When we think of sapphires, most of us think of the expensive gemstones used in jewelry, but many people do not know sapphires actually have had a wide variety of industrial applications for hundreds of years. Why would companies want to use such an expensive mineral in their technology products? First and foremost, sapphire is incredibly durable, behind only diamond as the second hardest mineral, scoring 9.0 out of 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. It is also a very chemically stable mineral. Sapphire’s durability and chemical stability has made it ideal for use in precision mechanics, timepieces, displays and more, across many different industries.
Real sapphire – which is a variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminum oxide – saw its first industrial application more than 300 years ago as jewel bearings in high-end mechanical timepieces. While this was costly, longevity and accuracy were worth the high price of these components. These types of timepieces were built to pass down from generation to generation.
The first man-made sapphire was produced as far back as 1902, using a process of grinding natural aluminum oxide into powder and then heating it to 3,761°F. While most sapphires used in jewelry are colored, this is actually due to impurities in the mineral. Without any impurities present, sapphire is a completely clear material. It has high strength, anti-abrasion and anti-corrosion characteristics, good light transmission, and can be processed into sheets, all of which are ideal for clear device displays, such as smartphones, watches, microwaves, projectors, as well as precision tools and other electronic components.
Kyocera has been producing and utilizing man-made single-crystal sapphire for electronic components for more than 40 years. Some of the uses for sapphire include watch lenses, inspection equipment parts, medical diagnostic equipment parts and chamber windows. More recently, Kyocera began developing pure sapphire displays for its leading portfolio of ruggedized smartphones. Perfectly suited for rugged devices, sapphire displays have proven to be incredibly resistant to scratches and damage that often blemish smartphones. Once reserved for luxury phones costing thousands of dollars, only in the past few years have smartphone manufacturers begun using sapphire displays in mass-market phones, and Kyocera was the first.
- Resisting ongoing, minor scratches and micro-fractures. When you pay hundreds of dollars for a smartphone, you don’t want the touchscreen display to be degraded and ruined over time by ugly scratches and cracks. As phones sit in pockets and purses, however, that’s exactly what happens when they get scraped by keys, coins and other hard objects. At Kyocera, we like to show off the durability of our Sapphire Shield display by testing it with steel wool, knives, coins and other common display-killers.
- Enhancing the long-term integrity of the display. Think of how glass is typically cut. Rather than actually cutting all the way through a sheet of glass, traditional glass cutters simply score the glass so it can be broken along that same score. Similarly, scratches and micro-fractures in a phone display weaken its integrity over time by preparing it to be more easily broken along those fault lines.
Sapphire displays cost more than typical hardened-glass displays, which explains why they were historically used only in high-end luxury phones. Kyocera, however, has gotten past that issue and used sapphire displays in devices costing far less than today’s most popular smartphones. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, but especially for the phones’ users, who can worry less about cosmetic blemishing and long-term failure (i.e., shattering) of their displays.
For more information about Kyocera’s Sapphire Shield Display technology, visit: https://www.kyoceramobile.com/sapphire-shield/ and for details on other applications of Kyocera sapphire technology, visit: http://global.kyocera.com/prdct/fc/list/material/sapphire/index.html
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.
At Kyocera, we know our rugged devices are built and tested to withstand harsh environments, water immersion, dust and other elements, but sometimes we hear stories from our customers about our devices defying expectations to an extreme. We recently heard from Roberta Espree from Atlanta, GA, whose Kyocera Hydro WAVE really lived up to its aquatic name. It went over a sea wall and took a whopping 16-hour swim in the ocean in Florida, and when she was finally able to fish it out of the water the next day, it was miraculously still working.
To be very clear, we cannot recommend or warranty this kind of treatment of our devices. The Hydro WAVE is certified to a standard called IP57, meaning it is only designed to survive immersion up to 30 minutes in fresh water up to 1 meter deep. Roberta’s story is not typical and if you own a Hydro WAVE, as they say on television, DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME!
Roberta is a Convention Services Manager for Embassy Suites in Atlanta. She was visiting the Doubletree on Rocky Point in Tampa Bay, Florida, on a business trip and decided to stay the weekend for fun. You can imagine her excitement when, while standing on the property’s sea wall, she saw a dolphin playing nearby in the waves. Roberta started recording video of the dolphin on her Hydro WAVE, running down the sea wall to get a better shot. A bad step into a hole, however, sent Roberta sprawling and her phone flew off the wall into the water below. As if losing her phone wasn’t bad enough, Roberta also lost the opportunity to record a manatee that surfaced just as she fell. Suffice to say she was dejected.
