The Future of IoT and Mobile: What’s Coming in 2017

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As 2016 crawls to a close, we look back on a tumultuous and historic year, and look forward trying to determine what the future holds. In any given year, much changes. Our politics change, our businesses change and our lives take new paths. While anything can happen (the Cubs won the World Series!), at least one thing is certain – technology marches on. The Internet of Things – or IoT – has been a hot-button tech topic for some time. But after years of development and refinement, IoT has made huge inroads and looks likely to make game-changing breakthroughs in the years to come, and mobile technology will be crucial to its development. As 2017 approaches, we look into our crystal ball to see what the future holds for IoT and mobile.

Mobile Will be on the Front Lines of the IoT Revolution

IoT is exploding. Every day, more data about more things are coming online, allowing us to make critical decisions in real time to drive efficiency and improve the customer experience – and that’s just scratching the surface of the potential of IoT. As more and more industries and enterprises roll out IoT programs, mobile devices and technology will take greater roles in enabling these programs. Mobile devices, already in the hands of just about every American, will help ease the transition into IoT frameworks, as end-users are already familiar with mobile-based software platforms. Soon, those that aren’t utilizing mobile for IoT will find themselves at a major disadvantage, as their access will be limited to times when they are sitting in front of a desktop. Mobile phones aren’t simply a hub for incoming data – they’re the joysticks (to use an antiquated term) and the main point of access to the world of IoT.

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Major industries like healthcare, transportation and home automation are already utilizing IoT, putting intelligence and communication into machines and processes to make them more efficient and productive. For many of those programs and applications, mobile devices serve as the human-interface terminals. From nurse practitioners collecting health data to dispatchers directing trucking operations, mobile devices are being deployed on a wide scale to execute, manage and control IoT functionality.

The Demand for Rugged Will Continue to Rise

Many IoT platforms will rely on mobile devices, and applications in environments not hospitable to typical electronic devices are driving the demand for rugged devices to previously unseen levels. When the success of a business depends on uninterrupted functionality – especially in harsh, wet or dirty settings – rugged mobile devices are imperative. Devices like Kyocera DuraForce PRO will become commonplace in the market, especially for enterprise users. And because a majority of workers still use their personal devices at work, consumer demand will also grow for devices that balance the ability to work and play. Manufactures will work to develop more and more devices that meet IP68 and military standards for water, dust and temperature-proofing. IoT programs can be rolled out in a variety of atmospheres, from construction sites to kitchens, but they’re only as reliable as the hardware capturing and controlling the data. Rugged technology must keep pace with the expanding implementation of IoT into the workplace.

Mobile Functionality Will Evolve

 

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High-quality cameras with special post-processing, coupled with sensors that provide position information, accelerometer data and movement direction, are nice value-add features for today’s smartphones, but before long, they will become necessary functions for business applications of IoT. The future of business – and the driving force behind IoT – is data. Increasingly, data includes images and video, as well as analytics and other monitored conditions. Successful monitoring of an oil rig, for instance, requires both traditional data (output, electricity usage, etc.) and visual data, like a live feed of a well, or images of damage. Real-time imaging – including 3D imaging – is an extremely useful benefit for a variety of businesses and will create new efficiencies that will help businesses run effectively. In some cases, users may need to use their existing rugged handsets to execute these specialized IoT functions. Device manufacturers will need to integrate rugged cameras capable of capturing and transmitting images from nearly any environment at any time.

PTT, once primarily the domain of construction workers, will become more widespread, especially with PTT available over LTE networks, making it more immediate and reliable. For most businesses – especially those in the health and safety industries – real-time, mission-critical data transmitted through imaging or voice communication with PTT can be a true game-changer, as it will allow business to react to changes or emergencies in real-time. Mobile-device manufacturers must offer these features to meet the needs of businesses and individuals who rely on IoT.

Look a little further into the future, and mobile devices may take new forms. Contemporary smartphones are limited in screen size. There’s only so much wiggle room for larger screens with devices built to be handheld. For some IoT applications, screens may not be needed. Future mobile devices will solve this riddle with detachable screens, portable screens – and even bendable screens.

Networks Will Evolve Too

As mobile broadband moves to its next iteration – 5G – it will allow for larger data transfers at increased speeds, including streaming video. This means no more “buffering,” no more dropped calls and more reliable communication in general. Device functionality will keep pace with advanced networks, offering more ruggedization, security and bells and whistles – including multiple cameras and additional sensors which will be capable of capturing and sharing a significant amount of information in real time.

And it’s not just the network. While most IoT data is routed through the cloud, it’s not the only option for transferring IoT information. Peer-to-peer (P2P) communication between devices bypasses the network and cloud, sharing information via Bluetooth and WiFi mesh networks, to help make device connectivity ubiquitous. Carefully architected P2P networks offer stronger security and privacy, lower latency and advanced scalability.

