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      • How Mobile Technology is Helping the Food Industry Keep Our Food Safe

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:05 PM by Motorola Solutions
        • Hospitality

        Thanks to mobile technology, monitoring food preparation to ensure food safety is now easier than ever before.

        It seems like every time I turn around, there’s a new story questioning the safety of our food supply. And that concerns me. Because I want to know that the food my family is eating is safe. I’m not alone. Today, 40% consumers report they are “extremely concerned” about food safety in restaurants – and that number has been growing each year, according to a survey by the research consultancy Technomic.

        Of course, I’m less worried than most consumers. Because I know there’s a group of food suppliers, distributors and retailers dedicated to keeping our food supply safe. And that’s why I’m so excited about the role mobile technology is playing in keeping food safe.

        Mobile technology makes it easy to follow Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) food safety standard guidelines because it eliminates the paper from the compliance process.

        With mobile technology, restaurants can now track and control every single aspect that affects food safety using wireless devices armed with temperature probes and a sophisticated yet easy-to-use software system.

        These mobile devices let you electronically monitor every aspect of food preparation that affects the safety of our food – from hand-washing to checking cooking and storage temperatures – in real-time. They even alert kitchen staff when a critical measurement hasn’t been recorded. Food stays safe throughout the entire preparation process from the loading dock to when it arrives on the plate.

        Plus, the mobile devices automatically save data they collect for future analysis. This means that restaurant chains can upload data from one or hundreds of restaurants to analyze the food preparation process online. And if something does go wrong, it can be corrected immediately.

        While hundreds of restaurants are already using mobile technology to improve the safety of the food they serve every day, there are many that can benefit by automating paper based manual processes.

        I’m guessing you wouldn’t get on an aircraft if a pilot hadn’t completed his FAA-approved flight safety checklist. So why would you eat the food on your plate if a restaurant hasn’t completed its food-safety checklist?


        September is Food Safety Month, but FMI, the Food Marketing Institute, knows that food safety experts live food safety month 365 days a year.
        They are sharing resources to help Food Safety professionals. Read a very informative blog by FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin called "From Silence to Celebration; Creating Chatter about Food Safety."

        Motorola Solutions is excited to be working with innovative companies that are taking solid steps to make our food supply safer. And we’re proud to supply the mobile technology that helps them accomplish this life-saving goal. To learn more visit or


        Tom Moore is an industry director for the retail and hospitality industry.

      • Is Your School Safe? Have a Plan to Be Prepared

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:05 PM by Michael Coleman
        • Education

        Welcome guest blogger Mike Coleman, Vice President of SchoolSAFE Communications, a Motorola Solutions partner.

        Parents have purchased school supplies for their children, teachers have decorated their classrooms, and backpacks are filling up with homework. With the school year now in full swing, school safety is top of mind for school administrators, parents, and staff. With 74 incidents involving guns in schools since the Sandy Hook tragedy of December 2012, school officials need to be asking themselves, do we have a safety plan?

        Safety plans go by many names and formats, but no matter what they’re called, it is imperative that every school district and campus has a plan that is “all-hazard” based. Not having a safety plan and not practicing the safety plan is not a good plan. Many moving parts can impact plans and their processes. Each aspect of the plan needs to be scrutinized for being up to date and whether it addresses the needs of staff, students, and their parents. If plans have emergency contact lists, the lists need to be reviewed and the contact information verified. Staff turnover is a constant within schools and up to date lists need to be a part of the human resources process. If no safety plan currently exists, it would be helpful to define a standardized response protocol that is easy to remember and implement during stressful situations.

        Another key element of any plan is all-hazards safety training for staff and the school safety team. Teachers are busy preparing for students to arrive every morning, and should also be ready to handle a crisis in accordance with the plan. It is important to include substitute teachers in school safety briefings. A school that does not have a set pool of substitute teachers should have their standardized response protocols on one side of a safety plan document and the critical elements of the plan on the other. The document should be distributed to every substitute when they report to work.

