Kyocera and Kodiak Demonstrate Push-to-Talk Gateway Technology on Kyocera DuraForce PRO at the 2017 DistribuTECH Conference

DistribuTECH

We’re off to another trade show this week, and this time it’s conveniently located in our North American headquarters of San Diego. The annual DistribuTECH Conference and Exhibition, a leading electric power transmission and distribution conference, begins today. Kyocera and our partner Kodiak are working together to showcase advanced Push-to-Talk (PTT) communications on Kyocera’s DuraForce PRO smartphone in our booth. The solution we’re demonstrating can help utility companies reduce cost and improve communication in the field.

Kodiak is a Push-to-Talk solution provider that not only offers PTT over 4G, LTE and Wi-Fi, but also developed a “gateway” technology to integrate with the existing Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks that many utility companies use. This integrated PTT service can be used on regular PTT-enabled mobile devices, such as Kyocera’s rugged smartphones that feature programmable buttons.

Kodiak’s gateway technology combined with Kyocera PTT-enabled smartphones is an effective solution for utility companies and various public agencies that need expanded 2-way communications capabilities without adding significant cost. This implementation is easy to set up, costs much less than adding new LMR sites or new frequencies, expands capacity and network reach, and provides low latency connectivity.

If you’re at DistribuTECH this week, be sure to visit Kyocera and Kodiak at our booth (#4232) to learn more about PTT solutions and Kyocera’s rugged device lineup. For more information on DistribuTECH, visit http://www.distributech.com/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, concerts and sports teams.

KYOCERA AND INTREPID NETWORKS SUPPORT SECURITY OPERATIONS DURING THE 41st MARINE CORPS MARATHON

marathon runners on the street

Security has become critically important at large-scale events, like marathons, throughout the U.S., especially since the tragic events at the Boston Marathon in 2013. Mobile security solutions have become key in providing law enforcement and first responders with real-time situational awareness and communication tools that are vital for enabling quick, coordinated responses to emergencies.

For the 41st Annual Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, VA, which was held on October 30th, Kyocera and our partner Intrepid Networks, which develops situational-awareness software for the Public Safety sector, provided the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) with dozens of ultra-rugged, military-grade Kyocera smartphones loaded with Intrepid Networks’ STING® mobile solution working with the STING® Tactical Suite. The Marine Corps Marathon is the 4th largest marathon in the U.S. with 30,000 runners and thousands of spectators stretched in and around many national assets. Security was of utmost importance and required an integrated approach with multiple agencies using the best combination of hardware and software to support the operation.

With our rugged Kyocera smartphone using Intrepid Networks’ STING 9.0 software and running on Verizon Wireless’s 4G network, the on-the-ground security and law-enforcement teams at the Marine Corps Marathon were able to create a live, common operating picture for all responders to view on their devices, and enabled them to share data including maps, GPS and photos, as well as text-to-voice and voice-to-notes functionality. This ultimately allowed them to simplify communication, better connect responders with each other, and speed up potential response times.

Kyocera’s devices, which are certified to Military Standard 810G and “HAZLOC” (hazardous location) Class I Division 2, combined with STING’s latest situational-awareness software, created a great demonstration of the performance of our ruggedized devices operating in dynamic and sometimes hazardous environments, and working seamlessly with a leading public-safety software solution. Kyocera makes devices ideal for first responders, military and workers who need a smartphone that can stand up to challenging environments and its elements, including shock, vibration, extreme temperatures, blowing rain, dust, low pressure, solar radiation, salt, fog and humidity.

We were proud to have participated in the Marine Corps Marathon where Kyocera’s military-grade hardware and Intrepid Networks’ powerful software helped protect the safety and security of tens of thousands of runners, spectators and first responders. We look forward to continued collaboration with Intrepid Networks and law-enforcement agencies on similar projects in the future. For more information on Intrepid Networks, visit its website.

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.

Video Blog: Kyocera, TangoTango Team Up to Enhance Productivity for Jackson County Sheriff’s Department

TangoTango

Public safety workers, particularly law-enforcement officers, face some of the harshest and most demanding environments and situations in the workforce today. It’s for this very reason that Kyocera has made the public safety sector a priority in our product-development efforts. Mobile technology, particularly rugged devices with cutting-edge software applications, can be the difference in saving a life or responding to an emergency more efficiently.

One of Kyocera’s software partners, TangoTango, is an expert in integrating private Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks with nationwide LTE cellular Push-To-Talk (PTT) service from wireless service providers. Together, Kyocera and TangoTango recently worked with Jackson County, Alabama’s Sheriff’s Department to overcome challenges with its LMR systems, including cost of deployments and expansions along with coverage in mountainous terrain.

