Visual Labs Turns Kyocera Brigadier into Body-Worn Camera for Law Enforcement Agencies

DigitalLabs

In 2013, a survey conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) found that approximately 75 percent of the police departments polled did not use body-worn cameras. Since that time, there have been a number of high-profile incidents of deadly police response in Ferguson, Baltimore and elsewhere, prompting law-enforcement agencies nationwide to reconsider deploying police-worn body cameras to both increase transparency and rebuild public trust. As part of the Obama Administration’s Community Policing Initiative, a $75 million investment is now being made to purchase 50,000 body-worn cameras for local law-enforcement agencies to foster greater levels of trust between police officers and the communities they protect and serve.

Visual Labs, working closely with Kyocera, is blazing the trail within the growing public-safety market. Born out of Stanford University and based in Menlo Park, CA, Visual Labs has developed powerful technology that turns smartphones into body-worn computers, arming law enforcement agencies—and others—with a cost-effective solution that can help keep officers safe, enable situation awareness, and provide video evidence in the case of complaint, investigation or trial.

The Visual Labs system is an end-to-end solution for public-safety agencies, delivering body-worn camera functionality (using the embedded camera of a body-mounted smartphone or a remote camera attached via USB cable), real-time positional awareness (leveraging GPS, cellular signals and Wi-Fi hotspots to monitor the location of personnel), video record and playback (which is searchable by virtually any distinguishing detail such as time, date, person, event, or even location), geo-fencing capabilities (enabling dispatchers and other personnel to monitor resources based on user-defined areas), and a remote-activation feature, which all could be used to enhance officer safety.

Another key feature that differentiates the Visual Labs solution is the ability to provide real-time video feeds via cellular networks, which offers critical situational awareness and support to law-enforcement supervisors working to coordinate timely and effective responses, such as in the case of an active-shooter or hostage situation. And because the solution is cloud-based, the capacity to securely store all videos, audio and photos is infinitely scalable.

A Single-Device Solution that Replaces Multiple Pieces of Equipment

Whereas most body-camera offerings are camera-only devices with proprietary infrastructures, Visual Labs has harnessed the power of the smartphone and its video functionality, transforming it into a body-worn computer without the need for officers to connect to any additional hardware. Plus, with a single device, an agency is able to obtain the functionality of a body-worn camera, a stand-alone digital camera, a personnel-location device (replacing in-car AVL units) and a fully functioning smartphone. Consequently, the total cost of the Visual Labs solution can be far less than that of competitive offerings, all with a single device.

The Kyocera Brigadier is a popular device among Visual Labs’ clients, providing an extremely high level of durability, longevity and connectivity, and can operate reliably under varied situations and environments. The Brigadier’s distinguishing features include:

  • Rugged Design – the Brigadier’s inherently rugged design (IP68 and Military Standard 810G certifications) lends itself to the challenges and terrain that officers must navigate while in the field. The device is shock-, dust- and impact-resistant, as well as waterproof, with the ability to survive water immersion up to 6 feet deep for up to 30 minutes.
  • Multiple Programmable Buttons – the Brigadier’s large, programmable buttons allow agencies to pre-configure one-touch video record functionality. Additionally, officers in the field can tag important video moments with the touch of a button.
  • Connectivity – Kyocera offers rugged devices on all the major U.S. carrier networks, meaning there’s a solution available to every agency, no matter the network it chooses to use. The Brigadier is an affordable, off-the-shelf solution sold at Verizon and can typically be purchased for less than $100 on contract. As a result, the hardware acquisition cost for the Brigadier with the Visual Labs solution is much lower than that of other body-camera offerings.
  • Battery Life – With a battery life of more than 14 hours under normal usage, the Brigadier easily lasts an entire shift without the need for an external battery pack, making it an attractive hardware device for law-enforcement agencies, for which longevity and reliability are critical.

While privacy rights are central to the debate surrounding police-worn body cameras, the technology is proving helpful in protecting the delicate relationships between law enforcement and communities. The San Diego Police Department, which has studied the effects of its body-cam deployments, recently found that the technology has led to fewer complaints by residents and less use of force by officers, with complaints falling 40.5 percent and the use of “personal body force” by officers reduced by 46.5 percent. These findings are indicative of the potential advantages resulting from police-worn body cameras, which are certain to trigger long-term public-safety benefits across communities nationwide.

To learn more about how Visual Labs is utilizing the Kyocera Brigadier and body-worn computers to lend transparency into police interactions and improve community relations, visit its web site or contact team@visuallabsinc.com. For more information about the Kyocera Brigadier, go to our web site or follow us on Twitter at @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.

