Category Archives: Mobility

5 Technology Trends Impacting State and Local Governments

Contributed by the Community Editorial Team at Comcast Business
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March 01, 2018

State and local governments stand at the cusp of a technology renaissance, as new offerings and services are available to help agencies serve their constituents faster, more effectively and more efficiently. Technologies that once were thought of as “bleeding edge” now are increasingly ubiquitous, enabling government agencies to become more customer-centric in myriad ways, from answering billing queries to proactively identifying when customer data is being targeted by cybercriminals.

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According to research firm Gartner, government CIOs expect to spend 28 percent of their 2018 budget on digital initiatives designed to increase the value of government to constituents.[1] Technologies such as analytics, automation, artificial intelligence and even autonomous vehicles all have the potential to enable governments to offer services and aid their citizens in ways that not only can improve the customer experience, but also save governments time, money and labor.

Imagine logging on to a government website and being “recognized” through facial recognition, then “telling” the site what you’re looking for in plain English and receiving the results instantly. Or imagine a self-driving maintenance truck that “sniffs out” and automatically fills potholes without human intervention.

On the surface, this may sound like the stuff of science fiction. But these scenarios are coming closer to being reality, as technologies such as artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles are moving closer to the mainstream. And their effect on state and local governments would be transformational in providing services and keeping citizens safe from physical and cyber perils.

TECHNOLOGIES TO WATCH

The scope of technologies that can impact government services—and, in turn, our lives—is far-reaching, from robots that clean parks to systems that can create personalized cybersecurity by observing and learning from users’ behaviors. Some technologies are still more bleeding-edge than leading-edge, while others have the potential to be in service—and of service—today.

Five technologies in particular—artificial intelligence and robotics, autonomous vehicles, digital government, automation, and efforts to increase cybersecurity—demonstrate value to state and local government initiatives.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND ROBOTICS

Of all the technologies that can reap the largest benefit for governments, artificial intelligence is perhaps the one most likely to have the biggest impact. In fact, a number of agencies already are using AI to handle tasks quickly that otherwise would take much longer for humans to do, such as sorting through massive amounts of paperwork to find relevant information.

Law enforcement agencies are looking at artificial intelligence as a weapon to help fight crime by improving video surveillance, spotting criminals in crowds through facial recognition, and even helping reduce the amount of time police officers spend writing reports.

Beyond artificial intelligence, robotics is becoming a way for agencies to spend less and do more. Consultancy firm Deloitte highlights the coming of process robotics, which it describes as “… computer-coded, rules-based software that uses ‘bots’ to automate repetitive, rules-based tasks otherwise performed by humans. Requiring minimal system integration, bots can be deployed in as little as a few weeks depending on the complexity of the process.”[2] Any high-volume, rules-based work can be performed by process robotics, which helps free employees to focus on more valuable customer-facing activities.

Bots are already being used by agencies to help improve customer service. Chatbots in particular are being used to answer questions via the web without the need for customer service agents—a technology especially useful for agencies that are understaffed and don’t have dedicated customer-facing employees.

Deloitte estimates that employing AI technology in the government space could free up as many as 1.2 billion working hours every year, saving $41.1 billion.[3]

AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

While much of the conversation around government and autonomous vehicles has focused on legislating such technology, governments can benefit from the use of autonomous vehicles in multiple ways. Another Deloitte study notes that, as end users, agencies not only can improve their government-operated fleets, but also further the concepts of shared mobility and “other new types of travel through their procurement decisions.”[4]

The federal government operates a fleet of more than 600,000 vehicles, including U.S. Postal Service trucks and General Services Administration vehicles leased to various agencies.[5] In 2016, USPS vehicles were involved in about 30,000 accidents nationwide, resulting in about $67 million in repair and legal costs.[6] As a result, the agency is considering autonomous vehicles for its fleet, not only to help improve safety but also to increase productivity of letter carriers, who could ready the mail for deliveries during transit.

At the state and local level, highway maintenance departments could dispatch autonomous trucks to repair road damage such as potholes or broken curbs, clean debris from roads following a collision or events such as a parade, or clear snow and ice from roadways during inclement weather. Public transportation can also be a potential target for autonomous vehicles to help municipalities save on labor costs while keeping their fleets moving.

While autonomous vehicles can have the ability to negatively impact state and local budgets—the amount of revenue generated by traffic tickets is certain to decrease due to anticipated safer driving by autonomous vehicles—governments potentially have more to gain than lose from the technology, including decreased labor costs, increased productivity and lower legal costs related to vehicle accidents.

DIGITAL GOVERNMENT

The term “digital government” is an umbrella term used to describe technologies such as mobile services, common online identities and crowdsourcing—all designed to streamline services and improve the end-user experience.

Mobility in particular is an area where governments at all levels can increase the quality of their services and the efficiency of their employees. Apps can be used to access information quickly and easily, enabling citizens to, for example, see in real time where tree-trimming crews are slowing traffic or virtually check in to the local DMV office to avoid waiting in line. Mobile apps also can help government employees working offsite and in the field. Building inspectors can get instant access to building plans, permit applications and more, for example. Parks and recreation department workers can see the location and working status of every water fountain connected to an internet of things (IoT) sensor. And transportation department employees can remotely change the status of digital signage to alert motorists of changing traffic conditions.

Back-office systems that facilitate common identities for constituents also can help improve the user experience, especially when dealing with multiple agencies. Much like users can log on to various websites by connecting with social media sites such as Facebook, government agencies can use common identity systems to help simplify the process of accessing various agency sites to accomplish tasks, such as checking on the status of a request filed with the zoning commission or filing a police report for a hit-and-run traffic accident.

Crowdsourcing, once the purview of sites that harness user opinions to make recommendations on restaurants, hotels and more, is now joining the government fray, as more agencies are depending on the “wisdom of the crowd” to help collect and disseminate information. The federal government has established a site, citizenscience.gov, to help agencies encourage public participation to accelerate innovation. It features federal citizen science efforts in climatology, ecology and disaster response, among others, to help “engage the American public in addressing societal needs and accelerating science, technology, and innovation,” according to the site. At the state and local level, crowdsourcing can be used by agencies to gather real-time traffic information, monitor power outages and collect other data important to citizens, providing facts to the minute and on the fly.

AUTOMATION

Consultancy firm KPMG pegs automation as “the next step in government’s digital transformation,”[7] and with good reason: Automation is perhaps the most useful technology in terms of impacting government services from both the agency and the constituent perspectives. In particular, process automation can free employees from mundane tasks such as filing paperwork to concentrate on more meaningful projects or tasks that require their full attention, such as addressing constituent issues.

Automation is one step below artificial intelligence on the technology ladder; however, interest in “intelligent automation” is growing as a way to further enhance productivity while improving accuracy. Chatbots are a simple example of intelligent automation, while IBM’s Watson with its cognitive analytics, which has the ability to learn and solve problems, offers a prime example of more complex intelligent automation.