The next morning, Roberta shared her story with another hotel guest, who suggested that the tide was low and it might be worth trying to recover her phone. She and her friends went down to the sea wall and, amazingly, could see the phone on the ocean floor. With the tide out, it was now only about two feet underwater. With the help of the hotel’s engineering department and a long-handled net from the swimming pool, they were able to reach down from the sea wall and scoop the phone from the ocean below.
Immediately the crowd showered Roberta with advice. “Put it in a bag of rice,” said one friend. “Take out the battery and let it dry in the sun,” said another. Instead, Roberta pressed the phone’s power button. Jaws dropped when the phone sprang to life. Initially the phone’s speaker wasn’t working properly, but that resolved after a few hours on dry land and the phone worked like nothing ever happened. Roberta even watched the ill-fated video she had taken of the dolphin, only to discover that the phone had continued to record video for several minutes underwater after her fall.
“After dropping my phone in the ocean and seeing how the phone still functioned, I will not use anything but a Kyocera device,” Roberta said. When she went in to MetroPCS to get another phone recently, she “elected to remain with the product I could count on.”
Again, Kyocera’s devices are certified to withstand water immersion only according to their IP certifications, and are not designed to withstand extended periods of time underwater. With that said, this isn’t the first crazy story we’ve heard about our devices defying the odds and won’t be the last. We’re thrilled that Roberta’s phone survived and grateful for her loyalty to Kyocera.
For more information about Kyocera’s waterproof and rugged mobile devices, visit: https://www.kyoceramobile.com/phones/
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.
Here are the Top 5 Reasons Why
The transportation industry relies on moving parts. Trains, trucks, vans and planes simultaneously move people and goods across the country and the globe. But to successfully execute transportation, a mastery of time and logistics is crucial. A single mechanical malfunction, human error or weather incident can set dominoes in motion that can have far-reaching, negative effects on an entire operation.
The transportation industry was an early pioneer in mobile-communications technology. From shipping companies like UPS and FedEx to regional railways and trucking operations, communications and logistics are keys to successful operations. It’s no surprise that the industry was an early adopter of technology. Early adoption, however, didn’t come cheap.
In the young days of mobile technology, implementing new systems, adopting new technologies and purchasing new equipment was expensive. Additionally, the infant technology grew in leaps and bounds, forcing the industry to keep up with rapid changes. The early investment paid off. Despite the high costs, the transportation industry helped spark a revolution in logistics and communication optimization – and helped mobile technology experience a revolution of its own.
Ironically, many of those early adopters now lag in the adoption of today’s emerging mobile solutions, such as rugged devices. Modern mobile technology can mitigate critical issues and optimize logistics, but it is often delicate – prone to damage and unreliability. Transportation is a rugged business that demands rugged technology. As rugged mobile technology experiences an evolution and becomes more prominently used by various industries, it’s time for the transportation industry to follow suit and go rugged as well.
Here are 5 reasons why:
- Dynamically Track Vehicles and Cargo
Fleet management – the ability to track shipments, minimize risk, improve efficiency and update schedules – has moved beyond estimation and assumption. Mobile serves as more than a simple communication device; now it is a full-blown data and logistics powerhouse. Packages can be tracked throughout their entire journey, and mass-transit schedules can be predicted down to the second. Cloud-based information hubs work dynamically with mobile devices to create a central, intelligent system that identifies opportunities for optimization – and capitalizes on them.
This central system, however, is dependent on the individual parts working together – including mobile devices. Most mobile devices are delicate and prone to damage from dirt, drops, temperature and water. That’s where rugged comes in. Built to meet military standards for ruggedness, manufacturers like Kyocera offer a full line of both personal and commercial rugged devices that ensure cargo and transit arrive on time and uninterrupted. Running fleet-management solutions, rugged devices can help transportation companies quickly identify and respond to potential issues and undertake key maintenance tasks, from any location.
The transportation industry – like every industry – expects return on investment for every product or service it purchases. Rugged technology and communication systems have traditionally carried a heavy price tag – but times have changed. The rise of rugged has led to lower costs for rugged devices for both consumers and enterprises. According to VDC Research, the overall market for hazardous-rated-certified rugged handheld and tablet mobile computers was estimated at almost $70 million in 2015 and is forecasted to reach $111 million by 2019.
