The Business of Building Demands Construction-Grade Mobility


Like most industries, construction has been largely transformed by mobile technology. After all, this is a business whose decision-makers and front-line workers are heavily dispersed, yet they must collaborate (often in real-time) on high-dollar projects with tight deadlines and budgets, with many interdependencies and moving parts. The ability to connect those in the construction industry and provide instant access to back-end data, plans, procurement and models is empowering a wave of productivity across the supply chain and, to the benefit of builders, architects, engineers and subcontractors alike.

According to Autodesk, 75 percent of construction dollars are spent in the field, yet less than 10 percent of technology spending is allocated there. Companies rely on sophisticated software to manage the end-to-end construction process, and now, mobile devices are the primary method for gaining remote access to business-critical systems and information. Consequently, construction companies are extending the footprint of their in-house technology investments to improve communications, decision-making and response times in the field.

Mobile devices are helping deliver efficiencies across the following construction industry practices:

  • Project & Field Management – Smartphones and tablets are helping manage the entire lifecycle of a construction project, connecting the various people responsible for the information, processes, employees, subcontractors and suppliers. And because mobile devices come in many different flavors and with enterprise-management capabilities, different users are armed with the most appropriate devices and feature sets for their job requirements.
  • Communications & Connectivity – Feature phones and smartphones are being used to facilitate instant voice, text and email communications between jobsite workers and the main office. Push to Talk (PTT) capabilities also empower workers, subcontractors and suppliers with one-touch walkie-talkie style communications for instant communications to individuals or groups about safety conditions, deliveries, change requests and other time-sensitive events.
  • Materials & Resource Management – Materials are often procured and purchased at the corporate office, but supplies are delivered directly to the jobsites. As construction companies increasingly leverage Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for improved materials management, mobile devices can help automate this process with on-the-ground scanning capabilities and the ability to trigger instant notifications in the event of order shipment errors. In addition, these devices can provide project managers with remote-surveillance camera access to keep watch on potential theft or employee productivity when they are absent from job sites.

Rugged Devices Maximize Mobility Investments

Construction personnel at all levels are tapping mobile devices to improve communications and streamline efficiencies across the planning, designing and building phases of projects. A study by Engineering News Record estimates that 93 percent of general contractors and 87 percent of subcontractors use some sort of mobile device at construction sites.

These devices come in many flavors to accommodate virtually every type of worker and organizational budget. Feature phones and smartphones offer the greatest portability for laborers and their feature sets can be customized to user type, while larger-screen devices provide the convenience of a data-friendly display and are ideal for superintendents and project managers who require remote access to plans and 3D models, and who are more likely to interface regularly with back-end business systems.

Despite both the user and device type, rugged design is one requirement that should be inherent to every mobile device used in the construction industry. Along with support for virtually all Android-based productivity apps, Kyocera’s rugged devices are intentionally built to withstand construction jobsite conditions, which may include dusty, dirty, wet environments, as well as the threat of drops from heights. Kyocera’s rugged line is also designed with superior audio technology to facilitate loud, crisp and clear voice communications, even in the presence of noisy equipment and machinery.

Additional features offered by Kyocera’s rugged devices include:

  • Dust-proof and impact-resistant to maintain optimal performance and operational integrity;
  • Waterproof with the ability to survive immersion in up to 6 feet of water for up to 30 minutes;
  • Highly-durable, scratch-resistant Sapphire Shield display in select devices that protects against incidents and the elements;
  • Continuous productivity with Glove and Wet Touchscreen Operation;
  • Certified non-incendive (Nonincendive, Class I, Division 2, Group A-D, T4) for use in some hazardous work environments where concentrations of flammable gases, vapors, or mists are not normally present in explosive concentrations but may exist
  • Certified to IP68 and Military Standard 810G ratings for dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, high altitude, solar radiation, humidity and water emersion; and
  • Off-the-shelf support for both carrier-supported and downloadable PTT services to facilitate one-touch walkie-talkie style communications to individuals or groups.

According to VDC Research, rugged devices can save 46 percent on overall total cost of mobility in the workplace. Mobile devices enable project managers to remotely oversee multiple projects in various stages of construction, and arm every front-line worker with voice and/or data connectivity. With the ability to share videos, images and information between the construction office and field workers, companies benefit from improved workflows based on the most current data available. And when these organizations choose to go rugged, they are afforded increased longevity and reliability from the mobile devices deployed in the field.

Learn more about Kyocera’s construction-grade mobile devices, and how they are helping power enterprise mobility with our new article on empowering enterprise mobility with rugged devices and PTT.

