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A Swedish vehicle tester, whose technology identified discrepancies which kick-started the Volkswagen AG diesel engine scandal, is beginning to see US president Donald Trump as a plump cash cow.

While it’s generally not a good thing for the country or the planet as a whole when the American president isn’t pro-environment, any decision by the new head of state to repeal fuel-consumption regulations means that automakers can begin selling highly inefficient models for much longer than was previously anticipated. This, in turn, will lead to an increase in emissions testing technologies, as there will be a more polluting vehicle fleet over the next 10 years than anticipated.

Testing_the_Tesla_at_Argonne_National_Laboratory

flickr/argonne

Trump has vowed to reinstate a review of vehicle emissions and fuel economy, spending another year scrutinising rules that require companies to cut gasoline consumption, and bring MPG up to more than 50 miles to the gallon by 2025. This is intended to undermine the Obama administration’s assertions that the standards and their deadline are both effective and affordable. If this emphasis on fuel efficiency were to carry on, it would be great news for the EV sector, but not so much for efficient part manufacturers such as Borla.

While announcing his intentions to a crowd of factory workers in Michigan, president Trump sent a message to the CEOs of major automakers including General Motors, Chrysler, Fiat and Ford that they needed to give a trade-off by creating more American jobs and manufacturing plants. He blamed Obama’s efforts to preserve fuel economy standards on supposed colossal damage to the US auto industry.

Inspection company Opus provides emission testing in the States, including remote-sensing services, measuring large numbers of privately owned vehicles as they drive over public roads. In late 2014, roughly a year before Volkswagen’s emissions-cheating scandal made the news, Opus and a group of scientists carried out work which discovered readings for Volkswagen and Audi vehicles with two-litre diesel engines were significantly lighter than they were supposed to be.

As one of the biggest companies of its kind in the United States, Opus sees the nation as one of its most integral markets. The business has a market share in more than 40% of the government-contracted emission-testing industry there, and handles nearly 25million separate inspections every year. One of the Swedish firm’s biggest competitors is Japan’s Horiba Ltd., which produces testing equipment that was instrumental in blowing the lid off the Volkswagen scandal.

Donald Trump’s aforementioned pledge means that demand in America will at least stay the same, rather than decline, which would have been a risk for these testing firms if Obama’s efficiency standards had gone ahead. While it’s unclear exactly what Trump has in store for the auto industry, it’s more or less certain that emission testing isn’t the biggest of his concerns. Ostensibly, the president is much more concerned with improving the market position of the American auto industry, and loosening environmental requirements. This is guaranteed to lead to higher pollution and emissions in the country, and eventually demand for pollution-reduction programs.

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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Heading Back to Work After Lockdown

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As we’ve battled the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us have been working from home, or even not working. You may have spent months living this new normal, but as the world starts to reopen, many of us are heading back to the workplace for the first time. 

This is bound to be strange. We get used to things and adapt quickly, and while working from home, or working far less, might have been strange to start with, by now you are bound to have adapted, and you might even be enjoying yourself. Many of us have found that we work more productively from home and that despite its challenges, it can be a system that works well. 

You may also be worried about getting back out into the real world. You might be concerned that infection rates are still high and wondering what your workplace may be doing to keep you safe. If you own or manage your business, you may have a large list of things that you need to do to protect everyone else. You are bound to be anxious, so let’s look at some tips to help.

Make Sure You’ve Got Everything You Need

If you own a business, it may need some upgrades to cope in the new world. You might want to check your equipment and make improvements such as installing a vaccine fridge if you work in healthcare. You should also focus on things to keep your employees safe, such as sanitizer, masks, moving desks, and changing schedules to reduce bodies in the workplace at any time. 

If you are an employee, your responsibilities are less, but you may still want to buy a mask and some hand sanitizer, just in case. Then, make sure you still have uniform and any other supplies that you may need to do your job. 

Check Your Route to Work

Your route to work may have changed due to the pandemic. Public transport services have changed and may be limited numbers. You may also need to wear a mask. Check what is available and, if possible, travel away from peak times to reduce risks. 

Get Back into Your Routine

If you’ve been working from home, you may still have been working set hours, but your routine is bound to have changed significantly without commutes or even having to get dressed for work. Getting back into a routine following such a long break can be hard. 

So, start now. Set your alarm early, get some early nights, and make things easy for yourself by planning outfits and packing bags the night before. 

Consider More Flexible Working for the Future

If working from home has been working well for you, or for your employees, why not carry on? There are many benefits to remote working. It can save you money, reduce stress, and improve productivity and loyalty. If you are an employee, speak with your manager about a more permanent work from home set up, even if it’s only part-time.

Going back to work is bound to feel a little strange, so don’t worry about any anxiety that you may be feeling. You’ll get used to it in no time.

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8 Smart Ways To Level Up Your Photography Business

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If you have a photography business, building it right now might seem like an impossible task. However, there are ways to go about this in 2020 – people are still booking photography services for their small, intimate weddings and other special occasions. Here, you’ll find 8 smart ways to level up your photography business so you can start taking the steps to grow now. 

