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

scanner imageryv2

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.

Kyocera’s DuraForce PRO Available Now at T-Mobile, Making it Available at the Nation’s Four Leading Wireless Service Providers

TmobileLaunch_2

From positive press reviews to outstanding customer feedback, the Kyocera DuraForce PRO has been making waves in the wireless industry since it was announced in August of 2016, and last week was no exception. With T-Mobile’s launch, DuraForce PRO is now available from all four of the leading service providers in the U.S., also including Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. Available now, the DuraForce PRO can be found in T-Mobile retail stores nationwide and online through the company’s web site for $425.00 (or $17 down and 24 monthly payments of $17), which includes a 2-year manufacturer’s limited warranty.

The latest in Kyocera’s leading portfolio of military-grade rugged, waterproof devices, the DuraForce PRO is the only rugged 4G LTE smartphone with a Super Wide View HD (1080p) Action Camera, which offers an Underwater Mode and can be integrated with popular action-camera mounts. New to the T-Mobile version of the phone’s action camera is an Action Overlay mode, in which action videos can be recorded with a heads-up display of data options including speed, distance traveled, g-force, altitude, elapsed time and date/time stamp.

The DuraForce PRO is designed for both business users and active consumers, with dependable durability that can withstand harsh environments and mishaps. It is shockproof, drop-proof, and dustproof, with certifications to IP68 (waterproof up to 30 minutes, up to 2 meters deep) and Military Standard 810G for protection against dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, blowing rain, low pressure, solar radiation, salt fog, humidity, immersion, temperature shock and icing/freezing rain.

Along with a biometric fingerprint sensor built into its power button for security, the phone is equipped with a large 5-inch Full HD display and a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ octa-core processor (1.5GHz x 4/1.2GHz x 4) with X8 LTE and multi-mode to ensure fast connections on diverse global networks. In addition to the phone’s new Super Wide View Action Camera, DuraForce PRO also offers a 13MP rear camera and 5MP front camera.

All of us at Kyocera have been thrilled with the customer response and growing popularity of the DuraForce PRO, and we are excited to now be able to provide T-Mobile customers with a durable, rugged device with advanced features, like the high-definition action camera. Additionally, customers across all four major carriers can now enjoy the dependability of the DuraForce PRO at an affordable price point. Visit www.kyoceramobile.com/duraforce-pro for more details on device availability with leading wireless service providers, as well as to learn how you can benefit from Kyocera’s rugged, durable and affordable mobile devices.

 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.

Say Hello to Kyocera’s Newest Rugged Smartphone with All-In-One Super Wide View HD Action Camera: DuraForce PRO

DFP_1

Kyocera prides itself on creating mobile devices that are rugged, durable and dependable. Today, I am thrilled to announce the introduction of our newest rugged smartphone—DuraForce PRO. Building on the legacy of our ruggedized smartphones like the DuraForce, Brigadier and Torque, DuraForce PRO raises the bar with stronger specs across the board. And, DuraForce PRO is the first rugged smartphone to augment its standard cameras with a super wide view action camera.

Like its predecessors in Kyocera’s rugged lineup, DuraForce PRO is certified to IP68 for dustproofing and waterproofing (now up to 2 meters deep for up to 30 minutes) and Military Standard 810G for ruggedization. Along with the new action camera, the PRO adds a stronger processor, a larger 5” display, more memory, a larger battery, a fingerprint sensor on the power button for security and much, much more.

Action cameras have become extremely popular for recreational and business use. Adding one to DuraForce PRO means there’s no need to carry a separate device. Because it’s built into a 4G LTE smartphone, you get a 5” high-definition viewfinder to watch what you’re shooting and, instead of having to dock with a PC, the videos and photos can be shared, streamed and posted wirelessly, virtually in real time. Adding to the functionality, DuraForce PRO is waterproof and has an Underwater Mode for the cameras that keeps the viewfinder on, but switches the controls to the phone’s buttons.

For the business world, where durability enhances productivity and saves money, Kyocera devices have become the stocked solution of choice at all four national U.S. carriers and two of the top three in Canada. DuraForce PRO builds on our strength in this category by supporting Android for Work, enterprise-grade Wi-Fi, and many other important features. We’re also very proud of our growing ecosystem of application and accessory developers big and small, whose collaboration allows businesses to turn our phone into customized solution for a variety of industries and vertical markets.

DuraForce PRO has a long list of features and specs that make it stand out in the rugged smartphone category. I won’t list them all here, but encourage you to check out our more detailed official announcement of the phone. Launching nationwide this fall, we’re confident that DuraForce PRO strikes an ideal balance between performance, affordability and durability. Whether you work in tough profession or you’re just an adventurous type who wants to capture memories while you live life to the fullest, the new DuraForce PRO is the right device for you.

For more information about the new Kyocera DuraForce PRO, visit www.kyoceramobile.com/duraforce-pro or follow us on Twitter at @kyoceramobile for more details on device availability in the coming weeks and months.

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.