Smartphone-based Bar-Code and RFID Scanning Offers Flexible, Affordable and Efficient Solutions for Asset Management and Mobile Data Capture

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Convergence. It has become almost cliché in the world of technology, but it is changing the way people work and business gets done. In asset tracking, the evolution in mobile data capture empowered companies to identify, monitor and manage their products and resources like never before. Many of these companies, however, still rely heavily on dedicated, single-function scanning devices they’ve been using for decades. But thanks to growing convergence between this technology and the world of mobile communications, change is afoot. Smartphones – pocket-sized, multi-function computers and communication tools – are today serving as the new hubs for mobile data capture.

Today’s off-the-shelf mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, can serve as the processing and transmission hubs when paired with simple, cost-effective scanning software or hardware. Why would this be better suited than a dedicated, stand-alone scanning device? For starters, mobile devices are becoming faster and more powerful all the time, with faster processing, frequent software updates and applications like AR tracking. Mobile devices are also ubiquitous – people are already carrying them. They are intuitive, easy to use, always connected and help blend the physical and digital world around us. Perhaps the final tipping point is the recent creation of ruggedized smartphones like those from Kyocera, which offer consumer-tier price points and Military Standard 810G certifications for protection against threats commonly found in retail and logistics environments like shock, dust, water, vibration and more.

Off-the-shelf smartphones, however, are not the answer by themselves. That’s why Kyocera partners with industry-leading mobile scanning companies to provide a range of turnkey data-capture solutions. Every business is different, and so are those businesses’ data-capture needs and that’s why Kyocera works with multiple partners to create choices in selecting the right solutions.  For example, technology and software from Scandit can be loaded onto a Kyocera smartphone to leverage the phone’s camera as an in credibly cost-efficient, enterprise-grade barcode scanner. Meanwhile, Koamtac takes a hardware-based approach, building miniature Bluetooth companion scanners and functional, ergonomic scanning sleds – many of which are ruggedized – that fit smartphones like the Kyocera DuraForce PRO. Along with high-performance scanning of 1D or 2D Barcodes, Koamtac offers optional features including RFID, MSR Card, or Smartcard reading.

Finding the right mobile scanning software solution

If you are considering a switch to a smartphone-based data-capture solution, you should ask yourself a few questions:

  1. What type of scanning will your workers be doing? Are you focused on warehouse scanning, worker location and verification, delivery, etc.?
  2. What type of scans do you want? 1D? 2D? 3D? RFID? Others?
  3. From what distance will workers be scanning?
  4. How many scans will workers be doing per hour or day?

These questions will help narrow down the scanning solution that best fits your business’ needs.

The business benefits of switching to mobile devices with scanning software

Now it’s time to weigh the pros and cons of retiring your dedicated, self-contained scanners and switching to a mobile device like the Kyocera DuraForce PRO with add-on data-scanning capabilities, whether software- or hardware-based. We’ve outlined some of the key reasons and consideration sets in making the switch below:

Mobile devices offer more functionality than purpose-built, stand-alone scanners

While add-on solutions from companies like Scandit and Koamtac provide top-of-the-line scanning capabilities, mobile devices like the Kyocera DuraForce PRO simultaneously provide access to other business-critical applications, such as phone calls, messaging, Internet, time management, Push-to-Talk (PTT) communication, GPS, email and more. These smartphone “scanners” can also run custom business apps – from time tracking to inventory management and more – to make the devices significantly more valuable in the workplace. Kyocera’s DuraForce PRO runs on the ubiquitous Android operating system, the world’s largest ecosystem for mobile business software, making tailored software provisioning and updates easy and seamless with virtually no downtime.

Evolution of smartphone cameras

While a sled or other scanning hardware accessories can offer excellent ergonomics and support numerous data formats (e.g., bar codes, RFID, SmartCards, etc.), the evolution of camera technologies on smartphones can make them a simple, affordable solution for optical scanning.  For example, software like Scandit’s pairs with DuraForce PRO’s built-in 13-megapixel camera to enable scanning even in the toughest environments, like warehouses and packaging facilities. The phone’s additional Super-Wide-View HD Action Camera also comes in handy to document projects and deliveries in video.