How To Use Rugged Devices To Drive Mobility for Transportation and Logistics

Transportation_3

Globalization is fueling greater supply chain complexities for transportation and logistics industries, at a time when consumers and businesses are demanding access to real-time transit information. Fortunately, mobile technologies, cellular and Push to Talk (PTT) are helping transform the business of moving people and products, enabling transporters and shippers to improve customer service, cut costs and increase both productivity and visibility across the supply chain.

In 2013, research conducted by Intermec (now part of Honeywell Scanning & Mobility) revealed that transport and logistics companies could save nearly half a million dollars per year as a result of process re-engineering and the implementation of mobile technology across workflows. In this same study, 60 percent of managers indicated that broadband mobile communications such as 4G and LTE represented the single biggest future driver of ROI. In an earlier study, Intermec also found that most of the global organizations surveyed believed that arming their mobile workforce with new technology could reduce both pick-up times (by 30 percent) and delivery times (by 29 percent), savings that could ultimately translate to boosting operational efficiencies and meeting customer demands.

It is no secret that transportation and logistics industries have long benefitted from the use of mobile technologies. Two-way radios, bar code scanners and mobile computers have historically been utilized to manage virtually every operation across the supply chain from manufacture to delivery. Today, thanks to advances in rugged mobile devices, mobile applications and PTT services delivered over broadband, organizations can benefit from a unified, purpose-built communications solution that can keep transportation and logistics businesses moving forward in the 21st century and beyond.

Below is a snapshot of the operational efficiencies and customer benefits that rugged mobile devices, broadband and PTT can deliver across transportation and logistics organizations:

  • Real-Time Visibility Into Supply Chain – the ability to know where people and products are at all times has become as critical to customer satisfaction levels as it is to supply chain management. Using rugged devices that feature GPS location mapping and built-in cameras for bar code scanning applications, shippers can track virtually any asset from the points of manufacturer, sales, distribution and delivery. This level of insight can help managers streamline operations across the supply chain for improved delivery times, and provide real-time asset visibility, shipment updates and status notifications to customers.
  • Reliable Communications With the Broadest PTT Coverage – feature phones, smartphones and tablets are being used to facilitate voice, text and email communications between dispatchers and drivers, distribution centers and dockworkers, and maintenance and repair workers. Using mobile devices with enhanced Push to Talk (ePTT) capabilities, these workers can facilitate instant and targeted one-touch communications about deliveries, change requests and other time-sensitive events. Secure, over-the-top PTT over cellular also provides organizations with greater range in device choices and broader coverage over public and private Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks.
  • Hands-free, Voice Communications – for any organization managing a commercial fleet of vehicles, eliminating driver distraction is now a matter of regulatory compliance. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) finalized a rule prohibiting interstate truck and bus drivers from using handheld cell phones while operating their vehicles in an effort to combat incidents as a result of driver distraction. Commercial truck and business companies that allow their drivers to use handhelds while driving can face up to $11,000 in fines. Dash-mounted rugged phablets and hands-free accessories enable truck drivers to initiate and participate in one-touch walkie-talkie style communications using ePTT services, ensuring risk-free and compliance voice communications while on the road.
  • Maintain One Durable, Multi-Use Device – rugged devices and PTT over cellular (POC) enables workers who had to carry multiple devices (at a minimum: one tablet and one two-way radio) to now maintain one device for voice, data and PTT. This unification not only reduces hardware and maintenance costs for transporters and shippers, but it also increases the productivity of mobile workers. For example, long-haul truck drivers must keep an electronic record of Hours of Service (HOS) to ensure compliance, plan their itineraries and account for routing updates from dispatchers. In addition, they must be able to initiate or participate in PTT communications while en route. These activities can all be consolidated via the use of a dash-mounted tablet with hands-free accessories. And considering that many long-haul drivers may travel up to 100,000 miles per year over various road conditions, rugged devices provide the most durable device option designed to withstand the thousands of hours of exposure to vibrations, shocks and weather extremes.

Transportation and logistics industries are challenged with the duality of regulatory requirements and tighter profit margins. Further complicating the competitive landscape is increasingly high customer expectations, with a desire to know where products are at any given time and with a never-ending desire to obtain goods faster and cheaper. Rugged devices are built with the processing power and feature set to support best-of-breed applications that are critical to the mobile worker’s job, and with the long-term durability required to withstand occupational and worksite hazards.

Kyocera offers a wide range of rugged mobile devices, including feature phones, smartphones and phablets, all of which include the following features:

  • Dust proof and impact resistant to maintain optimal performance and operational integrity;
  • Water proof with the ability to survive in up to 6 feet of water immersion for up to 30 minutes;
  • Highly-durable, scratch resistant Sapphire Shield display that protects against incidents and the elements;
  • Continuous productivity with Glove and Wet Touchscreen Operation;
  • Meets IP68 and Military Standard 810G rating for dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, high altitude, solar radiation, humidity and water emersion; and
  • Off-the-shelf support for enhanced PTT services to facilitate one-touch walkie-talkie style communications.

