This is part four of a multi-part blog series.
If somebody asked you where the photo above was taken, how would you figure it out? Maybe you would make an educated guess. The building reads, "Motorola Solutions", so it probably belongs to our company. The weather looks temperate; it's not in the desert. There aren't any immediately surrounding structures, so it's likely not in the middle of a city. Given these facts, and using photos and maps on the internet, you could probably figure out eventually that the building is Motorola Solutions headquarters, in Schaumburg, Illinois.
Now, what if you were asked to figure out where the next picture was taken?
Maybe you could deduce something about the flower, but it's impossible to say exactly where the photo was taken just by looking at it. What if you also wanted to know whose cameras took the photos, and at what time?
The answers lie in something called "exchangeable image file format" (EXIF). EXIF metadata is hidden in many common picture formats. It includes information about the camera model used and its settings, such as aperture, time, and resolution. EXIF data may also note if a photo was edited. Although that might not mean much to us, it's useful information for professional photographers – EXIF was developed in the 1990s to help them. It is now an industry standard, used in almost all digital cameras (including mobile phones).
Today, EXIF contains information far beyond camera settings. Most smartphones provide GPS, and can add latitude and longitude information to the photos they take (known as "geotagging"). Geotagging is intended to aid the photographer and the applications and websites he or she sends pictures to. Phones also note information about themselves, such as model, manufacturer, operating system, and serial number.
Let's have a look at some of the EXIF information hidden inside our picture of flowers:
We now know the picture was taken by an iPhone at 42 3' 55.09" N, 88 2' 59.21" W, on 9/23/13. Google Maps shows us where the photo was taken - also Motorola Solutions, Schaumburg.
Obviously, this is a big security concern. We wouldn't publicly post where our kids go to school, where a military unit is deployed, or where we live or are working on a confidential project. So why do we continue to let our cameras do it for us? Not only do we know the when and where these photos were taken, but we know which phone the photographer was using. From a hacking perspective, Jane Hacker now knows to send the owner malware for iPhone, not Android.
Let's have a closer look at some of the EXIF metadata in our picture of the building:
So, this photo was taken at 42 3' 46.75" N, 88 2' 56.47" W using a Motorola XT907. A quick Google search shows us XT907 means a Droid RAZR M. Again, the GPS position is easily translated into a street address. That was easier than our detective work earlier!
Fortunately, as awareness of the risks of location data in photos increases, providers are doing more to prevent users from accidentally exposing it. Instagram and Facebook remove EXIF data from uploaded photos. However, many other popular photo sharing and storage services don't, because photographers still use the information.
Next time you post a photo, consider what else you're posting. Could including the location, time, or camera impact your security, or that of your organization or family? There's rarely reason to leave geotagging enabled. It provides far too much private information to anyone who sees the photo.
Instructions for disabling geotagging on Android devices can be found here. For Apple devices, they can be found here, and for Blackberry, here. For existing photos, Windows 7 and above provide a menu option to remove EXIF metadata from photos.
Lesley Carhart is a Senior Information Security Specialist in the Motorola Solutions Security Operations Center. She has 13 years of experience in information technology, including computer networking and tactical communications. For the past five years, she has focused on security, specializing in digital forensics.
Read past blogs by Lesley Carhart here:
We all have people who are key influencers in our lives. Maybe an inspiring teacher from college years, or a visionary leader – even a loved one who makes you a better person. My list includes all of the above, but also Starsky and Hutch, Dukes of Hazzard, Knight Rider, and Magnum PI.
You see, it wasn’t the TV characters as such – it was the cars they drove. Even before I took my first driving lesson, I knew that my love of cars would stay with me forever. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I have a crystal clear memory of my first car – a black and gold Mini 1275GT. My motoring education accelerated quickly via a Renault 5 GT Turbo and a Honda CRX – every step involving an unashamed calculation of how much performance I could get for my limited budget. All other considerations such as economy or comfort went out of the window.
But when I entered the corporate working world, my focus shifted. Brands became more important to me. When my beautiful children were added into the equation, reality sank in. It was time to buy a car that reflected my stage in life, something solid, dependable, safe and practical. So I conducted hours of research online, pored over endless car magazines, and pivot-tabled all the stats until I reached my final decision.
I'd dealt with car salespeople before, I knew how to handle them, and I was absolutely confident that I would not be swayed. But before I could stop myself, I was working my way through the optional extras list like a kid in a sweet shop and I'd ordered a car with more technology than NASA.
The first few months of ownership were an absolute joy. But it wasn't long until the car became a beautiful, high-maintenance liability. It was almost as if all of those extras I'd chosen had been programmed to self-destruct in succession. And the ironic thing was that I'd not even used some of the extras that I'd convinced myself I couldn't live without.
With the warranty end date in sight, I realised that things weren't going to get any better and I'd been a fool. I'd lost focus, and I'd been seduced. It was about time that I woke up and faced facts.
So with my new choice of car, I've taken a different tack and focused purely on the things that are really important to me. I'm not ashamed to say it, but long-term economy is now my number one – but it's combined with a brand that has a reputation for reliability and specific extras that make my life easier. I've now opted for a car that “just works” for me. It's got everything I need, the dashboard and controls are intuitively designed, it's economical yet has hidden power to get me out of trouble if necessary.
Just like with cars, the total cost of ownership for a mobile computer is so much more than the initial purchase cost. It's about the total ownership experience. This couldn't be more relevant than when you consider the comparison of consumer mobile smartphones or tablets vs. ruggedized, enterprise-grade handheld devices.
Gartner's "Total Cost of Ownership of Mobile Devices: 2012 Update" presents some compelling evidence in terms of maintenance cost:
But it's not just about the obvious costs. Gartner also points out that users of ruggedized devices depend more heavily on their equipment to support their day-to-day tasks.