Built in durability from the inside out, no protective case required

Whether used on their own or as part of a sled-based solution, rugged smartphones like Kyocera’s are designed to withstand high-intensity environments where drops and shocks are likely to occur. For outdoor jobsites, they offer protection from liquids, dust and extreme temperatures. And for work in Hazardous Locations where flammable gasses may exist, the Kyocera DuraForce PRO is rated Non-incendive Class I, Division 2, Group A-D, T4.

Long battery life works through a full shift and more

For a smartphone-based solution to make it through a full shift or even a full day, substantial battery life is a necessity.  The Kyocera DuraForce PRO comes with a powerful 3,240 mAh battery that can be charged wirelessly or more quickly with a wired connection because of its support for QUALCOMM Quick Charge 2.0 technology. For larger-scale implementations, there is even an optional multi-bay charger accessory available for charging a fleet of devices at the same time.

Extra-loud speakers and noise cancellation

Smartphone-based scanning solutions are also communication tools.  For potentially noisy environments like warehouses and distribution centers, the DuraForce PRO includes dual front speakers that can generate volume above 100dB. Combined with noise-canceling microphone technology, this enables phone calls and walkie-talkie-style push-to-talk conversations between workers in even the loudest settings.

Enhanced scanning connectivity

Once data is captured – whether via software- or hardware-based solutions – it needs to be shared with the business network.  With a smartphone-based solution, there’s no need for docks or wires to synchronize that data. DuraForce PRO comes with Bluetooth 4.2, NFC and Wi-Fi for adding scanning connectivity on the front end. Then, for transmission of that data to the network, includes not only ubiquitous 4G LTE cellular data connectivity, but also enterprise-grade Wi-Fi® with 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/i/r/k, 2.4 and 5GHz and Wi-Fi Direct for maximum flexibility and connectivity options on the LAN.

Competitive price point and low TCO

When choosing a rugged mobile device as the hub for a mobile data scanning solution, not all devices are the same. DuraForce PRO is roughly half the cost of many other rugged devices and, even when a scanning sled is added to the solution, can still cost substantially less than purpose-built, single-function scanners.  Its built-in ruggedization eliminates the need for costly protective cases and its durability means less downtime and lower replacement costs. Analyst firm VDC Research compared Kyocera’s rugged smartphones to non-ruggedized phones in the workplace and found that those using rugged devices saved an average of 46 percent on their total cost of ownership (TCO).

To learn more about Kyocera rugged devices, please visit www.kyoceramobile.com or follow us on Twitter (@KyoceraMobile), Facebook and LinkedIn.

SUNSET OLIVE OIL COMPANY TURNS TO KYOCERA FOR INSTANT RUGGEDIZED COMMUNICATIONS

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OVERVIEW
For more than a century, Pompeian, Inc. has manufactured the nation’s leading olive oils, wine vinegars and cooking wines out of Baltimore, Maryland. The company recently announced an expansion with the introduction of sister company Sunset Olive Oil in Montebello, California. Sunset Olive Oil has become established and nationally renowned for its branded and private-labeled products.  As the company continues to grow, it has placed cutting-edge technology at the forefront of its business operations in order to improve communications and efficiency across its expansive production site.

THE CHALLENGE
Long before joining forces with Pompeian, Sunset Olive Oil began relying on rugged Kyocera devices with push-to-talk service to provide nearly all of its employees with mobile connectivity. Opting for rugged Kyocera flip phones in the early years, Sunset Olive Oil recently upgraded its team to Kyocera’s newest Android-based smartphone, the rugged DuraForce PRO, choosing the device based on its durability and push-to-talk (PTT) features. Two-way communications are extremely important in the olive-oil-production business, and PTT facilitates seamless individual or group communication between management, supervisors and their staff on a daily basis, enabling the transmission of important, timely information about schedules and work-flow changes. The staff utilizes an Push-to-Talk service on the Kyocera phones, which allows reliable connectivity over 4G LTE or the company’s Wi-Fi network. The DuraForce PRO’s large, dedicated PTT side key and 100+dB dual front speakers make it easy to communicate and stay connected even in noisy environments.

With internal and external work facilities that collaborate on the management of olive oil production and bottling at their plant, Sunset Olive Oil’s managers knew they needed a durable, reliable phone that could withstand hazardous environments. Within that fast-paced environment, it is common for workers to drop their phones on the concrete shop floors. In the past, workers trying to use non-rugged devices often suffered damaged screens and broken phones due to falls and accidental drops. The company needed a durable and rugged solution, and DuraForce PRO fit the bill with its Military Standard 810G protection against shock, vibration, temperature extremes, humidity and more; waterproof IP68 certification (up to 30 minutes in up to 6.5 feet of water); and non-incendive Class I, Division 2 protection for use in hazardous locations with some exposure to flammable gas, vapors or mists. At the same time, many of the Sunset Olive Oil production staff wear gloves, so it was important to have a device on which the touchscreen would still work while wearing gloves or when the screen was wet. With Glove and Wet Touchscreen Operation and tactile hard keys for navigation, the DuraForce PRO helped workers save time and stay efficient, keeping their hands safe from the elements and enabling them to do important work – making calls, checking messages and texts, and using PTT and other key features – without removing their gloves.

THE SOLUTION AND ITS BENEFITS
“The Kyocera DuraForce PRO is extremely durable on the manufacturing floor and provides instant, reliable communications among our staff when using the push-to-talk application and side-button on the phone,” said Sheila Thompson, Operational and Shipping Lead at Sunset Olive Oil. Today, the Kyocera DuraForce PRO is the official company phone at Sunset Olive Oil. For the company it means easy, efficient communications, while for employees it means not having to jeopardize personal, non-rugged phones in the challenging industrial environment. Choosing a rugged solution that enables key features like PTT, protection against hazardous environments and Glove and Wet Touchscreen Operation has made the lives and jobs of Sunset Olive Oil employees easier, safer and more efficient.

Kyocera’s Rugged Mobility for the Connected Truck Driver on Display at the Great American Trucking Show

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Trucking and transportation professionals share a passion for being on the road—all 3.5 million of them in the United States alone. That’s a lot of drivers, a lot of hours and a lot of miles, all requiring a lot of focus from the trucking community. While our primary mission at Kyocera is to provide these drivers with the best rugged mobile devices on the market, it is equally important for us to help ensure their safety by minimizing distractions, providing easy and simple communication links with dispatch, and enabling the ability to stay connected with family on long hauls. Road safety is critical to delivering on this goal, and Kyocera is committed to making life as safe as possible for the “Connected Truck Driver.”

It is for these very reasons you’ll find Kyocera at The Great American Trucking Show (GATS) August 24-26, 2017, at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. GATS is an interactive and all-encompassing public convention of trucking professionals that attracts more than 500 exhibitors, representing truck, trailer, engine, component and parts manufacturers, among many others. It exists to create an interactive, energizing environment entirely focused on improving the trucking industry—a perfect fit for the Kyocera rugged phone lineup.

During GATS, Kyocera will be exhibiting (booth #11047) and showcasing our rugged lineup, proven to continuously operate in harsh environments where truckers may experience extreme heat and cold, rain, dust or continuous vibration while on the road. Our latest rugged Android device, the Kyocera DuraForce PRO, can perform as the device hub for meeting the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate by downloading a compliant “Hours of Service” application from the Google Play store. At the same time, using compatible hands-free accessories will help with continuous connectivity without distraction and provide safety for drivers. Kyocera is working particularly closely with two partners during the show, including AdvanceTec – a global leader in the design and manufacturing of communications products and solutions for the wireless telecom, two-way radio industry – and TA/Petro Travel Centers, which will also be selling Kyocera’s DuraForce PRO and DuraXV+ (a rugged flip phone) from its booth (#15022) on the show floor.

Showcased in Kyocera’s booth will be AdvanceTec’s Pro-Installed Hands-Free Car Kit and a demonstration of a remote, low-energy Bluetooth Push-to-Talk (PTT) button that can mount on a steering wheel or dashboard to facilitate easy two-way radio communication. Push-to-Talk is a service option for cellular phone networks that enables subscribers to use their phones like walkie-talkies between individuals or groups, all with virtually unlimited range, which is necessary when driving the distance. Meanwhile, the AdvanceTec kit includes a wireless charging cradle, an external speaker that improves sound quality, and, with an optional Palm Mic, allows drivers to use PTT like they use CB radios.

If you plan on attending the show, please stop by our booth (#11047), where Kyocera will be offering special discounts on all of our Connected Truck Driver accessories. Our rugged device lineup is now available in all major cellular carriers. For more information about Kyocera, please visit http://www.kyoceramobile.com/business/ or follow us on our social-media channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube).

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?

Verizon Releases Kyocera DuraForce PRO with Sapphire Shield Crystal Display and Super Wide-View HD Action Camera

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The DuraForce PRO is the latest Android smartphone in Kyocera’s ultra-rugged lineup, and it is now available on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network. Offering all of the protections that users expect from a Kyocera device, the DuraForce PRO is shockproof, drop-proof and dustproof, with certifications for IP68 (waterproof up to 30 minutes, up to 2 meters deep) and Military Standard 810G to defend against dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, rain, low pressure, solar radiation, humidity, immersion, and temperature shock. Further enhancing its durability, DuraForce PRO on Verizon also features Kyocera’s Sapphire Shield display – made with sapphire crystal that is second only to diamond in its hardness and strength – protecting the touchscreen against coins, keys, rocks, and other abrasions that can compromise the durability of a display.

While tough and rugged have long been distinguishing characteristics of Kyocera mobile devices, DuraForce PRO is further differentiated with its all-in-one camera capabilities. DuraForce PRO is the only 4G LTE smartphone currently available with an integrated super-wide-view HD (1080p) action camera, providing outdoor enthusiasts, professional photographers, and construction, safety and security workers with the ability to capture live video and still images from any environment – be it from great heights or even under water. The main camera captures at an impressive 13-megapixels and is accompanied by a separate 135-degree wide-angle action camera lens, plus a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. Rather than having to carry a separate, dedicated action camera, DuraForce PRO builds the functionality right into the phone. DuraForce PRO also allows users to toggle between different enhanced camera-mode options for underwater, sports, slow motion and time-lapse, just to name a few.

The Most Durable, All-in-One Device
Kyocera DuraForce PRO was designed to lend simplicity to users, while delivering an all-in-one mobile device for myriad consumer and business applications. A fingerprint security sensor has been added the phone’s power button for biometric and one-touch authentication, supporting popular mPayment/ mCommerce protocols. With Glove and Wet Touchscreen Operation, DuraForce PRO also can be navigated with wet or gloved hands, and is fully operational while underwater. The device can enable seamless one-to-one or one-to-many communications with a dedicated side button for Push-To-Talk (PTT), which can also be programmed by non-PTT users for one-touch access to a favorite feature (such as the action motion camera) or another frequently used application.

Offering impressive specs at a competitive price point, DuraForce PRO is equipped with a large 5-inch Full HD display and a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ octa-core processor, and 32 GB of expandable memory. Running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, the rugged smartphone features a long-lasting 3240 mAh battery and supports both wireless charging and Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 2.0.

Kyocera works with leading accessory and software manufacturers to provide solutions that customize DuraForce PRO for specific industries. The device also is certified for use in hazardous locations where concentrations of flammable gas, vapors or mists are not normally present in explosive concentrations but may exist (Non-incendive Class I, Division 2, Group A-D, T4).

Whether you’re an adventurous consumer with an active lifestyle or you work in demanding industries like manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, and oil and gas, DuraForce PRO brings you the performance you demand, the versatility to capture your experiences and the durability to derive maximum value from your smartphone investment.

Kyocera DuraForce PRO by Verizon Wireless is now available to both consumer and business users, priced at $17 a month for 24 months on Verizon device payment ($408 retail).