Mobile Will Develop in Concert with IoT

 

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As IoT becomes more ingrained into everyday business and life, mobile manufactures and IoT software developers will work together to create solutions that push IoT to new boundaries. In order for IoT’s benefits to be fully realized, raw data must be aggregated and parsed over time. Mobile will allow for the easy flow of this data by acting as a conduit, as well as offering analytics functionality. IoT data lives in the cloud. Mobile can both upload and download this data anywhere, anytime, enabling users to make real-time business decisions.

Marshall McLuhan, a father of modern communication, once famously said that the “medium is the message.” When it comes to IoT, smartphones will become the data hub or the data generation end points. One needs the other to work. If IoT devices – like sensors and thermostats – are a bicycle, mobile devices are a 12-cylinder engine. While individual IoT devices may have low data output, the sum of hundreds of devices will feed reams of data through cyberspace, clogging data capacity. Better, stronger and faster mobile devices will be needed as the hubs to perform intermediated analytics and to help with the capacity crunch. And as IoT grows, with millions and even billions of machines connecting to each other, mobile will evolve in its capacity to offer solutions to different challenges in the future.

The Future is Connected

IoT has arrived, but the technology is in its infancy. In the coming years, it will grow, change, adapt and improve – and it will do so quickly. IoT will have a greater impact on the way we work, live and process information than virtually any technology since the advent of the smartphone. It is only appropriate that the smartphone is intrinsically tied to the progression of IoT. Mobile technology and IoT will grow together in the coming years, each developing its technology to benefit the other.

Kyocera’s rugged devices are at the vanguard of the IoT revolution. With advanced connectivity, PTT and P2P capabilities, and enhanced security, as well as the cool features that consumers want and love – like multiple cameras, fingerprint authentication and protection against water, dust, drops and hazardous conditions – Kyocera delivers next-generation mobile devices. We are constantly innovating affordable, dependable and rugged mobile solutions that move the needle towards a more connected future.

Dr. Muzibul Khan joined Kyocera Communications, Inc. in 2013. He is responsible for Corporate and Technology Planning functions, charting the evolution of the business plan and technology portfolio for KCI, which finished 2013 as the fourth-ranked cell-phone manufacturer in the U.S. market. Before joining Kyocera, Dr. Khan served in senior leadership roles in the global telecommunications industry, including Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Huawei Devices USA, head of Research & Development for Nokia CDMA terminals, Vice President of Product Management & Engineering for the wireless terminals division of Samsung Telecommunications America, and Technical Manager for Systems Engineering, Standards & Regulatory Compliance at Lucent Technologies.

From Vegas to the Mainstream: Our Expectations for CES 2017

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December can be a busy and stressful month, whether preparing for the holidays or for next month’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Both events are fueled by an intoxicating level of excitement, with one being the perfect opportunity to gift this year’s “must-have” technology gadgets, and the other a launching pad for what are sure to be 2017’s hottest consumer technology trends.

In just a few weeks, CES will kick off in Las Vegas (January 5-8) with a dizzying array of innovative new products and technologies. While many products from 2016 are expected to return with great fanfare, consumers can expect tangible and newsworthy advances in the categories of wearables, drones and virtual reality, as well as more affordable and user-friendly options. The major theme across CES 2017 will likely be the evolution and refinement of consumer technologies that are more palatable to and attainable by the mainstream public.

No matter what your technology sweet-spot is, CES 2017 will be the perfect place to get your fix. Here are a few of the anticipated trends that will pique our interest at CES 2017:

