Usable Technology: Innovation to Improve Everyday Life

Usable_tech

Waterproof. Wireless charging. Fingerprint authentication. More computing power than NASA’s original moon landers. The level of innovation happening in the mobile industry is groundbreaking and changing the way we interact with one another. But sometimes the marketing claims seem too good to be true. And sometimes they seem downright unnecessary: “Now why would I want that?”

At Kyocera, we listen to our customers and their issues, wants and needs, and then we build devices that address their feedback. For us, it’s not enough to introduce the latest and greatest feature because it sounds cool or because it checks a box. We don’t have what we see as the industry’s “Spinal Tap” mentality, where everything has to go to “11” just because 11 is greater than 10. We introduce a new feature or capability because it meets a real need, it is practical and it delivers true value.

Lately, you’ve likely heard a lot about new devices claiming exciting new features – waterproof, shatterproof, wireless charging-capable and dustproof, among many others. We also build some of these features into our Kyocera devices, but rather than trying to “out-spec” our competitors, we make sure that these capabilities are implemented to solve real-world issues and that the devices are always usable when it comes to challenging real-life situations.

As the leader in rugged devices, we focus our efforts on ensuring that our devices live up to their promises. Here are a few of Kyocera’s recently introduced features and how they function in the real world:

Yes, I can hear you now! (Thanks to Smart Sonic Receiver and dual speakers)

Voice communication, be it frequent or rare, remains a critical function for mobiles devices. Yet call quality continues to be a primary issue among smartphone users – especially those using Push-to-Talk services.

Kyocera’s Smart Sonic Receiver and dual-speaker technology deliver superior sound in virtually any environment, in place of a visible in-ear speaker. For example, the Verizon Brigadier and Sprint TorqueXT, which integrate Kyocera’s Smart Sonic Receiver technology, make it easy to hear calls even in the presence of heavy background noise, such as that created by construction and manufacturing equipment, traffic or large crowds. Smart Sonic Receiver technology uses a proprietary Kyocera ceramic transducer that transmits sound waves from the device as vibrations that reach the eardrum directly through the body.

Protection Against Drops, Scratches and Sharp Objects, Courtesy of Sapphire Shield

Kyocera’s Sapphire Shield is a crystal display technology that is virtually scratchproof, offering premium protection against drops and sharp or abrasive objects. An ultra-strong sapphire screen (fun fact: on the Mohs Scale of mineral hardness, sapphires are second only to diamonds) provides more protection than most smartphone cases, not only against various angles of drops, but also against scratches and objects dropped directly onto the screen.

Military-Grade Protection Against the Elements

Certified to Ingress Protection (IP) and Military Standard 810G durability ratings, Kyocera constructs many of its devices to withstand the harshest environmental elements, with protection against rain, dust, heat, humidity, vibration and solar radiation. They’re also waterproof for up to 30 minutes and many are even certified to OSHA standard Nonincendive, Class 1, Division 2, Group A-D, T4, meaning they are safe to operate in hazardous locations where high concentrations of flammable gases, vapors and mists may exist.

Glove and Wet Touchscreen Operation      

Our customers are often working in the harshest work settings and environmental conditions, including wind, snow and rain. That’s why many of our devices feature Glove & Wet Touchscreen Operation. Whether they’re work gloves on the jobsite or insulated gloves in the cold, seamless glove and wet touchscreen operation help field force workers stay connected all day long, regardless of their environmental conditions, without compromising their safety or well-being.

Wireless charging

Battery life continues to be a top pain point of mobile users. The rugged consumer needs multiple options when it comes to charging their devices, including the newest form of battery juicing—wireless charging. With wireless charging, mobile consumers can charge their compatible devices without needing to plug in. By simply placing certain Kyocera devices, including the Kyocera Elite, Brigadier and DuraForce, on a charging pad, charging will begin and our customers don’t need to worry about having enough battery life to get them through the day.

Mobile innovation needs to be more than just hype. At Kyocera, we don’t just talk the talk—we walk the walk when it comes to creating highly usable rugged devices. It’s a passion of ours and something we are committed to for anyone who considers themselves a rugged user. For more information on our product lineup please visit www.kyoceramobile.com/phones/.

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. 

Blueforce Development Corporation Endorses Kyocera’s Devices For Workers in Hazardous Locations and Jobs

Blueforce

At Kyocera, we believe that not all rugged devices are created equal. Our DNA is rooted in creating mobile devices that offer a unique blend of toughness, performance and affordability, and we feel we have a leg up when it comes to providing field workers the best durable mobile solutions. A big part of our success in rugged is in part because we have a great ecosystem of developer partners creating apps that tailor our devices to particular markets, like Blueforce Development Corporation.

Blueforce develops software products that “facilitate the formation of arbitrary and spontaneous confederations of people, sensors, and systems using mobile devices.” Their sweet spot is delivering network-centric computing for those requiring the highest degree of security, mobility, and interoperability, making them a perfect match for Kyocera.

One way Kyocera differentiates our devices for potentially dangerous jobs is by certifying them to certain OSHA “HAZLOC” (or “Hazardous Location”) standards. Earlier this week Blueforce posted a blog entitled, “A Primer on the HAZLOC Certification: Not All Mobile Scenarios Require Intrinsically Safe Devices,” where they outlined the benefits and tradeoffs of different levels of HAZLOC certifications.

As Blueforce pointed out in this blog post, it is imperative to carry a properly certified phone if you work around hazardous materials. That’s where Kyocera excels. Blueforce endorsed our rugged devices, particularly our Brigadier, DuraForce and DuraForce XD 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).” They also go on to endorse our 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.”

“Customers with highly mobile workforces require solutions that match the environments in which they work. Whether it is oil and gas, or visiting nurses and social workers, a common requirement emerges: all require a device that is safe, a device that is resilient, and a device is easy to use. Kyocera delivers all of this and more,” said Michael Helfrich, CEO of Blueforce Development Corporation.

Partners like Blueforce are important to Kyocera’s success in our mission to be the worldwide leader in creating rugged mobile solutions. For more information on HAZLOC certifications or 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.