Automation is not a new concept in government or other industries, for that matter. However, as advances in artificial intelligence and robotics continue, automation will take on a much more important role in helping governments run efficiently and providing more valuable citizen services.

EFFORTS TO INCREASE CYBER SECURITY

As more processes and constituent interactions occur digitally, governments must do more to protect sensitive and valuable data from cyber threats. No longer should agencies worry about whether their systems will be breached; rather, they should worry about when their systems will be breached.

Researchers estimate damages from cyber crime will amount to $6 trillion worldwide annually by 2021.[8] Included in that amount are damage and destruction of data, embezzlement, stolen money, restoration and deletion of hacked data and systems, lost productivity, theft of intellectual property, forensic investigation, theft of personal and financial data, fraud, post-attack disruption to the normal course of business, and reputational damage.

As cyber threats continue to surge, so does the demand for qualified cyber security talent. However, a recent study by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education predicts there will be a worldwide shortage of 1.8 million skilled security workers by 2022.[9] Agencies must look for new and innovative ways, then, to secure their data and keep their systems safe from breaches and malicious activity.

The cloud is emerging as one tool in the fight against cyber crime, as technologies such as cloud workload protection platforms show promise in keeping data protected no matter where data resides—on-premises, in virtual machines or in cloud environments. Deception technologies, which are designed to throw off a would-be attacker, also can help, as well as endpoint detection and response solutions and network traffic analysis capabilities.

Artificial intelligence shows the biggest promise in improving cyber security, and is the technology upon which many of the new security solutions are based. It is evident that artificial intelligence will serve as the backbone for many, if not most, of the technologies powering the next generation of government services.

HOW THE NETWORK MATTERS WITH NEW-GENERATION TECHNOLOGIES

State and local governments are quickly reaching the point where adoption of new technologies is inevitable. Indeed, the efficiency and effectiveness of any government agency is dependent on the technologies it uses to provide services and protect the health and welfare of its citizens.

In preparing for their impending technology renaissance, agencies first must prepare their networks to certify they are able to handle the increase in demand. Artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, mobility and other technologies can stress the bandwidth of traditional networks and impact performance.

Agencies need to ascertain if they have the right foundation for both customer-facing and back-office operations, as well as new opportunities yet to be imagined. Today’s efficient networks comprise multiple technologies and platforms all chosen to ensure the solutions they support operate at peak performance without issue.

In building a network for the next generation of government services, agencies should consider an environment that includes both on-premises, cloud, and networking technologies such as SD-WAN and high-speed broadband to make certain traffic is handled efficiently over any type of network. And networking components such as WiFi and unified communications can ensure users of the network—employees and constituents—interact with each other using their preferred method of communication.

To help ease stress on an agency’s current network—not to mention the daily burden on IT managers—managed services can be utilized to offer certain constituent services, such as bill payments, without further impacting the network. Managed services can be used to help tie disparate systems together and “fill in the gaps” as agencies update their current infrastructure, and can prove useful even after networks have been upgraded.

Working with a network service provider can help ease the burden associated with building and maintaining a network capable of handling the bandwidth-intensive needs of the next generation of government services. By working with a third-party network services provider, agencies can leverage virtual and physical private Ethernet connectivity to assure critical applications perform as expected. They also can receive all or some of their most critical connectivity functions as a managed service, including managed connectivity, WiFi, security, voice and business continuity, among others.

CONCLUSION

New technologies loom on the horizon to help government agencies better serve their constituents, from answering billing queries to protecting sensitive data from cyber threats. The network on which these technologies run must be robust and flexible enough to handle the traffic and bandwidth demands of today and beyond.

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[1] “Gartner Survey Finds Government CIOs Spend 21 Percent of Their IT Budget on Digital Initiatives,” press release, Gartner, April 25, 2017 https://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3693017

[2] “Process robotics in the federal government,” Public Sector Solutions web page, Deloitte, https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/public-sector/solutions/federal-government-process-robotics.html

[3] William D. Eggers, David Schatsky, Dr. Peter Viechnicki, “How artificial intelligence could transform government,” executive summary, Deloitte, April 26, 2017, https://dupress.deloitte.com/dup-us-en/focus/cognitive-technologies/artificial-intelligence-government-summary.html?_ga=2.17808368.871295872.1509472479-881865455.1507121216

[4] RJ Krawiec, Vinn White, “Governing the future of mobility,” Deloitte, Aug. 3, 2017, https://dupress.deloitte.com/dup-us-en/focus/future-of-mobility/federal-government-and-transportation-of-the-future.html

[5] Ibid

[6] “Autonomous Vehicles for the U.S. Postal Service,” report, USPS Office of the Inspector General, Oct. 2, 2017, https://www.uspsoig.gov/sites/default/files/document-library-files/2017/RARC-WP-18-001.pdf

[8] “Official 2017 Annual Cybercrime Report,” Cybersecurity Ventures, October 2017, https://cybersecurityventures.com/hackerpocalypse-cybercrime-report-2016/

[9] “Global Cybersecurity Workforce Shortage to Reach 1.8 Million as Threats Loom Larger and Stakes Rise Higher,” news release, Center for Cyber Safety and Education, June 7, 2017 https://www.isc2.org/News-and-Events/Press-Room/Posts/2017/06/07/2017-06-07-Workforce-Shortage

 

Five Predictions for How Technology Will Change Sports in 2019

Might the NFL launch an esports league in 2019? (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

By , Senior Writer – SportTechie /December 28, 2018

If 2018 were the year that sports betting was legalized, major deals were reached across mobile ticketing and biometric verification, and sports streaming services launched at an unprecedented pace, threatening to dethrone cable TV, 2019 will be the year they all hit a stride.

In 2019, niche sports will continue to grow in popularity as streaming services gain steam, sports betting will become accessible at venues, biometric IDs will be used to buy beer at games, esports will create further inroads in traditional sports, and athletes will further embrace wearable technology, digital video, and virtual reality to enhance their skills and marketability.

Sports Betting at Venues

States across the U.S. are working to adopt sports betting following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in May that opened up the legalization of gambling. One thing is for certain as we head into 2019: sports betting will be more commonplace and more widely accepted.

More states will move to embrace betting while regulators start to pass laws that protect athletes, leagues, and gamblers. But another thing fans might come to expect in 2019 is access to sports betting terminals at the venues themselves. In November, MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren hinted at this possibility at a conference. Murren said that MGM, which owns the Vegas Golden Knights’ T-Mobile Arena alongside AEG, was eyeing plans to test sports betting kiosks at the venue during Knights games. Murren shortly thereafter hedged that statement, saying that it wasn’t in the cards just yet. But his intention has been set.

Elsewhere in the sports world teams and leagues will continue to work sports betting capability into new and existing apps. Interactive mobile game maker Xperiel is currently working with MGM Resorts and the New York Jets to build sports betting into the Jets’ existing in-app prediction game, “I Called It.”

“Sports gambling becomes less of a gamble,” said Xperiel cofounder and CEO Alex Hertel in a note on 2019 tech predictions. “We will see a rift between the desires of the gambler and the regulating bodies that could end up driving some sports betters away. Immersive technology that engages fans will help make them stay.”