  • Rugged’s Star Will Continue to Rise: According to analyst firm VDC, 96% of people who try ruggedizes smartphones say they will never go back to anything different. The demand for ultra-rugged mobile devices continues to explode because, when the success of a business depends on uninterrupted functionality, rugged mobile devices are imperative. Kyocera has become the leader in rugged mobile solutions, especially among devices with IP68 and military-standard certifications for water-, dust- and temperature-proofing and more. You can expect to see more rugged devices showcased during CES.
  • AR and VR Get Real: During 2016, augmented and virtual reality got real for the mainstream consumer. Securing more than 20 million active users in its first two weeks of release, Pokemon Go bridged the gap between concept and usability for augmented reality – exposing a new landscape for businesses to connect with potential buyers and establish greater levels of brand affinity. CES attendees can expect to see new VR headsets and smarter more visually stunning televisions, many of which will be equipped with AR and VR capabilities, as well as some surprises in the realm of AR applications.
  • Robotics Take Flight:Piggybacking on last year’s success, advances in drones and robotics are certain to soar to new heights at CES 2017. This next generation will likely feature more compact solutions with extended battery lives and flight times, as well as integration with external devices as remote controls. For example, Cleo will debut a pocket-sized drone described as “the first selfie drone,” which resembles a donut or UFO in shape and is equipped with HD video-recording capabilities. The Cleo will take panoramas and selfies or record full 360-degree videos, and will be controlled exclusively by a downloadable smartphone app. While Cleo plans to announce the cost of its pocket drone at CES, the price-point is expected to be quite affordable and its usability high, priming it for success with beginners who don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on their first drones.
  • Wearables/IoT for Every Lifestyle: The wearables market has been heavily dominated by fitness and healthcare, but this year companies will be broadening their focuses to include wearables for pets and everyday items, such as luggage. Link AKC will debut a smart dog collar that guarantees to be both fashionable and functional. The collar is a smart device that comfortably fits a dog’s neck with an accompanying smartphone app that helps pet owners stay connected with their dogs via GPS and location monitoring. It will also offer features to better manage a dog’s wellbeing via activity tracking, temperature notifications, and vet reminders. Another cool device bordering the wearable category will be available for travelers to help them find lost luggage. Bibelib has created a suitcase cover with an integrated tracking system that allows people to pinpoint and identify luggage in case of theft.
  • Connected Vehicles That Drive Us: Our CES trends hit list would not be complete without mentioning what’s anticipated in the world of connected vehicles. Cars of the future are certain to be a driving force at CES, with self-driving car tech companies Delphi and Mobileye having already announced plans to debut a platform called the Central Sensing Localization and Planning (CSLP) system, which promises to advance autonomous motoring. In addition, Faraday Future’s recent tweets have hinted toward the unveiling of a new driverless car at CES 2017.

While big news in the world of smartphones is not anticipated at CES (many mobile manufacturers will postpone their big splashes for the more targeted Mobile World Congress trade show in February), we at Kyocera will be at CES meeting with our partners, customers, reporters and industry analysts. CES provides us the opportunity to keep a strong pulse on the upcoming trends, particularly those affecting mobile users and the devices upon which they rely.

We hope to see you at CES for what is certain to be another fantastic showcase of what’s to come in the new year – be it in the palm of your hand, on the road, in the sky, or wherever our imaginations can take us.

John Chier is director of corporate communications at Kyocera. He has worked on the Kyocera team shaping its communications strategy over the past 15 years – 13 of those years in-house and two with a Kyocera agency partner. John has always had a passion for writing and began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Whittier Daily News, part of a multi-paper syndicate in Los Angeles. When not working, he and his wife can usually be found coaching, shuttling, refereeing or cheering for his three sons and their numerous plays, concerts and sports teams. 

KYOCERA AND INTREPID NETWORKS SUPPORT SECURITY OPERATIONS DURING THE 41st MARINE CORPS MARATHON

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Security has become critically important at large-scale events, like marathons, throughout the U.S., especially since the tragic events at the Boston Marathon in 2013. Mobile security solutions have become key in providing law enforcement and first responders with real-time situational awareness and communication tools that are vital for enabling quick, coordinated responses to emergencies.

For the 41st Annual Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, VA, which was held on October 30th, Kyocera and our partner Intrepid Networks, which develops situational-awareness software for the Public Safety sector, provided the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) with dozens of ultra-rugged, military-grade Kyocera smartphones loaded with Intrepid Networks’ STING® mobile solution working with the STING® Tactical Suite. The Marine Corps Marathon is the 4th largest marathon in the U.S. with 30,000 runners and thousands of spectators stretched in and around many national assets. Security was of utmost importance and required an integrated approach with multiple agencies using the best combination of hardware and software to support the operation.

With our rugged Kyocera smartphone using Intrepid Networks’ STING 9.0 software and running on Verizon Wireless’s 4G network, the on-the-ground security and law-enforcement teams at the Marine Corps Marathon were able to create a live, common operating picture for all responders to view on their devices, and enabled them to share data including maps, GPS and photos, as well as text-to-voice and voice-to-notes functionality. This ultimately allowed them to simplify communication, better connect responders with each other, and speed up potential response times.

Kyocera’s devices, which are certified to Military Standard 810G and “HAZLOC” (hazardous location) Class I Division 2, combined with STING’s latest situational-awareness software, created a great demonstration of the performance of our ruggedized devices operating in dynamic and sometimes hazardous environments, and working seamlessly with a leading public-safety software solution. Kyocera makes devices ideal for first responders, military and workers who need a smartphone that can stand up to challenging environments and its elements, including shock, vibration, extreme temperatures, blowing rain, dust, low pressure, solar radiation, salt, fog and humidity.

