Blog | March 22, 2017

New Developments From The Mobile World Congress

Source: Field Technologies Magazine

By Brian Albright, Field Technologies

Mobile World Congress

Analysts at VDC Research have posted their thoughts on the technology on view at the  2017 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this month.

As expected, 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) were a big focus, but business case justifications were scarce. According to VDC: “The net effect was a greater emphasis on mobile solutions and application opportunities. However, as a result of this transition, what was lacking was any meaningful ideas around business model innovation to deliver these solutions and the financial implications of building out these next generation networks.”

Other observations included:

  • Samsung did not have a new mobile phone release, but the company showed off its mobile worker focused Galaxy Book tablet.
  • Mobile security was top of mind, especially given the number of breaches and DOS attacks over the past several years involving mobile devices and IoT-connected products. VDC noted that Cog Systems was touting its Secured by D4 smartphone, an enterprise-grade phone that features enhanced storage encryption, an always-on VPN, and enterprise VPN management.

    According to VDC: “We view solutions like Cog’s as intriguing in enterprise deployment environments as the virtualization technologies used enable an organization to host their mobile apps in a data center and bring the ability to provide end users with personalized, remote access to their apps.”
  • Another notable release was Zimperium’s z9 detection engine which is augmented via machine learning. Prontoly also displayed its authentication solution, which enables any device to become an ultrasonic proximity sensor, which allows it to meet current 2FA industry standards.

Rugged Devices

While rugged devices are typically not a big focus of the event, Panasonic did use MWC as the official European launch of its CF-33 rugged notebook. Like the CF-20 it is a two-in-one device, and VDC says that the company is the only rugged vendor with this design option.

HP, while not known for its rugged devices, has released the HP Pro x2 612 G2, which meets MIL-STD 810G standards.

VDC also mentioned rugged smartphone vendors Kyocera and Sonim. “A key initiative for both in 2017/18 will be for Band 14 certified devices in support of FirstNet, the U.S. nationwide public safety network,” VDC says. “We expect the FirstNet network contract award to be announced over the next couple of weeks. Although there remain a lot of unanswered questions (in particular the impact of opt-outs), the build out schedule is expected to be fairly aggressive.”

Crosscall offers a 5-in. rugged smartphone called the Trekker-X3 that can withstand salt water and dust, and includes a number of different sensors.

Dell also unveiled industrial-grade IoT gateways for rugged environments, the Dell Edge Gateway 3000 Series.

Indoor Positioning/Location

There were also indoor positioning and location technology vendors at the show that use Bluetooth-based beacons. LE (low energy) technology (which is driven by Apple’s iBeacon and Google’s Eddystone initiatives) has emerged as a de facto standard/solution. Fathom Systems, a business unit of Rx Networks discussed its Fathom Hub, Bluetooth hub with six antennas that acts as a backhaul solution for beacon traffic. It enables accuracy down to 1 meter and is supported by a cloud-based management console.

Cisco, meanwhile, is leveraging its WiFi infrastructure in combination with virtual beacons as part of its Cisco CMX (Connected Mobile Experience) system. According to VDC: “The solution includes Cisco Beacon Point, which uses virtual Bluetooth Low Energy beacons for indoor location services. The solution consists of a single appliance that can generate up to eight virtual beacons, a cloud-based management dashboard, and SDK that uses the virtual beacons to determine location.”

Cisco also offers a Hyperlocatoin Solution and client-side application.