GDPR – Getting in line

Vigiles Group are integrity driven with analysis underpinning all we do.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has Global ramifications. Officially in force from 25th May 2018 – the clock is ticking.

There are software solutions on the market supporting the audit and compliance of GDPR, however many of the GDPR’s main concepts and principles are much the same as those in the current Data Protection Act (DPA), so if you are complying properly with the current law then most of your approach to compliance will remain valid under the GDPR and can be the starting point to build from. There are new elements and significant enhancements, so you will have to do some things for the first time and some things differently.

Take a look at this handy infographic and check list, we hope this offers support.

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Loneliness Awareness Week

This week is Loneliness Awareness Week. Mental Health issues are a topic which are close to our hearts at Vigiles. Loneliness is not just something that effects the elderly. Feeling lonely is natural at times, we have all experienced it. It is when this loneliness becomes an issue effecting your day to day life that it becomes a problem.

Teenagers moving out to University for this first time are vulnerable with a startling 70% feeling lonely and isolated at university. A dramatic change in personal circumstances by moving to a new city, living with others your same age, along with exam pressure can test the strongest of wills. Vigiles recently compiled a blog about dealing with fresher loneliness which can be read here

30 somethings have very busy working lives and many do not have time to socialise. There is an increasing number of single 30’s who are living on their own. Society has changed dramatically and amongst their peers being single and independent is not a problem. The pressure comes from parents who feel at that age, their siblings should be married and settled down in suburbia with the 2 kids and Volvo on the drive. This related article is an interesting read.

Men are not great at talking about health issues, be it physical or mental. There is evidence from a recent article that suggests that three million men in Briton feel lonely on a daily basis.

Feeling lonely can lead to a variety of health issues, such as:

  • Depression
  • Alcohol and drug taking
  • Suicide
  • Increased stress levels
  • Decreased memory capacity
  • Anti-social behaviour

Amongst the elderly loneliness is a big issue. Contact with family, friends and neighbours can decrease. Over half of over 75’s live alone. Two fifths say the television is their main company. As loneliness can have an effect on your health, being elderly increases the health risks.

 

To highlight these issues, Vigiles have teamed up with The Marmalade Trust. Marmalade Trust was founded by Amy Perrin (a qualified Occupational Therapist) in 2013.

Having worked as a health professional and volunteered for over 20 years, she was aware of how tough social isolation and loneliness can be.

In 2013, 3 of the older people she volunteered with, told Amy they were going to be spending Christmas day alone.  She attempted to find them somewhere to go, and became aware of the great shortage of Christmas day events running in Bristol, so decided to take them out herself. Word spread and the rest is history.

On Tuesday 13th June – there will be an exclusive screening premiere of ‘Lorna’. Lorna is a look through the window of social isolation, and how changes within our society and technology are increasingly fuelling it. It is a film that delivers a resonating message about loneliness and brings the issue into the light. Lorna, written and directed by filmmaker Lee Skelly, is based on a true story and Lee will be there on the night to take part in a Q&A session.

You can book tickets from https://marmaladetrust.org/tickets. Vigiles will be there and it would be great to see as many people as possible attend and support this event.

Loneliness, social isolation and mental health will not go away. By being part of Loneliness Awareness Week, Vigiles and Marmalade Trust want to highlight and educate everyone about these current social issues.

How to deal with the pressure of exam season

It happens every year without fail. It has done so for years. So long in fact, that you wonder if there was a time when it did not exist. I am not talking about the return of X-Factor but exams.

The actual word can send shivers down your spine and bring you out in a cold sweat. There are going to be times when you cannot sleep. There will be times when you have a mental block.

The mind is a wonderful and complex thing. Your brain is the star performer in your body. It controls everything you do. When exams come around the brain is working with one major element. Memory. When you learn something new, the hippocampus are of your brain is activated. Naturally, the more you learn, the more information is stored in your brain. Revision is the trigger that should get the hippocampus to retrieve that information.

