NEXT GENERATION COMMUNICATIONS


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      • Three Steps to Starting Your Digital Manufacturing Transformation

        Published 43 days ago by Aleksandra Ikanowicz
        • Manufacturing

         In case you missed it, the Rockwell Automation Fair took place last week, Nov. 9-10, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA. Executive leadership and industry experts shared their vision, strategies and real-life business experiences relating to aspects of digital manufacturing such as the Industrial Internet of Things, cybersecurity and data infrastructure and analytics. McKinsey’s Global Institute estimates that the Internet of Things could unlock up to $11 trillion in economic impact by 2025. The potential of the digital enterprise is real, but only a third of companies have started their journey.

        If you have made limited or no progress implementing digital manufacturing technologies in your operations, the time to get started is now. Here are the top three ingredients to consider for a successful digital transformation:

        • Bridge the gap between IT and OT - More than ever before, the Information Technology and Operations Technology teams need to work in synergy, with integrated processes and information flow, so that IT personnel understands the real-time nature of operations and the OT side understands IT requirements. They will also become familiar with the common threats that face both entities.
        • Develop a security culture - With increasing number of connected devices and systems, it’s more critical than ever to safeguard against cybersecurity threats. Francis (Bo) Rotoloni, Deputy Director of Research and principal research engineer for the Information and Cyber Sciences Directorate at Georgia Tech Research Institute, said that ”Companies need to understand their risk issues relative to the cyber landscape and the threat landscape. Security is not a checklist. It's a program, it is training and it’s having your employees understand that one simple click can compromise the enterprise."
        • Expand analytics capabilities - This includes across the plant floor for devices, machines and systems, as well as throughout the enterprise. New solutions cover remote monitoring, machine performance, device health and diagnostics, and predictive maintenance to enable companies to derive value from their data more quickly, easily and incrementally. At the enterprise level, these solutions offer more powerful ways to integrate plant-floor data into business intelligence strategies.


        Motorola Solutions was at the Fair showcasing our Team Communications solution. In the age of digital transformation, automating labor-intensive processes and opening up communication channels allows you to free up resources and apply your people to solving problems, improving quality, and maximizing profits.

        Our Team Communications platform takes push-to-talk (PTT) beyond the boundaries of radio, allowing all your employees to communicate instantly, from anywhere, on any device, while leveraging intelligence from a wide range of applications designed to help your business succeed and keep your employees safe from harm. Knowledge is power. Help your teams reach their full potential as you begin your digital transformation journey today.

        Download the complementary Team Communications for manufacturing brief.

      • The Three Most Important Things To Get Holiday Shoppers Into Your Store? Experience, Experience, and Experience.

        Published 43 days ago by Aleksandra Ikanowicz
        • Retail

        DLR_CanadianTires_Retail_Z4U8690.jpgThe National Retail Federation has good news and bad news for retailers in their NRF forecast for this holiday season. The good news: November and December 2016 sales are expected to increase a healthy 3.6% from 2015, to $655.8 billion. The bad news: non-store sales will increase between 7% and 10%, to as much as $117 billion, further reducing the amount of in-store traffic and sales for brick-and-mortar retailers.

        In a world of Amazon Prime shoppers, it’s more important than ever to capitalize on those occasions when a customer physically visits your store. It’s impossible to offset the convenience, variety, and efficiency of virtual shopping, so retailers must lure users to their stores with the only advantage they have - the experience itself.

        In this excellent consumer study on The Retail Customer Experience from Synchrony Financial, a poll of over 1,000 shoppers established that - in both the Apparel and Department Store spaces - the top contributing factor to a respondent’s best in-store experience was the same: the associate was helpful/ attentive.

        If we consider that through our own personal lens for a moment, it makes sense. Think about a recent positive experience you had in the retail environment. There probably was a friendly, helpful, and super-capable store employee in that mix, assisting you with finding the right size, making the right choice, or getting the best deal for your money. A great in-store experience begins with the store associates. Staff must be well-informed and well-coordinated, armed with the right information and empowered with accurate answers.