1. Offer Creative Discounts To Past Clients

Start by figuring out a few creative discounts you could potentially offer to your past clients. Think of a new product you haven’t offered in the past and offer that, or come up with a discount that could tempt them to book in with you again. 

People who have worked with you once are more likely to work with you again, and may even want to take advantage of images they didn’t get from you before.
Alternatively, or as another aside, you can simply aim to keep in touch with them and improve your engagement. Sending Christmas cards, for example, is a great way to let them know that you are thinking about them and are wishing them the best. It also helps to keep you in the forefront of their minds and gives them a warm and fuzzy feeling when they think about you

2. Try Something New 

Now is a great time to try something new. For example, why not offer online courses and workshops? Try a new technique for taking your pictures, even! You could try a drone from DrDrone.ca and take pictures from an entirely new perspective. Figure out ways you can branch out, share your expertise, or build on what you already have. There are likely lots of things you can do. 

3. Find Ways To Strengthen Your Client Relationships

Feature your client sessions on social media and talk about why you loved working with them. This will help you to build those connections even more and let them know that you loved working with them! Other people will also get an idea of how fun your sessions are and will be far more tempted to book. 

4. Put A Bigger Focus On Your Service

Your product might be up to par, but what about your service? Make sure your customer service and communication could not be better. People want an amazing overall experience with you, not just a great product. If you’re hard to work with, they won’t want to work with you again or recommend you. 

5. Aim To Get More Traffic Through Your Website

See if you can get more traffic through your website using things like Facebook ads, and paid advertising on Google, like adwords. Work on your knowledge of SEO and improve your marketing expertise, but remember for real results you may need to hire a professional company. Make sure you focus on local customers, too. Local customers may be your best chance of getting people into your studio or in front of your lens. 

6. Create An Email Sign Up

Create an email sign up and work on converting enquiries into customers. Getting people’s emails addresses is only half the battle. You then need to create content that they are going to want to open. 

7. Get Organised

You need to have an effective way of following up when somebody enquires about your service. When you are organised, you will increase your booking rate. Consistency is absolutely key when you want better results. 

8. Work On Getting Recommendations

One of the most powerful ways of boosting your business is getting recommendations from other clients. Many people deem this safer than doing the research themselves from scratch. 

A recommendation will save them time and they have the security of knowing that somebody they know and trust used your service and was satisfied with it. Don’t just assume that past clients will recommend you – actively ask them to do it. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Give them a short satisfaction survey and make sure they know how valuable feedback from them is to your small business. You do need to be very clear about what you would like from clients sometimes. A small incentive doesn’t go amiss, either! 

Now you have 8 smart ways to level up your photography business. Which of these things are you going to try? Leave any of your own thoughts and advice for leveling up your photography business during this strange time below. Come back soon.

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6 Tips for the Ideal Desk Set Up to Unlock Your Potential

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Today’s ideal desk setup is a little different from the one that professionals a few years ago were used to. It is still possible to see office desks with huge amounts of tangled cables on and around it. These are often the ones that have been converted into more modern solutions, but they were not initially ready to welcome the number of devices and tech items we need to make our job more fruitful. 

Make Space for Your Phone, Laptop, and Tablet

Ensure that there is space on your desk for a laptop, keyboard, phone, and tablet. Even if we all try to stay off technological devices as much as possible, we rely on them for several activities. 

Positioning them so they are easily reachable and in order could be essential to speed up most processes. 

Using stands and holders can also help you keep all of your incoming notifications under control without interrupting your workflow to check your phone. This is an essential part of the best desk setups in modern offices.

Keep the Cables in Order

Keeping the cables in order on your desk is one of the biggest challenges for most office professionals. However, since you will always be using the same plugs and tables, you could opt to implement easy-to-use clips and cable ties to keep all the cords in place and out of your way.

Don’t Be Ashamed to Stick to the Good Old Pen & Paper.

While most of your tasks will be completed thanks to computer software, there is nothing better than a simple pen and paper to note down important information or to-do lists. Having post-it notes around you can help you be more efficient and less forgetful. 

For a complete kit, you could use recycled paper and a vintage, old-school pen that can enhance your desk’s look. No matter what innovation you introduce in your company to get out of your startup shell, a pen and paper will always be there!

Opt for a Versatile Standing Desk

Using a standing desk has been seen as beneficial under many viewpoints. Indeed, this habit can help you find a more in-depth focus, more motivation, and cut our distractions. All this while limiting the strain on your back and neck.

At the same time, standing for long hours can be not as beneficial for your legs, especially if you suffer from knee problems. In this case, finding a versatile solution that allows you to sit when you need it and stand when you need to be more productive can be optimal. 

Clean and Sanitize the Area Often

While offices have started to reopen, the risk of contagion has not significantly decreased. Therefore, limiting the number of items and decorations on your desk can help you keep your area clean and tidy. Of course, this can also make the process of sanitizing surfaces much more straightforward. 

Have a Plant Nearby!

Having a plant in a room can be extremely beneficial. Adding one on your desk has been seen as capable of encouraging creativity, lowering stress levels, improving air quality, and stabilizing mood. All this while making your workplace more stylish and attractive.

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