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IWCE's Urgent Communications Newsletter Archive

Newsletter Archive

Catch up on the latest tech, media, and telecoms news from across the critical communications community in our back issues of the Urgent Communications Today Newsletter. The Newsletter features articles, reports, webinars, videos, white papers and much more! 

IWCE's Urgent Communications is the official content partner of IWCE, the premier critical communications event in North America.

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March 19, 2020

Key public-safety groups seek consensus for next-gen 911 legislation. Representatives from 12 key public-safety organizations met last week in an effort to develop a consensus position about next-generation 911 (NG911) that would encourage Congress to provide federal funds supporting a transition from legacy systems to an IP-based 911 platform capable of supporting multimedia communications.

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March 17, 2020

2019 LMR licensing activity hits all-time low for public safety, with slight gain for enterprises. Public-safety land-mobile-radio (LMR) licensing activity hit a new all-time low level for the third consecutive year in 2019, while LMR licensing in the business-industrial sector saw a slight increase while hovering near all-time low levels, according to data in the FCC’s online Universal Licensing System (ULS) database.

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March 12, 2020

Ed Parkinson named as FirstNet Authority CEO. Ed Parkinson today was named by the FirstNet Authority Board as executive director—operationally, the chief executive officer (CEO)—for the FirstNet Authority, becoming the organization’s third full-time staff leader and its first in more than 17 months.

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March 10, 2020

Kymeta unveils antenna, plans to offer hybrid satellite-cell connectivity. Kymeta this week announced the commercial availability of its new u8 mobile antenna platform—a software-defined solution supporting satellite connections throughout the Ku-band and cellular LTE service—that lets the company offer an always-on hybrid connectivity bundle, starting at a price of $999 per month.

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March 5, 2020

Latest coverage figures, third-party data indicate AT&T narrowing 4G coverage, performance gaps with Verizon. Recent 4G LTE coverage figures from AT&T, Verizon and an independent third-party industry source reveal that Verizon holds about a 70,000-square-mile 4G coverage advantage nationally—a fraction of the 450,000-square-mile advantage touted by Verizon in communications to public safety for years, and as recently as last month.

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March 3, 2020

Axon says it will offer cloud-based CAD services later this year. Axon expects to complete the first live deployment of its cloud-based, computer-aided dispatch (CAD) service during the first half of this year—“displacing a major competitor” in the process—and plans to make its CAD offering generally available during the second half of this year, according to company executives.

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February 28, 2020

AT&T updates FirstNet numbers, says it has closed coverage gap with Verizon. FirstNet subscribers—more than 11,000 public-safety agencies representing more than 1.2 million connection—have access to an expanding AT&T LTE network that covers more than 2.61 million miles in the U.S., making the coverage difference between AT&T and Verizon “nearly imperceptible,” according to an AT&T executive.

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February 25, 2020

Real-Time Situational Awareness: Today’s Holy Grail. A major obstacle to achieving real-time situational awareness is the lack of data interoperability, which is not only a technical problem but also a people and process matter.

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February 20, 2020

Motorola Solutions seeks temporary restraining order blocking Hytera DMR. Motorola Solutions has asked a federal judge to block Hytera Communications from selling the bulk of its existing DMR product portfolio for two weeks while considering a permanent injunction—an action that a group of Hytera dealers characterized as “potentially catastrophic.”

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February 18, 2020

Motorola Solutions awarded $764 million in Hytera trade-secret theft case. A federal jury in Illinois today ruled unanimously that Hytera Communications stole land-mobile-radio (LMR) trade secrets and infringed upon copyrights owned by Motorola Solutions, awarding $764.6 million in damages to the Chicago-based, LMR-industry giant.

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February 13, 2020

Softil tech selected to develop MCPTT devices for South Korean rail line. Softil this week announced that its BEEHD technology has been selected to build communication devices that will leverage mission-critical-push-to-talk (MCPTT) and other mission-critical-communications (MCC or MCX) standards set by 3GPP for use by KORAIL, South Korea’s national railroad network.

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February 11, 2020

Vehicle routers serving as tip of the 5G spear for public safety. Super Bowl advertisements reveal the promise of 5G for public safety, but today's reality is very different, particularly for handheld devices. However, vehicle routers with external antennas can help first responders bridge the gap in the near term as mobile broadband technology transitions from 4G to 5G.