Ever forgotten something you learnt about a day ago? That is because too much information is being stored and the brain is over worked. So how can you overcome this?

Making the most of revision time

Revision is obviously key to a student’s exam success. Here are some tips on how to deal with all that revision.

  • Take regular breaks – pretty obvious but walking away from revision when you feel “bogged down” and then returning later means the brain has time to refresh. I have walked away from this article a few times with writers block.
  • Avoid distractions – Lots of people like to have background music on. However, even if this at a low volume the brain is being distracted by the music. How many times are you typing something on the laptop and type a lyric or part of a conversation you are having with someone?
  • Sleep – Possibly the best thing to do. When you sleep, your brain is still working, it is storing all those newly learnt things into long term memories. It is rather like your laptop or PC having an automatic update. Sleep also refreshes you physically.
  • Emotions – Certain emotions take up more of the brains functions, anxiety and stress work the brain harder due to the areas of the brain these emotions come from. Having a clear head and a “happy place” to revise will help enormously. Your happy place could be anywhere, have a look at this article for some inspiration.
  • Exercise – not everyone’s cup of tea but if you tie this in with having a regular break, a 40-minute walk around the local park will take your mind off the revision and give the brain something else to take in rather than complex physics theory.
  • Eat and drink – Your mind and body benefit from food, having a healthy breakfast and then not eating until midnight is not going to help. Beer and wine will not help. I consider being of healthy mind and body critical for any person. How dreadful is a hangover or over indulgence in food? You feel terrible physically and mentally. So, with that in mind I want to concentrate on how you can stay in top top condition for anything those exams will throw at you.

Sound of mind and body

Students forget that our brains are mainly made of water. Not coffee, Not beer. Not energy drinks. Straight up water is the key component of brains – vital for energy, concentration, creativity, memory and logic. So always aim to drink a glass of water first thing in the morning, and then another before lunch and you’ll be nicely hydrated. Any time you feel the need to grab an energy drink, have a glass of water first, and then see how you feel.

Our brains also need fats. Good fats. Like the ones in nuts, seeds, eggs, avocado, oily fish. Those kinds of fats give your brain the tools it needs to really do the work. They also help keep your mental health in tip top shape.

Students need antioxidants to help their bodies deal with stress of student life. So, whenever possible, add some green leaves to a sarnie, or a piece of fruit for pudding, or some extra fresh veggies alongside your evening meal to keep you topped up.

If eating well is just way beyond your lifestyle, just aim for a good breakfast. Most breakfasts are a blood sugar overdose, which sets you up for a rollercoaster day. Add fats and protein to breakfast – such as a handful of nuts on your cereal, or homous or nut butter on your toast, or even go for a cooked breakfast, and you’ll at least get the day off to a great start. Yes. A cooked breakfast. Done correctly without the grease and fat a cooked breakfast is very healthy. This is my favourite cooked breakfast:

Giant mushroom on a bed of spinach. Layer the mushroom with bacon (minus the fat) and tomatoes. Add a fried egg (cooked with a healthy oil). This will keep you going until lunchtime without the temptation of picking at those unhealthy snacks.

A huge thank you to Claire Stone from Claire Stone Nutrition for her valuable input and healthy eating and drinking suggestions. Visit www.claire-stone.com for more valuable insights.

Exams are a pressure cooker for students but if you follow the above tips and keep the mind mentally healthy you cannot go far wrong. Good luck with those exams, you will smash them.

How to deal with “fresher” loneliness at University

Moving out of home for the first time can be terribly daunting. Back when I moved out I had to call home to find out how to boil an egg. I was that green around the gills. These days there is YouTube to help show you the answer to that question. And there lies a possible problem.

