2016 year in review: Motorola’s resurgence

Motorola have always been a brand we have looked up to, in our eyes they produce some of the best equipment on the market, sometimes they don’t sell as well as they should do. The business has been split and sold several times over the last year, but they are now on the rise and business is going well, as this article shows.

2014 saw Motorola’s ownership change hands from the west to the east. Lenovo acquired the company off Google on January 29, 2014 but it was not until 2016 that the fruits of Lenovo’s ownership started showing up.

The year started off with Motorola in a slightly vulnerable position with the relative failure of both the Moto X Style and Moto X Play. The Moto X line was fading and even the third generation Moto G had failed to impress.

These first devices under Lenovo’s ownership however, had been in the pipeline much before Lenovo took over and it was not until the Moto G4 and the Moto Z in 2016 that we saw what the new Motorola could deliver.

Moto G4 series: Ushering in a renaissance

The Moto G4 Plus was one of two variants of Motorola’s fourth generation Moto G, the firm’s bestselling smartphone range ever. This was the first time Motorola (now owned by Lenovo) launched more than one smartphone in the G range, with the Moto G4, Moto G4 Play and the Moto G4 Plus.

At a starting price of Rs 13,499, the Moto G4 Plus made for a compelling buy, and continued the G series of smartphone’s tradition of providing good smartphones at an affordable price. With a superb display, a fast and accurate fingerprint sensor, stock android and great performance, it ticked all the right boxes for a mid-range device.

In comparison to the regular Moto G4, the Moto G4 Plus featured an improved 16MP rear camera with phase auto detection, laser autofocus and a dual LED Flash and also came with a fingerprint sensor.

Motorola also released the Moto G4 Play which was the cheapest device in the G4 lineup at Rs 8,999 and packed a 5-inch 720p HD display, a 2,800mAh battery, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable internal storage.

The Moto G4, G4 Plus and G4 Play were critical as well as commercial hits and announced the comeback of Motorola in the smartphone game. The Plus in particular, presented a fantastic blend of features and affordability that saw it shoot up the sales charts.

Moto E3 Power: The odd one out

Lenovo also unveiled the Moto E3 Power in India which was a more powerful version of the third generation Moto E3. In a surprising move, the company decided against releasing the regular Moto E3 in the country.

The Moto E3 Power came with a massive 3,500mAh battery, 2GB of RAM, a 5-inch HD display and nearly stock Android Marshmallow.

At Rs 7,999, the Moto E3 Power found itself in as odd situation with the much more capable Moto G4 Play priced at just a thousand rupees more.

The attack of the Modular smartphones

Motorola then cemented its position in the smartphone world by releasing the striking Moto Z, the company’s most exciting smartphone in years.

The Moto Z came packed to the gills with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC, 4GB of RAM, a 13MP rear camera with OIS and 4K recording, a 5MP front shooter and a 2,600mAh battery along with TurboCharging support.

The ‘World’s thinnest premium smartphone’ came with a 5.5-inch QuadHD display protected by corning gorilla glass, a sleek and suave metal/glass body and unlimited feature expansion through the Moto Mods.

The distinguishing feature of the Moto Z were the ‘Moto Mods’: snap-on accessories that could be attached to the back of smartphone through magnets in order to increase its functionality.

Alongside the flagship Moto Z, Motorola also launched its younger brother, the Moto Z Play which came with a 5.5-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display, a downgrade from the QuadHD resolution of the Moto Z and the largest battery Motorola ever put in any of its smartphones. Just like the Moto Z, the Moto Z Play also supported the innovative Moto Mods.

The Moto Z and Moto Z Play helped bring Motorola back into the spotlight. The Moto Mods in particular were greatly appreciated and were hailed as one of the best implementations of the modular concept in recent years.

The stunning all-metal Moto M

The end of the year saw Motorola launching the stunning all-metal Moto M in India.

The Moto M’s full metal unibody design with antenna bands on the top and bottom edges was a complete departure from the design language of previous Motorola smartphones and was again an indication of the company’s new ownership.