To mitigate this problem, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department augmented its existing LMR network with a PTT-based solution from Kyocera and TangoTango. With TangoTango software, the Department was able to integrate Kyocera’s ruggedized DuraForce PRO smartphones with PTT from AT&T into the existing radio network. This combination ensures the police department can always stay connected and radio for help in case of an emergency, and has been proven to be a very cost-effective alternative. The DuraForce PRO also delivers 12-hour battery life, high-quality audio and the ability to withstand inclement weather, making it the perfect rugged device for the department.

Watch the video below to see and hear more about how the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department benefited from its collaboration with Kyocera and TangoTango.

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, concerts and sports teams. 

 

Kyocera and BlueForce Development Corporation Collaborate to Support Affordable Mobile Counter-Terrorism Applications

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One of my favorite parts of working in the mobile industry is collaborating with Kyocera’s partners to find new ways to leverage our technology and create new use cases for our rugged devices. Earlier this year, I posted a blog regarding one of Kyocera’s software partners, Blueforce Development Corporation, a company focused on providing products and services that enhance safety, increase operational efficiency and enable better decisions, primarily in the defense, law-enforcement and security industries. Blueforce’s sweet spot is delivering network-centric computing for those requiring the highest degree of security, mobility and interoperability. Blueforce is a perfect match for Kyocera because it has a customer base that operates in rugged environments, and its solution requires a mobile device that can dependably withstand these conditions without the need for a protective case.

One of the ways Kyocera differentiates its devices for potentially dangerous jobs is by certifying them to “HAZLOC” (or “Hazardous Location”) Class I Division 2 standards. Blueforce has stated that it is imperative to use a properly certified device if you work around hazardous materials – an area in which Kyocera excels. Blueforce endorsed our rugged devices – specifically Kyocera’s Brigadier, DuraForce and DuraForce XD ruggedized smartphones – for providing workers in high-risk settings peace of mind that their smartphones are certified for protection in “hazardous locations where concentrations of flammable gases, vapors or mists are not normally present in an explosive concentration (but may accidentally exist).” In addition, Blueforce has also endorsed Kyocera’s Class I, Division 2-certified devices as offering “the necessary and robust level of protection, full ruggedization and the affordability and convenience of an off-the-shelf solution from the nation’s leading wireless service providers.”

Blueforce has worked with multiple government organizations and agencies that are tapping into the technology and capabilities of today’s smartphones to turn them into cost-efficient sensors to help with counter-terrorism efforts around the globe. Given their strength, durability and ruggedness, Kyocera’s devices have been popular with Blueforce and government agencies looking to implement new technologies in the field.

For example, underground tunnels have become a huge area of concern and pose a threat to our military, law-enforcement and government operations. Kyocera’s North American headquarters are in San Diego, where cross-border tunnels used for drug and human smuggling from Mexico are regularly discovered. Given this type of risk, Blueforce was approached to develop software that could help combat these new threats and turn mobile devices into smart sensors that could withstand the harshest environments and provide dependable battery life for up to ten to twelve hours at a time. More and more government agencies are looking for cost-effective alternatives to expensive ground-sensor hardware. Blueforce has developed a software solution, tested on the Kyocera Brigadier, that turns smartphones into motion and acoustic sensors running software plug-ins for both underground and unattended sensor scenarios.

Counter-Terrorism Applications for Military Personnel

For our military personnel, a feared scenario is one in which our adversaries are smuggling humans, narcotics, and/or WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction) through tunnel systems here and abroad. GPS tracking and coverage continues to present our military and other government agencies with challenges, as many technologies today will not work when they lose contact with satellite or cellular networks. This is most often seen during interior operations where operations take place inside of structures or tunnels, the latter of which often presents 100 percent GPS-denied environments.

Earlier this summer, Blueforce was asked by a Department of Defense (DoD) agency to demonstrate and evaluate a solution that used body-worn smart devices (like smartphones, tablets, and heads-up display systems) to track agents and the environments around them as they deployed in in-structure and underground environments. This entailed not only location tracking in GPS-denied environments, but also biotelemetry and multi-gas/chemical/radiological sensing. Blueforce executed the test program by using the Kyocera Brigadier in Wi-Fi mode at the mouth of a tunnel system and pushing Blueforce sensor data via low-wattage Wi-Fi through Mobile Ad-Hoc Network (MANET) radios. The Brigadier, using Blueforce Tactical, also incorporated gamma radiation and multi-gas chemical detection alongside the seismic and acoustic activity.

