Got Rugged? These Industries Do.

RuggedIndustries

While industries like transportation and logistics have been using rugged devices for years, advances in technology, combined with more attractive price-points, have made rugged mobility accessible for more industries – and many are taking advantage of the benefits. From optimized logistics to accessing and parsing big data to cloud computing in harsh environments, more and more industries are realizing the power of rugged mobility – including manufacturing, government, transportation/logistics, public safety and more. As the modern economy continues to lean on mobiles devices to execute more and more business functions, a growing number of industries are deploying mobile as a strategy. As a result, the demand for rugged devices is rising. Businesses are implementing rugged devices both to protect their investments in technology from damage, and to ensure that downtime is minimized.

Facilities Management and Field Services

Corrigo – a leading mobile facilities and field services management platform for facilities managers and service providers – teamed up with Kyocera in 2015 to deliver its unique SaaS-based solution to the building- and facilities-management industries. Corrigo’s cutting-edge platform helps transform operations, from tracking work orders to asset management and end-to-end process data analytics. Kyocera rugged devices – including the DuraForce PRO – are perfect vehicles to deliver these services. With features like Push-to-Talk (PPT) and a dedicated large side button, loud speakers, powerful battery life and optimization for Corrigo’s mobile app, the Kyocera-Corrigo collaboration is enhancing the customer experience – and the business operations – of a variety of companies across this industry.

Public Safety & Law Enforcement

Communication and information in public safety are critical. Whether it’s a police officer rushing to the scene of a crime, a firefighter battling a blaze or first responders attending to victims of a disaster, the right information at the right time can make all the difference. Traditionally, public-safety agencies utilized rugged devices like two-way radios to ensure reliable and immediate communication. But with a bevy of new mobile technologies emerging to help enhance the exchange of information in real time and better prepare public-safety officers for critical moments, rugged communication technology looks a lot different than it did 20 years ago. Smartphones provide public-safety officers with access to real-time information, collected across multiple systems, so that they can respond and react to changing circumstances. Whether it’s information on a potential suspect, GPS location tracking, traffic information or dispatch communications, mobile technology is the conduit through which information is distributed. Along with other Land Mobile Radio (LMR) interoperability partners, Kyocera is working with companies like Kodiak and TangoTango to leverage cellular Push-to-Talk to enable public safety and police officers to communicate over smartphones beyond their existing two-way radio networks. In areas like Franklin and Turner Counties in Georgia, the TangoTango app running on Kyocera rugged devices enables law enforcement to communicate with other surrounding counties and agencies for interoperability. And they are doing this at price points similar to consumer PTT rather than bearing the huge cost of expanding and integrating private Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks. Public agencies are making significant investments in mobile infrastructure, including expanded broadband capabilities, to handle ever-increasing data, and rugged devices with the capability to deliver that data.

Transportation & Logistics

 For the transportation industry, every second matters. Every train, bus, truck and plane must be accounted for – and must stay on schedule or risk far-reaching complications. For this reason and others, the transportation industry was one of the earliest adopters of mobile-communication technology. Today, however, mobile technology has moved far beyond the ability to communicate, adding new opportunities such as safety measures and workflow processes when paired with a telematics solution. Using a cloud-based solution such as GeoTab with rugged smartphones in the field, operators can dynamically track vehicles, cargo and hours of service, provide up-to-the-minute scheduling to customers and passengers, cut travel times through GPS navigation and more efficiently share information and data to ultimately improve ROI. Rugged mobile technology has opened efficiencies for the industry, allowing organizations to access and utilize the latest cloud-based SaaS applications to deliver data in real-time, helping address issues coming from a rapidly expanding field of operations.

Recently, Kyocera supported the deployment of DuraForce XD rugged smartphones for Success Logistics drivers, offering a cost-effective, easy-to-use and durable mobile solution. Success Logistics needed an Android device that would run the Geotab Drive mobile app for drivers and that could withstand the many challenges transportation workers face, from inclement weather to vehicle tracking and long hours on the road. After testing out multiple rugged Android smartphones, Success Logistics ultimately decided on the Kyocera DuraForce XD as the “go-to” device to be used with Geotab Drive. The cost savings of switching from an Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRD) to the DuraForce XD smartphone were significant, presenting a much more economical solution for the Company, along with the numerous benefits of having a fully rugged 4G LTE Android smartphone that could withstand the harshest environments with Military-Standard-810G certification for protection against dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, blowing rain, solar radiation, salt fog, humidity and water immersion.

Manufacturing

 In a business where precision is imperative to success, every movement, every action and every piece of information is crucial. Existing and emerging mobile technologies are helping the manufacturing industry create new efficiencies, build better products and optimize operations. The ability to collect, parse and act on real-time data has been a boon to manufacturers. Anomalies are recognized immediately, before they can affect the logistics chain. New efficiencies are determined with computing power that could only be dreamed about just decades ago. Technology, however, is delicate. The high-powered smartphones used to move data were not initially built to withstand the manufacturing environment – often full of heavy machinery, dust and moving parts. That’s where rugged complements the industrial workplace. Kyocera rugged devices stand up to even the most intense manufacturing atmosphere, helping ensure that operations do not come to a halt because of hardware failure.

Kyocera is at the forefront of the rugged revolution, with devices that have been engineered for nearly a decade to stand up to the harshest environments. With devices that meet Military Standard 810G for protection against dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, rain, low pressure, solar radiation, humidity, immersion, and temperature shock, more and more companies are turning to Kyocera rugged devices for their fleets. With features that improve in-building coverage, powerful battery life that lasts throughout an entire shift and leading-edge security – a key requirement for most businesses – Kyocera offers a two-year warranty on its newest rugged devices. As more industries realize the power of mobile technology and cloud computing, Kyocera rugged devices are helping companies and organizations protect their technology investments and optimize their operations.