The world we live in today is so “immediate”. If you want something or need to find an answer how many times have you heard someone say, “Google it”. The chances are we all have access to a smartphone or laptop. We are so engrossed in the online world we can detach ourselves from the real one. I am not saying technology is a bad thing either, in so many ways it has helped our lives enormously and will continue to do so. It is just at times the outside world to a teenager is a far-off reality.

What can happen is that when you move out you forget about how much those “two annoying people downstairs” helped you grow up and become the amazing person you are today. Once out in the big bad world you do realise how much you need your parents so they will come back into the fold. You will have a different and positive view of them, even if you did get on with them before moving out, that positivity will increase.

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Moving out can be lonely. Especially for students. Moving to another city where everything is different will immediately put you out of your comfort zone. Add onto that the pressure of meeting new people and having to live with a bunch of people your own age, all with different views and opinions. You must fend for yourself with regards to money, shopping, cooking, socialising and so on. Then throw into the mix the coursework and exam pressure. You must grow up pretty quickly.

Some people thrive at University, others find it a challenge. The assumption is that everyone at University will succeed, get good results and a good job. But what if this doesn’t work out? What if you cannot afford to live on a weekly basis? How do you juggle studying and a part time job? What if you do not fit in? What if you already have health and mental health issues? Where do you turn?

You have in effect wiped the slate clean when you head to University, it is a brand new start and can be a daunting challenge as this article explains. I do not want to fill this article with the doom and gloom statistics of people dropping out, anxiety issues, mental health issues, depression, drink and drug related incidents.

I want to concentrate on the positives and where to turn to.

 

If we go straight back to the start of this article there is that number one pillar of support. Your parents. They do not want to see you struggle or fail. Communication is key to everything. Your parents should understand you more than anyone else. Even if they didn’t “seem to care” when you lived at home. That is just a teenager’s thoughts. Believe me, parents care about their siblings more than anything in the world

I did say technology is not a bad thing also. One word here. Skype. You can call and text but nothing beats seeing a loved one, be it in the flesh or on a laptop screen.

On the other hand, what if your relationship with your parents is not very good? There are your current friends to fall back on, most people have one friend who they are so close to they could be a brother or sister. There are also those new faces and new friends. They will also be adjusting to this new life. Just because they do not openly say anything about how they may be struggling, asking a few simple questions can open people up.

And if all this is not working, where do you go then?

Universities recognise that students will go through various feelings when at university. They will have student support advisors, mental health advisors. Even if they do not offer a service you feel relates to you the Student Union will have advisors. Your GP will also be able to help, do not feel like you are wasting their time. Anxiety, depression, body image, bullying to name a few are real issues that are taken seriously today. There is support out there and this is a great article to keep to hand.

The journey of University life is exciting, embrace it fully, enjoy every second. Before you know it, you will be out there in full time employment. Maybe a parent one day. This brings a new set of challenges and experiences. But that is a story for another day!

How do I engage children with fire safety?

I asked my children the other day, do you have any fire safety days or lessons at school? Does the local fire station send round a representative? The answer was yes and no. Both said they had the annual fireworks night safety talk at school by the teachers but nothing else.

I then asked myself, how much do I engage with my children about fire safety? Again, the answer was yes and no. When they were little the fire guard was around the open fire, they knew not to play with matches, they knew that when the toast was burnt the alarm went off and why it went off.

As they grow older we assume that they will become self-aware of the dangers of fire. It is a subject we do not dwell on too much as we do not want to make our children overly afraid so we need to engage and educate to take away this fear.

Leading by example

Would your child know not to touch a hot door if the house was on fire? Would they know to get as low to the ground as possible if they encounter a smoke-filled room? Do they know the meaning of stop, drop, roll?

We pack our children off to school and are safe in the knowledge that they will get the best education possible. But if they are not aware of fire safety, who is there to engage with them? YOU!