Mobile Ticketing and Biometrics

In 2019, mobile ticketing might not just become commonplace to pass through many venue gates, but it may become required. Meanwhile fans will be increasingly incentivized to use their biometrics for verification.

In 2018, major ticketing companies, from Ticketmaster to Seatgeek, moved to couple together the primary and secondary ticketing markets to help teams maintain control over prices and attendance data. After the NFL expanded its partnership with Ticketmaster in 2017 in an attempt to control more secondary-market sales, in 2018 a number of teams started to embrace a mobile-first ticketing strategy. This will continue into the new year, but with the added integration of biometrics.

In the MLB, biometric verification company Clear (which has a presence alongside TSA Pre✓ at airports) entered into a multi-year deal this past year with the league and its ticketing partner Tickets.com to do just that. As part of the deal, Clear agreed to leverage Tickets.com’s API to enable members to link their Clear profile with their MLB.com account to gain entry into games with a fingerprint scan. In the near future, facial recognition is expected to be added as well. The partnership was piloted at select MLB ballparks this past season, with a broader roll-out planned for 2019.

Also next year, biometric verification will expand beyond the gates and into venues. Clear was approved in the state of Washington this year to use its services to verify identities of people looking to purchase beer at Seattle Seahawks, Mariners and Sounders games. The company has since been in talks with regulators in other states to expand this elsewhere in the U.S.

Streaming and Consolidation

A number of streaming services offering extensive live sports programming launched in the U.S. this year, from ESPN+ to DAZN. This has created a fragmented market for sports streaming, while enabling fans to reduce their dependence on traditional cable. In 2019, streaming brands will scoop up new digital rights at a rapid pace, spanning not only major sports but niche ones as well.

We’ve already started to see this, with NBC adding a number of niche sports (from skiing to motocross) on its paid streaming service NBC Sports Gold. ESPN+ has similarly emphasized lesser-known sporting events, while DAZN has entered the U.S. market with a focus on combat sports.

In the new year, digital rights will continue to find their way into the hands of these major players, which will help to tighten their hold on the market. This might also give some of these streaming companies the fuel to begin trouncing (and potentially even scooping up) some rivals, igniting a more mature wave of consolidation within the industry.

Wearables and Privacy

In 2018, Whoop, the wearable company that partnered with the NFL Players Association last year to track player strain and recovery, secured a $25 million Series C funding round led by UAE71 Capital with participation from the NFLPA, Kevin Durant, and former NBA Commissioner David Stern.

In 2019, wearables and RFID trackers will continue to be pushed onto athletes to meet the insatiable appetite of fans and coaches for data. But with this proliferation of wearable devices in professional sports, innovation will continue to push against privacy.

The NFL’s CBA is set to expire in 2020. The next wave of negotiations between the league and NFLPA will likely begin in 2019, bringing many of these issues to the forefront. Under the terms of the NFLPA’s deal with Whoop, NFL players maintain ownership of their health data, and are also able to commercialize that data through the NFLPA’s licensing program.

According to Sean Sansiveri, the NFLPA’s vice president of business and legal affairs, if a market for athletes’ biometric data should ever arise, the union will have an established mechanism in place to ensure that professional football players are not only protected but also well-positioned to profit off their private data if they choose to do so. The Supreme Court’s ruling on sports betting in May, and the expanding state-by-state legalization of sports betting, might well create exactly that market.

NFL Launches an Esports League

While esports and traditional sports merged at an unprecedented rate this year with the launch of the NBA 2K and investments in esports teams by sports franchises, this trend will accelerate in 2019. NASCAR has already announced that it is hopping on the esports league bandwagon heading into the new year. The NFL has been slower to adopt esports, however the league earlier this year posted a job looking for a “head of gaming and esports” that would be based in its New York headquarters and lead the “strategic planning, partner management and execution of the League’s gaming efforts.” Perhaps 2019 is the year that Madden NFL gamers can go pro.

10 Best Automotive Technologies of 2019

By KBB.com Editors | January 9, 2019 1:14 PM – Kelley Blue Book

New car buyers would do well to spend less time looking under the hood and more examining all the technology in the car. Of course, the powertrain still matters, but more important is how the driver and vehicle occupants interact with today’s increasingly sophisticated automobiles. That’s why we’ve come up with our 10 Best Automotive Technologies of 2019.

These are the things to look for when buying a new car this year. You may not find them all useful, but regardless of price point it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a vehicle that has most of them. If you want to see the best of the best, find out which two all-new cars took home our 2019 Best Auto Tech Awards.

1. Connected Mobile Apps

It’s no exaggeration to say that the smartphone has changed everything, including how we interact with our cars. Most carmakers offer some sort of connected smartphone app, but some are better than others. Look for one that lets you remotely lock and unlock the doors, check the status of things like fuel and tire pressure, and even remotely start the car to warm things up on a cold winter’s morning.

Make sure to ask if there is a monthly or yearly subscription fee for the service, as it can vary from carmaker to carmaker.

2. Teen Driver Technology

Handing over the keys to your teenager can be a nerve-wracking experience, but some clever new tech might ease your mind a little bit. Several cars have some type of teen driver limitations built in that can notify you if the car is driven over a certain speed, disable the stereo if seatbelts aren’t used, and even keep the stereo from being turned up past 7 — never mind full blast!

Chevrolet’s Teen Driver feature also offers a Report Card that will tell parents if safety systems like ABS or forward collision alert have been triggered while Junior was behind the wheel.

3. Stolen Vehicle Tracking Software

Experts estimate that more than 750,000 motor vehicles will be stolen in 2019. While that number sounds alarming, nearly 46 percent of those vehicles will be recovered — and that number continues to improve. Much of the credit goes to innovative technology that automakers are building into their vehicles, such as the ability for the stolen car or truck to tell law enforcement when it is being held.

The technology is bundled into the vehicle’s assistance and security systems, such as BMW’s Connected Drive or GM’s OnStar. While those advertised features allow effortless diagnostics, concierge, and post-crash notification for summoning rescue services, they may also be used by law enforcement to pinpoint the exact location of a vehicle that is no longer in the owner’s possession. Criminals beware.

4. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Though they are loath to admit it, many manufacturer infotainment systems — the do-it-all screens that control stereo, navigation, and climate control — aren’t very user-friendly. That’s why we like Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto. Plug in your smartphone and it takes over that big screen, replacing it with something that looks a lot more familiar and easy to use.

You’ll get a simplified control scheme to access your music, maps, and your phone’s built-in voice-control features while avoiding the unnecessarily complicated system that comes with the car. Basically every manufacturer has promised support for at least one or both Apple and Google’s systems, but not all trim levels will support them. Make sure to verify your car has the right options, and that it matches your mobile devices.

5. Adaptive Cruise Control

Commuting is no fun. But advanced driver assist systems like adaptive cruise control can take a lot of the stress out of the experience. By using an array of sensors built into the car, adaptive cruise control can match the speed of the car in front of you, meaning you don’t need to constantly hit the gas and brake in highway traffic.