        This, then, becomes the challenge for retailers: How do you enable every associate in your store to deliver that optimal shopping experience and keep everyone safe? Especially when, as the NRF also informs us in their forecast, retailers will be hiring between 640,000 and 690,000 seasonal workers in 2016. How do you turn someone you just hired last week into a seasonal superstar, assisting customers, locating inventory, and closing sales like they’ve been working there for years instead of hours?

        The answeris: communication. By equipping associates with discreet two-way radios, you provide instant communications between the sales and support team and management, allowing even the greenest employee to find the information they need and share it with the customer quickly. This instantaneous connectivity also ensures they can respond quickly in a case of emergency keeping both customers and staff safe. Business radios from Motorola Solutions are small, lightweight and easy to use, providing clear, strong audio and seamless communications. By connecting the sales, inventory, and management teams, you can provide superior service to the customer from the minute they walk through your door.

        With a positive holiday outlook, but harder times for brick-and-mortar retail operations, make sure you can provide your customers with the top-notch service they demand. Deliver an experience your customers cannot shop without, keep everyone safe during a very busy time, and build the loyalty your store will need to thrive in 2017 and beyond!

        Click here to learn more about our Retail Communications Solutions.

         

      • How Healthcare Communications Impact Patient Satisfaction

        Published 43 days ago by Ben Ansell
        • Healthcare

        image.pngHospitals provide a unique communications challenge. Many hospitals today use a variety of competing communications systems - pagers, mobile phones, landlines, even public address systems - to connect their various departments and units. In addition to that, the hospital itself can be a barrier to efficient communications. For example, shielded areas such as a lab or a basement can prevent electronic devices from receiving full cellular coverage. These issues can indirectly impact the experience patients and their families have on the hospital campus, which can have serious consequences for everyone.

        The Affordable Care Act adds more incentive for hospitals to operate at peak efficiency. Medicare reimbursements can now be reduced based on how a hospital ranks against comparable institutions in several areas, including customer satisfaction. Lack of a reliable, resilient communication network connecting reception, security, facilities, and laboratory staff can increase the likelihood that patients will not have a positive experience. Not meeting expected patient satisfaction levels reduces Medicare reimbursement by 1% currently, and will reduce it by 2% in 2017. If this trend continues, the financial impact to a hospital delivering substandard experiences could be painful.

        Hospitals can improve communications by moving to a dedicated two-way radio system configured to their individual requirements. MOTOTRBO™ radio systems delivers reliable, instantaneous, discreet connections between hospital staff. The system is separate from commercial communication networks, meaning hospital personnel can stay in touch, even when emergency situations swamp local cellular coverage. With text messaging capabilities, ear buds, and vibrating belt clips for security staff, discretion is maintained alongside clear audio.

        Given the increased focus on safety in the healthcare environment and the physical risks that hospital personnel face on the job, it becomes even more critical to equip nurses, administration staff, and security officers with MOTOTRBO radios to keep everyone connected when it matters most.

        For more information please visit www.motorolasolutions.com/mototrbo

        Ben Ansell is the Global Marketing Specialist for MOTOTRBO Radios.

         

      • The Manufacturing Skills Gap

        Published 43 days ago by Aleksandra Ikanowicz
        • Manufacturing

        FAL_4262.jpgIn the next ten years, the manufacturing industry is projected to have 3.5 million unfilled jobs. This is not a new phenomenon - since the 1980s large manufacturers have been reducing their workforce down to only the most essential roles, leaving a gap in their trained workforce. In these last 30+ years manufacturers have simultaneously been investing in complex machinery designed to reduce labor, creating a need for technical expertise in the new-age manufacturing environment.

        Fortunately, in the last 30+ years there have also been significant developments in the ways that manufacturers operate and communicate, embodying the main principles of lean manufacturing. Intelligent communications solutions, including two-way radios, push-to-talk software and high-tech accessories help lean teams to:

        • Enhance safety
        • Reduce downtime
        • Increase efficiency
        • Delight customers
           

        By improving inter- and intra-team communication, manufacturers are able to work more safely and more efficiently. Take for example a worker operating machinery in a remote part of the factory. Whereas assembly lines used to be operated by people, it is often single workers managing machinery across the entire shop floor. If that worker is injured or for any reason falls or requires help,Next-Gen MOTOTRBO™ radios have a Man Down feature that alerts the rest of the team that this person needs assistance.