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February 6, 2020

Southern Linc turns to Ericsson for MCPTT with eMBMS, replacing Motorola Solutions WAVE 7000. Southern Linc—the southeast U.S. regional carrier that also provides communications for the Southern Company utility—is deploying Ericsson’s mission-critical-push-to-talk (MCPTT) solution with eMBMS broadcast capability that is scheduled to be used by utility workers by the end of the year, according to a Southern Linc official.

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February 4, 2020

Sonim CEO reiterates public-safety focus, says company ‘is not for sale’. Sonim Technologies is “not for sale” and intends to continue developing rugged public-safety broadband products, including high-powered user equipment (HPUE) that take advantage of 700 MHz Band 14 spectrum to extend the effective range of devices, according to new Sonim CEO Tom Wilkinson.

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January 30, 2020

AT&T to finish 80% of FirstNet buildout in the coming months, exec says. AT&T expects to complete 80% of the contracted buildout of the FirstNet nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) “in the coming months,” an AT&T executive said yesterday.

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January 28, 2020

GAO report says FirstNet on track, calls for greater oversight. AT&T is meeting all contracted deployment and adoption goals for the FirstNet public-safety broadband network, but the FirstNet Authority could improve the system’s chances of success by improving oversight and transparency to stakeholders, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released yesterday. 

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January 23, 2020

City of Oakland turns to Motorola Solutions’ cloud-based disaster-recovery. Oakland, Calif., has selected Motorola Solutions’ new cloud-based “Disaster Recovery as a Service” (DRaaS) solution as an alternative method to access the PremierOne CAD system in the event of an earthquake, wildfire or other incident that causes the on-premise infrastructure to be unavailable.

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January 21, 2020

NextNav plans to make Z-axis location available in top 50 markets this year. NextNav this year plans to deploy sensors that will let cellular devices determine their vertical—or Z-axis—location for 911 purposes in at least the top 50 markets after securing $120 million in funding to pay for the installation of the needed infrastructure, according to a company official.

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January 16, 2020 

Samsung unveils rugged enterprise device with programmable PTT button. Samsung this week introduced the Galaxy XCover Pro, a rugged smartphone for enterprise “frontline” employees that features programmable buttons that can be used to support push-to-talk (PTT) communication, including integration with the new “Walkie Talkie” capability in Microsoft Teams.

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January 14, 2020

2020 is the year when vertical location becomes a reality for public safety. With the FCC Z-axis mandate now in place, 2020 is the year wireless operators will deploy 3D-location technology in their networks. From there, public-safety organizations can plan for the changes associated with how they will use this new capability to serve the public.

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January 9, 2020

Florida ends talks with Motorola Solutions on P25 contract. Motorola Solutions declined to sign a contract honoring its $687.8 million bid to build a statewide Project (P25) network in Florida, so the state will “move toward the new procurement of a next-generation system,” according to a state letter sent yesterday to Motorola Solutions Chairman and CEO Greg Brown.

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January 7, 2020

South Carolina 911 center replacing CAD with cloud-based RapidDeploy. Charleston County (S.C.) Consolidated 911 Center today announced that it will replace its on-premises computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system with RapidDeploy’s cloud-based Nimbus CAD during the next year in an effort to enhance the center’s informational capabilities while lowering costs during the next five years.

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January 3, 2020

LMR licensing activity remains fairly level in 2019, public-safety sector. Land-mobile-radio licensing activity in 2019 again hovered near record-low levels, with public-safety applications dipping slightly to an all-time low and the business-industrial sector potentially seeing a slight increase, according to information in the FCC’s online Universal Licensing System (ULS) database.

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December 23, 2019

FirstNet One deployable blimp provides LTE coverage option for longer-term. FirstNet One—the tethered aerostat announced earlier this month that can provide LTE coverage from a height of about 1,000 feet—promises to be a valuable addition to the FirstNet deployable portfolio, particularly when a response effort is needed for a period of weeks, according to an AT&T official.

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December 17, 2019

State of Florida seeks P25 contract progress with Motorola Solutions this. Motorola Solutions needs to work toward finalizing a contract with the state of Florida by Friday or risk losing the largest land-mobile-radio (LMR) contract opportunity in North America—a $687 million deal to build Florida’s statewide Project 25 (P25) system that is scheduled to launched in a little more than 18 months.