“The Kyocera Brigadiers and their operators were deployed throughout a one-kilometer underground tunnel, and the combined solution performed flawlessly during this pilot test,” said Michael Helfrich, CEO of Blueforce Development Corporation. “The Brigadier also delivered noted reliability in a high-heat environment, consistently providing 10-12 hours of battery life with Blueforce Tactical running on the device nonstop. Meanwhile, other mobile devices succumbed to the heat and simply stopped operating during the testing.”

The rugged Brigadier (and its cousin, the Kyocera DuraForce) is an ideal device for hostile environments and has the most appropriate set of communications tools, environmental and power features that Blueforce has seen to date, largely because of its Class I, Division 2 Nonincendive and MIL-STD-810G certifications. During the tests, the Brigadier was able to withstand 101-103 degree heat and was in direct sunlight most of the day, while also thriving in rainstorms and heavy dust.

Blueforce’s “ugsONE” Ushers in New Capabilities for Unattended Surveillance

During the Gulf Wars, unattended ground sensors (UGSs) used by the U.S. military were highly proprietary systems that cost tens of thousands of dollars – many were priced at more than $100,000 each – and were highly fixed in their capabilities. U.S. agencies have since been interested in developing a “system of systems” approach, where a network of UGSs could be constructed on the fly from disparate sensors using inexpensive, but secure, means to move sensor data. In all cases, these “just-in-time” systems could be left behind to protect their operators because of their low cost.

Combining the capabilities of built-in smartphone accelerometer, gyroscope and microphone sensors for detecting motion, vibration and sound presents great opportunity for unattended surveillance, so Blueforce built a new Tactical plugin that monitors seismic and acoustic activity to trigger the on-board Kyocera cameras to capture imagery and send it to the nearest Blueforce user, and/or to a command and control center. The plugin is called “ugsONE” and uses the core Blueforce system to provide pre-processing and detection, awareness, and subsequent secure movement of sensor detections to quick-reaction forces and tactical operations centers.

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Blueforce Development Unattended Ground Sensors (UGSs)

Users can set thresholds of motion, vibration or sound to notify the device to begin capturing still or video images. During the aforementioned DoD test and evaluation, Kyocera Brigadiers were used to construct unattended ground sensors. The ugsONE/Brigadier solution successfully detected ground robots approaching the senor locations based on seismic activity.

Recently, Blueforce had a customer that was in need of a rapidly deployable UGS system that also allowed for breach detection and stand-off surveillance. The new ugsONE plugin delivered by leveraging Brigadier’s on-board accelerometer/gyroscope, plus the microphone and cameras, to detect human motion around the sensor. Once a detection was received, mobile users as well as tactical-operations centers were able to open the microphone on the Kyocera device and “listen live.”

“Using the Kyocera Brigadier, Blueforce was able to monitor entryways to the tunnels and any nefarious tampering with the ground sensor,” said Helfrich. “After the 48-hour pilot, during which there were several storms and severe heat, the Kyocera Brigadier was left standing and still reporting, and the device had discovered and reported several perimeter breaches. It was also used to monitor other critical infrastructure data such as detecting ground robots and sending pictures back to the command center, and reading seismic activity and sound.”

The future for Blueforce and Kyocera looks very promising, potentially delivering an incredibly cost-efficient underground monitoring solution for less than $1,000 per device. Government and military agencies are spending close to $40,000 per device on similar sensor equipment today. This potential cost savings, coupled with Kyocera’s rugged hardware and Blueforce’s advanced software solutions, could change underground monitoring and sensor solutions down the road, making all of us safer and protecting the men and women who so bravely put their lives on the line to protect us. For more information on Blueforce, check out their blog or call them at 866-960-0204.

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. 

Partner Spotlight: How to Implement PTT into Your Business (And Save Money!) Using Kodiak

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For the past several decades, Push to Talk (PTT) has been a significant technology in enabling business-critical, two-way communications between individuals and groups for businesses and government agencies, helping connect field-force workers with each other and the main office, and first responders providing emergency services. Recently, we’ve explored how the marriage of rugged devices and PTT over LTE networks can power greater levels of enterprise mobility. We’ve also examined how PTT impacts various industries like transportation, construction and public safety to enable everything from dispatching, security and worksite collaboration, to the coordination of an emergency response in the event of a large-scale disaster.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at the evolving PTT ecosystem and how a particular player, Kodiak, is working to bridge the gap between traditional PTT technologies (most notably, Land Mobile Radio or LMR) and Push To Talk over Cellular (PoC) and Wi-Fi networks. At Kyocera, we partner with leading developers to deliver highly dependable PTT services on our rugged mobile devices over ubiquitous communications networks, enabling secure and reliable mobility for workers. Under this approach, we allow organizations to supplement legacy PTT and LMR systems with next-generation PTT, extending the reach of business-critical voice applications while reducing both the total cost of ownership (TCO) and complexities associated with their delivery and management.