Rugged for Everyone: Five Distinguishing Features of the Kyocera Brigadier


Most manufactures don’t target specific demographics or industries when designing their phones. At Kyocera, we absolutely do. All of our ruggedized mobile devices are built to serve the unique needs of users who demand a phone that can withstand tough work environments and the adventurist lifestyle.

But as all users become even more reliant on their phones, which now also serve as mini-computers, cameras, contact managers and ewallets, the benefits of durability and longevity that come with rugged device ownership are increasingly attractive among general consumers and traditionally non-rugged buyers. Be it the college student whose phone is either a mainstay in his back pocket or buried in his backpack, or the busy working parents with a herd of young and curious children, these users would be better and longer served by a device that offers a superior feature set with usability in mind, built to survive virtually anyone’s non-delicate lifestyle.

Whether the motivation for durability is personal or professional, the Kyocera Brigadier at Verizon Wireless serves up a powerful smartphone with five distinguishing features that make it practical and attractive to both rugged and everyday users:

  1. Sapphire Crystal display: The Brigadier was the world’s first mass-market phone to utilize Sapphire Shield technology in its display. Made from a synthetic sapphire crystal that is surpassed only by diamond in its hardness and strength, the display offers superior protection against coins, keys, rocks, sand, dirt, concrete and other abrasions that can crack or scratch a standard display. The Brigadier also encases its sapphire display in a raised, rubberized bezel perimeter that further protects the ultra-durable touchscreen in the event of shocks and drops.
  1. Glove and Wet Touch Screen Operation: Because the Brigadier is waterproof too, it can withstand water submersions for 30 minutes in up to six feet of water! Even when wet, operation of the Brigadier touchscreen is highly responsive. This also remains true with hands in gloves up to 3 mm thick. While this feature is of obvious benefit in industries where workers are required to wear gloves and the potential exposure to water and moisture are constant, such as in construction, manufacturing, shipping and logistics, it is also a seasonal reality for much of the general public who must navigate their daily lives in rain, sleet or snow – when cold, they too wear gloves. So while support for Glove and Wet Touch Screen Operation intuitively benefits rugged workers, it offers that same level of convenience and ease of use to the everyday user who braves the elements.
  1. Large physical buttons: For some, the ritual of accessing frequently used applications or simply accepting a call can be non-intuitive and/or time consuming. The Brigadier features large, dedicated buttons for the camera, volume and power, and a programmable button that can be customized to initiate one-touch Push to Talk services, or dedicated to a user’s favorite app or flashlight.
  1. Wireless charging: The Brigadier is one of the few Android devices at its price point that offers support for wireless changing built on the Qi standard. While it features a large 3100mAh Lithium ion battery with up to 26 hours of talk time, when charging is needed, users have the option of opening the bottom-most port to connect and charge the device, or to do so wirelessly by simply laying its back plate on any Qi-compatible charging mat. Wireless charging helps further maintain the Brigadier’s rugged integrity by keeping ports securely fastened, a requirement to ensuring ingress protection for liquids or dust.
  1. Crisp, loud audio: The truth is that many mobile phones simply lack in both audio quality and performance, which can be a nonstarter when the phone is used in the outdoors or on loud jobsites, and when exposed to extraneous environmental or workplace noises. The Brigadier’s superior audio is created by the duality of Smart Sonic Receiver technology and 100+dB front-facing speakers. With Smart Sonic Receiver, normal sound is augmented by vibrations that are emitted throughout the entire screen assembly and carried by the body directly to the eardrum, eliminating ambient noise and delivering clearer audio. And with extra-loud front-facing speakers, the Brigadier’s crisp audio gets even louder in speaker mode, an attribute that makes it a popular phone among construction, event and security, and manufacturing workers who constantly operate in the presence of heavy background noises.

The Kyocera Brigadier is a full-featured, affordable smartphone whose toughness and ease-of-use is as equally appealing to general consumers as it has historically been to rugged professionals, athletes, outdoorsmen and adventure-seeking enthusiasts. The Brigadier is now available to both consumer and business users from Verizon Wireless.

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. 

Usable Technology: Innovation to Improve Everyday Life


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

Five Everyday Threats to Your Smartphone


A new study by Verizon and KRC Research shows that nearly half (49 percent) of American mobile phone owners have broken or lost a mobile phone and, on average, have broken or lost two. For most of us, our smartphones have become a cherished necessity — our primary mode of communications, calendar, camera, Rolodex and wallet all wrapped into a single device. Our smartphones could even be likened to our companions, as they are first and last items we interact with at the beginning and end of each day, and they accompany us everywhere we work and play.