Some systems even allow the car to be brought to a complete halt and then resume automatically, making stop-and-go traffic considerably less frustrating. It might make you uneasy handing over some amount of control to the car, but we promise: use it once, and you’ll never want to go back.

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6. Exit Warning to Protect Cyclists

People riding bicycles in congested urban areas are often as concerned with parked vehicles as they are with the vehicles on the road — an unexpected opening car door spells doom for cyclists and injury for hapless passengers. Automakers are beginning to address this common danger with rear-looking sensors that detect approaching bicycles and traffic.

The systems are engineered to work for several minutes after the engine has been turned off. If the sensors see an approaching bicyclist or close vehicle, they alert the passenger with a series of bright lights. If the warning is ignored, the most advanced systems will physically lock the door to prevent it from being swung open into the path of the approaching object.

7. Rear Cross-Traffic Alert

Parking lots are extremely common sites for low-speed — but pricey — car crashes. Backing out of a parking spot, even with a rearview backup camera, can be a perilous exercise. That’s why rear-cross traffic alert is so useful.

Thanks to sensors built into the rear of the car, the system can alert you to approaching vehicles, shopping carts, or pedestrians who might wander behind your car without you noticing. Loud beeps are standard with these systems, but some cars can even automatically brake before a collision occurs.

8. Lane Departure Warning

Distracted driving happens. Whether it’s a quick glance at the stereo to change the channel or a child urgently asking for your attention, sometimes we pay a little less attention to the road than we should.

Lane departure warning systems use cameras to determine if a car has drifted across a marked lane line, giving a visual or audible notification (or even a vibration through the seat or steering wheel) that you’ve moved too far out of your lane. The system turns itself off when you use a directional, so there’s no fear of accidental engagement.

More advanced tech, sometimes called Lane Keeping Assist, can even help nudge you back into the proper lane, which can be a literal life-saver if you were heading into opposing traffic.

9. Automatic Emergency Braking

Automatic Emergency Braking or AEB uses a variety of sensors to determine if a forward collision crash is imminent and automatically applies the brakes to diminish the severity or avoid a crash entirely.

The auto industry agreed to make AEB standard in cars by 2022, but many vehicles have it available today. The systems are extremely good, though you absolutely shouldn’t rely on it to stop you — it’s meant as a last resort for when the driver isn’t paying attention, and it’s extremely alarming when the system does engage. While Apple CarPlay and smartphone apps are important, this one could save your life, so it’s worth making this one a high priority on your shopping list.

10. 360-Degree Camera

Insurance claims from low-speed crashes are some of the most common in the industry. Usually occurring during parking, a 360-degree camera system can make life a lot easier for folks who might not realize just how big that new SUV is.

By combining cameras on every side of the car with some clever computing power, your car’s display can show a virtual top-down view of your surroundings. It can show the sides of your garage, whether you’re lined up in the parking spot at the grocery store, or provide invaluable assistance while parallel parking.

The systems are getting cheaper and cheaper, and are available on even moderately priced cars these days. If you’re in the market for a small hatchback, you might not need this one as much — but a big SUV? You could find it invaluable.

 

Americans Think Apple Leads in 5G (Spoiler: It Doesn’t)

Android phone makers will have a hard time winning iPhone buyers over with their new 5G phones, according to a new survey.
 
American consumers think Apple is the leading phone vendor when it comes to 5G, by a crushing margin over Samsung. That’s a little shocking, because most observers believe Apple is going to introduce 5G phones a full year later than Android phone vendors.

The result from an exclusive PCMag survey of 2,500 US consumers shows Apple’s unstoppable brand power in the US. Even as Apple sales have cratered in China, the company’s reputation appears to be intact in its home market. Only 11 percent of iPhone owners surveyed said they would switch away from the iPhone for 5G.

Samsung is anticipated to be the first into the US market with a 5G phone when it announces the 5G version of its Galaxy S10 in late February. It got the No. 2 spot as to which company will lead in 5G in the survey. The No. 3 position went to Google, whose Pixel phones are currently exclusive to Verizon.

Apple’s anticipated delay in 5G comes from a few sources. Right now, Qualcomm has the only US-compatible 5G modem chips, and Apple is at war with Qualcomm. Apple has switched its modem provider to Intel, which has said it won’t have 5G modems before the end of the year.

But delaying on new wireless networks hasn’t hurt Apple in the past. The first iPhone was 2G in a 3G era, and Apple came to 4G two years later than many other manufacturers. Apple tends to like to wait for networks to become more fully rolled out before jumping on board, so iPhone users can have a consistent experience wherever they live.

 
 

Internet of things meets consumer packaged goods

By Josh Garrett, President, COO and Co-Founder of MOBI (at the time of his post on 06 Nov 2018)
[Josh is currently President – MMS at Tangoe]. Guest Contributor to TechTarget’s IoTAgenda.

While IoT is more popular than ever among enterprise technology teams, some industries have been slow to invest. Unlike MOBI’s consumer packaged goods (CPG) sector customers, companies without a mobility management partner are hesitant to sacrifice the large amount of time, money and labor required to deploy IoT. In fact, the CPG industry overall ranks second to last in terms of IoT spending versus total revenue. Less than three-tenths of one percent in revenue generated is invested into IoT, while globally the average industry invests more than four-tenths of one percent — or more than 25% in additional revenue than CPG.

Also, IoT endpoints have historically been used by retailers to better collect, analyze and interpret consumer behavior to improve the customer experience. Unlike retail, inexperienced CPG mobility programs are more likely to rely upon in-store audits and partner-shared insights to understand consumer behavior instead — making IoT feel more like a luxury than an absolute necessity where gaining market insight is concerned.

However, things are starting to change. CPG companies are uncovering new, valuable uses for today’s IoT technologies that weren’t possible a few years ago. Here are eight examples that show how IoT is benefitting businesses in this sector:

1. More personalization
IoT offers CPG companies tremendous advantages and new product personalization options. By creating new channels to collect and understand market data more deeply, industry players can use these technologies to increase customer interaction, satisfaction and loyalty with specially designed offerings.

Some organizations are even combining offline tactics with IoT to better enable customers and increase sales. Advanced systems can detect when someone is browsing an out-of-stock product online and automatically offer directions to a nearby store that has the item in stock along with a discount coupon to make up for any inconvenience.

2. Less delay
Sensors and other mobile endpoints can help CPG eliminate traditional manufacturing and supply chain gaps. Relevant stakeholders can now be alerted immediately if anything goes wrong with real-time data streams and statuses attached to individual product shipments.

Predictive maintenance tasks fueled by IoT systems also greatly reduce the likelihood of unplanned network errors and accelerate company response times should an issue arise.

3. Better collaboration
IoT fuels stronger, more meaningful CPG relationships with retailers by creating a chance to collaborate and co-invest in tech-driven initiatives. In doing so, both parties aim to eliminate out-of-stock scenarios and improve product availability, leading to long-term strategies and success.