We were proud to have participated in the Marine Corps Marathon where Kyocera’s military-grade hardware and Intrepid Networks’ powerful software helped protect the safety and security of tens of thousands of runners, spectators and first responders. We look forward to continued collaboration with Intrepid Networks and law-enforcement agencies on similar projects in the future. For more information on Intrepid Networks, visit its website.

John is director of corporate communications at Kyocera. He has worked on the Kyocera team shaping its communications strategy over the past 15 years – 13 of those years in-house and two with a Kyocera agency partner. John has always had a passion for writing and began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Whittier Daily News, part of a multi-paper syndicate in Los Angeles. When not working, he and his wife can usually be found coaching, shuttling, refereeing or cheering for his three sons and their numerous plays, concerts and sports teams.

Video Blog: Kyocera, TangoTango Team Up to Enhance Productivity for Jackson County Sheriff’s Department

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Public safety workers, particularly law-enforcement officers, face some of the harshest and most demanding environments and situations in the workforce today. It’s for this very reason that Kyocera has made the public safety sector a priority in our product-development efforts. Mobile technology, particularly rugged devices with cutting-edge software applications, can be the difference in saving a life or responding to an emergency more efficiently.

One of Kyocera’s software partners, TangoTango, is an expert in integrating private Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks with nationwide LTE cellular Push-To-Talk (PTT) service from wireless service providers. Together, Kyocera and TangoTango recently worked with Jackson County, Alabama’s Sheriff’s Department to overcome challenges with its LMR systems, including cost of deployments and expansions along with coverage in mountainous terrain.

To mitigate this problem, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department augmented its existing LMR network with a PTT-based solution from Kyocera and TangoTango. With TangoTango software, the Department was able to integrate Kyocera’s ruggedized DuraForce PRO smartphones with PTT from AT&T into the existing radio network. This combination ensures the police department can always stay connected and radio for help in case of an emergency, and has been proven to be a very cost-effective alternative. The DuraForce PRO also delivers 12-hour battery life, high-quality audio and the ability to withstand inclement weather, making it the perfect rugged device for the department.

Watch the video below to see and hear more about how the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department benefited from its collaboration with Kyocera and TangoTango.

John Chier is director of corporate communications at Kyocera. He has worked on the Kyocera team shaping its communications strategy over the past 15 years – 13 of those years in-house and two with a Kyocera agency partner. John has always had a passion for writing and began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Whittier Daily News, part of a multi-paper syndicate in Los Angeles. When not working, he and his wife can usually be found coaching, shuttling, refereeing or cheering for his three sons and their numerous plays, concerts and sports teams. 

 

Kyocera and AT&T Lend Military Families a Helping Hand This Holiday Season

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The holidays can be a particularly stressful time for military families, especially during extended separations where active-duty personnel aren’t able to spend as much time with their spouses or children. To ease this burden, Kyocera and AT&T have partnered to provide some military families with Kyocera’s rugged smartphones, along with affordable nationwide LTE service plans, with the goal of helping military families stay in touch at times when it matters most.

With AT&T’s Military Program, qualifying members receive a 15% discount on their wireless service along with a limited-time offer of up to $650 in credits toward a new phone. Combined with Kyocera’s durable smartphones, it is a great match for military workers who need devices that are rugged and can withstand harsh environments. The new DuraForce PRO, for instance, includes the following specifications to enable quality communication and reduce risk for our military families:

  • Military-grade protection: Meets IP68 Certification and Military Standard 810G Certification against shock, water, vibration, falls, extreme temperatures, dust, and humidity
  • Waterproof: The rugged device can handle being submerged in up to 6.5 feet of water for 30 minutes
  • High-quality photo and video capabilities: Features three cameras, including a 1080P HD action camera, as well as a 135-degree wide-angle field of view for excellent motion-capture
  • Programmable push-to-talk communications capabilities
  • A two-year warranty

In addition, AT&T and Kyocera have been working with two military wives who have been blogging about their experience with the DuraForce PRO on AT&T. Krystel from ArmyWife101.com and Jo from Jo, My Gosh both know firsthand the importance of being able to communicate with loved ones while they are away over the holidays. They have both been using the Kyocera DuraForce Pro with AT&T’s nationwide LTE service and are each giving away a device to one of their lucky readers this month. To learn more about these giveaways, visit ARMYWIFE101 or JO, MY GOSH.

Please join in the conversation about AT&T and Kyocera using the Twitter hashtag #DuraForce4MyMilitaryFamily and tagging @kyoceramobile.

John is director of corporate communications at Kyocera. He has worked on the Kyocera team shaping its communications strategy over the past 15 years – 13 of those years in-house and two with a Kyocera agency partner. John has always had a passion for writing and began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Whittier Daily News, part of a multi-paper syndicate in Los Angeles. When not working, he and his wife can usually be found coaching, shuttling, refereeing or cheering for his three sons and their numerous plays, concerts and sports teams.