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Anyone know what this means?

(21 Posts)
absent Sat 14-Sep-13 19:53:26

I was listening to a spokesman from Microsoft talking about the company's plans to create "smart" office buildings. Apparently what you have to do is "leverage the data". What the hell does that mean?

vampirequeen Sat 14-Sep-13 20:26:20

I have no idea. Is it even English?

Ana Sat 14-Sep-13 20:34:09

American English.

Galen Sat 14-Sep-13 20:48:20


FlicketyB Sat 14-Sep-13 21:10:52

leverage is a weasel word for loans. Do you remember all those banks talking about increasing leverage when what they meant was increase their debts?

Possibly it means they need to 'borrow the data', which is another euphemism. I think it means that they want access to all the information everybody else has so that everybody can access it.

Nice idea in principle but would a company want to make all its data available and wouldn't some of the data the smart building required by personal data and data about when you go in and out of the building, move around inside it, monitor emails, telephone calls even trips to the loo.

On other words they want to rip away all our privacy and turn us into servants of the building and Microsoft. No thank you.

Granny23 Sat 14-Sep-13 21:57:48

Anyone know what this means (from the box that my new keyboard came in) - High Membrane Key Switc, Eight color-contol button, The audience for a special color Flexible button easily identify and comfortable anomaly confused

Galen Sat 14-Sep-13 22:19:03

Even more confused

gracesmum Sat 14-Sep-13 22:52:11

Sounds like Klingon to me and makes my incomprehensible gaggia instructions look like child's play.

dustyangel Sun 15-Sep-13 12:22:04

Only Klingon children.

Wheniwasyourage Sun 15-Sep-13 18:15:21

Granny23, this is what comes out when the original Chinese instructions are translated into English, not directly, but via Swedish, Swahili and Sanskrit and then sent to America for spelling revision. Pretty standard computer-related stuff, I would say. Does it work?

Granny23 Sun 15-Sep-13 19:00:14

WIWYA Yes, the keyboard works. It seems to be more or less identical to my old one. However the box (No instruction booklet enclosed) does say that there is a special button to take you straight to e.mail and then these mysterious color buttons. No sign of these on the keyboard itself. confused

NfkDumpling Sun 15-Sep-13 21:38:00

I just googled the expression and it's really confusing!

janeainsworth Sun 15-Sep-13 22:23:37

I've just been listening to In Business on Radio 4 and, as a result, may be able to shed some light on the OP.

"Smart" appears to relate to Bluetooth and devices talking to each other, for example, you can access the thermostat in your house via your smartphone, and put the central heating back on when you're on your way home from your holiday, rather than coming in to a cold house and waiting a couple of hours for it to warm up. (the Ainsworths already do this).

In the programme, someone who is developing smart systems went round an office, asking people what their problems were and seeing how they could use smart technology to solve them. One man's problem was that he never knew when the sandwich trolley was coming, sometimes missed it and therefore sometimes went without his lunch.
The solution was for the computer to track the progress of the sandwich trolley(gathering data), and when the trolley was approaching his floor, send him a text message to inform him that the trolley was on its way.

The programme then interviewed a young woman who was helping a farmer with his cows. The computer monitored the cows for things like whether they were lying down, when they had eaten, whether they were scratching themselves etc and could identify abnormal behaviour patterns. The farmer found this useful as it could alert him to early signs of mastitis, or if oestrus was imminent (ie, when the cows were ready to copulate).

So I imagine 'leveraging the data' means harnessing it to put to some useful purpose.

Hope that helps, and no I have not made it all upgrin

glammanana Sun 15-Sep-13 23:47:29

Well at least the guy will get his lunch then so everyone will be happy.grin after reading your post jane I must confess that I now make some sense out of the "leverage of data"

absent Mon 16-Sep-13 02:39:55

I know what Microsoft planned to do in offices and I guessed the man was talking about using available information to switch on the air conditioning, switch off the lights and so on. That still does not explain what leveraging the data actually means.

janeainsworth Mon 16-Sep-13 08:10:47

Here's an article on today's BBC website about how smart technology is helping a Norwegian woman with Alzheimer's stay in her own home. I think it's really exciting.

If you scroll right down there's an inset article where the term 'leveraging the technology' is used.
"Cities should concentrate their "smart" thinking on how they can leverage existing technology to address immediate problems, to address health and social issues."
Leveraging in this context appears to be a new word for 'use'.

Why use an old, simple word when a new, complicated one will do? wink

absent Mon 16-Sep-13 08:19:43

Yes janeainsworth, that, I think is the nub. grin

Aka Mon 16-Sep-13 08:41:45

I'm not bothered by the language but I'm very excited by the technology and the possibilities mentioned in the article (thank you Jane).
What strikes a discordant note, for example, is those who think asking a dementia patient to carry a GPS aid is 'inhuman'.

Aka Mon 16-Sep-13 08:43:14


feetlebaum Mon 16-Sep-13 08:56:49

Do we say 'leverage' or 'levverage' (as though somehow to do with baby hares)?

Leverage is the force exerted by the use of a lever, isn't it?

janeainsworth Mon 16-Sep-13 09:07:03

'Levverage' Feetle, if you want to be really up-to-the-minute and not be misunderstood grin

Aka Perhaps the critics don't realise that anyone with a smartphone is wearing a GPS! However, I do agree that consent is a problem - but then it is with anything for dementia patients, from having new dentures to a hip replacement. The answer is a power of attorney which applies to healthcare so that carers can give valid consent.