4. Enhanced insights
An influx of new consumer data enables the CPG industry to identify behaviors, patterns and trends that companies couldn’t reveal otherwise. That means smarter spending and product development decisions that align with market demands.

Organizations with a digital sales presence will even be able to use IoT to suggest products, offer discounts and push notifications to online shoppers as they browse offerings, increasing the potential for add-on sales and enhancing the customer experience.

5. Real-time tracking
Moving and transporting goods also becomes more accurate and aware with IoT’s integration. Advanced sensors can help CPG enterprises monitor real-time fluctuations in temperature, product status and so forth to optimize operational processes and potentially create more effective, efficient workflows.

6. Smarter stocking
Smart shelves and inventory stocking systems use IoT to make continuous product updates that alert CPG organizations when item levels are low. This not only gives retailers the ability to avoid empty shelves and dissatisfied customers, but also helps CPG companies replenish products before a competitor has an opportunity to replace it.

7. AI-driven assistance
When combined with artificial intelligence, IoT systems give CPG enterprises the ability to scan products and streamline inventory management tasks. These enhanced technologies can even automatically recommend products to digital consumers in a way that maximizes sales and the impact of special promotions.

8. Global security
Through RFID and a GPS, IoT makes it possible to track products at more in-depth levels than ever before. CPG companies that use these systems ensure accurate and timely deliveries while simultaneously minimizing theft and loss incidents.

If these benefits sound too good to pass up, an IoT initiative may be in your organization’s not-too-distant future. If you’re considering an advanced device deployment for the first time, however, keep these three things in mind:

1. Employees
While there are impressive IoT technologies capable of vast functionality, ultimately the success of any enterprise deployment depends on the digital maturity of the people interacting with it. Even the most advanced systems fail if workers can’t figure out how to use them or aren’t willing to try.

Since IoT is expected to impact consumer behavior, employee productivity and HR management, CPG companies need to formulate strategies and carefully implement these new devices.

2. Alignment
Enterprise workflows will also be impacted by IoT’s workload. Some processes will need to be redesigned or combined with others to make these advanced technologies perform to a level that satisfies business needs.

Data that’s collected and processed by connected IoT endpoints empowers decision-makers and supply chain leaders with information to satisfy customers and strategically grow revenue.

3. Data
The speed and fluctuating types of data generated by IoT systems can be challenging for CPG organizations to manage and secure. Unless a business is willing to invest in internal data storage systems, be sure to research innovations like hype data technology, additional security layers and data storage facilities to have a plan in place before deployment starts.

As mobile technology grows more advanced and integrated within the CPG sector, IoT will help these companies drive innovation and productivity. While the business benefits can be tremendous, it takes careful planning and a strategic approach to make these initiatives impactful.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

 

27 Military technologies that changed civilian life

Adrian Willings – Contributing Editor for Pocket-lint | 2 February 2018

The old saying goes that necessity is the mother of invention and when countries go to war, it’s the one with the best technology who’s most likely to win. Survival of a nation and victory can depend on the technology their military uses in combat.

Over the years before and after the invention of Nuclear weapons and the race towards the semi-peace that comes with mutually assured destruction, nations have created incredible technologies all in the name of war. These technologies later found their way into civilian life and have improved the world as a whole.

War might be a necessary evil in some cases, but the research and development that comes along with it has improved our lives in a number of surprising ways over the decades.

We’ve been through the history books to collate useful tech that started off life on the battlefield but we now take for granted in our everyday lives.

ARPANET; Coolcaesar [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia CommonsMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 15

The internet

The World Wide Web that we know and love originally started life back in 1977 in the form of its forefather the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). This network technology, along with TCP/IP became the technical foundation of the Internet as we know it today.

Before this time, development of computer technologies were advancing to a point where in the 1950s a concept was required for a wide area network to connect computers in science labs. It was the Cold War though that led to the need for ARPANET and the beginning of the modern internet.

About the image – Left, a 1977 diagram showing the structure of the ARPANET network. Right: Berners-Lee’s first-ever web server at CERN.

USAF; Nachoman-au [CC-BY-SA-3.0] via Wikimedia CommonsMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 16

GPS

After World War II and the space race that came shortly afterwards, it wasn’t long before mankind started sending satellites into the atmosphere. In the 1990s, some of these satellites would be used for a space-based radio navigation system that was originally owned and operated by the United States government.

This system was perfect for keeping soldiers safe on the battlefield but also for identifying targets, improving mapping, tracking plane trajectories and more. As the technology expanded and improved it has moved into the civilian world too.

Now we’re used to having GPS in our everyday lives – including navigation in our pocket thanks to the invention of GPS capable smartphones.

About the image – An artist’s impression of the Navstar-2F satellite and a modern-day maritime GPS receiver.

Evan-Amos; NASA/Eugene A. Cernan via Wikimedia CommonsMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 17

Duct Tape

The Duct Tape we know today comes in a variety of forms of strong, durable and highly adhesive tape that’s multipurpose and can be used for a number of day-to-day applications. The original Duct Tape was invented as a necessity of war. During World War II, an adhesive tape was invented that was made from a rubber-based adhesive applied to a durable duck cloth backing.

This tape was capable of resisting water and dirt and was strong enough to be adapted for a number of uses including repairing military equipment, vehicles and weapons. The idea originally came from the thought that seals on ammo boxes would cost soldiers precious time on the battlefield that might also cost them their lives and something new was needed.

The resulting product has improved over the years, so much so that Duct Tape has built up a name for reliability and durability and was even used by NASA during space flight. You’ve probably got some in your house too.

About the image – Duct tape can be used to repair virtually anything as demonstrated in this 1972 Apollo 17 mission shot.

Bukvoed [CC BY 2.5] (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia CommonsMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 18

Drones

Nowadays drones are such a common sight that regulating them has become a headache for governments and there are all sorts of consumer drones available whether flying for fun or for professional photography and videography.

The humble drone began life as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). These pilotless air vehicles were remotely controlled to survey battlefields or go on missions deemed too “dull, dirty or dangerous” for human beings. The idea for drones started well over a Century ago when Austria sent unmanned bomb-filled balloons to blow up Venice in 1849. Technology has progressed a lot since then. Nazi Germany pushed the technology forward during WWII with a number of UAVs aimed at dealing out death, but the US Military is perhaps most well-known for its drone use in more recent years.

Since the 1990s, UAVs have been used to launch Predator and Hellfire missiles to attack ground targets during a range of conflicts. It is now thought that over 50 countries have employed military drones in one form or another since 2013. Now the skies are full of drones, many with cameras for capturing leisure activities.

About the image – Israel’s Tadiran Mastiff drone is seen by many military historians as the world’s first modern military drone. 

NOAA’s National Weather Service; Bidgee [CC BY 3.0] via Wikimedia CommonsMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 19

Weather Radar

Radar is another technology we take for granted in everyday life. It’s also another one that began its inception in the 1800s when German physicists discovered that radio waves could be reflected from solid objects. This knowledge was later used during WWII when Watson-Watt made advancements in the technology that allowed Allied forces to use radar for air defence during the Battle of Britain and beyond.