As a parent we are our children’s role models, they look to us for answers and guidance. Take crossing the road for example. How many times do we drum it into them about where is safe to cross? Always wait for the green man at traffic light crossings. Always look left and right even if the green man is lit up. Crossing the road is dangerous for children and so is fire. We just assume it won’t happen to us. After all, when was the last time a house in your street caught fire? But then again, when was the last time someone in your street got run over?

The statistics you should read

In 2015/16 the Fire Service attended 528,700 incidents of which 162,000 were fire related accounting for 303 deaths.

A startling figure is that 73,600 were thought to be deliberate!! Of the 162,000 fire related incidents 73,400 were classed as primary fires (affecting people and property), of which 54,000 were accidental. Of the 303 deaths, 246 were from accidental causes of fire of which 191 deaths were due to accidental fires in dwellings.

Whilst the number of deaths is low, 7,644 people were non-fatal causalities of which 3,299 required hospital treatment. This outlines the fact that fire related incidents do cause harm to people and engagement and education could reduce the number of people having to be taken to hospital. For full details of the Home Office Fire Statistics report please read here

How to engage

It goes without saying that we all have a responsibility to ourselves and our children to be fire safety aware. Think about one aspect of fire safety and teach your children this. Obviously, we do not want to scare our children but drip feeding knowledge to them is a good option. For younger children, you could make it a fun “game” by using flip cards. There are plenty on the internet

What about role play? Children love to copy their parent’s actions. Try a practice run of what to do if the smoke alarm goes off in the night.

For older children when they are doing their homework ask them to search on line about a particular subject of fire safety. After all what child doesn’t like having the freedom to surf the internet? Search online for open days and events at your local fire station.

Make fire safety education different, by getting your children to engage with you will make it sink in and could stop them becoming one of the annual statistics

Disruptive technology, what is it and what about the future?

Disruptive technology is an innovation that displaces current technology, shaking up the market place and industry. The technology once tried and tested then becomes a main stream technology. Can you think of anything over the past 30 years that has disrupted technology? Let us look at a few examples:

The Personal Computer

This changed our working environment completely replacing those office based typing pools and making it possible to work from home. The laptop means that the number of home workers is estimated to be around 300 million across the globe. The UK has by all accounts 4.2 million according to this article from 2015.

Email

Invented back in 1972 and commercially viable from the 1990’s our main way of communicating has replaced letter-writing and disrupted the postal and greeting card industries. The email does have many advantages in being an instant form of communication, although sometimes you do wish the inbox wasn’t so full.

Mobile phones

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The introduction of the mobile phone made it possible for people to call us from anywhere and disrupted the telecoms industry. The mobile phone has since been disrupted by the smartphone which also changed our habits with GPS, calculators, music, cameras and videos. Those that mocked those large mobile phones of the early 1980’s surely own a smartphone now. They have become an extension of our person and we never leave home without it. There are an estimated 2.7 billion smartphones in the world, used by a third of the population. If you like statistics this article is great.

Cloud computing

This has been a hugely disruptive technology in the business world, displacing many systems located in-house or provided as a traditionally hosted service. A must for the home worker. Email, Accountancy packages, photo storage, file sharing are some of the examples of cloud based computing

Social networking

There isn’t much we do not know about social networking, it has had a significant impact on the way we communicate. It has disrupted telephone, email, instant messaging and event planning. On a personal level who doesn’t have a Facebook account?

These technologies have changed the way we see and interact with the world. We expect things to be instant, but as our lives are busier, meaning time is limited, this can only be a good thing depending on your perspective

What does 2017 hold in store?

As the world of technology is becoming even more inventive, fast-paced environment there will be further ground breaking innovations that will shake up the world we live in.

Implants

Believe it or not some 30-50,000 people worldwide have under the skin implants. These implants work via RFID (radio frequency identification) and can be used to store all kinds of data, from personal ID to bitcoins. Have a look at this article for more information.

Robots as Co-workers

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It may seem like science fiction, but robots are starting to be employed for an increasing range of job roles well beyond the production line.

