Sponsored by Kyocera
By Daniel Casciato for Police1 BrandFocus
Police officers in America carry a lot of stuff.
Beyond their service weapons, the average officer on a shift may have to deal with a body-worn camera, a radio, a smartphone, maybe a citation printer and more. That’s a lot of devices to master, maintain and operate quickly and efficiently through the rigorous, sometimes dangerous activities of the day.
Many officers, naturally, would reduce that load if they could, potentially by streamlining multiple functions into a single device.
That’s the focus of what Kyocera, a global leader in rugged mobile devices and accessories, calls its “total mobility solution.” By marrying highly durable smartphones with a range of advanced software and functions, the company simplifies officers’ lives and reduces the number of tools they must contend with. With Kyocera’s Business Select premium support service and standard two-year warranty, agencies can count on a reliable solution to protect officers in the field.
“We’re more than just a device,” said Bill Veasy, the company’s head of enterprise and government sales for communication solutions. “We’re a device you can bundle with key accessories and key software to make it become something else. Maybe that’s creating a holster to make it a dashcam or a bodycam. Maybe if we can pair it with a mobile printer, it can be an e-citation solution. Maybe we can add push-to-talk and make it a radio augmentation you can also use as your phone. It basically turns multiple devices into one device so you don’t need to carry as much and can be lighter on your feet.”
That saves time. It saves money. And it makes the difficult jobs of police that much easier.
What makes it tough?
The total mobility solution starts with super tough devices. These are not your average smartphones – they can withstand the harshest conditions imaginable.
“Our rugged devices generally include built-in durability from the inside out, no case required,” said Veasy. “The protection built into our devices provides reliability for officers out in the field to endure all the harsh environments they encounter throughout their workday.”
Products like the new DuraForce PRO 3, for example, are tested to both MIL-STD-810H, the well-known military standard for withstanding environmental stress (pressure, temperature, rain, humidity, shock, etc.), and IP68, the common measure of protection against intrusion by liquids and dust. Kyocera devices are also certified for use in hazardous locations, meaning they won’t arc and cause an explosion. The display resists scratches and breakage and is designed for outdoor viewing and use with wet hands or gloves.
Beyond that, Kyocera devices come with simplified controls, powerful batteries for all-day use and advanced audio technology for clear communication even in noisy situations. The DuraForce PRO 3 has two microphones and uses state-of-the-art artificial intelligence to reduce extraneous noise.
“It recognizes what’s speech and what’s noise, so it’s a different experience, but what it can do is very impressive,” said Curtis Wick, Kyocera’s senior manager of product planning. “It also has stereo speakers. Implementing stereo creates a psychoacoustic effect with how the human brain interprets sound. Having stereo speakers actually makes it more recognizable, which helps in a noisy environment.”
The company’s devices also feature multiple programmable buttons, including an SOS button, that convenient push-to-talk option on the side and even a camera key that can be assigned to the user’s preference.
What can it do?
The performance of Kyocera’s Android smartphones starts with 5G connectivity for the ultrafast and reliable movement of large amounts of data. That’s supplemented with a range of novel functions.
A collaboration with California-based Visual Labs, a Versaterm Public Safety company, lets phones be used as body- or dashcams. Officers can mount the devices in their cars or on their chests (Kyocera offers accessories for this) to securely livestream video with a quick touch.
“It’s just as easy as holding a button for a few seconds to get the camera recording started and then just going about your day,” said Veasy. “It utilizes the wide-angle camera on the device, so it’s a 130-degree field of view. And then on the back end, there’s a chain of custody. When this video needs to be used for evidence, it’s stored on a secure server and can be accessed by law enforcement as they need it.” The camera function can also be triggered remotely by dispatch.
A 360-degree situational awareness platform from Texas-based Omni-Response helps manage incidents by integrating and organizing data from rugged smartphones, mounted tablets, cameras and drones into a single convenient dashboard view. In an important advance not only for SWAT and tactical situations but for safety in schools, at mass events and in other crowd scenarios, it can leverage Omni-Response’s patented artificial intelligence for instant detection of gunshots, then provide GPS mapping of shooter locations, one-touch alerts to responders and facility staff, live video streaming and even remote door lock/unlock capabilities.
Within the Omni-Response platform, AI from Pennsylvania-based ZeroEyes can identify weapons visually before shots are fired. It can detect firearms in cameras and digital images within three seconds, then automatically shares images with a 24/7 operations center where humans double-check. If they verify a weapon, they can trigger alerts and provide intelligence to responders within seconds.
In early September, the integrated safety solution was unveiled for schools, government buildings and other locations, combining Kyocera rugged hardware, Omni-Response technology and ZeroEyes software to wirelessly connect sites, vehicles, IoT sensors and safety personnel.
In this video, it’s demonstrated for local police and school personnel in Harris County, Texas.
Situational awareness is further enhanced by Intrepid Networks’ Intrepid Response platform. This enables functions like live mapping, secure information sharing, emergency notifications, PTT integration and IAP/ICS planning and reporting to help scene leaders and teams stay connected and informed and make better decisions. “Their focus is command and control – understanding what’s going on during an event,” said Wick.
Kyocera also offers various accessories to enhance use of its devices, including scanners and mobile printers for e-citation, cases, vehicle and clothing mounts, holsters, wired and wireless remote speaker microphones, earpieces, headsets, adapters and chargers. A chest mount lets the operator flip their phone down from its locked position to easily view the screen, then flip it right back. Kyocera has developed an additional adapter that securely locks the DuraForce PRO 3 into the mount.
Rugged devices pay off
Making it faster and simpler for cops on the streets to do their demanding jobs is a worthy end in itself. But the fact is, rugged devices carry a financial benefit too.
A 2022 report from VDC Research,1 a B2B technology market intelligence and consulting firm, found a failure rate among nonrugged consumer devices that was nearly three times the rate of rugged alternatives, and that drops and cracked displays were among the biggest problems that afflicted users. Such damages took phones out of users’ hands and consumed significant time to fix.
On the other hand, rugged handheld and tablet devices had substantially lower total costs of ownership than their nonrugged counterparts.
“Law enforcement needs rugged devices with high uptime and low downtime. If a device breaks, that officer has to manage without it, and it takes them off the street,” Veasy noted. “Kyocera helps agencies lower the total cost of mobile device ownership and keep officers on the street.”
If needed, repairs can be expedited and connectivity maintained through company’s Business Select service support program, which can deliver a replacement device within one business day. First responders can access a dedicated toll-free number for priority service and get discounts on replacements, provisioning and fixes. Kyocera devices come with a standard two-year manufacturer’s warranty.
“Our devices are rugged and will survive a lot of adverse conditions, but nothing’s indestructible,” noted Wick. “We know it’s important these guys have a device that meets their needs day to day. So if they’re down, we want to make sure they’re back up and running quickly, so that’s why we have that level of support.”
For more information, visit Kyocera.
1. “Enterprise Mobility Total Cost of Ownership.” Emily Gove, David Krebs. VDC Research. 2022. www.vdcresearch.com/Coverage/emob/reports/20-Total-Cost-of-Ownership.html
About the author
Daniel Casciato is the publisher and managing editor of several digital publications, including Healthcare Business Today, Western Pennsylvania Healthcare News, Lake Oconee Health, Pittsburgh Healthcare Report and South Bend Healthy Living. He has written more than 4,000 articles for both trade and consumer publications.