The facts speak for themselves – the use of ruggedized devices in field, warehouse, or factory environments will result in reduced downtime, longer service life, and improved productivity.
Find out more by downloading the complete Gartner Report "Total Cost of Ownership of Mobile Devices: 2012 Update."
I'd like to hear about your experiences of consumer mobile devices – in any working environment, including on the road. Please leave your comment and let's start a conversation.
Stephen Northcott is Senior Marketing Manager for EA at Motorola Solutions.
Today's postal and courier companies are facing the challenge of the connected consumer – where the demand requires real-time item visibility for same-day delivery. Why is this change occurring? A big reason is because of "Omnichannel Fulfillment," or the increase in consumers being able to buy from any device or location they please, be it from a computer at home, a retail store, or a mobile phone.
This increase in order activity is forcing postal and courier companies to find new ways to meet immediate shipping demands while also trying to increase revenues and compete with other package delivery companies. As the percentage of online sales increases, so do the choices of delivery. Around the globe, postal and courier operations are gearing up for same-day deliveries for everything from groceries to flat-screen televisions. Additionally, the increase in online fashion purchasing (clothing, accessories, etc.) has created another industry in itself: Reverse Logistics. Reverse logistics is the process of sending back anything you don't want to the original vendor or manufacturer.
A few more items on the real-time delivery "To Do" list include:
For a real-life example, take a look at how Dick's Sporting Goods is leveraging Omnichannel fulfillment.
I will be covering these topics in my presentation at POST-EXPO, October 1, 2013. Register today for "Energise Omnichannel Same-Day Delivery," and let's discuss ways your company is tackling this trend. I look forward to seeing you.
Mike Maris is Vertical Lead for Transportation, Distribution & Logistics for Motorola Solutions, Inc. Contact him with any questions at Mike.Maris@motorolasolutions.com.
Read other blogs by Mike Maris here, and learn more about Motorola's transportation and logistics solutions here. Click here to learn more about how postal and courier companies can turn their company's goals into an actionable plan.
I spend a lot of time talking to customers about their communication "need to haves," and "want to haves." What do they need? They need instant two-way radio communications, with ultra-reliable service to support their business. What do they want? While every business has its own specific communication requirements, some common themes are beginning to emerge.
More reach. When I speak with owners of manufacturing companies, they tell me they need to stay in touch with the business from wherever they are. For example, they often need to complete complex customer orders even while they're away from the office. At the moment they have to rely on phone calls – but would much prefer the immediacy of push-to-talk communications.
More choice. School administrators often ask for a way to extend the reliability and security of their radio networks – particularly to staff who don't like to carry a radio as well as a cellphone. Ideally, they want the capability to connect radio users with cellphone users. Then teachers, parent volunteers and bus drivers could stay connected during special events: school field trips, graduation ceremonies and so on.
More flexibility. Our customers need options. They need the flexibility to connect and coordinate with a vast team of people, even if their businesses don't actually own a MOTOTRBO™ network. Thousands of employees connect today using one of the MOTOTRBO commercial operators, where they get service with a monthly subscription. They would like to increase this flexibility so they can react faster to their markets.
Push-to-Talk over Cellular is tempting – but it's far from a perfect solution, as it gives away control of core business communications to a cellular operator. The operator may not have good coverage; they can increase your pricing at any time; they may drop your call during busy periods – they may even drop you altogether.
Businesses still need to know that their core communication requirements are under their control, but they also need to do more with their business communication system. That's why I recommend a blended solution to my customers: a robust two-way radio system like MOTOTRBO to carry core business-critical communications – extended and enhanced with a Push-To-Talk over Cellular solution like MOTOTRBO Anywhere.
Randy Helm of Director of North American Product Management, Professional, Commercial and Business Radio.
Learn more about MOTOTRBO Anywhere here.
In the 21st century supermarket, there is a critical need for "Proper Distribution," which means having the right amount of the right product, in the right place at the right time. And "right" is defined by when a shopper walks down that grocery aisle looking for that product. One indication of failure is "Out-of-Stocks" (OOS), where there is no product in the slot at the moment when a consumer reaches for it. A 2008 GMA study showed that the OOS condition costs manufacturers approximately $1 billion annually in North America alone.
Consumer Packaged Goods companies have been working on this issue a long time and are now leveraging video technology solutions. Visual Product Analytics for CPG is a solution that captures a timely image of actual shelf space, then feeds that image into an analytics engine where the image is analyzed and individual products are identified.
With Visual Product Analytics, Aberdeen Group has reported that CPG companies:
For a real life example, take a look at what Tesco does in Bringing Shelves to Virtual Reality.
Video Product Analytics can do other things aside from driving these percentage improvements. For example, the collection of images can be compared to the ideal look for the shelf; that is, the reality versus the ideal. Also, products displayed improperly can be isolated and identified, and competitor creep can be discovered. Misplaced products are clearly shown, the very OOS condition costing manufacturers and retailers so much money. Even a condition called "at risk", where only one item may be left on the shelf, can be isolated. All of these conditions can then be corrected with alerts that go to the right manufacturers' sales men, DSD reps, and management alike. That alert can also go to the store's department managers and other store personnel.
And now, the CPG manufacturer is closer to product data than ever before, and knows the store environment and the actual shelf in this virtual reality.
Isolating and communicating problems so people can act and more products are sold is the promise of how the Supermarket of the Future will bridge the gap from the shelf to the shopper.
Jim Hilton is Senior Director, Global Manufacturing Principal, for Motorola Solutions.
Please visit us online for more information on Retail solutions from Motorola Solutions.