With advanced robotics increasing, we will the see the rise of sobots. There are social robots who can read emotions and talk which are being used as digital assistants.

Increase of 3D printing

From a novelty to everyday use in manufacturing. This is a logical step considering the investment and the potential worth of this technology. Big winners will be the construction industry who will be able to build in months what could have taken years.

Self-driving vehicles

This is already being tested and has proved to be a minor success with a few setbacks. How we as humans relate to this technology could be pivotal. The mindset of not being in control of the vehicle could be a major stumbling block. This video showcases this, so time will tell here

Virtual reality, Augmented reality and mixed reality

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Once a gamers only concept this technology is starting to prove its worth and can only bolster its reputation by moving into the commercial world. Investment in AR and VR has increased dramatically. Globally in 2015 $700 million was invested but one company alone spent $800 million in 2016. Retailers, the medical world and industry have started to embrace this tech with a new-found passion. This video really sums up this technology.

So, sit back and watch this space, 2017 should be an exciting year for technological advancement

 

What is Augmented Reality?

 

What is Augmented Reality?

If you have no idea what Augmented Reality is (AR), I will mention two words and it should register. Pokémon Go. Released in July 2016 the craze swept the globe like a fever. Children and adults were suddenly wandering about in groups all over place (and in one case straight off a cliff), gazing at their mobile phones trying to catch these pocket monsters.

The game works by using the mobile phone’s GPS for the real-world location and augmented reality to bring up those Pokémon on your screen, overlaid on top of what you see in front of you.

Picture 1 What is AR                 What is AR pic 2                 

           

Isn’t Augmented Reality the same as Virtual Reality?

Simply put no. I would say they are like cousins. Virtual Reality (VR) means computer-generated environments for you to interact with, and being immersed in. Augmented reality superimposes information on the world we see. So, AR adds to the reality you would ordinarily see rather than replacing it.

AR does not require a head mounted display like VR and provides more freedom for the user to choose the path they want to take.

 

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Is AR just about gaming?

There are now plenty of Augmented Reality games out there and you could be mistaken for thinking that it is only for gamers, teenagers and dare I say it, geeks. However, there is a whole new world of AR out there. Technology has advanced dramatically in the last few years. And some of it will and has been (pardon the pun) game changing.

Augmented Reality is creeping into a variety of different aspects of our life. Education, manufacturing, medical, fashion, automotive and retail have all taken AR on board. Let us look into some of these sectors to discover what AR has to offer.

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Education

AR can really bring the classroom to life. Our children are so tech savvie now with iPads, mobile phones and laptops that it puts those in our 30’s to shame. So combining learning and technology really is the best way to engage pupils. And keeping pupils engaged will mean better comprehension of a subject leading to better exam results. There isn’t a subject that cannot benefit from using AR. Have a browse of this article to see what we mean

 

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Industry

Using “smart glasses” many industries have picked up on the technology. In construction you can look at a build layout in three dimensions to make the job in hand easier. A factory worker can use AR instructions to complete their work. Employers can also utilise AR for training, design and safety. This is an excellent video on the subject.

Medicine

 

This really is where AR comes into its own. You can teach students about all aspects of medicine, surgery, diseases, anataomy. This video explains it perfectly. You can also teach and use AR within the surigcal world. Hospitals are going to start using this technology in a live environment in 2017. The technology for complicated surgery currently used via microscopeoculars will now use AR systems.

 

 

Retail

           

I will leave this down to the Swedish home furnishings company Ikea. They have an on-line AR catalogue which lets you add the furniture into your room before buying. AR catalogues are also being used by Lego, TopShop and Converse to name a few.

So, AR and VR are here to stay. It is all about embracing the future. Technology is making our lives easier, safer and far more interesting. After all, didn’t we all scoff at the size of those mobile phones from the 1980’s and thing it would never catch on…………………

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Vigiles Group

Making a positive impact through disruptive technology.

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