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Cheap GPS jammers a major threat to drones

Jammers that can be bought for as little as $50 threaten commercial drones, but there are options.

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With rotors whirring and airframes hurling through the air, drones can be very dangerous when flights don’t go as planned. There’s been much teeth gnashing over the FAA’s measured approach to commercial drone policy adoption, but the fact is there are real dangers, including from bad actors using inexpensive GPS jammers.

GPS signal jamming technology is evolving, decreasing in size and cost. Today, jammers can be bought online for as low as $50. Long a threat to military assets, jamming is now a commercial concern as commercial drone deliveries become a reality, and attacks are becoming pervasive globally. This threat now affects commercial, law enforcement, and defense drones on critical missions.

During a choreographed light show in Hong Kong in 2018, a jamming device caused 46 drones to fall out of the sky. The resulting property damage and loss of hardware cost an estimated HK$1M. Nearly all drones have safety protocols to send them home or to some safe landing location in the event of disruption. But those features proved ineffective at the Hong Kong show.

“These are professional drones, which are already built with technologies that would direct them back to the take-off origin,” Anthony Lau Chun-hon, director of the event’s board, told the South China Morning Post. “But the signals were so strong that many of them just dropped from the air.”

Drones and their services are decidedly dependent on GPS signals. Even though the drone may be equipped with back-up methods (INS/OPS), GPS references are still required for positioning, navigation, and stabilization. GPS attacks, therefore, are the easiest way to take a drone down and potentially cause harm to life and property.

The good news is that solutions are arriving for commercial grade drones, and they come straight from the defense sector. One comes from a company called infiniDome, which makes a device called GPSdome that integrates into a drone’s GNSS receivers and employs a unique interference filtering system that combines the patterns from two omnidirectional antennas. In real-time, GPSdome analyzes the interference signal and feeds its properties into infiniDome’s proprietary algorithm to filter and reject any attacking RF interference allowing the UAS to continue GPS signal reliance during a jamming attack. Upon detection of a jamming signal, GPSdome notifies operators of a possible signal jamming interference.

Easy Aerial, a leading provider of autonomous drone-based monitoring solutions for commercial, government, and defense applications, recently integrated GPSdome into its line of military-grade autonomous unmanned aerial systems.

“We chose GPSdome because it’s a proven solution that perfectly suits the diverse missions our customers routinely fly in some of the world’s most inhospitable and hostile environments,” said Ido Gur, co-founder & CEO of Easy Aerial. “While our systems are equipped with multiple onboard redundancies, GPS signals are vital to maintaining position, navigation, and timing accuracy, ensuring uninterrupted operation.”

This kind of lightweight, small form factor, low power consumption shielding technology is a crucial step toward widespread adoption of commercial drones. Other companies, such as Sepentrio, are also taking GPS jamming in drone applications seriously with integrated sensor solutions.

It’s a sure bet there will be more attention given to the problem of GPS jamming and spoofing in the days ahead. Fortunately, it looks like developers are beginning to see tools that can help them counteract the growing threat.

“These are professional drones, which are already built with technologies that would direct them back to the take-off origin,” Anthony Lau Chun-hon, director of the event’s board, told the South China Morning Post. “But the signals were so strong that many of them just dropped from the air.”

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/cheap-gps-jammers-endanger-drones/

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ZDNET

How Crocs used robots to rule the comfort economy

Sweatpants and comfortable kicks have had a heck of a run during the pandemic. You can thank the robots.

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Over the last year, Crocs emerged as a stay-at-home comfort essential and experienced unprecedented demand. As a result, the company quickly outgrew their distribution center and moved their e-commerce fulfillment into a larger pop-up warehouse. Included in the design was a recommendation to bring in automation to improve throughput, mitigate the risk of labor challenges and optimize capacity.

That’s where the robots, and in particular the automation solutions of a firm called 6 River Systems (6RS), come in.

Since implementing 6RS’ wall-to-wall fulfillment solution, including its collaborative mobile robot Chuck, Crocs has seen a 182% pick rate improvement. This increase in throughput was critical during the 2020 holiday peak season, and allowed Crocs to handle up to 4ok units per day, ensuring they were meeting heightened customer expectations.

Robots have become essential to scaling, and the solutions can now be brought online with unprecedented speed and minimal downtime. I spoke with Jerome Dubois, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of 6RS, to learn more about why warehouse automation was an essential component to scaling Crocs’ fulfillment operation and what the future holds for operations optimization.

GN: The setup and integration in the Crocs case seems quick. How does 6RS prioritize reducing downtime and how is it possible the automation solution is up and running so quickly?

Jerome Dubois: Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Crocs has quickly become a comfort essential while most daily activities have been confined to our homes. As a result, their ecommerce demand took off in 2020 beyond the retailer’s expectations, and Crocs realized the need for a second distribution center to fulfill this heightened demand.

The Crocs’ team tapped our wall-to-wall fulfillment solution, powered by our autonomous mobile robot (AMR) Chuck, to help support fulfillment operations. Chuck is a collaborative mobile robot that uses machine learning and AI to guide associates through their work zones to help them minimize walking, stay on task and work more efficiently. Chuck, along with our cloud-based software and partner integrations, supports the entire fulfillment process.

The full design, integration and deployment for Crocs was completed in under 3 months just before holiday peak 2020. When go-live took place in early October 2020, the site ramped from first pick to full volume in just two days.

To achieve this, our team has an extensive, collaborative planning stage for any deployment. We develop a detailed plan before hitting the ground, which includes warehouse design and mapping, clear business objectives and a roadmap for achieving them. When designing a warehouse plan, every decision can have a significant impact on operational efficiency. Once a clear plan is in place that is tailored to that warehouse, implementation is usually quick and seamless. This timeline is fairly typical for our implementations as we prioritize our clients’ time and help them achieve results as quickly as possible.

GN: What’s the sweet spot for 6RS in terms of manufacturing capacity and ROI. In other words, at what size would implementation start to make sense?

Jerome Dubois: In most cases, 6 River Systems can accommodate several different capacities due to the flexibility that our wall-to-wall fulfillment system provides. The system allows for Chucks to be added or removed based on demand and available labor. The solution can be used in all put-away, picking, counting, replenishment and sorting tasks, helping associates work faster while also reducing picking errors. The power of our solution really shows in warehouses over 20,000 square feet that average a unit volume greater than 15,000 per day. These warehouses typically have over 5,000 SKUs with associates picking for at least 8 hours per day. On average, customers of all sizes improve pick rates by 2-3x and see ROI in less than a year.

GN: Are there other customers you can speak about publicly that might resonate with readers?

Jerome Dubois: One of our customers that might resonate with readers is Office Depot, a household name in the office supply space and one of the largest suppliers in the U.S. When Office Depot’s demand began shifting across e-commerce, B2B and retail, Office Depot found itself fulfilling more customer orders that contain fewer items per package. The company turned to 6 River Systems to help address the challenges of increased order volume and varied consumer purchasing behaviors by implementing Chucks. As a result, Office Depot improved warehouse safety, engaged and rallied its staff, reduced needless walking and sped up training with 6RS and Chuck. They eliminated warehouse injuries by 100% and reduced associate training time down to just one day. Full case study here.

Jerome Dubois: Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Crocs has quickly become a comfort essential while most daily activities have been confined to our homes. As a result, their ecommerce demand took off in 2020 beyond the retailer’s expectations, and Crocs realized the need for a second distribution center to fulfill this heightened demand.

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/how-crocs-used-robots-to-lead-the-comfort-economy/

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ZDNET

A useful Android privacy feature that most people have never heard of

Android has a useful hidden feature that the iPhone doesn’t.

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Ever handed your iPhone to someone and then remembered that one thing that you don’t want them to see?

Maybe a photo, or a test, a personal message, something private from work, or your stash of cat memes you’re collecting.

Whatever it is, we carry a lot of sensitive stuff on out smartphones, and it’s only natural to what to keep that stuff private.

But the developers who work on Android have thought about this, and added a feature that allows you to be able to hand your phone to someone else, while keeping your information private.

Must read: The best Android apps for power users in 2021: Track data usage, test connections, and more

That feature is called Guest mode.

This popped into my head the other day following a conversation with an Android user who said they wished there was a way to lock their private data but still allow others to make calls and use the internet.

That’s what this mode does.

Guest mode creates a temporary account on your smartphone that is free from any of your personal information. No photos. No contacts. No messages. No files.

It also disables the phone feature, but you can choose to activate that if you want.

So, how do you access this feature? Well, it normally lives at Settings > System > Advanced > Multiple Users, but not always. If you can’t find it, a search for users should bring it up.

Guest Mode on Android

Guest Mode on Android

When you find it, you’ll see it at the bottom of the list of Google accounts tied to the handset. To switch, tap on it, and the handset will switch over.

The process is fast and only takes a few seconds.

To switch back, navigate back to Multiple Users and tap Remove Guest.

If you want to give the Guest Mode access to the phone, before going into Guest, click on the cog next to it and enable Turn on phone calls.

Guest Mode can also optionally make calls

Guest Mode can also optionally make calls

Also, for quick access, you can make this feature available from the lock screen. Handy if you use it regularly.

It’s a cool feature that helps keep your private stuff private.

That feature is called Guest mode.

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/a-useful-android-privacy-feature-that-most-people-have-never-heard-of/

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Cisco to acquire Sedonasys Systems for innovative NetFusion platform

Cisco said the Sedona NetFusion platform is the first to deliver complete network abstraction and control.

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Cisco announced on Tuesday that it was acquiring Hierarchical Controller market leader Sedonasys Systems in an effort to beef up its multi-vendor, multi-domain automation, and software-defined networking offerings.

Kevin Wollenweber, vice president of product management in the Service Provider Network Systems for Cisco, explained in a blog post that in order to expand the internet and operate networks at massive scale for the billions of new users coming down the pipeline, the internet had to be reinvented in certain ways.

Cisco is acquiring Sedonasys Systems primarily for its NetFusion platform, which has a Hierarchical Controller (HCO) that it said, “enables multi-vendor, multi-domain automation, and software-defined networking.”

Wollenweber said the Sedona NetFusion platform was the first company to offer “complete network abstraction and control” that helped CSPs manage their networks across a variety of domains, vendors, layers, and technologies, all as one single network.

The addition of Sedona NetFusion to Cisco Crosswork portfolio will allow the company to offer a more advanced network automation platform for Cisco’s Routed Optical Networking Solution.

“HCO is the brain that enables transformation like 5G network slicing, routed optical networking, and disaggregation. We have one simple goal in our network automation strategy — simplification,” Wollenweber said.

“Now, CSPs can gain real-time, dynamic, and seamless control of IP and optical multi-vendor networks together. They can quickly move from clunky, manual operations across siloed teams and technologies to a completely automated and assured network that’s easily managed through a single pane of glass.”

With Cisco Crosswork and Sedona NetFusion, users will have access to a real-time replica of the entire network to predictively manage any changes to the deployment, connectivity, and activation status of all network inventory.

Operators can preview optimization, assurance, and changes, and then commit them as needed, Wollenweber added.

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/ciscos-to-acquire-sedonasys-systems-for-innovative-netfusion-platform/

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