Kyocera Joins Fire Departments, K9 Units and Special Forces at Blueforce Field Day

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From dogs to drones to DuraForce PROs, the Blueforce Field Day—a half-day site exploitation event in June held in Fayetteville, North Carolina—was both entertaining and educational. Blueforce Development Corporation hosts this bi-annual field day with its top partners in order to showcase the power of multi-sensor fusion and how technology can overcome the limitations of detection threshold and vulnerabilities, enable real-time awareness and analytics, and gather information for everything from environmental sampling to physiological monitoring to hazard detection.

The Blueforce Development product platform served as the command center for the day, collecting data from the various demo scenarios, from unmanned vehicles including drones, to K9-mounted cameras, gas sensors and off-leash tracking, to ad hoc unattended ground sensors.

During the event, the Kyocera DuraForce PRO was used in each demonstration scenario as the mini computer combined with specialized communications platforms to include commercial LTE, tactical LTE, mobile ad-hoc networks, and satellite communications allowing for secure sharing of sensor data, pictures, messaging and other collaborative data between mobile users, as well as the command post. Ecosystem partners such as Scott Safety, which provided the Scott Patriot 5510 PAPR/SCBA for CBRN hazard detection and mitigation, and Mission Mobility, which provided the backend portable, scalable network, played a vital role in enabling the demos. Customer attendees, who included military, Special Forces, K9 divisions and fire department representatives, were impressed with the durability, connectivity and power of DuraForce PRO over the course of the day. The solution targets military, Special Forces, and law enforcement tactical defense operations.

During the intensive half day of hands-on field scenarios, DuraForce PRO remained unscathed, with impressive little battery life consumption. DuraForce PRO was used in all scenarios, including weather sensing; K9 remote set-up; chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) attack mitigation and personal protection; and remotely controlled unattended ground sensors for environmental and imagery data.

Blueforce and Kyocera have been partnering for many years to enable Kyocera rugged smartphones to be motion and acoustic sensors for both underground and unattended sensor scenarios. With slim, affordable and truly rugged devices like the DuraForce PRO, Blueforce can leverage the capabilities of built-in Kyocera smartphones’ accelerometer, gyroscope and microphone sensors for detecting motion, vibration and sound, presenting great opportunity for unattended surveillance. Rapid network formation allows cueing and alerts from a wide variety of sensors, and sharing real-time awareness and analytics greatly shortens decision cycles and allows team members to anticipate friendly and enemy actions.

This year’s Blueforce Field Day showed a sampling of what is possible with the Blueforce Development product platform when coupled with Kyocera’s rugged mobile devices. The future for Blueforce and Kyocera looks very promising, enabling new underground monitoring and sensor solutions to make all of us safer. For more information on the Blueforce and Kyocera collaboration, check out our blog from November 2016 about affordable mobile counterterrorism applications.

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.”

Vincent Family

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.

From Futuristic to Functional: A Look at the Top Trends from CES 2017

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The 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was as crazy as you might have imagined it to be, with more than 165,000 attendees in the technology industry converging on Sin City all at once. While I am still trying to catch my breath from all of the meetings, announcements and new products, this year’s CES did not disappoint in terms of highlighting some really cool technology. All sorts of “things,” from refrigerators to hairbrushes to cars, are getting connected to the Internet. And as part of the wireless industry, I couldn’t help but notice that mobile devices are at the core of most of these connections.

After taking a look at the myriad product introductions at CES 2017, there were several trends that stood above the “noise” of the show, including the Internet of Things (IoT), wearables, AR/VR, connected cars and robotics. While many of these trends were also front and center last year, they are now becoming more consumer-friendly, cost-efficient, and ready (or much closer to ready) for primetime and mass adoption.

Here are some of the major takeaways from our time at CES 2017:

  • The IoT Revolution is Closer: Mobile is front and center of the Internet of Things (IoT), and many of the products and services showcased at CES this year proved that. While many companies are integrating connectivity and sensors into every day products to make them “smart,” the companies that do so in a way that is seamless, straightforward and provides clear value to consumers will ultimately be successful and drive IoT technologies forward to widespread use. One fun example we saw is Target, which is releasing a line of Bluetooth-connected lamps that use tunable white lights and are remarkably affordable.
  • Driving the Connected and Autonomous Car Forward: While fully autonomous driving is not a reality for 2017, more and more vehicles are implementing technologies such as self-parking and automatic braking that are getting us closer to that reality. Companies like Chrysler, Faraday Future and Honda made headlines at CES this year with impressive vehicle showcases. Chrysler featured the Chrysler Portal Concept car, which is fully autonomous and has face and voice recognition built in. While there is no specific plan for commercialization, some of the types of technologies used in the concept vehicle will be available in the not-too-distant future. Faraday Future was founded in 2014 and since then has developed two major concept cars, including the FF FFZero1, which debuted at CES last year, and the FF91, which debuted this year. The FF91 is a stealth-like luxury electric car that will offer many autonomous features such as self-driving and self-parking in addition to a 378-mile range. And for another really cool innovation, the Honda Riding Assist is a self-balancing concept motorcycle, designed to provide the thrill of riding a motorcycle while reducing the danger quotient. It keeps the rider upright, even at low speeds.
  • Robots Take to the Earth and Sky: Robotics was another popular category at CES this year, from inexpensive drones to robots that cost upwards of $10,000. One drone that caught the attention of many techies this year is UVify’s Draco. This drone is modular, easy to repair, and includes assisted flight modes for learning, making it an especially good option for racing. While it isn’t cheap at $499, its modularity allows for easy fixes if an arm or blade happens to break off from crashing into a tree. Another company, Elephant Robotics, showcased a $10,000 robotic arm launching next month that has integrated computer vision and can reduce the overall cost of machinery that’s used for loading/unloading, packaging and testing by 80 percent.
  • Rugged Holds Real Value: CES runs at a frantic pace, and gets more crowded every year. I can’t tell you how many people I saw drop their phones during the course of the show while trying to get from point A to point B. Most mobile devices announced at CES just don’t have the durability to survive through a major fall or a dunk in the pool. Rugged devices—ones that are durable, waterproof and don’t need additional expensive cases—continue to rise in popularity because of their reliability and cost-savings compared to traditional devices, without compromising on features or performance. While most major wireless-industry announcements will probably be made at Mobile World Congress next month in Barcelona, we came away from our time at CES confident that 2017 is full of opportunity for rugged devices.

Now that CES has come and gone, it’s always exciting to see how far the industry will evolve in the coming year. Regardless of what comes next, it is a sure-fire bet that IoT, automotive, robotics and rugged will all continue to be hot topics in 2017 and beyond.

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. 

busybusy, Kyocera Join Forces at the 2017 International Builders’ Show

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The beginning of each year always comes with an influx of trade shows and events across multiple industries. While last week we were running all over Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, this week Kyocera is joining forces with one of our fantastic software partners, busybusy, to participate at the 2017 NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Orlando. We will be showcasing how our hardware and busybusy’s software can help the construction industry enhance productivity via mobile technology.

Construction Marketplace, one of the key media outlets covering the show, just published its show guide, and highlights Kyocera and busybusy’s partnership on page 42 of its newest issue. From project and field management to communications, connectivity and materials and resource management, Kyocera and busybusy are working together closely to meet the unique and specific needs of the construction industry.

To read more about our partnership with busybusy at IBS, please read page 42 of Construction Marketplace’s show guide. And if you’re at IBS this week in Orlando, be sure to stop by busybusy’s booth (#W5371) to learn more about our complete solution for the construction industry.

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).