During World War II, the people operating the radar machines discovered that weather could hinder the readouts and cause echoes on the machines. As radar evolved the technology developed to allow scientists to study the data then detect and decipher the weather. This allowed for a prediction of weather including rain, snow, hail and more.

Modern weather radar is a lot more accurate and helps in the prediction of weather for the days and weeks ahead.

About the image – Left, Hurricane Abby approaching the coast of British Honduras in July 1960. Right the Bureau of Meteorology Berrimah radar, in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Acroterion [CC BY-SA 3.0]; Pamperchu [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia CommonsMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 20

Microwave ovens

The radar technology developed during World War II was later adapted for different uses. One of these included the production of technology capable of creating electromagnetic waves on a tiny scale – hence “microwave”. That technology could be used to rapidly heat and cook food by passing microwave radiation through it. This radiation causes the molecules in food to vibrate and heat quickly.

The original range of microwave ovens were named Radarange and sold in 1946. They were too large and expensive for most consumers. It wasn’t until 1967 that they started to become commonplace in commercial and residential kitchens across the world.

About the image – Original Raytheon Radar Range oven on the NS Savannah in Baltimore. Right: a domestic 1971 radar range.

NASA; Naval Intelligence Support Center, via Wikimedia CommonsMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 21

Digital cameras

Digital camera technology originally started life in early spy satellites where they were used to capture high-resolution aerial images of enemy installations. The technology progressed in the military sphere, especially during the Cold War and in the 1970s the first self-contained digital camera was created. This early technology would take years to progress into the DSLRs we use today, now digital photography is everywhere, even in our pocket.

About the image – Left, the design of the KH-11 was believed to be based on that of the Hubble Space Telescope (pictured here in 1985). Right: A leaked digital image of the Nikolaiev 444 shipyard in the Black Sea taken by KH-11.

The National Archives; Via Wikimedia CommonsMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 22

Computers

The original technology for computers was a lot more archaic than it is today. The original computers used punch cards and mechanical looms to solve problems. The technology improved at greater speed during World War II though, when an electronic digital programmable computer named Colossus was invented to help decipher messages sent by the Nazi encryption machines.

These computers were a small part of helping the Allies win the war and kick-started the age of the modern digital computer. In the decades that followed, technology has vastly improved and shrunk greatly, with computers even fitting in our pocket.

About the image – Left, Colossus in action at Bletchley Park in 1943. Right, The American ENIAC in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the Ballistic Research Laboratory in 1947.

British Government; Gaius Cornelius, via Wikimedia CommonsMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 23

Jet engines

Inventor Frank Whittle was working on a design for a jet engine during the late 1920s and filed an official patent in 1930. But it wasn’t until the later years of World War II that jet engine technology would advance in leaps and bounds.

In 1944 the world’s first jet-fighter aircraft took to the skies in the form of the Messerschmitt Me 262. Luckily for the Allies, production was limited due to the shortage of supplies and materials and this invention wouldn’t help Nazi Germany win the war.

In the years that followed, jet engine technology continued to improve and is now a common staple of planes in the skies above us.

About the image – Left, Frank Whittle at the Ministry of Aircraft Production ion 1943. Right, Whittle’s W-2 jet engine, used to power the Gloster E.28/39, the first British aircraft to fly with a turbojet engine.

Alfred T. Palmer, via Wikimedia Commons; Courtesy of United States Rubber CompanyMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 24

Synthetic rubber tyres

Historically, vehicle tyres were manufactured using natural rubber with suppliers from Southeast Asia. During World War II when Japan occupied that region supplies were unavailable to Allied forces and they were forced to adapt. Industrial manufacture of synthetic rubber tyres was therefore required to counter the problem.

Synthetic rubber is now used for all sorts of applications but continues to be used in the tyre industry.

About the image – This sheet of synthetic rubber coming off the rolling mill at the plant is now ready for drying, B.F. Goodrich Co., Akron, Ohio in 1941. On the right, a 1944 United States Rubber Company advert for Fighting Tires.

Courtesy of the Archives of the city of Kingsport; Super Glue Corp.Military technologies that changed civilian life image 25

Superglue

During WWII scientists were employed to find a material suitable for creating clear plastic gun sights for weapons. During that process, these researchers made an accidental discovery of a substance that would stick to everything it came in contact with and Superglue was born.

It was rejected for military use, but was later sold commercially in 1958 and famously used to suspend a car from a crane to demonstrate its adhesive capabilities.

About the image – The now famous 1957 demonstration of the strength of Eastman 910 adhesive which gave to the rise to the modern day hanging-car logo on the tube of super-glue.

U.S. Army Signal Corps; Christopher Ziemnowicz, via Wikimedia CommonsMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 26

The Jeep

The iconic Willys Jeep is an instantly recognisable vehicle with a distinct shape. The Jeep was a multi-purpose and fully capable four-wheel drive vehicle that was designed to be used in all theatres of combat during the second world war. It was the primary vehicle of the United States Military and its WWII Allies and continued in popularity in the years of peace.

About the image – A U.S. Army Willys MA jeep is put through its paces in 1942 and on the right an open-topped V6 CJ-5 in 2008.

Jpbarbier Jean-Paul Barbier [CC BY-SA 3.0]; Paul Mashburn [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia CommonsMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 27

Canned food

Keeping troops fed, supplied with ammunition and with ready access to medication is an essential part of successful warfare. Starving soldiers are not effective soldiers. The idea of food that could last longer and go further is not a new concept. In around 1810, the French government offered a large cash reward to anyone who could come up with a cheap way to preserve large amounts of food. One investor discovered that food cooked inside a jar did not spoil unless the seals leaked and so sealed food containers were born. These were ideal for supplying troops – though somewhat cumbersome.

In later years, canned foods took over. During WWI soldiers generally survived on rations of low-quality canned foodstuffs including corned beef, canned sausages, pork and beans and the like. Production of canned food allowed commanders to transport great quantities of food for troops to survive on.

Canned foods made their way in the civilian markets and became a staple of grocery store and supermarket shelves for years to come.

About the image – A Napoleonic era Appert canning Jar is pictured next to a 1966 shot of U.S. Airman’s C-rations

Wikimedia Commons; Science Museum London / Science and Society Picture Library [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia CommonsMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 28

Penicillin

During World War I Alexander Fleming served as a captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps during which time he witnessed many deaths of soldiers from sepsis resulting from infected wounds. The Antiseptics of the time were not effective and actually did more harm than good, especially with deep wounds.

In later years Fleming discovered a type of mould that was releasing a substance that was inhibiting bacterial growth. That substance was later named penicillin and was mass-produced in the years that followed, successfully treating injured soldiers during WWII.

About the image – Alexander Fleming, who first discovered the mould Penicillin Notatum, is seen in his lab at St Mary’s, Paddington during WWII. On the right, a sample of penicillin mould presented by Fleming to Douglas Macleod, 1935.

