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.

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.

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.

Visual Labs Turns Kyocera Brigadier into Body-Worn Camera for Law Enforcement Agencies

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In 2013, a survey conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) found that approximately 75 percent of the police departments polled did not use body-worn cameras. Since that time, there have been a number of high-profile incidents of deadly police response in Ferguson, Baltimore and elsewhere, prompting law-enforcement agencies nationwide to reconsider deploying police-worn body cameras to both increase transparency and rebuild public trust. As part of the Obama Administration’s Community Policing Initiative, a $75 million investment is now being made to purchase 50,000 body-worn cameras for local law-enforcement agencies to foster greater levels of trust between police officers and the communities they protect and serve.

Visual Labs, working closely with Kyocera, is blazing the trail within the growing public-safety market. Born out of Stanford University and based in Menlo Park, CA, Visual Labs has developed powerful technology that turns smartphones into body-worn computers, arming law enforcement agencies—and others—with a cost-effective solution that can help keep officers safe, enable situation awareness, and provide video evidence in the case of complaint, investigation or trial.

The Visual Labs system is an end-to-end solution for public-safety agencies, delivering body-worn camera functionality (using the embedded camera of a body-mounted smartphone or a remote camera attached via USB cable), real-time positional awareness (leveraging GPS, cellular signals and Wi-Fi hotspots to monitor the location of personnel), video record and playback (which is searchable by virtually any distinguishing detail such as time, date, person, event, or even location), geo-fencing capabilities (enabling dispatchers and other personnel to monitor resources based on user-defined areas), and a remote-activation feature, which all could be used to enhance officer safety.

Another key feature that differentiates the Visual Labs solution is the ability to provide real-time video feeds via cellular networks, which offers critical situational awareness and support to law-enforcement supervisors working to coordinate timely and effective responses, such as in the case of an active-shooter or hostage situation. And because the solution is cloud-based, the capacity to securely store all videos, audio and photos is infinitely scalable.

A Single-Device Solution that Replaces Multiple Pieces of Equipment

Whereas most body-camera offerings are camera-only devices with proprietary infrastructures, Visual Labs has harnessed the power of the smartphone and its video functionality, transforming it into a body-worn computer without the need for officers to connect to any additional hardware. Plus, with a single device, an agency is able to obtain the functionality of a body-worn camera, a stand-alone digital camera, a personnel-location device (replacing in-car AVL units) and a fully functioning smartphone. Consequently, the total cost of the Visual Labs solution can be far less than that of competitive offerings, all with a single device.

The Kyocera Brigadier is a popular device among Visual Labs’ clients, providing an extremely high level of durability, longevity and connectivity, and can operate reliably under varied situations and environments. The Brigadier’s distinguishing features include:

  • Rugged Design – the Brigadier’s inherently rugged design (IP68 and Military Standard 810G certifications) lends itself to the challenges and terrain that officers must navigate while in the field. The device is shock-, dust- and impact-resistant, as well as waterproof, with the ability to survive water immersion up to 6 feet deep for up to 30 minutes.
  • Multiple Programmable Buttons – the Brigadier’s large, programmable buttons allow agencies to pre-configure one-touch video record functionality. Additionally, officers in the field can tag important video moments with the touch of a button.
  • Connectivity – Kyocera offers rugged devices on all the major U.S. carrier networks, meaning there’s a solution available to every agency, no matter the network it chooses to use. The Brigadier is an affordable, off-the-shelf solution sold at Verizon and can typically be purchased for less than $100 on contract. As a result, the hardware acquisition cost for the Brigadier with the Visual Labs solution is much lower than that of other body-camera offerings.
  • Battery Life – With a battery life of more than 14 hours under normal usage, the Brigadier easily lasts an entire shift without the need for an external battery pack, making it an attractive hardware device for law-enforcement agencies, for which longevity and reliability are critical.

While privacy rights are central to the debate surrounding police-worn body cameras, the technology is proving helpful in protecting the delicate relationships between law enforcement and communities. The San Diego Police Department, which has studied the effects of its body-cam deployments, recently found that the technology has led to fewer complaints by residents and less use of force by officers, with complaints falling 40.5 percent and the use of “personal body force” by officers reduced by 46.5 percent. These findings are indicative of the potential advantages resulting from police-worn body cameras, which are certain to trigger long-term public-safety benefits across communities nationwide.

To learn more about how Visual Labs is utilizing the Kyocera Brigadier and body-worn computers to lend transparency into police interactions and improve community relations, visit its web site or contact team@visuallabsinc.com. For more information about the Kyocera Brigadier, go to our web site or follow us on Twitter at @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.

How To Use Rugged Devices To Drive Mobility for Transportation and Logistics

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Globalization is fueling greater supply chain complexities for transportation and logistics industries, at a time when consumers and businesses are demanding access to real-time transit information. Fortunately, mobile technologies, cellular and Push to Talk (PTT) are helping transform the business of moving people and products, enabling transporters and shippers to improve customer service, cut costs and increase both productivity and visibility across the supply chain.