In the world of transportation and logistics, dependable communication for the mobile worker is paramount. From fleet management and delivery services to field maintenance, these workers demand devices that are built to withstand life on the road, at sea, in the air or by rail. Kyocera offers the industry’s most innovative line of rugged devices to accommodate virtually every type of transportation and logistics worker.

What You Get When You Take Kyocera Devices, SAP applications and Android for Work

SAPBlog

A Rugged Solution for all Enterprise Workers

In the age of instant information availability, companies and employees use multiple methods of communication with both corporate-liable and individual-liable devices. Management teams using tablets or computers, and field-force workers using corporate-liable dedicated rugged mobile devices, need to be able to communicate instantly using the same data, creating a need to support the same set of applications running on multiple platforms. This introduces an increasing level of complexity for IT departments, particularly with the rapidly growing universe of enterprise applications, security concerns and data management.

On Android devices, this need to support similar applications on multiple platforms creates a lot of work for enterprise application vendors and IT departments, as they need to check application compatibility on different devices due to variations in Android implementation by different OEMs. Enterprise applications running on different Android devices often have a different set of issues and, therefore, OEMs and application providers must work together ahead of time to at least establish a baseline level of compatibility testing.

Google finally attempted to solve that problem with Android for Work, with which an application can utilize the same set of pre-defined APIs on any Android for Work-enabled device. This significantly reduces the number of issues with enterprise applications running across different Android devices and platforms. Much to the relief of IT managers, the work environment also ensures that IT approves deployed enterprise applications, which means applications are thoroughly vetted before deployment, especially if they require additional capabilities such as remote access using secure VPN, additional encryption, Kiosk mode, etc. This is often done as part of carefully controlled trials, where the device OEM and application vendor work with a customer’s IT team and end-users to support the trials.

Recently, Kyocera and SAP started collaborating to test SAP mobile apps on rugged devices running Android for Work. The characteristics built into Android for Work are closely aligned to what Kyocera and SAP focus on when creating devices and enterprise mobility management solutions, respectively. Don Coop is a Product Manager from SAP who worked on test SAP apps on Kyocera devices. He commented that SAP customers would value the ease of use on Kyocera devices.

For workers who need devices that are rugged, reliable and secure, a Kyocera device running SAP apps on Android for Work enables a best-in-class experience for enterprise workers. From construction to fleet management to public safety, users can be assured that their devices are:

Secure: Kyocera devices have built-in security and encryption to keep sensitive data protected using FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic module for full device and SD card encryption, as well as advanced VPN capabilities providing security for data at rest (DAR) and data in motion (DIM). Coupled with SAP’s Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) security expertise, users can securely store and share files without worrying. In addition, Android for Work enables IT departments to remotely differentiate between personal and corporate data on a device, allowing the latter to be locked or wiped remotely without affecting personal data.

Productive: Tapping into SAP’s longstanding leadership in both business productivity apps and enterprise security, Android for Work on Kyocera devices allows workers to use their enterprise apps such as SuccessFactors, SAP Jam and SAP Fiori mobile apps anywhere, anytime and across devices. This means that employees can access critical business apps on the go to maintain high productivity levels. With app and file integrity as well as device and content management, mobile devices now have fewer limitations in terms of what they can do. 

Durable: Kyocera specializes in devices that are built to last. One particular device that SAP tested is the recently introduced DuraForce XD, part of Kyocera’s portfolio of military-grade waterproof and ruggedized devices, built to withstand the toughest work environments. While Kyocera makes sure its hardware can endure the tests of time and the elements, SAP brings its expertise in software to meet the demands of running large-scale, multinational businesses with dozens to thousands of employees.

Rich Mobile Experience: As Kyocera (and others) continue to introduce new form-factors and increasingly larger screen sizes, including large-screen “phablets,” the mobile experience becomes more immersive. Android for Work and SAP help make it even more so with a robust app marketplace, featuring specialized apps for enterprise customers.

With SAP as a leader in enterprise applications and Kyocera as a leader in rugged devices, both companies are excited to show how Android for Work can revolutionize technology for both the workplace and for life in general. Kyocera and SAP are at the forefront of testing the latest devices to ensure that all hardware, software and applications are optimized to bring workers an exceptional Android for Work experience. Now, businesses with a field force have an affordable option to equip their employees with productivity-driving devices that are designed to function in every work environment. The result? A single, long-lasting rugged solution for enterprise workers meets all their needs, both professionally and personally.

For more information on Kyocera devices, visit our Business Solutions page.

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.