This is what Sudhin Mathur, Executive Director, Lenovo Mobile Business Group, India had to say about the company’s performance in 2016:

“The Moto G franchise continues to be much loved and we witnessed an extremely high conversion from early Moto G buyers opting for the new Moto G 4th Generation. But, our real game changer and technological breakthrough was the Moto Z and Moto Mods series that redefined the evolutionary progress of the smartphone industry. The Moto Z and Moto Mods system is designed to provide connected, intelligent and mobile consumer experiences in a seamless fashion and the power to transform your (Moto Z) smartphone in a snap is revolutionary. We started with four Moto Mods and are continuously working with multiple partners to develop more Mods for smartphone users in 2017.”

What’s next?

2017 will be a crucial year for the company as it prepares to build upon the success of the G4 and Z range. It is pivotal for Lenovo to make sure that it retains the essence of the company while at the same time push new boundaries of design and innovation.

Occupational health effects linked to terrestrial trunked radios (TETRA)

Tetra has been the main stay for the Emergency services for over 10 years and it has been a used by other industries for longer than that. There has been plenty of time for health concerns to be brought up and as the technology is similar to mobile phone, which has been around for 20+ years and radio communications (walkie talkies) for much longer than that, and no really hard evidence has ever been brought that either of these two cause health issues, this article probes the possibilities of TETRA causing health concerns, see what they uncover below.

The use of terrestrial trunked radios (TETRAs) has raised concerns about health and sickness absence. Jackie Cinnamond looks at the evidence for a precautionary approach.

The British police and the other emergency services use a communication system involving technology called TETRA (terrestrial trunked radio), which is halfway between a mobile phone system and a walkie-talkie.

At one NHS trust during the autumn of 2013, it was noted that there seemed to be a correlation between increasing levels of sickness absence in ambulance staff and the recent introduction of TETRAs.

This assumed association was based upon clinical presentations of cases being seen in occupational health practice involving ambulance service employees, who maintain that their portable radio handsets are causing them to experience adverse health effects.

TETRA is the leading public safety radio communications system worldwide, and serves to enhance the function of almost 500,000 police, ambulance and firefighting employees (Airwave solutions, 2012; Motorola, 2007).

The Government commissioned TETRA in 2005 at a cost of £3 billion. It did so in response to concerns raised by the Police Federation regarding the use of a two-way radio communication system and its link with breast cancer in female operatives (Police Federation News, 2005).

The use of TETRAs was contentious due to similar health fears raised by the Health Protection Agency and its working group of 2001. Consequently, the Airwave Health Monitoring Study started in 2009 and the findings are due to be released in 2018 (Imperial College London, 2009). This long-term, observational study is investigating health outcomes of TETRA users within the police force.

Initial concerns were raised by Lancashire police after it was introduced, when almost 200 police officers began to experience symptoms of nausea, malaise, head pain, insomnia, skin complaints and two cases of oesophageal cancer (Farrell, 2002; Police Federation News, 2005).

Comparably, these symptoms correlate with reports of symptoms experienced by the ambulance employees within this trust, soon after the TETRA system was purchased, and which could be associated with electromagnetic radiation emitted by this technology.

Technical issues related to TETRAs

Radiation is a source of energy produced during atom separation. The process of ionisation results in the addition, or removal, of one or more electrons from an atom or molecule.

The force of the electromagnetic energy waves released during separation are categorised as either non-ionising, where the energy released is insufficient to ionise matter, or ionising radiation, where adequate energy is present to ionise matter (Tillman, 2007).

Ionising radiation is associated with the X-ray process; and non-ionising radiation is associated with the transmission and receipt of mobile telecommunication signals (IEGMP, 2000).

Electromagnetic fields are quantified by their wavelength, and the frequency at which the wave pulsates (Sanchez, 2006).