        Emergency procedure training is routinely a very short part of any district agenda for staff gatherings. Since the school staff will be tasked to act as a “first responder” until the professional response agencies arrive, staff members need to ready. Training needs to be more than a “worksheet handed out in class” to review and find the answers. It would be ideal for school administrators to take a few minutes at each leadership meeting and staff meeting to discuss how staff will need to respond to the “emergency event of the day.” This can be accomplished by simply taking a look at current events from other schools for the discussion as well as partnering with local public safety agencies to participate in table tops or functional exercises Just like students, educators and administrators have their own learning style. It is important to make the training useful and teach a decision making process as opposed to a checklist process.


        When finished reviewing the safety plan, it’s time to inventory and test the safety equipment. Most schools update their “go bag” shortly after school starts. Verify the reliability of all parts of the schools communication system from the radios to the intercom system to school alerting systems. Determine how you will interface with the school district and public safety when a crisis hits. Mobile phone communications are almost always the first to fail during a crisis due to student, staff, and parents overloading with voice and data. Once media and public safety arrive at the school, the mobile phone system is bogged down even further. Therefore, systems should be placed to provide fast and direct communications with public safety right from the location of the emergency. Radio communications systems provide more accurate and timely updates during the response to and management of an incident, which in turn help the school, district, and community.

        School readiness does not have to be time consuming and complicated. By investing time in creating and reviewing a plan that is coupled with equipping and training staff to implement the plan, schools will be ready to respond in the most efficient and effective manner possible in times of emergency.

        Mike Coleman is Vice President, SchoolSAFE Communications.
        Motorola Solutions and SchoolSAFE Communications will be at the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) Annual Meeting and Expo from September 19 to 22, 2014 featuring Motorola’s two-way radios and SchoolSAFE communication solutions.

      • Calling All Hack Masters: Test Your Skills at #AppForum2014 Hackathon

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:05 PM by Motorola Solutions

        Military academies use strenuous tasks as part of a program of rigorous physical training and initiation to "build character". App Developers give it up at Hackathon events—public challenges in which participants impress their peers with feats of coding skill and daring by creating amazing applications.

        Have you ever been to a Hackathon? If you touch the IT world in any way (and who doesn’t these days) it’s the kind of thing that you need to see at least once in your life. Challengers know each other by name or reputation; they gear up in advance to ensure they’re on top of their creative game, and they look forward to their opponents’ peak performance with a sharply honed competitive edge.

        Developers come to a Hackathon to strut their stuff. It’s expected behavior. But this is show-and-tell of a very different order, where developers put their new ideas, true skills, and thought processes on display. They dig deep to leverage all of their skills to bring an application forward, and what they end up creating often bends the mind. That’s because a Hackathon is all about the experience of being able to freely share new ideas without judgment. That’s part of the expected behavior too. If you’re coming to Schaumburg, Illinois, for AppForum2014, you’re in luck, because you’ll finally get the opportunity to participate in a Hackathon firsthand.

        At the AppForum2014 Hackathon, Motorola Solutions is inviting developers to use their coding skills to create an enterprise-class business or consumer application. Participants will have access to an array of data sources: open, public, or private data sets that they can define in the cloud. They will also have a choice of using native language with our EMDK (that can enable features on Motorola Enterprise Mobile Computers) or using the RhoMobile Suite to create a cross-platform application that runs on any device. Participants may compete by themselves or in a group, but only five brains are allowed on a single team. Experts will be on hand to assist. And yes, there will be prizes. I’m talking about expensive prizes that are worthy of a serious competition. At the AppForum2014 Hackathon, the top 15 developers with the most points will claim their very own Elite Edition AR.Drone2.0. Watch this YouTube video to check out some shots of the drone in action.