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December 12, 2019

Defense bill does not include language to reclassify 911 telecommunicators. Language that would reclassify public-safety telecommunicators as “Protective Service Occupation” personnel instead of administrative/clerical workers will not be part of a key defense funding bill, but 911 advocates expressed their intent to continue the reclassification effort through other legislative efforts in 2020. 5G promises more than just high data speeds for first responders, panelists saY. Higher data speeds are the focus of current 5G deployments, but some of the performance characteristics that are expected to prove most valuable to public safety—low latency, high reliability and network slicing—likely are at least a year away, according to industry and first-responder experts. FULL ARTICLE

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December 10, 2019

5G promises more than just high data speeds for first responders, panelists say.Higher data speeds are the focus of current 5G deployments, but some of the performance characteristics that are expected to prove most valuable to public safety—low latency, high reliability and network slicing—likely are at least a year away, according to industry and first-responder experts. With help of drone cameras, Aerial Applications ready to aid first responders with maps, real-time video. Photos and videos shot by cameras mounted on aerial drones can provide responders with valuable insights about their surroundings, but software company Aerial Applications adds mapping and 3D modeling solutions to visual images that can accelerate the assessment process for agencies, particularly after large-scale disasters and incidents.

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December 5, 2019

Commerce Department vet Lisa Casias named as Deputy CEO for the FirstNet Authority. U.S. Department of Commerce veteran Lisa Casias was announced as the new Deputy CEO for the FirstNet Authority during yesterday’s open meeting of the organization’s board members. Upcoming Band 14 PTT devices ‘phenomenal,’ FirstNet Authority board member says. Not-yet-available push-to-talk LTE devices that are being evaluated in the FirstNet Authority laboratory should please public-safety users and are “getting very, very close” to the type of solutions first responders would want to replace land-mobile-radio (LMR) handsets, a FirstNet Authority board member said today.

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December 3, 2019

FirstNet surpasses marks for 75% Band 14 buildout, 1 million connections and 10,000 agencies subscribed; FirstNet MCPTT launch delayed until first quarter of 2020, AT&T says; FCC adopts new rules for Z-axis vertical location of wireless 911 callers, but critics question their practical use; Sierra Wireless launches AirLink Managed Network Service offering with FirstNet connectivity; FCC Chairman Ajit Pai calls on Congress to protect public safety and repeal T-Band mandate; Robotic Assistance Devices: Ioan Pop outlines benefits of robot prototype in airport environment; FLYMOTION: Ryan English demonstrates drone service with video, thermal-imaging capability during night responses; Asylon: Michael Quiroga demonstrates automated battery-exchange system for company’s drones; Qwake Technologies: Bryce Stirton of Responder Corp explains how C-THRU technology can help firefighters navigate smoky rooms; Pyramid Consulting Services: Terry Burnworth outlines 911 information-overload challenges, previews Dec. 11 webinar; AT&T adds blimp to FirstNet arsenal; 6 IoT security predictions for 2020; Low-band 5G offers the massive coverage the U.S. needs; Oxford, England, claims first pop-up chargers for electric vehicles; and The top 23 hyperconnected cities.

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November 26, 2019

Group announces successful test of multi-vendor MCPTT call with end-to-end security; Sierra Wireless launches AirLink Managed Network Service offering with FirstNet connectivity; FCC adopts new rules for Z-axis vertical location of wireless 911 callers, but critics question their practical use; ‘Spending like the Jetsons, living like the Flintstones’—the trouble with smart-city 5G; Asylon: Michael Quiroga demonstrates automated battery-exchange system for company’s drones; Qwake Technologies: Bryce; Stirton of Responder Corp explains how C-THRU technology can help firefighters navigate smoky rooms; SES: Brady Spenrath highlights features of company’s MEO satellite that delivers higher speeds, lower latency; ZeroEyes: Kieran Carroll outlines capabilities of weapons-detection system built on existing cameras, AI; Pyramid Consulting Services: Terry Burnworth outlines 911 information-overload challenges, previews Dec. 11 webinar; AT&T, T-Mobile force 5G customers to choose between lowband and highband; 8 IoT strategies and advice from experts; and Sigfox starts IoT private-network push.