This rapid adoption of rugged mobile technology has created opportunities for both new industries to take advantage of the efficiencies mobile offers, and for established industries like transportation to take advantage of rugged technology with the benefit of expedited ROI. With new mobile services, solutions and applications that offer more efficient, exact tracking mechanisms to accurately predict deliveries, record routes and track drivers, coupled with a lower total cost of ownership for the rugged mobile devices themselves, transportation companies using rugged devices come out on top.
Mobile technologies like Push-To-Talk (PTT) can simplify operations and cost savings, and applications like Google Maps offer a navigational route overview, which is especially effective for drivers on larger-screen rugged devices. As the Department of Transportation releases new transportation regulations and requirements, mobile devices can easily unlock and add new applications to have drivers and companies quickly and effortlessly comply.
- Meets Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate
In an effort to boost safety for both truck drivers and those with whom they share the road, new Department of Transportation (DoT) “hours of service” (HoS) regulations limit how much truck drivers drive, and when they drive. These requirements detail the length of time truckers can drive in a single day and single week, and when they must take mandatory breaks. As of February 2016, fleets are required to use electronic logging devices (ELD) to report hours of service. While ELDs will help save millions over paper-based reporting in the long term, the initial investment poses a challenge for fleets. Fixed hardware ELDs are effective, but can be expensive and limiting.
That’s where rugged mobile devices come in. Rugged mobile devices that double as ELDs reduce initial investment for fleets, and allow for adaptability going forward. With fixed ELDs, fleets run the risk of having to undergo changes in process and equipment every few years as technology evolves.
Rugged mobile devices are multi-functional and familiar – truckers won’t have to get used to new systems and processes – and are the perfect vehicle to easily incorporate new technology and new reporting regulations as they emerge. For example, Kyocera customer Success Logistics utilizes the GeoTab Drive mobile software solution — an all-in-one driver platform for Hours of Service, Driver Vehicle Inspection Recording and Driver ID — on a Kyocera DuraForce XD rugged smartphone, which offers a larger screen for the driver that is usable with wet hands or with gloves on. Rugged mobile devices can perform ELD and communication functions, and operate in the often-harsh environments that truckers experience.
The emergence of logistics solutions, coupled with expanding cities and new regions of operation, have created an opportunity for the transportation industry to rethink how it does business, reallocate its assets to capture larger market share, and rethink its technology to optimize its operations. Rugged mobile devices can serve as a conduit for new strategies and technologies, and help companies be agile with resource allocation. Rugged devices from Kyocera are compatible with most Android and cloud-based logistics programs, and can help transportation organizations quickly pivot from an outdated approach to new strategies.
Just about every American is intimately familiar with mobile devices. Using these devices to execute information and logistics programs eliminates the lengthy learning process normally associated with shifts in strategy and platform. Rugged mobile also allows for seamless shifts in future strategy, so that transportation organizations can identify and exploit opportunities in the market at the moment they occur. And the best rugged devices come with Military Standard 810G certification, so that drivers are ensured that the device is protected wherever they may be traveling – against dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, blowing rain, solar radiation, salt fog, humidity, water immersion.
The world is simultaneously growing and shrinking. Populations are growing and cities and suburbs are expanding – but information and access is attainable in an instant for more people. These competing realities are forcing the transportation industry to identify and create value in an atmosphere of enhanced competition. Whether it’s a government transit organization or a private shipping company, competition is on the rise, forcing organizations to react. Rugged mobile devices are a simple, cost-effective and reliable solution that will help transportation organizations make the transformation to a fully digital environment, and take advantage of the opportunities that real-time information can provide. Drivers need devices that are reliable, durable and constantly connected to provide information at the touch of a finger. That means battery life of rugged devices is a very important benefit when it comes to transportation – the drivers are on the road for long stretches and need constant power and connectivity.
The transportation industry is driving forward at a rapid pace, with new regulations, innovations and technologies around every corner. Rugged mobile devices can help transportation companies and drivers stay a step ahead, especially when it comes to fleet management, hours of service tracking, ROI, agility and value – and focus on the changes to come.
Whether you’re a construction business owner or a worker, you need mobile devices that are durable, secure, rugged and that offer software applications that are applicable for use in the field. Rugged devices have been used for years by businesses and workers that rely on teams out on job sites. However, these niche devices were often cumbersome, they required specialized technology and equipment, and they were usually very expensive.
More recently, advanced technology has made rugged mobile devices–such as the Kyocera lineup of smartphones and feature phones–widely available to the masses, for both business and consumer use, at an affordable price without compromising on features. Here are eight reasons why construction businesses and workers need to consider rugged devices: