Rugged Mobile Devices Deliver Significant Cost Savings to Businesses of All Sizes

Brigadier

The following post is inspired by Kyocera’s recently published white paper, authored by Dr. Muzibul Khan, titled: Carrier-Subsidized Rugged Devices Are a Game Changer for Field Force Mobility. Check it out to learn more about enterprise-ready, affordable commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) rugged devices and field-force mobility solutions.

Companies have long relied upon ruggedized mobile devices to enable on-the-job communications in challenging settings, and to connect field-force workers with the people and systems that are critical to business operations. Traditionally, this niche has been served through the utilization of purpose-built handheld phone, tablet and laptop solutions offered by specialty manufacturers. And while recent advancements in technology and mobile operating systems have vastly improved the usability of these hardened mobile devices, their historically steep price points have remained unchanged, often ranging from $1,000 – $2,000 or more per device.

Today, businesses seeking total enterprise mobility have new options for enabling field forces with devices that can withstand virtually any environment, any job and any application – and at a fraction of the cost. The availability of affordable, mass-market rugged devices that provide enterprise-grade durability is disrupting the field-force mobility market, providing business managers with carrier-subsidized alternatives for equipping their field-force teams and helping companies realize cost savings and lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

The Cost Advantages of Going Rugged

For industries like construction, healthcare, logistics, manufacturing and many more, the requirements for durable mobile devices are unique. These workers often spend their days in demanding, noisy and potentially dirty environments where consumer devices run high risk for jobsite failures that can directly impact performance and employee productivity. In addition, typical consumer devices often lack the enterprise-grade features required to securely interoperate within a business IT environment, a downfall that can have serious consequences for companies in highly regulated industries. For these reasons, consumer mobile devices have never represented a viable substitute to the ruggedized devices of the past, despite their more attractive price points.

While some businesses have been tempted to avoid steep investments in ruggedized solutions by turning to wireless service providers for consumer-grade alternatives, research shows that the upfront cost savings are mitigated over time when evaluating the true TCO. According to a study by VDC Research, TCO for rugged devices in business settings, which includes both the initial investment and the subsequent costs associated with failures and breakage, is significantly lower when compared to that of non-rugged devices. In fact, non-rugged consumer devices were found to fail more than three times as often as rugged devices, leading to worker downtime, increased support services and significant replacement costs. Based on VDC’s data, annual TCO for non-rugged devices (approximately $4,000) is actually almost double that of rugged devices (approximately $2,000), disproving the low-cost mindset that may initially attract businesses to consumer mobile devices.

The New Alternative for Enterprise Rugged Mobility

In 2012, Kyocera began leveraging its deep experience in designing durable, waterproof devices for the consumer market to create a line of enterprise-strength, ruggedized feature phones and smartphones aimed at meeting the needs of businesses and field-force workers. The devices, widely available at major wireless service providers in North America, are triggering a shift in enterprise mobility by offering a unique combination of enterprise-grade protection (e.g., Military Standard 810G and IP ratings) with off-the-shelf retail availability and consumer-tier pricing.

Having partnered with nearly all major carriers in North America, including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, Bell Mobility and Telus (among others), Kyocera’s enterprise-ready rugged devices are typically available at subsidized prices (with contracts) in the neighborhood of $49 to $149. And with a robust ecosystem of software/application developers and hardware accessory manufacturers, Kyocera’s rugged devices can be customized into affordable, yet highly specialized systems that enhance the business-user’s experience, improve communication and data management, and increase overall employee productivity.

To learn more about enterprise-ready, affordable commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) rugged devices and field-force mobility solutions, check out our recently published white paper authored by Kyocera’s Dr. Muzibul Khan, titled: Carrier-Subsidized Rugged Devices Are a Game Changer for Field Force Mobility.

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. 

Five Everyday Threats to Your Smartphone

brokenphones

A new study by Verizon and KRC Research shows that nearly half (49 percent) of American mobile phone owners have broken or lost a mobile phone and, on average, have broken or lost two. For most of us, our smartphones have become a cherished necessity — our primary mode of communications, calendar, camera, Rolodex and wallet all wrapped into a single device. Our smartphones could even be likened to our companions, as they are first and last items we interact with at the beginning and end of each day, and they accompany us everywhere we work and play.

While portability lends for greater convenience and connectivity, it also paves the way for potential exposure to some of the most common causes of smartphone damage. These five everyday threats will not (and shouldn’t) threaten our connections to our smartphones, but they are certainly worth considering as you choose which mobile device is best suited for your lifestyle, temperament, and work conditions:

  1. Sporting Events can be pretty rough terrain for spectators and their mobile devices. According to SquareTrade, 23 million Americans have damaged their phones while watching a sporting event. 33 percent of accidents involve merely dropping the device on the ground, while 18 percent are liquid drops (with 13 percent specifically beer drops!), and 12 percent of incidents are considered “passion drops,” when a device is intentionally hurled out of anger or excitement.
  1. The Toilet happens to be the Bermuda Triangle for smartphones. The loo is one of the most common sites for smartphone water damage, with others being swimming pools and sinks. According to Plaxo, nearly 20 percent of Americans have dropped their phones in the toilet and Protect Your Bubble found that men are 57 percent percent more likely to drop their phones in toilets than women, as they tend to carry smartphones in their back pockets while women are more inclined to carry them in their purses.
  1. Workplace mishaps can occur on virtually any jobsite, but for those who work in outdoor and on-the-go industries such as construction, retail, transportation, and utilities, the risks of exposure to drops, dust, and moisture are far greater than to those working behind a desk. Recon Analytics estimates that the smartphone replacement cycle was 26.5 months as of 2014, but is certainly far less than that for anyone working at great heights, in extreme weather, or on dirty jobsites.
  1. Texting while walking was the cause of emergency rooms visits for more than 1,500 pedestrians according to a study in 2010, which also predicted that number to double by 2015. And if you go down as a result of walking and texting, you can bet your smartphone is going to hit the deck with you.
  1. Youth is the most common trait among sufferers of smartphone damage, with millennials dropping their phones twice as many times per week than Gen Xers or Baby Boomers (an average of four times per week). This statistic is a bit ironic when considering that 40 percent of millennials believe that losing their phones would be a bigger hardship than losing their automobiles.

The smartphone can be a significant investment when considering retail price and associated service costs over its lifespan. You can exercise greater caution and take your chances with the device’s inherent durability (or lack thereof), purchase an expensive case that hampers the device’s usability, or select a rugged smartphone that is designed to withstand the threats that are inherent to your everyday life, the toughest environments, and the most common mishaps.

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. 

Kyocera Sheds Light on Mobile Innovation with the Solar-Powered Smartphone

Solar Prototype

For the second year in a row, Kyocera captivated technology enthusiasts by demonstrating a prototype for a smartphone with a solar-power-generating display at the world’s largest trade show for the mobile industry, the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

At last year’s MWC, Kyocera unveiled an early-stage version of the technology but it required two hours of sun exposure to generate only 15 minutes of talk time, leaving it far from the efficiency we considered necessary for commercial viability. What a difference a year makes. Together with partner Sunpartner Technologies, we made great strides in the evolution of the technology since that first demo. This year’s head-turning prototype was (forgive the pun) light-years ahead, requiring only three minutes of sun exposure to generate one minute of talk time. Response from the thousands of industry insiders and experts (and media) gathered at MWC was overwhelmingly positive.

Limited battery life is a leading cause of frustration among smartphone users, many of whom struggle to get through even a single day on a charge. This solar technology is not meant to replace batteries or charging; the best analogy may be hybrid cars. While hybrid cars still require gasoline, their electric motors greatly extend the lives of those tanks of gas. Similarly, augmenting a phone’s battery simply by exposing it to light will extend the phone’s battery life between charges. For hybrid-car owners, this means lower fuel costs, while for mobile-phone owners this means less non-mobile time tethered to a wall plug. Additionally, in the case of a natural disaster, blackout or simply the absence of a plug, the phone user could quickly generate enough power to make a call, send a text, post to social media, find/transmit GPS coordinates, etc.

While potentially a benefit to any phone user who spends time outside, this technology is even more ideally suited to Kyocera’s portfolio of rugged, waterproof devices. Whether used for business (e.g., a construction jobsite) or pleasure (e.g., mountain-biking), many of the ideal use-cases for a ruggedized device happen to be outdoors. Like Kyocera’s Smart Sonic Receiver, Glove & Wet Touchscreen Operation, Military Standard 810G certifications and other features, the solar-charging display is yet another Kyocera innovation designed to allow mobile devices to not just survive, but thrive in the most challenging environments.

For regular updates on Kyocera’s rugged lineup please follow us on Twitter (@kyoceramobile).

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. 

Introducing the First LTE-Capable Feature Phone in North America: The Kyocera DuraXE

DuraXE_VoLTE

While at CES, Kyocera and AT&T introduced the DuraXE, a flip-style rugged feature phone with Push-To-Talk (PTT) capabilities to enable communication in tough, harsh work environments. What many people do not realize, however, is that the Kyocera DuraXE is the first LTE-capable feature phone available in North America.

So, what does that actually mean for consumers and enterprise workers? A few crucial things, actually:

VoLTE: With support for Voice-Over-LTE (VoLTE), the Kyocera DuraXE enables HD voice, which means sharper, crisper audio, a capability that is especially important for workers at noisy construction sites or loud factories. According to Sascha Segan at PC Magazine, “VoLTE, which can include ‘high-definition’ voice and rich calling services such as IM and voice calling, will eventually replace standard voice calling on all four major networks.”

Smartphone-like functionality: Running on an open-source operating system and featuring a Qualcomm® Snapdragon processor with 1.1 GHz quad-core CPUs, the DuraXE offers functionality typically reserved for smartphones, including creation of Wi-Fi hot spots and support for Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) software from industry leaders like SOTI. SOTI and its flagship product, MobiControl, provide needed tools to more than 15,000 enterprise customers and millions of devices managed worldwide, allowing enterprises to optimize and secure their mobile workforces across all platforms to support both corporate-liable and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. DuraXE is the first ruggedized feature phone to run MobiControl.

Enhanced PTT: For the enterprise PTT user on AT&T’s Enhanced Push-to-Talk (EPTT) network, life just got a little better with enhanced performance over LTE, including higher capacity and faster response time. Kyocera already builds its rugged devices with out-of-the-box support for a range of PTT services and platforms, and includes enhanced sound quality for speaker and microphone, dedicated walkie-talkie-style side-buttons and superior battery life, while partnering with a wide range of optimized accessories for rugged environments and applications. Now instant one-to-one and one-to-many communications are even easier and more reliable with the backing of an LTE network.

Better service: Running on AT&T’s LTE network, DuraXE offers superior connectivity to rival 3G feature phones. That means better signal wherever you are and the ability to (almost) always be connected, as well as fewer dropped calls. Plus, DuraXE can function as a mobile hotspot.

At Kyocera, we see LTE becoming pervasive in feature phones, and we’re thrilled to lead the charge and be the first to deliver an LTE-capable feature phone with VoLTE capabilities. For only $13.50/month for 20 months, $49.99 with a two-year service agreement and purchase of Enhanced Push-to-Talk service (CRU only), or $270 without contract, the rugged, waterproof DuraXE is leading the way for feature phones, be it HD Voice, Enhanced PTT or simply LTE connectivity that you need.

For more information on the Kyocera DuraXE, visit AT&T or at Kyocera Mobile.

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.