unveiled in Hyderabad. This new application is mainly focused at easing the procedure of supply of medicines from distributor to the pharmacy outlets.

The new application which is launched by Sreeya Infotech software solutions in Hyderabad is designed to simplify the tedious task of checking inventory at pharma stores and drug distributor stocks for essential drugs and based on the information, the application enables the pharma store keeper or the drug distributor to put the order immediately and avail the required medical stocks in just few minutes of time.

According to Sreedhar, managing director, Sreeya Infotech Software Solutions, the new application is mainly designed to speed up the supply of medicinal drugs from drug distributors to the pharmacy outlets, which otherwise usually takes at least 2-3 days of time for the shopkeeper to find the exhaust stocks and put the orders for the purchase of the medicines with a sales executive and get confirmation from the distributors. Similarly at the distributor side, it is very tedious task to keep the regular account of a particular pharmacy and its orders. Keeping all this into view, Sreeya Infotech has designed the new and innovative solution called Pharmalive, using which traders can ease the procedures of distribution and supply of medicines.

This unique solution enables the pharmacy, the sales executive and the drug distributor to check their inventory for availability of required medicines within just few minutes and put the order for the purchase instantly. Similarly, the distributor who uses this application will also instantly know whether a particular medicine stock is available or not and immediately sends and SMS to that particular pharmacy about the availability and confirms the transaction immediately.

“Using this Pharmalive application, a sales executive who has a tablet PC with Pharmalive application can not only instantly put an order by checking the stocks with the retail outlet, but can also update the photograph of the owner of retailer and even take digital signature for confirmation. Based on the order, the distributor too can instantly send a sms to the retailer and confirm the order,” says the managing director while explaining about the Pharmalive application.

Using this new Pharmalive application, the pharmacy outlets not only saves time, but also keeps their inventory information updated regularly. “We generally take at least two hours of time every day checking out the availability of our medical stocks. With this application, we will save lot of time and it also speeds up the supply of medicines from distributors to retailers, with instant online orders,” opined a pharmacist at Balaji Medical shop at Santoshnagar in Hyderabad.


All the major software vendors are doing EMM now. Who will the winners and losers be?

April 18th, 2014

Over the last year, we’ve seen many of the largest software vendors move into enterprise mobility management, so naturally we’re all wondering how this will all shake out. Will EMM be an add-on product, with each solution pinned to the success of the larger software company that it’s part of? Or will just a few top players emerge? And if so, who will they be? Could one of them be Microsoft?

Saying “Everybody’s doing EMM” brings a feeling of deja vu, reminding us of a few years ago when dozens of vendors rushed to stand up fledgling mobile device management products. But things are different now. For the most part, the major vendors are putting out whole enterprise mobility management suites that go way beyond basic MDM to include mobile app management, file syncing, other client apps like email, browsers, and app catalogues, and more.

Who is this “Everybody” that’s doing EMM? There’s VMware/AirWatch. Citrix. SAP. Oracle. IBM. Microsoft. Symantec. Dell. CA. There are the few major independents left, MobileIron and Good. There are a handle full of other lower-profile EMM vendors. And then there are dozens or hundreds of vendors that have have one or two pieces of the EMM puzzle.
Who will the winners and losers be?

There are plenty of observers who are still predicting more EMM consolidation. But for right now, I think it’s fair to say that the time for major acquisitions has passed. It’s just that so many EMM vendors and larger software companies have been paired together already that there aren’t many players left in the pool with which we can play matchmaker.

For now one of the things that we should consider is that many customers are buying modern EMM for the very first time. Customers have immediate pain points like compliance and the need to do something (or really anything at all) about the flood of iOS and Android. At the same time, many of them might not have the most clear picture of how they want to use EMM (beyond just the basics) and what they want to for their future mobility strategy.

On the vendor side, consider that—like I said before— there are so many options, and that at least superficially many of them look quite similar. Instead, the big differentiator is the the larger software vendor that surrounds each offering.

Taking all these points in consideration, it’s likely that for this first EMM buying cycle the marketplace could be pretty random. Sure, there will be some bigger vendors and some smaller ones, but with so many options that look similar, customers can always just get whatever’s convenient or whatever EMM licenses are thrown in as parts of larger deals.
The next buying cycle

Things could change a lot more when companies are buying EMM for the second time, but of course that’s a few years off. Right now figures vary, but the majority of companies haven’t bought into EMM yet. In a few years when that turns around and a lot more companies have started to do something about their users’ iOS and Android devices, there will be a lot clearer picture of what differentiates a good EMM solution. Then once they start making EMM investments for the second time we’ll see a clearer picture of the competition and the one or two or three vendors definitively rise to the top.

Since this is a few years off, it also means that vendors have that time to get their act together. Think about Microsoft, for example. Right now the combo of Intune and SCCM still has some gaps as an EMM solution, so it isn’t on the radar for many customers yet. But if Microsoft can get it right in the next two years then they could be in the perfect position for the next round of EMM buying.

So what will define the top solutions in a few years? Here I’m just guessing, so feel free to add your thoughts in the comments. Will it be some sort of new killer EMM feature? Is it going beyond MDM and MAM and file syncing to something like identity management? Will it be business apps and app transformation? Or will it just be the software vendors that have the most effective distribution and marketing channels?


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