        Similarly, workers operating in a loud, machine-cluttered environment still need to communicate over radio networks. They need Intelligent Audio that picks up the sound of their voice, and their voice only, so that their messages are heard loud and clear on the other end. Noise may be an inherent part of your operations, but you can protect your employees with Motorola’s accessoriesspecially designed to address the unique aspects of the manufacturing environments.

        In a recent survey conducted by Deloitte, executives listed technical and computer skills to be at the top of the list of employee skill deficiencies, followed by a lack of problem solving skills, basic technical training and math skills. Smart technology streamlines operations by automating and connecting processes but these in turn require more skilled workers. In addition to seamlessly connecting employees through voice and data, comprehensive training is needed to elevate these skills and retain valuable talent.

        See how the new MOTOTRBO intelligent radio is built for smart, connected manufacturing. Explore the communications guide to learn more.

        Aleksandra Ikanowicz is the Manufacturing Vertical Lead for Motorola Solutions.

      • How Communication Can Help Address Hospital Violence

        Published 43 days ago by Ross Venhuizen
        • Healthcare

        services-camden-sc-ems-tablet-frank-lawlor-CZ4U9956Most patients would never imagine that the professionals who tend to their maladies are at great risk of injury themselves. From 2012-2014 alone, violent crimes in hospitals rose 40%, and more than 10,000 of those incidents directly targeted hospital employees. In response to the rise in hospital violence, hospital security guards are increasingly adopting firearms as a method of protection. In 2011, 15% of hospitals in a Health Facilities Management survey stated their security officer carried a firearm. By 2014, that number had risen to 52%.

        Despite deploying more weapons to security teams, violence in the hospital environment continues to escalate, demanding alternate solutions.

        When nurses and doctors have no path of communication with security guards, a bad situation can quickly turn ugly. By the time security arrives, the patient is often already agitated and a bad situation can become worse. By allowing staff members to communicate effortlessly, security can arrive prepared. They can have a better understanding of the situation at hand and be able to address violence before it occurs. Fortunately, hospitals can now enable their employees to communicate throughout their organization to speed security team response and possibly defuse violent situations.

        WAVE Work Group Communications is a push-to-talk (PTT) solution that connects users on any device - radio, smartphone, tablet, desktop or telephone - to secure talkgroups. WAVE makes it easy for doctors, nurses, hospital and facilities staff, and security guards to communicate on a secure PTT channel using the same devices they are already carrying - they no longer need a radio to connect to radio users. WAVE's simple display allows an entire staff to easily stay connected on a secure network.

        WAVE’s desktop and browser-based console applications enhance communications among teams, whether in their office or on-the-go. Providing hospital employees with the opportunity to communicate with each other immediately - regardless of location - enables them to contact security guards or staff on the scene who can in turn react more swiftly. Improved security and patient and provider safety is only a push away.

        Visit www.motorolasolutions.com/wave to learn more about how WAVE can help get every device, every network and every team to connect like never before.

        Ross Venhuizen is the WAVE Global Marketing Specialist for Motorola Solutions.

         

      • Understanding, Preventing, and Detecting Business Email Compromise Scams

        Published 43 days ago by Lesley Carhart

        It’s 6 AM. Your organization’s finance director gets an urgent email purportedly from the CEO, requesting he wire transfer $600,000 to an overseas account to make an overdue payment. The CEO hardly ever emails him directly, and she’s counting on him to fix a bad situation. He blearily responds and completes the transfer. Three hours later, he discovers the transfer was a scam, and the money might not be recoverable…

        If this were your organization, you would be only one of thousands of organizations to fall victim to this type of scam. By April 2016, the FBI had already tracked $2.3 billion USD of reported losses to Business Email Compromise (B.E.C.) scams. How do these scams work? What do they look like? And more importantly, how can you detect and prevent them as an organization?

