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?

WHEN RUGGED TECHNOLOGY SAVES LIVES: KYOCERA DURA SERIES PHONE ENABLES WORKER TO CALL 911 AFTER FALLING INTO POND

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We’ve probably all called our mobile phones “lifesavers” at some point, but has your phone ever truly saved your life? Every now and then, we get stories from our customers that transcend the business of selling rugged mobile devices and enter the realm of actual life and death. We recently heard from Vincent Curtis Neill of California, who immediately got our attention when he said:

“When life is on the line, Kyocera’s Dura Series is the only phone you need.” Turns out he wasn’t exaggerating. Here’s Vincent’s story.

Vincent is an employee of Wild Wings Recycle Facility in Woodland, CA, and one of his job duties is to collect monthly water samples to be tested for California state permit compliance. With 20 years of experience collecting samples, this was nothing new for Vincent. But one recent day, when Vincent went to the effluent storage pond to collect the sample, his foot gave way on some algae and he slid right into the large pond. For those who don’t know, “effluent” means liquid waste or sewage, so this immediately became a dangerous situation.

Despite being a good swimmer, Vincent’s heavy work gear combined with slippery, algae-coated edges of the pond to make him unable to swim or to grab onto anything. He quickly became tired from treading water and realized he was in trouble. With no coworkers around, Vincent went to try to use his (non-Kyocera) work phone, which was in his pocket, to call for help. Falling in the pond, however, had killed the non-rugged device. He then realized that he had forgotten to take his personal Kyocera Dura Series phone out of his other pocket that day when he arrived at work. He grabbed it and, since it is fully ruggedized and waterproof, it was still working. Then, Vincent was able to call 911 from the soaked device. Thankfully the local fire department arrived quickly and pulled him out of the pond to safety. He was cold and weak by that point, but he was alive and safe.

“It is without a doubt that I am alive today because I have the best phone in the world—the Kyocera Dura Series,” Neill said. “I would recommend this lineup of phones to anyone who needs a phone that won’t let them down.”

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Vincent originally chose the Kyocera Dura Series as his personal mobile device because he wanted a phone that was dependable and durable.

“When it was time to get a new phone, I thought of my old flip phone and asked what was available that was rugged and steadfast,” he said.

A salesman recommended the Kyocera Dura Series, and choosing it became one of the best decisions of his life. With the Dura Series’ rugged features, including military-grade protection and waterproofing that allows the device to be submerged in up to 6.5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes, Vincent was lucky to have chosen a device that can stand up to harsh environments when it mattered most.

While our mission at Kyocera is to be the leader in rugged mobile solutions, we’re also passionate about delivering technologies that really make life easier and better for our customers. While we never want anyone to be in a situation like Vincent was a few weeks ago, we are so glad that our technology was able to help save his life.

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.

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

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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.

Say Hello to Kyocera’s Newest Rugged Smartphone with All-In-One Super Wide View HD Action Camera: DuraForce PRO

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Kyocera prides itself on creating mobile devices that are rugged, durable and dependable. Today, I am thrilled to announce the introduction of our newest rugged smartphone—DuraForce PRO. Building on the legacy of our ruggedized smartphones like the DuraForce, Brigadier and Torque, DuraForce PRO raises the bar with stronger specs across the board. And, DuraForce PRO is the first rugged smartphone to augment its standard cameras with a super wide view action camera.

Like its predecessors in Kyocera’s rugged lineup, DuraForce PRO is certified to IP68 for dustproofing and waterproofing (now up to 2 meters deep for up to 30 minutes) and Military Standard 810G for ruggedization. Along with the new action camera, the PRO adds a stronger processor, a larger 5” display, more memory, a larger battery, a fingerprint sensor on the power button for security and much, much more.

Action cameras have become extremely popular for recreational and business use. Adding one to DuraForce PRO means there’s no need to carry a separate device. Because it’s built into a 4G LTE smartphone, you get a 5” high-definition viewfinder to watch what you’re shooting and, instead of having to dock with a PC, the videos and photos can be shared, streamed and posted wirelessly, virtually in real time. Adding to the functionality, DuraForce PRO is waterproof and has an Underwater Mode for the cameras that keeps the viewfinder on, but switches the controls to the phone’s buttons.

For the business world, where durability enhances productivity and saves money, Kyocera devices have become the stocked solution of choice at all four national U.S. carriers and two of the top three in Canada. DuraForce PRO builds on our strength in this category by supporting Android for Work, enterprise-grade Wi-Fi, and many other important features. We’re also very proud of our growing ecosystem of application and accessory developers big and small, whose collaboration allows businesses to turn our phone into customized solution for a variety of industries and vertical markets.

DuraForce PRO has a long list of features and specs that make it stand out in the rugged smartphone category. I won’t list them all here, but encourage you to check out our more detailed official announcement of the phone. Launching nationwide this fall, we’re confident that DuraForce PRO strikes an ideal balance between performance, affordability and durability. Whether you work in tough profession or you’re just an adventurous type who wants to capture memories while you live life to the fullest, the new DuraForce PRO is the right device for you.

For more information about the new Kyocera DuraForce PRO, visit www.kyoceramobile.com/duraforce-pro or follow us on Twitter at @kyoceramobile for more details on device availability in the coming weeks and months.

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.