Courtesy of Mapplin & Webb27 Military technologies that changed civilian life image 2

Wristwatches

Some of the first wristwatches were worn by soldiers and military men in order to allow the synchronisation of military manoeuvres on the battlefield without alerting the enemy. The importance of this synchronisation was recognised throughout the military organisations across the world and popularity began to spread. Later, wristwatches made their way into civilian life where they transformed into fashion accessories before becoming part of everyday life.

About the image – A press image shows three original Mappin & Webb Campaign watches, two Boer War examples owned by Officer Halpern, who is depicted in the portrait (top and middle) and one First World War example (bottom). On the right a vintage advert for the Campaign watch.

Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection; Staff Sgt. Erik Cardenas, via Wikimedia CommonsMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 4

Walkie-talkies

The classic walkie-talkie, like many things on this list, started life during WWII. It was initially developed for infantry use, then for field artillery and tank crews to provide convenient communication on the battlefield.

In peacetime, the use of walkie-talkies spread into civilian life starting in public safety, appearing on job sites and more. Now they’re available to purchase in a variety of forms including for private personal use.

About the image – A sergeant at Fort Myer, Virginia demonstrates a “walkie-talkie” in the field in 1942. On the right A U.S. Marine, with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Battalion Landing Team 1/4, radios in medical evacuation details during a downed-vehicle exercise in 2013.

Wikimedia Commons; Courtesy of Wehrmacht history.comMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 5

Night vision

During WWII, the German Army was the first to develop military night vision devices. By the mid-1940s, the first night-vision scopes and rangefinders were mounted on Panther tanks and made their way onto the battlefield. A smaller, man-portable night-vision system was later mounted onto Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifles taking the first steps towards widespread military use.

Night vision is now making its way into the civilian world in cameras and even being installed in modern cars to improve safety at night and make all our lives a bit easier.

About the image – On the right a WWII era “Vampir” man-portable system being used by the Wehrmacht. On the left a set of modern panoramic night visions goggles.

Courtesy of the University of Minnesota; Gift of U.S. Department of Agriculture, through Dr. Arno ViehoeverMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 6

Wound dressing/Sanitary napkins

Ben Franklin originally invented pads to help stop wounded soldiers from bleeding while they received medical treatment. In later years, this simple invention was adapted and changed to help women coped with their menstrual flow.

Things have changed a lot since then. The original menstrual pad manufacturers were also bandage makers, which gives an idea of what they were like initially.

About the image – A 1923 Kotex advert sits alongside a 1920 box of Sphagnum Moss sanitary Napkins.

USGS Public DomainMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 7

Jetpacks

In the years around WWII and after, the US military invested time and money in research into personal jetpacks and propulsion devices. The initial intention of these devices was to allow easy reconnaissance of enemy positions and installations, but also to quickly and easily get soldiers out of harm’s way. In later years, there were many attempts to create jetpacks for personal use in the civilian world.

About the image – On the left, the 1957 jet vest, on the right, Bill Suitor geared up and ready to demo the Rocket Belt for NASA and the USGS – circa 1966.

Via Wikimedia CommonsMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 8

Freeze drying

The process of freeze-drying was originally invented in 1906 but it was put to increased use during WWII when blood serum was freeze-dried in order to the prevent it from spoiling during transport. This allowed for medical treatment of the wounded and saved countless lives.

In the years that followed, the freeze-drying technique developed further into the processing of food, manufacture of pharmaceuticals, manufacturing of ceramics, production of synthetics and much more besides.

Wikimedia Commons; Courtesy of Mylan.comMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 9

EpiPen

The original EpiPen started life in the military as an autoinjector intended for use by soldiers in the event of exposure to chemical warfare toxins and nerve agents. The design allowed for fast, safe and easy injection of essential medication with ease. This technology made its way into the civilian sector with hand-held devices intended to be carried by those with severe allergies for fast injection of Epinephrine in emergency situations. Countless lives have been saved since.

About the image – On the left the original military auto-injector used for rapid administration of nerve gas antidotes. On the right the civilian application of the technology for the administration of adrenaline to relieve allergic reactions.

Arche-foto, Burkhart Rüchel [CC BY-SA 3.0]; Naval Surface Warriors [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia CommonsMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 10

Jerrycan

The jerrycan was originally designed by Germany in the 1930s for military use to hold 20 litres of fuel. This new design was a leap forward as previous designs required tools and funnels to use and were cumbersome when what was needed was convenience. The robust jerrycan design has been popular ever since.

About the image –  On the left two WWII era German fuel containers. The one on the right is the now-classic Wehrmacht-Einheitskanister made by Nirona in 1941. In the picture on the right, a near identical canister can be seen on the rear of the Japanese Defence Force vehicle in 2012.

Ministry of Health; U.S. National Archives and Records Administration via Wikimedia Commons;Military technologies that changed civilian life image 11

Blood banks and transfusions

The carnage and devastation of the First World War saw the need for the rapid development of blood banks and transfusion techniques. Canadian Lieutenant Lawrence Bruce Robertson was the first to push for the adoption of blood transfusion techniques to help save the wounded. The success of his techniques led to increased use.

The very first blood transfusions had to be made from person-to-person due to issues with coagulation. Transfusion techniques and storage solutions quickly improved and blood banks were set up to help with casualties.

Medical advances soon saw the techniques move into the civilian world where transfusions and donations continue to save lives even today.

About the image – Left, a WWII era information poster issued by the Ministry for Health. On the right, Private Roy W. Humphrey of Toledo, Ohio is being given blood plasma after he was wounded by shrapnel in Sicily in 1943.

T5C. LOUIS WEINTRAUB; NASA/U.S. Army, via Wikimedia CommonsMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 12

Space Programme

During WWII, Nazi inventors worked on creating various long-range rockets for delivering explosive payloads to enemy targets. These were the first steps towards putting a man-made object into space. After the war, the US took those German scientists involved in the V2 rocket programme back to the states to help them win the space race and to be the first nation to reach the moon.

Space travel has since become a passion for many, including Elon Musk and more. Travel into Earth’s orbit has also been used for commercial purposes with satellite navigation systems, satellite television and satellite radio all coming about thanks to the first developments.

About the image – On the left German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, with a broken arm, surrenders to allied forces in 1945. On the right the July 1950 with the launch of the first rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida: the Bumper 8. Shown above, Bumper 8 was an ambitious two-stage rocket program that topped a V-2 missile base with a WAC Corporal rocket.

Rich Niewiroski Jr. [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons; 1986 Paramount PicturesMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 13

Aviator sunglasses

Aviator sunglasses were originally developed in the 1930s for use by military pilots to protect their eyes while flying. They replaced the classic flight goggles and had many benefits over them too – being lighter, thinner and snazzier too. Eventually, the aviator sunglasses produced by the company behind the original pilot’s glasses were trademarked as Ray Bans and have since risen to iconic status in the civilian world.