        Scammers need to choose a target in a position of authority sufficient to move money or sensitive tax records, yet still capable of being intimidated by a higher level executive like a CEO or CFO. Unfortunately for companies, these victims are often easily found because they chose to list their employer, position, and responsibilities on social media sites like LinkedIn. Corporate websites that contain leadership bios can also be a goldmine for bad guys. An ideal target is a finance or HR manager - people who might be able to authorize a large transaction or access personnel files outside of business hours without any oversight.

        Once the scammers have chosen a target, they choose a high level executive in the company who they will “spoof”, or pretend to be. They will need to send an email pretending to be this person to a victim, and attempt to strong-arm him or her into providing money or data through intimidation and a sense of urgency. Once again, it’s fairly trivial for scammers to locate data about an organization’s CEO, CFO, or Director. The more data that is freely available on the internet, the easier it is for scammers to make a fake email look authentic. If they find a signature block for the person, or their real contact information, the email can be made to look quite real.

        The scammers then craft a phishing email. The messages tend to be short and to the point – they address the target by name, state that it is of utmost urgency that he or she respond immediately, and may include a brief story describing why the request must be done quietly. All of these factors pressure the target into completing the transaction without informing management or following proper procedures. In certain instances, the “executive” may specify a go-between who will contact the target on their behalf. Often, the go-between is an attorney whose name and contact information has been appropriated for the purpose of the scam.

        The scammers ensure the phishing email appears to come from the selected executive. There are three common methods in which they do this: The first is changing the “from” address in the message to the executive’s real email, while leaving a hidden “reply-to” field as the scammer’s mailbox. In many email clients, message details must be manually viewed to catch this trick. The second is registering a domain name a letter or two off from the organization’s, which looks correct unless it is read very carefully. The third and least common is actually gaining access to the executive’s mailbox via hacking or malware.

        An example message might read like this:

        From: Tony Jackson – CFO (tony.jackson@example.com)
        To: Emily Lee- Accounting (emily.lee@example.com)
        Reply-To: (tonyjacksoncfo@webmail.example)
        Subject: Request

        Emily,
        I’ve got something important I need you to work on promptly. Over the next few days we will be completing an acquisition I have been working on for the last couple of months. We are required to make a deposit payment ASAP please. It’s important you understand this acquisition needs to remain private. I will brief you more about this later. What details will be needed to process the payment?

        Regards,
        Tony Jackson
        CFO
        (212) 555 0235
        Sent from iphone

        Notice that unlike traditional phishing emails, there are few red flags in this message. It looks pretty authentic. Unless Emily (or her IT team) tells her email client to show the “reply-to” address, she will likely never see that the message was not truly sent from her CFO. Additionally, if Emily rarely gets messages directly from an executive, she could be really intimidated.

        Here are 10 suggestions from Motorola Solutions Managed Security Services for preventing and detecting B.E.C. phishing:

        1. Train and encourage your employees to report suspicious messages to somebody who can review them and respond in a timely manner.
        2. Establish a social media policy for employees, and monitor what organizational data is publicly posted on the internet.
        3. Ensure that employees in sensitive positions are aware of B.E.C. campaigns.
        4. Have your IT department label all emails which come from outside your organization as “EXTERNAL”. Most mail servers support this, and the label can be added to the subject line or message body.
        5. Have your IT department deploy email digital signatures if possible.
        6. Ensure there is always a set, non-email procedure completed every time a large money or sensitive data transfer is completed.
        7. Have your IT department enable two-factor authentication to protect web mail accounts.
        8. If possible, have your IT department quarantine all emails which spoof your domain name.
        9. Use humans and technical controls to monitor for unusual emails (does your U.S.-based executive ever close a message “Regards”? Does he or she send emails to Finance at 2AM?) B.E.C. emails are more sophisticated than an average phish, so small anomalies can be important to notice.
        10. Use a brand monitoring service to alert your IT team if look-alike or “typo squatting” domains close to your organization’s are registered.


        The FBI advises the following if you believe your organization has been the victim of a B.E.C. scam:

        • Contact your financial institution immediately
        • Request that they contact the financial institution where the fraudulent transfer was sent
        • File a complaint—regardless of dollar loss—with the IC3.

        Lesley Carhart is Incident Response Lead, Security Operations Center at Motorola Solutions

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