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November 21, 2019

FCC adopts new rules for Z-axis vertical location of wireless 911 callers, but critics question their practical use; FCC Chairman Pai announces plan to auction 280 MHz of C-band spectrum next year; SES: Brady Spenrath highlights features of company’s MEO satellite that delivers higher speeds, lower latency; ZeroEyes: Kieran Carroll outlines capabilities of weapons-detection system built on existing cameras, AI; VoltServer: Stephen Eaves highlights safety, efficiency benefits of digital electricity to support communications; Verizon's 5G maps have arrived; Study: Smart-city projects need to be data-driven; Nokia: We run 120+ private wireless networks; Latest keyless car tech won't stop hackers; and New app seeks to democratize crime data.

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November 19, 2019

FCC Chairman Pai announces plan to auction 280 MHz of C-band spectrum next year; VoltServer: Stephen Eaves highlights safety, efficiency benefits of digital electricity to support communications; T-Mobile proposal of free 5G for public safety is a great idea, but there are a lot of caveats; 911 dispatch centers can take multiple steps to combat cyberattacks; L3Harris: Jeremy Elder outlines how company supports interoperability between P25 system and multiple LTE carriers; Motorola Solutions: Michael Doerk demonstrates interoperability between ASTRO 25 systems via Critical Connect service; L3Harris: John Serio showcases company’s new microphone for XL mobile radios with keypad, noise cancellation; The Un-CEO: Legere to leave T-Mobile; RadioSAFE systems will help public safety in natural disaster and other emergency situations; Following the money in the C-Band for 5G; Q&A: Intel upbeat about the Edge and IoT market; and Verizon's indoor 5G goes the distance in NFL stadium test.

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November 14, 2019

T-Mobile proposal of free 5G for public safety is a great idea, but there are a lot of caveats; 911 dispatch centers can take multiple steps to combat cyberattacks; Motorola Solutions EVP Molloy highlights company’s video, data offerings, as well as CBRS promise; NENA-initiated international alliance will work to accelerate next-gen emergency communications globally; Samsung: Reg Jones demonstrates in-car DeX platform that leverages smartphone computing power; TASSTA: Tim Brown outlines capabilities of company’s MCPTT platform, including video sharing; Motorola Solutions: Pete Gilmore and Lubo Harizanov test APX NEXT touch screen’s ability to withstand water, impacts; Sprint opens up about 5G's secret 4G love; Satellite IoT applications could multiply; 5G industrial automation isn't right around the corner; Hyundai claims truck platooning success; and China Mobile exec calls for 5G power subsidies.

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November 12, 2019

Motorola Solutions EVP Molloy highlights company’s video, data offerings, as well as CBRS promise; T-Mobile makes 10-year commitment to free public-safety broadband, if Sprint merger is completed; AT&T rips T-Mobile’s promise to first responders as ‘a marketing stunt’; L3Harris: Don Griffis explains the significance of XL-200P and XL-185P portable radios with LTE being certified as FirstNet Ready; Motorola Solutions: Les Miller demonstrates ViQi voice-assistant technology with cloud-based application; Axon: Kevin Shah shows how Axon Body 3 camera enables real-time streaming video from incident location; Union; Wireless: We'll need a whole new network to get rid of Huawei; Why IoT security needs something like crash testing; Telematics the winner in BEV boom; Cars need to be individual cyber fortresses; and Eurobites: Germany's big 3 carriers enter network-sharing agreement to tackle 'dead spots'.

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November 7, 2019

T-Mobile makes 10-year commitment to free public-safety broadband, if Sprint merger is completed; Motorola Solutions CEO: FirstNet LTE ‘complementary’ to LMR, not threatening; FirstNet adopted by more than 9,800 agencies, supporting almost 900,000 connections, AT&T says; They called 911. Then NYPD workers sold the data, officials say; Cradlepoint: Lindsay Notwell talks about 5G challenges for public safety, how NetCloud can help first responders, IT staffs; Intrepid Networks: Jason Winslow demonstrates new consolidated platform supporting location, messaging, PTT apps; Axon: Blake Bullock showcases a model of Fleet 3 in-car camera with license-plate-recognition capability; AT&T's FirstNet buildout includes Viaero, a rural Huawei customer; The future of emergency response; Smart-city technology and the importance of interoperability; Terahertz-wave propagation: Viable for direct links, even bouncing off walls; and Private LTE networks headed to the slammer? GTL to test CBRS.