Wikimedia Commons; Look Sharp! [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia CommonsMilitary technologies that changed civilian life image 14

Ambulances

In around 1487, the very first ambulances appeared on the battlefield. They were used by the Spanish army to pick up wounded soldiers from war zones. They weren’t usually sent in until after the battle had finished though, so many died waiting to be saved. In later years, horse-drawn carriages appeared in greater numbers working more effectively as ambulances and rescuing people quickly from active battlefields.

Ambulance use changed greatly when motorised vehicles were introduced and they quickly made their way into civilian life too.

About the image – On the left American Zouave ambulance crew demonstrating removal of wounded soldiers from the field, during the American Civil War. On the right a 1970’s era British Air Force Landrover Ambulance.

Technologies That Are Changing the Way Police Do Business

How Advancements Shape Criminal Justice Professions

The world of law enforcement is very different now than it was when I entered it in 2001. In just a few short years, technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, changing the way police officers do just about everything. When I first became a cop, we didn’t even have computers available to use at our stations, much less in our cars. But technological advancements are changing law enforcement.

Now, the unimaginable has not only been imagined but manifested. And there’s no slowing down. From drones in the sky to microcomputers in our glasses, technological advancements abound. Here are just a few of the technologies, either already on the street or on the horizon, that will help police make the stuff of science fiction become science fact.

Law Enforcement Looking to Use Drones on Patrol

Critics decry them as harbingers of an Orwellian police state, a la “1984.” Proponents point to the vast potential to solve and prevent crime. Wherever you fall in the argument, the fact is that drones are well on their way to becoming eyes in the sky for law enforcement officials.

Unmanned drones can help patrol in ways and areas that police officers simply cannot. They can provide real-time information to police dispatchers and crime analysts so that officers can get vital information about crimes in progress and dangerous situations, as they unfold. It can help them better plan responses and save lives.

In addition, drones can capture video and images of crimes as they occur, providing crucial evidence in future court proceedings. Imagine a bank robbery in progress; a surveillance drone could be quickly dispatched to the area and follow a fleeing suspect to his home or hideout without his knowledge, avoiding a potential hostage situation or unnecessary injuries.

How Police Can Use Google Glass, HoloLens, and Augmented Reality

Imagine an officer on foot patrol. As he walks down the street, his special glasses are recording and analyzing everything he sees. A built-in screen provides information about the businesses, homes, and vehicles he looks at, while facial recognition software provides real-time information about the people he passes, letting him know if anyone matches BOLO descriptions or if someone he is near has an outstanding warrant.

It was not long ago that this seemed like an impossibility. With the advent of Google Glass, though, this scenario is becoming a very real possibility. Both the software and the data for such a scenario is already available; facial recognition has been in existence for a decade, and simple smartphone apps like Around Me can already provide an augmented reality experience using the phone’s camera.

While the first generation of Google’s computer goggles may not have these capabilities, one can easily see that it’s only a matter of time before officers on the street will have built-in heads-up displays that provide a host of data. This data can help patrol more effectively and efficiently and keep them and their charges safe.

Police Use Social Media to Solve Crime and Engage the Public

Our society has become one in which, though we talk about the importance of privacy, we sure don’t seem to care who knows what about us. Through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others, we seem to be more than happy to share with anyone and everyone what we’re doing, thinking, and even eating at any given moment.

For law enforcement agencies, crime analysts and even probation and community control officers, social media is beginning to prove itself to be a crucial criminal justice tool in gathering intelligence, locating clues and even screening candidates for employment.

There have been numerous cases of police thwarting or solving crimes based on tips gleaned from Facebook posts, and undetected crimes have been successfully prosecuted as a result of videos posted to YouTube. While social media may seem “old hat” as a social and marketing platform, its potential as a crime-fighting tool is only just beginning to be realized.

Law Enforcement Uses Biometrics for Data Security and Identification

From data security to suspect identification, the use of biometrics—using unique biological traits such as fingerprints, retina scans, and DNA to identify individuals—is rapidly increasing among law enforcement circles.

Once a tedious and messy task that included ink, fingerprint cards and arduous analysis by hand, using fingerprints and other biometric data once took weeks and even months. Now, as technology becomes cheaper, smaller, more portable, and readily available, officers are able to use handheld scanners to instantly identify individuals with criminal pasts.

Scanners built into laptop computers provide added security to ensure no unauthorized person can gain access to sensitive intelligence and personal information. DNA databases and software continue to improve, reducing the time and the backlog that once served as major impediments to solving crimes.

New York Police Department’s Domain Awareness System

The New York City Police Department worked with the Microsoft Corporation to develop a comprehensive information and data system that can assist law enforcement at almost every step of patrol and investigations.

The Domain Awareness System, nicknamed the Dashboard, ties in data from a host of available sources, including Computer Aided Dispatch, crime reports and criminal histories, maps and even cameras to provide instant access to real-time information, pictures and video about calls in progress. This comprehensive information is available to officers and crime analysts at a glance, allowing them to formulate a response to any given call better.

How Police Can Use Tablets and Smartphones

Jumping on Facebook, playing Words with Friends or wasting time watching YouTube videos is fine on your off time, but smartphone and tablet computing technology are gaining steam as a crime-fighting tool.

Laptops in patrol cars were once all the rage, but they have their limitations. The increasing portability of connected devices is allowing for new uses and applications for police officers. From handheld translation services that help officers communicate with non-English speakers to handheld electronic ticket-writing devices, tablets and smartphones now give officers the ability to access, record and disseminate important information no matter where they are.

Automatic Tag and License Plate Readers for Police

Mounted to the exterior of patrol cars, electronic tag readers are becoming more prevalent among larger departments and traffic-oriented agencies. Using cameras connected to vehicle information databases, electronic tag readers instantly analyze license plates on every vehicle that comes within their range of view.

Instead of having to call in tags to dispatchers one at a time in order to check for stolen vehicles or compare BOLO information, officers can be alerted to the fact that they are behind a stolen vehicle without having to lift a finger. Tag readers have the potential to increase the number of vehicles recovered and criminals apprehended.

Law Enforcement Use of GPS

The Global Positioning System is not new, but its applications are continuing to expand into the law enforcement community. Using GPS technology, police can pinpoint the location of a call and determine the fastest and safest route to it, getting people the help they need more efficiently and timely.

Officers can record the location of their traffic stops and crash investigations, and that information can be exported to maps to determine how enforcement efforts can be better focused on decreasing the occurrences of traffic crashes. GPS technology can also be used by crime analysts to help identify emerging trends in crime locations and help better plan for shift staffing and patrol assignments.

GPS also adds increased accountability for officers, allowing management and supervisory personnel to track locations and speeds of officers. Received however grudgingly, these uses and innovations help keep officers honest and help them maintain the high ethical standards they are held to.

Advancements Continue to Transform the Policing Profession

Technology continues to advance and change, and in so doing, it advances and changes the profession of law enforcement and other careers in criminology and criminal justice. With proper restraint and respect for constitutional concerns, the use of technology in criminal justice will continue to allow crime fighters to further their ability to serve and protect their respective communities.

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