Kyocera Fuels Innovation in Mobile Health

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A few months back Kyocera announced the development of one of the smallest known optical blood-flow sensors, designed to measure the volume of blood flow in subcutaneous tissue through contact with the ear, finger or forehead. The sensor is an integrated module with a laser diode and photodiode included in a single package, and uses the laser doppler method to measure blood-flow volume beneath the skin. With the sensor, Kyocera is researching a variety of mobile health (mHealth) applications such as monitoring stress levels or preventing dehydration, heat stroke and altitude sickness by studying trends or changes in blood-flow volume and developing algorithms for detection. The technology has strong potential for the mobile health (mHealth) industry and for health-conscious consumers.

The first prototype device from Kyocera to use the blood-flow sensor is a set of earphones. PCMag tested these earphones at the HealthCare IT 2017 trade show in April, and wrote about them in a recent article. While the potential applications mentioned in the article are still being researched, the article concludes that the future of wearable fitness trackers may be inside the ear or other small areas of the body, rather than on the wrist as is common today. Kyocera’s pioneering work is helping to drive that new reality.

Along with its mobile-phone business, Kyocera provides a wide range of components for smartphones and wearables and has been focused on developing and experimenting with thinner, smaller components that support high functionality in compact devices. With the global mHealth market rapidly expanding, the company is utilizing its expertise in components to address a wide range of healthcare applications. The optical blood-flow sensor used in the prototype earphones, which will become available soon from Kyocera, is only 1mm high, 1.6mm long and 3.2mm wide, and is highly reliable, which makes it ideal for use in wearable devices, mobile phones and medical equipment.

For more information on Kyocera’s optical blood-flow sensor, read the related press release on our web site.

John is director of corporate communications at Kyocera. He has worked on the Kyocera team shaping its communications strategy over the past 15 years – 13 of those years in-house and two with a Kyocera agency partner. John has always had a passion for writing and began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Whittier Daily News, part of a multi-paper syndicate in Los Angeles. When not working, he and his wife can usually be found coaching, shuttling, refereeing or cheering for his three sons and their numerous plays, concerts and sports teams.

Got Rugged? These Industries Do.

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While industries like transportation and logistics have been using rugged devices for years, advances in technology, combined with more attractive price-points, have made rugged mobility accessible for more industries – and many are taking advantage of the benefits. From optimized logistics to accessing and parsing big data to cloud computing in harsh environments, more and more industries are realizing the power of rugged mobility – including manufacturing, government, transportation/logistics, public safety and more. As the modern economy continues to lean on mobiles devices to execute more and more business functions, a growing number of industries are deploying mobile as a strategy. As a result, the demand for rugged devices is rising. Businesses are implementing rugged devices both to protect their investments in technology from damage, and to ensure that downtime is minimized.

Facilities Management and Field Services

Corrigo – a leading mobile facilities and field services management platform for facilities managers and service providers – teamed up with Kyocera in 2015 to deliver its unique SaaS-based solution to the building- and facilities-management industries. Corrigo’s cutting-edge platform helps transform operations, from tracking work orders to asset management and end-to-end process data analytics. Kyocera rugged devices – including the DuraForce PRO – are perfect vehicles to deliver these services. With features like Push-to-Talk (PPT) and a dedicated large side button, loud speakers, powerful battery life and optimization for Corrigo’s mobile app, the Kyocera-Corrigo collaboration is enhancing the customer experience – and the business operations – of a variety of companies across this industry.

Public Safety & Law Enforcement

Communication and information in public safety are critical. Whether it’s a police officer rushing to the scene of a crime, a firefighter battling a blaze or first responders attending to victims of a disaster, the right information at the right time can make all the difference. Traditionally, public-safety agencies utilized rugged devices like two-way radios to ensure reliable and immediate communication. But with a bevy of new mobile technologies emerging to help enhance the exchange of information in real time and better prepare public-safety officers for critical moments, rugged communication technology looks a lot different than it did 20 years ago. Smartphones provide public-safety officers with access to real-time information, collected across multiple systems, so that they can respond and react to changing circumstances. Whether it’s information on a potential suspect, GPS location tracking, traffic information or dispatch communications, mobile technology is the conduit through which information is distributed. Along with other Land Mobile Radio (LMR) interoperability partners, Kyocera is working with companies like Kodiak and TangoTango to leverage cellular Push-to-Talk to enable public safety and police officers to communicate over smartphones beyond their existing two-way radio networks. In areas like Franklin and Turner Counties in Georgia, the TangoTango app running on Kyocera rugged devices enables law enforcement to communicate with other surrounding counties and agencies for interoperability. And they are doing this at price points similar to consumer PTT rather than bearing the huge cost of expanding and integrating private Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks. Public agencies are making significant investments in mobile infrastructure, including expanded broadband capabilities, to handle ever-increasing data, and rugged devices with the capability to deliver that data.