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November 5, 2019

Motorola Solutions CEO: FirstNet LTE ‘complementary’ to LMR, not threatening; FirstNet adopted by more than 9,800 agencies, supporting almost 900,000 connections, AT&T says; Tait Communications expands TP9000 portfolio with new DMR, P25 radios; Sonim Technologies names Tom Wilkinson as CEO, replacing Bob Plaschke; CenturyLink, West Safety Comms agree to $575,000 fine over 911 outage; 911inform: Ivo Allen outlines how company’s cloud-based service aids 911 centers, first responders during an incident; L3Harris: John Serio highlights capabilities of the new XL-200M multiband P25 mobile radio; Motorola Solutions: John Touvannas demonstrates features of new APX NEXT P25 radio; Here's why Seattle's Fire Department is using FirstNet; A Kodak moment may await Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia; Cognitive Technologies claims world's first AI-driven autonomous harvester; Smart prosthetic device is a laudable IoT case study; and Biggest nuclear disassembly plant in U.S. to test private LTE network

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October 31, 2019

Tait Communications expands TP9000 portfolio with new DMR, P25 radios; Sonim Technologies names Tom Wilkinson as CEO, replacing Bob Plaschke; LTE-capable P25 radios from L3Harris receive FirstNet Ready certification; RapidDeploy launches partner program with four law-enforcement-centric vendors; Democratic senators reintroduce legislation to protect T-band first-responder spectrum; Samsung: Reg Jones showcases public-safety-centric features of new Galaxy XCover FieldPro rugged smartphone; Motorola Solutions: Brian Kirkham outlines benefits of new WatchGuard V300 body-worn camera; Axon: Lee McMillan explains how Axon Records solution incident-report writing easier for law enforcement; Nokia hires 350 R&D experts to fix 5G problems Hacking risks in a 'smarter' world; Operators starting to face up to 5G power cost; The (smarter) siren song; and Markets growing for counter-drone solutions.

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October 29, 2019

and voice-assistant technology; RapidDeploy launches partner program with four law-enforcement-centric vendors; Zebra Technologies: Scott Eggers showcases portfolio of FirstNet Ready devices; NICE: Shelly Williams highlights functionality within new digital-evidence-management mobile ap; Motorola Solutions: Michael Doerk demonstrates push-to-video offering; T-Mobile joins AT&T, Verizon in targeting first responders; Making sense of the IoT connectivity landscape; Satellites outlast design lifetimes; Test driving the future; and Verizon CEO says fixed 5G will grow in 2020.

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October 24, 2019

Motorola Solutions unveils APX NEXT, a P25 radio with LTE connectivity and voice-assistant technology; Axon to integrate license-plate-reader tech as part of in-car video system next year; Ransomware shuts down Georgia county; Early usage of 5G off the charts, but profits may not be; Best practices for state and local governments to improve natural-disaster preparedness; Why Schneider Electric sees a smart-energy revolution; Looking way ahead to 6G; CPUC president directs PG&E to take 'corrective actions' after power shutoffs.

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October 22, 2019

Axon to integrate license-plate-reader tech as part of in-car video system next year; FirstNet interoperability responsibilities, FCC authority debated in proceeding; FCC presses 6 GHz Wi-Fi plan despite utility, first-responder worries; Driving safely with automotive radar systems;LG claims world's first automotive V2X 5G module; Cylance discovers WAV audio files can hide malware; Why UL and the VA teamed up on medical-device cybersecurity; T-Mobile flips Colorado in pursuit of Sprint merger.

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October 17, 2019

FirstNet Authority board gets two members, including first 911 official; Startup Alleria unveils mobile EMS connectivity hub during company's official debut week; Firstnet interoperability responsibilities, FCC authority debated in proceeding; EU fears hostile-state takeover of 5G; ESChat: Josh Lober shares the details about company's PTT agreement with T-Mobile; Chickens and eggs frustrate operators' quest for 5G revenues; Machine-learning advances and edge computing are redefining IoT; Small and smart; Driverless trials prove tech more dangerous than humans; 5G signal boosters show up ahead of regulations. 

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October 15, 2019

FirstNet interoperability responsibilities, FCC authority debated in proceeding; Motorola Solutions launches broadband PTT service in Australia targeting government users; Telefonica CTIO warns of 5G outage impact; Autonomous-vehicle hopes hinge on crash avoidance technologies; simple driverless hardware choices yet to be settled, but 5G connectivity key to autonomous development, expert says; CICOs no longer the last word in enterprise security, Radware report finds; Study finds utility industry vulnerable to cyberattacks; and why many operators just can't quit 2G.

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