Let’s explore the three steps companies can take – with real-life examples – to be successful when industry shifts are taking place:
Critical to building a better future is having a deep understanding of your industry and anticipate the challenges that will impact your current and prospective customers. It is also important to know their aspirations and how they plan to grow their business.
At Motorola Solutions, we provide mission-critical communication solutions and services to public safety and commercial customers. In the mission-critical space, we are seeing a shift from real-time voice communications to a larger combination of mission-critical voice and data communications, which provides a foundation for mission-critical intelligence.
Mission-critical intelligence is about smarter use of technology and data to get the right information to the right person at the right time. For example, how can you keep traffic away from trouble spots such as a high-profile event, downed power lines from natural disasters or even potential crime areas? Another example is when social media is combined with a live camera view of an event and indicates that an incident is starting to escalate. The information can immediately be sent to inform and mobilize local response teams.
We’re looking at the revolutionary changes necessary to solve their toughest problems going forward.
The aspiration of our government customers is to build safer and smarter cities. In addition to police, fire and emergency medical services, this includes public transportation, electricity, clean drinking water, safe parks and more.
Let’s first look at the needs of police officers. We focus on more than perfecting the solutions they use today. We’re looking at the revolutionary changes necessary to solve their toughest problems going forward. For example, we are working with the latest in wearable technology that will help provide a police officer with important context by collecting and communicating mission-critical information in continuous and automated ways. Smart glasses, paired with a radio or mission-critical handheld device, will provide officers with critical information, such as emergency alerts, photos of a suspect and text messages, in an unobtrusive, natural manner that won’t require them to look away from a suspect. Wearable cameras will be integrated with other technologies to help protect first responders and provide valuable documentation of operations. And deploying a weapon will cause an immediate automatic capture of an image or video, with information sent to dispatchers in real-time.
We’re also working on the data analytics front to turn a world of abundant data into actionable intelligence. To build a safer city, government agencies need to be able to capture, analyze and utilize all of the data that surrounds them. Rather than relying on paper reports and dispersed databases, real-time technology is helping law enforcement examine a wealth of integrated information with just a few clicks. Instead of spending days or weeks combing through files, police can instantly access the information they need.
They also expect to communicate more than ever with other agencies and through different forms of data. For example, 55 percent of agencies in the U.S. use mobile, in-vehicle camera systems. U.S. agencies are shifting from reviewing data after the fact, to using the information for real-time decision-making. New solutions will increasingly bring together information from different sources including computer aided dispatch (CAD), video, sensors, alarms and social media. Looking at the future, 72 percent of agencies said they will need to easily communicate with surrounding areas and federal agencies¹.
No single company will have all of the answers or capabilities needed to solve global, complex issues.
The complexity of today’s problems requires strong partnerships and collaboration between companies to a greater degree than ever before. No single company will have all of the answers or capabilities needed to solve these global, complex issues which require scale, depth and expertise. There are several ways to build and foster this type of innovation and join forces with partners who have the appropriate skill sets.
The first is to partner with your customers. Understanding their needs is vital to validate new ideas and gain subtle insights that can separate failures from runaway successes. It’s important to approach customers who can show you their core problems and give you valuable feedback throughout the creation process.
A second way to build external partnerships is via venture capital investments. Investments made by venture capitalists serve as a catalyst and strategic play for companies. Motorola Solutions Venture Capital invests in startups that have a common purpose and business alignment to our offering. For example, we invested in Recon Instruments, a well-known pioneer in the smart glasses market. Our customers need to have instant, hands-free access to situation-specific information, and that is enabled by Recon’s modular, ruggedized hardware, innovative user interface and flexible software.
Once you have a good understanding of your customers and their aspirations, and have cultivated strong external partnerships, it’s essential to build a strategic model for innovation. In order to build out an idea, these four steps are critical when innovative ideas come from different sources:
In doing so, companies have the opportunity to gain early insight from their customers and make changes early in the innovation process. This model is especially effective for software and data analytics. At Motorola Solutions, we have used this approach on a number of new programs, most recently with the development of our next generation police officer communications. This solution connects technology with an officer’s other equipment to create a timeline of events. For example, a body-worn video camera will begin recording automatically after specific actions, such as an officer pulling his gun out of the holster.
The accelerated rate of changes in technology and adoption in today’s fast-paced business environment make it essential to be ready to innovate and create solutions that keep customers on the leading edge. By understanding your customers and their aspirations, building external partnerships and establishing a strategic innovation model, your company and customers can be successful by staying ahead of market changes.
Learn more about the next generation police officer communications, fireground communications and emergency medical services communications.
Heidi Hattendorf is director of innovation development at Motorola Solutions. She heads an innovation program focused on identifying and creating new opportunities in adjacent markets, and technologies to drive growth. She has extensive telecommunication experience in areas including public safety, two-way radios, consumer mobile phones/devices, network solutions and applications. She has experience in the US and abroad, previously working in Europe for over 10 years.
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