While portability lends for greater convenience and connectivity, it also paves the way for potential exposure to some of the most common causes of smartphone damage. These five everyday threats will not (and shouldn’t) threaten our connections to our smartphones, but they are certainly worth considering as you choose which mobile device is best suited for your lifestyle, temperament, and work conditions:

  1. Sporting Events can be pretty rough terrain for spectators and their mobile devices. According to SquareTrade, 23 million Americans have damaged their phones while watching a sporting event. 33 percent of accidents involve merely dropping the device on the ground, while 18 percent are liquid drops (with 13 percent specifically beer drops!), and 12 percent of incidents are considered “passion drops,” when a device is intentionally hurled out of anger or excitement.
  1. The Toilet happens to be the Bermuda Triangle for smartphones. The loo is one of the most common sites for smartphone water damage, with others being swimming pools and sinks. According to Plaxo, nearly 20 percent of Americans have dropped their phones in the toilet and Protect Your Bubble found that men are 57 percent percent more likely to drop their phones in toilets than women, as they tend to carry smartphones in their back pockets while women are more inclined to carry them in their purses.
  1. Workplace mishaps can occur on virtually any jobsite, but for those who work in outdoor and on-the-go industries such as construction, retail, transportation, and utilities, the risks of exposure to drops, dust, and moisture are far greater than to those working behind a desk. Recon Analytics estimates that the smartphone replacement cycle was 26.5 months as of 2014, but is certainly far less than that for anyone working at great heights, in extreme weather, or on dirty jobsites.
  1. Texting while walking was the cause of emergency rooms visits for more than 1,500 pedestrians according to a study in 2010, which also predicted that number to double by 2015. And if you go down as a result of walking and texting, you can bet your smartphone is going to hit the deck with you.
  1. Youth is the most common trait among sufferers of smartphone damage, with millennials dropping their phones twice as many times per week than Gen Xers or Baby Boomers (an average of four times per week). This statistic is a bit ironic when considering that 40 percent of millennials believe that losing their phones would be a bigger hardship than losing their automobiles.

The smartphone can be a significant investment when considering retail price and associated service costs over its lifespan. You can exercise greater caution and take your chances with the device’s inherent durability (or lack thereof), purchase an expensive case that hampers the device’s usability, or select a rugged smartphone that is designed to withstand the threats that are inherent to your everyday life, the toughest environments, and the most common mishaps.

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. 

Kyocera Sheds Light on Mobile Innovation with the Solar-Powered Smartphone

Solar Prototype

For the second year in a row, Kyocera captivated technology enthusiasts by demonstrating a prototype for a smartphone with a solar-power-generating display at the world’s largest trade show for the mobile industry, the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

At last year’s MWC, Kyocera unveiled an early-stage version of the technology but it required two hours of sun exposure to generate only 15 minutes of talk time, leaving it far from the efficiency we considered necessary for commercial viability. What a difference a year makes. Together with partner Sunpartner Technologies, we made great strides in the evolution of the technology since that first demo. This year’s head-turning prototype was (forgive the pun) light-years ahead, requiring only three minutes of sun exposure to generate one minute of talk time. Response from the thousands of industry insiders and experts (and media) gathered at MWC was overwhelmingly positive.

Limited battery life is a leading cause of frustration among smartphone users, many of whom struggle to get through even a single day on a charge. This solar technology is not meant to replace batteries or charging; the best analogy may be hybrid cars. While hybrid cars still require gasoline, their electric motors greatly extend the lives of those tanks of gas. Similarly, augmenting a phone’s battery simply by exposing it to light will extend the phone’s battery life between charges. For hybrid-car owners, this means lower fuel costs, while for mobile-phone owners this means less non-mobile time tethered to a wall plug. Additionally, in the case of a natural disaster, blackout or simply the absence of a plug, the phone user could quickly generate enough power to make a call, send a text, post to social media, find/transmit GPS coordinates, etc.

While potentially a benefit to any phone user who spends time outside, this technology is even more ideally suited to Kyocera’s portfolio of rugged, waterproof devices. Whether used for business (e.g., a construction jobsite) or pleasure (e.g., mountain-biking), many of the ideal use-cases for a ruggedized device happen to be outdoors. Like Kyocera’s Smart Sonic Receiver, Glove & Wet Touchscreen Operation, Military Standard 810G certifications and other features, the solar-charging display is yet another Kyocera innovation designed to allow mobile devices to not just survive, but thrive in the most challenging environments.

For regular updates on Kyocera’s rugged lineup please follow us on Twitter (@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.