        This 12-hour overnight collaborative shindig gets started at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 9, and rolls right on through to Wednesday, September 10 at 7 a.m. (Be sure to reserve your hotel room with this schedule in mind.) All challengers will then have 10 minutes between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to present their application to our panel of judges. The judges will score and vote on the most innovative application build for one—or more—of Motorola’s mobile computing devices in the target-market categories of Retail, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Education, Warehouse, Logistics, and Public Safety. Winners will be announced during the last general session of AppForum2014.

        If you’ve never been to a Hackathon, now is your chance. Even if you’re not the competitive type, come over just to hang out and watch. You can get a charge from the energy in the room while you watch genius at work. Sign up for AppForum2014 and the Hackathon today. Registrations are approaching capacity limits, so be sure to reserve your space without delay.


        Here's one of the types of drones we'll be awarding to 15 Hackathon winners at AppForum 2014, buzzing around the top of the Motorola Solutions corporate tower in Schaumburg, Illinois.

        Kevin Lollock is a North America Regional Product Manager for EMC Software and OS Platforms for Motorola Solutions.

      • Don't Let the 'WOW Factor' Overshadow Your Smartphone Security Needs

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:05 PM by Tom Mihm

        While this year’s edition of Black Hat, the annual hackers’ conclave that met recently in Las Vegas, was bigger and glitzier than ever, don’t get the impression that security has finally turned the corner and now is a real concern for commercial enterprise and original equipment manufacturer products, particularly smartphones.

        As usual, there was an abundant selection of security training classes for attendees at Black Hat, along with the traditional Capture the Flag contest. Numerous researchers from industry and academia lectured on and demonstrated the latest techniques for hacking everything from home Wi-Fi access points to national databases. Security product vendors had professional models, celebrities and high-tech toys to deliver the message: “We have the ultimate solution to your security needs.”

        Meanwhile, at the same conference, casually dressed, self-proclaimed experts and legitimate researchers presented an endless stream of hacks to defeat those “ultimate solutions.” That made me wonder: What’s really going on here? If so many companies have “the” answer,” why are there so many successful hacks and why do we keep hearing that the bad guys are winning?

        I think it’s because there’s a principle at work here that I call “the WOW factor.” Simply stated, the WOW factor wins out over security every time in the commercial world. Or to put it another way, commercial smartphone manufacturers will always give a higher priority to the user experience than security and commercial enterprise decision-makers will always give a higher priority to cost than security. It’s hard to disagree with that principle. WOW sells far more smartphones than security features, and it’s hard to show the benefit of something NOT happening in an enterprise compared to NOT spending.

        Clearly the WOW factor was the root cause of the latest Android vulnerability announced at Black Hat this year. In a highly publicized presentation, Blue Box Security described how one app can masquerade as another app by exploiting an Android vulnerability, which, by the way, is present in every version of (unpatched) OSAP Android.

        With a newly purchased smartphone, Blue Box demonstrated how malware can use this vulnerability to infect several applications at once without ever requesting user permissions. It occurs because the identity of the application is not properly verified by a cryptographic process even though Android is fully capable of checking an application’s identity credentials in this way.

        The cryptographic verification process takes more time and power to perform than what was actually implemented in Android, a simple string check. Processing time and power have the potential of degrading the user experience, thus degrading the WOW factor.

        During the past several years, Motorola Solutions has been developing the Assured Mobile Environment, known as AME. It’s a secure smartphone solution that’s capable of protecting classified information. AME incorporates a commercial off-the-shelf Android smartphone because it provides the compelling Android user experience.

        AME mitigates the risk of vulnerabilities by embedding the Android experience into a multilevel secure architecture. It uses not one but several layers of protection, including a separate hardware security module to segregate and protect critical security elements and processes.

        AME adds the security assurance that is needed to overcome the vulnerabilities introduced by the WOW factor, delivering a compelling user experience while meeting the special needs of government agencies, enterprise and security-conscious smartphone users. Here at Motorola Solutions, security isn’t an afterthought; it’s a stream of consciousness.

        Tom Mihm is the Chief Security Architect of the Motorola Solutions Secure Products Group.

        Learn more about the Assured Mobile Environment here, or watch the webinar now.