Transportation & Logistics

 For the transportation industry, every second matters. Every train, bus, truck and plane must be accounted for – and must stay on schedule or risk far-reaching complications. For this reason and others, the transportation industry was one of the earliest adopters of mobile-communication technology. Today, however, mobile technology has moved far beyond the ability to communicate, adding new opportunities such as safety measures and workflow processes when paired with a telematics solution. Using a cloud-based solution such as GeoTab with rugged smartphones in the field, operators can dynamically track vehicles, cargo and hours of service, provide up-to-the-minute scheduling to customers and passengers, cut travel times through GPS navigation and more efficiently share information and data to ultimately improve ROI. Rugged mobile technology has opened efficiencies for the industry, allowing organizations to access and utilize the latest cloud-based SaaS applications to deliver data in real-time, helping address issues coming from a rapidly expanding field of operations.

Recently, Kyocera supported the deployment of DuraForce XD rugged smartphones for Success Logistics drivers, offering a cost-effective, easy-to-use and durable mobile solution. Success Logistics needed an Android device that would run the Geotab Drive mobile app for drivers and that could withstand the many challenges transportation workers face, from inclement weather to vehicle tracking and long hours on the road. After testing out multiple rugged Android smartphones, Success Logistics ultimately decided on the Kyocera DuraForce XD as the “go-to” device to be used with Geotab Drive. The cost savings of switching from an Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRD) to the DuraForce XD smartphone were significant, presenting a much more economical solution for the Company, along with the numerous benefits of having a fully rugged 4G LTE Android smartphone that could withstand the harshest environments with Military-Standard-810G certification for protection against dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, blowing rain, solar radiation, salt fog, humidity and water immersion.

Manufacturing

 In a business where precision is imperative to success, every movement, every action and every piece of information is crucial. Existing and emerging mobile technologies are helping the manufacturing industry create new efficiencies, build better products and optimize operations. The ability to collect, parse and act on real-time data has been a boon to manufacturers. Anomalies are recognized immediately, before they can affect the logistics chain. New efficiencies are determined with computing power that could only be dreamed about just decades ago. Technology, however, is delicate. The high-powered smartphones used to move data were not initially built to withstand the manufacturing environment – often full of heavy machinery, dust and moving parts. That’s where rugged complements the industrial workplace. Kyocera rugged devices stand up to even the most intense manufacturing atmosphere, helping ensure that operations do not come to a halt because of hardware failure.

Kyocera is at the forefront of the rugged revolution, with devices that have been engineered for nearly a decade to stand up to the harshest environments. With devices that meet Military Standard 810G for protection against dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, rain, low pressure, solar radiation, humidity, immersion, and temperature shock, more and more companies are turning to Kyocera rugged devices for their fleets. With features that improve in-building coverage, powerful battery life that lasts throughout an entire shift and leading-edge security – a key requirement for most businesses – Kyocera offers a two-year warranty on its newest rugged devices. As more industries realize the power of mobile technology and cloud computing, Kyocera rugged devices are helping companies and organizations protect their technology investments and optimize their operations.

The Reason for Rugged

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At Kyocera, we like to talk about our phones as being “Rugged for a Reason,” but saying “a reason” is a tad misleading. There’s more than a single reason for going rugged – and every business and individual has reasons of their own. From performing reliably in harsh environments to withstanding events that would normally lead to damage to the screen, battery and beyond, rugged devices are changing the way we think about mobile devices – and changing how we use them. As technology marches forward, our world shrinks. Increasingly, it is shrinking right into our pockets. It wasn’t that long ago that smartphones were a luxury. Today, they’re close to a necessity.

According to Pew Research, more than 75 percent of Americans now own smartphones. We rely on these devices for everything from keeping in contact to accessing information to mapping a route to taking pictures, video and beyond. We seem to spend more time with our smartphones than we do with anything – or anyone – else. These often-fragile devices, however, are traditionally unreliable when it comes to taking on the bumps and bruises that come with constant usage, and with life itself. But rugged devices are on the rise, and Kyocera is leading the way with a portfolio of devices that aren’t just built to survive where other phones fail; they’re built to thrive.

There are many reasons to go rugged, including:

Rugged for Harsh Environments

 Not everyone works behind a desk or a counter. Industries like construction, manufacturing, transportation and law enforcement work in harsh and unpredictable environments every day. For these industries and others, rugged devices are a critical tool for executing everyday business, and have been for some time. Rugged devices have been around for years but, until recently, they were typically built specifically for enterprise organizations, and required a large-scale investment. In the last several years, however, a new generation of devices brought ruggedized features into more attractive devices sold by nationwide carriers at prices comparable to standard mobile phones. In other words, rugged is available to everyone today.

While technology has changed, the reasons for utilizing rugged devices in harsh environments have not. Businesses and workers require devices that can not only withstand the environmental challenges they face every day, but also continue operating at full force without missing a beat. Every second of downtime costs businesses money. That’s why companies rely on dependably rugged Kyocera devices to ensure business moves continuously forward. Kyocera’s rugged devices are designed to meet IP68 for dust- and waterproofing and Military Standard 810G for protection against hazards like dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, blowing rain, low pressure, solar radiation, salt fog, thermal shock, icing and freezing rain, humidity and water immersion. Devices like the Kyocera’s newest rugged smartphone, the DuraForce PRO, don’t just survive, but thrive in challenging environments with features Glove and Wet Touchscreen Operation and Underwater Mode.

 Rugged for Business

Industries that involve harsh environments aren’t the only ones taking advantage of deploying rugged devices to enhance field operations. From optimizing logistics to utilizing big data to make informed, real-time decisions, rugged devices are opening new doors for a variety of businesses. In the modern economy, data is king. Collecting, distributing, parsing and acting on data drives the decisions of businesses every day, in real time. Mobile devices are the conduits for the flow of information. It is imperative that they stay connected – and functional – 24/7. Kyocera rugged devices make sure they do, with long battery life, 4G LTE connectivity and rugged designs able to stand up to what life, and business, throw at it. 

Rugged for Life

Life is full of obstacles and people are clumsy. That’s the reason mobile-device insurance and repair businesses are booming. At some point, just about everyone dunks his or her phone in the toilet, drops it on the concrete or submerges it in the mud. We’ve become so accustomed to having a smartphone in our pocket at all times that we tend to treat them more like a leather wallet than an expensive computer. And considering we use our smartphones more than we use our wallets (in fact, some people use their smartphones as their wallets), our devices are in grave danger every single day. It may seem hyperbolic, but it’s true.

Aftermarket cases and plastic screen protectors can help blunt the damage from short drops and bumps, but the amount of protection they offer is often tied directly to price and sacrifices usability. Strong cases typically approach (or even exceed) $100 and often hinder accessibility to buttons and ports. Truly rugged devices like Kyocera’s offer similar protection right out of the box, without the cost of a clunky case or the sacrificed usability.

Rugged for Adventure

Life wasn’t meant to be lived sitting down. The desire to get outside and play is wired into our DNA. Whether you’re mountain biking in the Rockies, skydiving over the Mojave or hiking the Appalachian Trail, certain rugged devices – like the Kyocera DuraForce PRO – are built for adventure. With a 13-megapixel camera and a super-wide-view HD action video camera, the DuraForce PRO enables adventurous users to capture the excitement and relive memoires for years to come. There’s even a case available for DuraForce PRO that lets it mount to today’s most popular action-camera mounting systems, so users won’t have to worry about holding the phone as they bomb down the mountain or reel in the trophy fish. And of course, active consumers should always make sure their devices have the rugged features built to withstand the harshest environments, to be confident that their smartphones will survive the adventures, regardless of how perilous they may be.

When it comes to rugged devices, everyone has a reason. What’s yours?