The wavelength frequencies are expressed in Hertz (Hz) and oscillate within a spectrum where one Hz is one oscillation per second, and one kiloHertz (kHz) is 1,000 Hz. Radios using 16-17Hz should be avoided as these frequencies are known to adversely affect health. TETRAs operate at a frequency of 17.6Hz

Potential implications for health

Mobile telecommunication devices are a cause of contention. The health effects associated with their use remain unproven (Kundi, 2009). Human stem cells are more susceptible to electromagnetic fields compared with differentiated human primary cells. The constraining influences of electromagnetic fields upon DNA regeneration in human stem cells could manifest itself in the development of abnormalities within the DNA replication process. Consequently, the initiation of cancer may result (Valberg et al, 2007).

With an estimated 500,000 emergency service employees currently using TETRA systems, if a causal relationship between the use of portable radio handsets and cancer development was subsequently established, then this could present a significant OH and public health challenge (Health Professionals Council, 2011; Dhani, 2012).

Current research

The incessant proliferation of wireless telecommunications technology use has intensified public fears and generated international debate regarding the chances of cancer developing as a direct consequence of exposure to electromagnetic fields emitted from devices such as mobile phones (Kundi, 2009).

Research findings accumulated over the past decade suggest a causal relationship between electromagnetic exposure through the use of wireless telecommunication systems and cancer development (Levis et al, 2011). Conflictingly, current research results conclude that there is insufficient evidence, or none at all, to suggest that acceptable electromagnetic frequencies emitted through mobile phone use can cause adverse health conditions or cancer (Kundi, 2009).

However, the majority of current research studies are sponsored by the telecommunication industry and, therefore, findings tend to significantly underestimate cancer risk. The overall accumulation of research findings, regardless of study design imperfections and financial bias, leans towards the opinion that there is an increased likelihood of a causal relationship between mobile phone use and cancer (Kundi, 2009; Levis et al, 2011).

Legislation related to TETRAs

Although most technology poses some level of risk to human health, such threats must be measured precisely and dependably (Levis et al, 2011). Presently, two international organisations – the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) – have produced guidelines for limiting exposure to electromagnetic fields within the UK and the European Union (EU).

The ICNIRP (1998) recommendations have been integrated into the European Council Recommendations (1999) and have subsequently been incorporated into statute in Germany (WHO, 2011).

Limits for human exposure to electromagnetic fields have been set accordingly by the ICNIRP and the NRPB (1993) at between 10 and 300 GHz. However, the ICNIRP guidelines have established an upper limit for occupational exposure that is five times higher in employees than it is in the general public (IEGMP, 2000). The exposure limit values are referred to as “basic restrictions” and are based upon specific absorption rate (SAR), which equates to the rate at which the body absorbs energy in relation to each unit of body tissue (WHO, 2011).

Precautionary principles for TETRA use

In the absence of accurate guidance and methods for measuring exposure levels, the robust research evidence that establishes a causal link between electromagnetic exposure and cancer should be acknowledged and precautionary principles implemented (Hardell et al, 2005).

Precautionary principles with regard to electromagnetic radiation are defined by Valberg et al (2007) as implementing a safety-conscious approach prior to a significant causal link between electromagnetic fields and cancer development being established. The idea behind introducing precautionary principles is to try to reduce the degree of public concern regarding the potential health implications of exposure to electromagnetic fields (Wiedeman and Schutz, 2005).

However, the implementation of precautionary principles would be subjected to a cost-benefit analysis and, therefore, would be measured against what the populace deems financially equivalent to the cost of similar risks to society (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, 2001).

Furthermore, their implementation may adversely increase the publics perception of risk and induce a psychosomatic-related development of adverse health problems and proceed to over burden already stretched resources unnecessarily.

However, the Bioinitiative Working Group (2012) contends that the public health approach to addressing exposure to electromagnetic fields should be viewed in the same regard as passive smoking and established on the current scientific evidence accessible.

Implications for OH

Despite the health risks associated with electromagnetic field exposure, the National Policing Improvement Agency continues to emphasise to its employees that the only adverse health effects of electromagnetic fields are established through tissue heating at significant levels.

It also discredited the accounts of the symptoms experienced by employees as psychosomatic conditions (Farrell, 2002; Police Federation News, 2005).

However, Kundi (2009) affirms that the carcinogenic effects of electromagnetic fields over a prolonged latency period are equivalent to the same intensities for smoking-related cancers. Furthermore, the latency period for cancer development is estimated to be 10-30 years. This raises concerns regarding the increased age of retirement, because occupational health departments could potentially have to adapt to accommodate older workers who have been subjected to long latency periods of electromagnetic exposure and its associated health conditions.

The Global Occupational Health Network (2006) advocates that staff undertaking occupational roles with a potential carcinogenic risk should be properly educated and instructed about the appropriate precautionary measures for working with carcinogens, in accordance with health and safety protocols.

The duty of care under s.2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act (1974) requires employers to implement what is reasonably practicable to safeguard the health and safety of their employees through the establishment of safe systems of work, and to ensure that staff are adequately informed regarding any potential hazards.

The Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones maintains that a precautionary approach to the use of mobile phones be adopted until more detailed and scientifically robust information on any potential health effects becomes apparent.

Conclusion

Telecommunication technology will continue to evolve and may be associated with future health risks. In the absence of any substantial research evidence to conclusively prove that exposure to electromagnetic fields does not pose a risk to health, precautionary measures should be implemented.

The emphasis of these measures should include policy changes that keeps pace with technological developments. This goes hand in hand with evidence-based practice and processes that educate employers and employees, aimed at minimising the potential health risks associated from prolonged electromagnetic field exposure. The findings of the airwave health monitoring study are eagerly awaited.

NFL investigating Giants for using two-way radio during game against Cowboys

Apparently using a two way radio during an American football game is frowned upon over in the good old US of A, This article is about a game between the Giants and the Cowboys. During a Game the coaching staff and Quarterback are not allowed to communicate if there is 15 seconds or less on the clock, this rule might have been broken with the use of a walkie talkie.

The NFL is investigating the Giants’ potentially rule-breaking use of a two-way radio during the team’s recent 10-7 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

The use of a two-way radio by a coach during a game is strictly against league rules, according to ESPN.

In the fourth quarter of the Cowboys game, Giants head coach Ben McAdoo was spotted using a walkie-talkie to communicate play calls with Eli Manning after his headset malfunctioned.

In the fourth quarter of the game, Giants head coach Ben McAdoo was spotted using a walkie-talkie to communicate play calls with Eli Manning after his headset malfunctioned.

The Cowboys issued a formal complaint to the league over the radio use, but the NFL’s investigation was already underway by the time Dallas contacted them.

The NFL has a rule against coaches using two-way handheld radios because the league cannot control when both parties are communicating.

A coach using a walkie-talkie makes it harder for the NFL to monitor a league rule that states communication from the sideline to the quarterback must end when 15 seconds are left on the play clock.

With headsets, the NFL has the power to shut off communication at will with a “cutoff switch operator,” ESPN reported.

The Giants had no comment when reached Thursday night.

McAdoo used the walkie talkie in question, however, for about four or five plays on the Giants’ fourth-quarter drive that ended in an Eli Manning interception on a pass intended for Victor Cruz.

McAdoo’s normal equipment malfunctioned and as the Giants worked to fix it, the coach was handed the walkie talkie temporarily because its signal was reaching Manning’s helmet.

As the Giants worked to correct McAdoo’s equipment, Odell Beckham Jr. could be seen running to the sideline to bring plays back to the huddle and Manning was heading over to the sideline, as well.

There is no evidence in reviewing the game film that demonstrates McAdoo was on the walkie talkie for longer than the allowed 15 seconds of communication with his quarterback.

There is also, of course, no evidence that the Giants gained any advantage even if he was. The drive ended in a turnover and the Giants’ offense stunk most of the night.