Public Safety: Rugged Technology for Critical Moments

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Our public-safety institutions are charged with the most important responsibility – keeping us safe – and in some cases, saving our lives. When tragedy strikes, timing is of the essence and errors are unforgiving. Everything needs to go right. While many things are out of our control, our equipment is not. Traditionally, communication devices for public safety have been rugged and reliable – CB radios, walkie-talkies, etc. The evolution of mobile technology, however, now offers public safety professionals an incredible array of features to help them do their jobs in a more efficient and effective fashion. There is a downside to emerging technology though – it’s often delicate, making it unreliable in challenging conditions. Enter rugged mobile.

This week, Kyocera is headed to the International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) 2017, the annual convention for communications tech professionals and two-way radio manufacturers. Manufacturers like Kyocera are revolutionizing mobile devices, combining the full technological power of the modern smartphone with rugged designs that stand up to the harshest conditions, providing unprecedented reliability when it matters most. From police officers to EMTs to Park Rangers, going rugged can help optimize operations – and keep the public safe.

The Move to Mobile

Rugged and reliable communication devices like two-way radios have served the public-safety sector well for decades. They allow for clear, immediate communication in critical moments, and their rugged designs stand up to the elements and the often-rough situations in which public safety officers find themselves. For these reasons and more, the public-safety sector has lagged in adopting mobile technology. The rapidly expanding benefits of mobile technology, however, are convincing the industry to adapt and adopt. A report from the Federal Communications Commission states that, “Today’s channel allocations in public safety communications bands can handle limited data applications, but emerging applications demand higher data rates and broadband capabilities for communications among first responders and public safety agencies. First responders in emergencies are beginning to recognize video applications and visualized location-based services as mission critical.”

It’s All About Information

In times of crisis, information is the most critical resource. And in the digital age, information is readily available – if you can access it. Smartphones and cell-enabled tablets put real-time information in the hands of public-safety officers, allowing them to respond and react to changing circumstances in real-time. Information is collected across multiple systems. Whether it’s information on a potential suspect, GPS location tracking, traffic information or dispatch communications, mobile technology is the conduit through which information is distributed. Armed with information, public-safety officers can gain a full understanding of the situation at hand, and act accordingly. Access to information can speed response, eliminate mistakes, and ultimately, save lives.

Next-Gen Video

 A picture is worth a thousand words. In public-safety environments, pictures can inform an approach and expedite the resulting actions. Mobile technology is increasingly focused on enhancing the quality and speed of photo and video transmission, allowing users to stream live video information. The possibilities are endless. The rise of apps like Periscope and Facebook Live have demonstrated what streaming video is capable of. Anyone armed with a smartphone can bring viewers into a live atmosphere. Media has been particularly adept at using the technology, broadcasting live from protests, rallies, natural disasters and more. This technology in the hands of public safety officers is invaluable, advancing situational awareness and amplifying information sharing.

IoT

 The Internet of Things has been talked about in technology circles for some time. But what started as more of a theory than a readily available application is finally coming to fruition. According to VDC research, 2016 saw multiple IoT cloud platform rollouts across large organizations. VDC predicts that IoT development will advance in 2017, focusing on everything from platforms as a service to security against botnet attacks. What does this mean for public safety application? Potential. From centralized monitoring of equipment and movement to reporting and surveillance, public safety will reap the benefits of emerging IoT applications. Many IoT platforms will rely on mobile devices, and applications in environments not hospitable to typical electronic devices are driving the demand for rugged devices to previously unseen levels. In order for IoT’s benefits to be fully realized, raw data – and sensitive data – must be aggregated and parsed over time. Mobile will allow for the easy flow of this data by acting as a conduit, as well as offering analytics functionality. IoT data lives in the cloud. Mobile can both upload and download this data anywhere, anytime, enabling public-safety officers to make real-time, critical decisions.

Security

One of the reasons public safety has been slow to adopt mobile solutions is a fear of security issues. Public safety organizations – particularly law enforcement – often communicate sensitive information. A security breach could conceivably have serious consequences. While the worry over security is not unfounded, the mobile industry is constantly evolving its security measures to thwart hacking attempts. With the US military making significant investments in mobile-communication solutions, security development is quickly evolving to meet the needs of the most security-concerned organizations. 

Rugged

Mobile technology often must be treated with kid gloves. Just look at the thriving market for smartphone insurance and aftermarket protective cases for consumers. In public safety environments, delicate devices are a non-starter. That’s where rugged mobile comes in. For most of the mobile era, truly rugged devices were available only to enterprise organizations – and at a significant cost. Companies like Kyocera, however, are bringing rugged to the masses with military-grade, affordable rugged devices that meet the needs of a wide variety of organizations – including public safety. Of course, not all rugged solutions are created equal. The emergence of rugged has resulted in devices that claim they are “rugged,” but don’t meet industry standards, certifications and benchmarks for rugged devices. Truly rugged devices – like the Kyocera DuraForce Pro – are designed to meet IP68 for dust and water immersion (up to 2 meters for up to 30 minutes) and Military Standard 810G for protection against dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, blowing rain, low pressure, solar radiation, salt fog, thermal shock, icing and freezing rain, humidity and water immersion. These are the conditions in which public safety workers often find themselves. These critical conditions – in critical moments – require durable, rugged and reliable mobile solutions. Kyocera answers the call.

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

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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.