In 2013, research conducted by Intermec (now part of Honeywell Scanning & Mobility) revealed that transport and logistics companies could save nearly half a million dollars per year as a result of process re-engineering and the implementation of mobile technology across workflows. In this same study, 60 percent of managers indicated that broadband mobile communications such as 4G and LTE represented the single biggest future driver of ROI. In an earlier study, Intermec also found that most of the global organizations surveyed believed that arming their mobile workforce with new technology could reduce both pick-up times (by 30 percent) and delivery times (by 29 percent), savings that could ultimately translate to boosting operational efficiencies and meeting customer demands.

It is no secret that transportation and logistics industries have long benefitted from the use of mobile technologies. Two-way radios, bar code scanners and mobile computers have historically been utilized to manage virtually every operation across the supply chain from manufacture to delivery. Today, thanks to advances in rugged mobile devices, mobile applications and PTT services delivered over broadband, organizations can benefit from a unified, purpose-built communications solution that can keep transportation and logistics businesses moving forward in the 21st century and beyond.

Below is a snapshot of the operational efficiencies and customer benefits that rugged mobile devices, broadband and PTT can deliver across transportation and logistics organizations:

  • Real-Time Visibility Into Supply Chain – the ability to know where people and products are at all times has become as critical to customer satisfaction levels as it is to supply chain management. Using rugged devices that feature GPS location mapping and built-in cameras for bar code scanning applications, shippers can track virtually any asset from the points of manufacturer, sales, distribution and delivery. This level of insight can help managers streamline operations across the supply chain for improved delivery times, and provide real-time asset visibility, shipment updates and status notifications to customers.
  • Reliable Communications With the Broadest PTT Coverage – feature phones, smartphones and tablets are being used to facilitate voice, text and email communications between dispatchers and drivers, distribution centers and dockworkers, and maintenance and repair workers. Using mobile devices with enhanced Push to Talk (ePTT) capabilities, these workers can facilitate instant and targeted one-touch communications about deliveries, change requests and other time-sensitive events. Secure, over-the-top PTT over cellular also provides organizations with greater range in device choices and broader coverage over public and private Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks.
  • Hands-free, Voice Communications – for any organization managing a commercial fleet of vehicles, eliminating driver distraction is now a matter of regulatory compliance. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) finalized a rule prohibiting interstate truck and bus drivers from using handheld cell phones while operating their vehicles in an effort to combat incidents as a result of driver distraction. Commercial truck and business companies that allow their drivers to use handhelds while driving can face up to $11,000 in fines. Dash-mounted rugged phablets and hands-free accessories enable truck drivers to initiate and participate in one-touch walkie-talkie style communications using ePTT services, ensuring risk-free and compliance voice communications while on the road.
  • Maintain One Durable, Multi-Use Device – rugged devices and PTT over cellular (POC) enables workers who had to carry multiple devices (at a minimum: one tablet and one two-way radio) to now maintain one device for voice, data and PTT. This unification not only reduces hardware and maintenance costs for transporters and shippers, but it also increases the productivity of mobile workers. For example, long-haul truck drivers must keep an electronic record of Hours of Service (HOS) to ensure compliance, plan their itineraries and account for routing updates from dispatchers. In addition, they must be able to initiate or participate in PTT communications while en route. These activities can all be consolidated via the use of a dash-mounted tablet with hands-free accessories. And considering that many long-haul drivers may travel up to 100,000 miles per year over various road conditions, rugged devices provide the most durable device option designed to withstand the thousands of hours of exposure to vibrations, shocks and weather extremes.

Transportation and logistics industries are challenged with the duality of regulatory requirements and tighter profit margins. Further complicating the competitive landscape is increasingly high customer expectations, with a desire to know where products are at any given time and with a never-ending desire to obtain goods faster and cheaper. Rugged devices are built with the processing power and feature set to support best-of-breed applications that are critical to the mobile worker’s job, and with the long-term durability required to withstand occupational and worksite hazards.

Kyocera offers a wide range of rugged mobile devices, including feature phones, smartphones and phablets, all of which include the following features:

  • Dust proof and impact resistant to maintain optimal performance and operational integrity;
  • Water proof with the ability to survive in up to 6 feet of water immersion for up to 30 minutes;
  • Highly-durable, scratch resistant Sapphire Shield display that protects against incidents and the elements;
  • Continuous productivity with Glove and Wet Touchscreen Operation;
  • Meets IP68 and Military Standard 810G rating for dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, high altitude, solar radiation, humidity and water emersion; and
  • Off-the-shelf support for enhanced PTT services to facilitate one-touch walkie-talkie style communications.

In the world of transportation and logistics, dependable communication for the mobile worker is paramount. From fleet management and delivery services to field maintenance, these workers demand devices that are built to withstand life on the road, at sea, in the air or by rail. Kyocera offers the industry’s most innovative line of rugged devices to accommodate virtually every type of transportation and logistics worker.