Kyocera works closely with Kodiak, which provides one of the industry’s leading purpose-built PTT platform that operates across LMR, LTE and Wi-Fi networks — delivering much-needed performance and interoperability between these historically disjointed communication systems. Kodiak helps enterprises expand the range and capabilities of their instant communications investments regardless of their legacy solution(s) or their current stages of implementation.

PTT Enablement and Cost Savings for Every Organization

In the world of PTT, there are two types of user organizations: those with deeply entrenched deployments and those that are newly discovering how PTT can benefit their businesses. For organizations with legacy PTT investments, the Kodiak platform can augment existing two-way radio networks with additional capacity, geographic coverage and fallback support. For new adopters, Kodiak provides an onramp to PTT enablement without the expense of having to build, lease or maintain LMR networks, equipment and devices.

For both of these groups, the cost savings of the Kodiak platform can be significant, as the annual costs of supporting a carrier-integrated PTT user costs the enterprise 55 percent less than the expense of supporting an LMR user. As we mention in our Push-to-Talk white paper, for organizations that must provision thousands of PTT users, using PTT over cellular networks can generate annual costs savings in the millions.

Kodiak enables organizations to accomplish more with less by extending the number of PTT connections that an existing system can support, and by offering the most advanced platform for organizations seeking to introduce PTT services to streamline one-to-one and one-to-many communications and boost productivity. Using Kodiak in tandem with Kyocera’s rugged mobile devices, enterprises can achieve the following:

  • Unify LMR and Next-Gen Communications Networks – Kodiak powers interoperability between old and new PTT networks, delivering fast, near-zero latency connectivity over 4G, LTE and Wi-Fi. Utilizing a Raytheon ACU series interoperability gateway and Kodiak PoC LMR interoperability cable, Kodiak extends LMR fleets by bridging cellular PTT devices and LMR radios for seamless, interoperable and instant voice communications.
  • Augment, Back Up or Migrate From Two-Way Radio Networks – Kodiak-powered PTT eliminates many of the geographic limitations of LMR radios by providing access to nationwide cellular networks. In addition, the solution allows organizations to increase the number of PTT users supported without making additional investments in dedicated, proprietary LMR towers, equipment and handheld radios. Kodiak not only provides organizations with reliable fallback support for critical voice applications, but also the redundancy and guaranteed uptime for organizations looking to transition away from end-of-life systems.
  • Consolidate Handheld Devices for End-Users – Mobile devices have become standard operating equipment for every level of enterprise worker — from the factory floor to the C-level — providing everything users need in a single device. With a Kodiak-powered solution and rugged mobile devices with dedicated side PTT buttons like those from Kyocera, workers can leverage enhanced Push to Talk directly from their feature phones and smartphones to facilitate one-touch walkie-talkie style communications. Not only are Kyocera rugged devices both more affordable and portable than traditional handheld radios, but they also provide workers with a single mobile device that consolidates one-touch PTT, voice calling, text, video and email communications.
  • Lower TCO – With low-cost, fixed-fee PTT plans and carrier-subsidized Kyocera handsets, PTT powered by Kodiak Networks provides a much-needed, cost-effective alternative to LMR. Unlike handheld radios, mobile phones provide the opportunity to cost-effectively upgrade devices every two years. This allows workers to take full advantage of the latest advances in technology, which is of particular importance for organizations that require enterprise-level security and provisioning, and whose workers rely on an array of productivity applications.

Kyocera’s goal is to deliver one-to-one and one-to-many communications over cellular and Wi-Fi networks, and we design our devices to enhance the PTT experience with loud speakers and a dedicated side button, among others. Kodiak represents a critical partner in helping us revolutionize enterprise mobility. Together, Kodiak and Kyocera’s purpose-built technologies can cost-effectively and reliably augment and even replace many existing land mobile radio (LMR) deployments, while also providing an end-to-end solution for organizations just entering the realm of PTT usage. Kodiak offers greater coverage, reliability and sub-second call set up that can boost organization’s productivity and efficiency. Coupled with Kyocera’s market-leading rugged and waterproof mobile phones, together we stand committed to delivering long-lasting, low-cost PTT solutions to a variety of businesses.

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.