Kyocera’s DuraForce PRO Available Now at T-Mobile, Making it Available at the Nation’s Four Leading Wireless Service Providers

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From positive press reviews to outstanding customer feedback, the Kyocera DuraForce PRO has been making waves in the wireless industry since it was announced in August of 2016, and last week was no exception. With T-Mobile’s launch, DuraForce PRO is now available from all four of the leading service providers in the U.S., also including Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. Available now, the DuraForce PRO can be found in T-Mobile retail stores nationwide and online through the company’s web site for $425.00 (or $17 down and 24 monthly payments of $17), which includes a 2-year manufacturer’s limited warranty.

The latest in Kyocera’s leading portfolio of military-grade rugged, waterproof devices, the DuraForce PRO is the only rugged 4G LTE smartphone with a Super Wide View HD (1080p) Action Camera, which offers an Underwater Mode and can be integrated with popular action-camera mounts. New to the T-Mobile version of the phone’s action camera is an Action Overlay mode, in which action videos can be recorded with a heads-up display of data options including speed, distance traveled, g-force, altitude, elapsed time and date/time stamp.

The DuraForce PRO is designed for both business users and active consumers, with dependable durability that can withstand harsh environments and mishaps. It is shockproof, drop-proof, and dustproof, with certifications to IP68 (waterproof up to 30 minutes, up to 2 meters deep) and Military Standard 810G for protection against dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, blowing rain, low pressure, solar radiation, salt fog, humidity, immersion, temperature shock and icing/freezing rain.

Along with a biometric fingerprint sensor built into its power button for security, the phone is equipped with a large 5-inch Full HD display and a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ octa-core processor (1.5GHz x 4/1.2GHz x 4) with X8 LTE and multi-mode to ensure fast connections on diverse global networks. In addition to the phone’s new Super Wide View Action Camera, DuraForce PRO also offers a 13MP rear camera and 5MP front camera.

All of us at Kyocera have been thrilled with the customer response and growing popularity of the DuraForce PRO, and we are excited to now be able to provide T-Mobile customers with a durable, rugged device with advanced features, like the high-definition action camera. Additionally, customers across all four major carriers can now enjoy the dependability of the DuraForce PRO at an affordable price point. Visit www.kyoceramobile.com/duraforce-pro for more details on device availability with leading wireless service providers, as well as to learn how you can benefit from Kyocera’s rugged, durable and affordable mobile devices.

 John Chier is director of corporate communications at Kyocera. He has worked on the Kyocera team shaping its communications strategy over the past 15 years – 13 of those years in-house and two with a Kyocera agency partner. John has always had a passion for writing and began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Whittier Daily News, part of a multi-paper syndicate in Los Angeles. When not working, he and his wife can usually be found coaching, shuttling, refereeing or cheering for his three sons and their numerous plays.

RUGGED IN ACTION: KYOCERA RUGGED SMARTPHONE SURVIVES ALMOST TWO YEARS LOST IN THE WILDERNESS

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Cory Burwell, the man behind adventure motorcycling site Wandering Beast, understands the value of using a durable, waterproof phone while riding a motorcycle in the wilderness and across the country. A couple years ago, Cory lost his ruggedized Kyocera Torque smartphone from Sprint while riding in central Oregon, and wasn’t sure if he would ever see it again. Despite putting up signs in an attempt to retrieve his lost device, his Torque sat outside for a year and a half – through a winter, two summers and all sorts of weather conditions – before being found. When a passerby eventually found it on the ground, the phone rescuer was able to plug it in, turn it on, and, amazingly, the phone still worked without a hitch. Cody’s brother-in-law—who received a text from the person who found the phone—alerted him that it had been retrieved and was still working flawlessly.

Kyocera recently found a video that Cory created and posted about his experience with the rugged Kyocera Torque. (This was not a sponsorship or advertisement.)  In it he says, “Hands down, I would not hesitate to get one of these at all… If you’re into adventure motorcycles and you need a new phone, and you don’t really need to be the coolest guy in the office that has the iPhone 7-and-a-half, and you just want a good, sturdy phone that works and that has all of the same features and runs Android and everything else, look into the Kyocera Torque or one of their other ones… I wouldn’t consider any other phone for my adventures.”

Kyocera cannot recommend or warranty against these types of situations with our devices – they are not meant to take abuse to the extent that Cory’s phone did – but this is just another real-life success story we have found that embodies the rugged, durable value of our mobile devices.

Watch Cory’s video describing his incredible story here: