The parts & perks making challenging work environments less of a challenge

The construction industry, like most industries, has been revolutionized by mobile technology. It has improved communication, decision-making, tracking and managing of resources, including materials, people and workflows. However, the construction industry’s requirements for mobile devices are vastly different than most consumers’ needs and wants. You will see more pickup trucks than Porsches parked on construction jobsites because they are built for the job. The same is true for mobile devices.

Whether you’re a construction business owner or worker, you need mobile devices that are durable, secure and rugged, and offer software applications for use in the field. Rugged devices have been used over the years, but these niche devices are often cumbersome, require specialized technology and equipment and expensive.

More recently, advanced technology has made rugged mobile devices, such as the Kyocera lineup of smartphones and feature phones, widely available for business and consumer use at an affordable price without compromising on features. Rugged devices are especially well-suited to the construction industry. Kyocera believes that phones should not only survive, but thrive in challenging environments and they back up their commitment to quality with a 2-year manufacturer warranty.

The following are eight reasons construction businesses and workers can benefit from switching to ruggedized mobile phones.

1. Drops, dirt, shock, dust and extreme environments are no sweat.

For most construction workers, simply having protection from a cracked screen or water damage isn’t enough. For those who work in the field, often in hazardous conditions, a mobile device that can drive workflow and stand up to rigorous, often dynamic, environments is a must.

Rugged devices that are waterproof and meet Military Standard 810G for protection against shock and vibration, as well as exposure to extreme environmental conditions, such as heavy dust, high altitudes, solar radiation, heavy salt and fog, vibration, thermal shock, icing and freezing rain, and extreme humidity are imperative.

Moreover, nonrugged devices require an external case to protect the shell and screen from damage. But they are still fragile inside at the component level and not built to withstand abuse. Rugged devices are designed inside and out, down to the circuit board, for complete reliability in environments that most mobile devices can’t handle.

2. An extended dip in a muddy puddle, pond or any other body of water won’t kill a truly waterproof phone.

A waterproof device is important for workers who operate anywhere around water, especially in construction. Waterproof, durable devices also prevent the need for expensive, aftermarket cases (that often make phones more difficult to use and charge).

Not all types of waterproofing are equal, however. Water-resistant phones coated with hydrophobic sprays may ensure the device survives a dunk in water, but true waterproof phones will ensure that no water—carrying dirt, cement or other materials—can enter the phone to begin with. Water-resistant phones aren’t able to prevent the ingress of water or other liquids into the device.

Rugged phones take a different approach to waterproofing than most water-resistant phones, such as using waterproof gaskets, air-permeable membranes over the speakers and even rubber-coated screws as an integral part of the construction. In addition, features such as Glove & Wet Touchscreen Operation mean your device not only survives water exposure, but still works when wet, keeping you productive and connected at all times.

3. Rugged devices don’t compromise on mobile security features.

For construction companies with networks, data security isn’t confined to the office. Sensitive, proprietary information needs to be protected on the jobsite. With more data living in the cloud than ever before, a high level of security is imperative—a hack into a single device can expose sensitive data. Rugged devices that include extensive security features to protect communications, mobile workflows, and interaction with the cloud are critical.

In the Kyocera lineup, devices include features like Android Enterprise Recommended, biometric fingerprint authentication, and FIPS 140-2 compliant cryptographic module (includes AES 128/192/256). Kyocera also provides periodic security updates so that user phones are not vulnerable against attacks. For companies with more specific needs, Kyocera offers a suite of Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) APIs to allow flexibility in defining restrictions and configurations. Kyocera rugged smartphones also support Advanced Virtual Private Network (VPN), Secure Boot, TrustZone for Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) and leading EMM solutions. From individual users to corporate networks, personal and proprietary information is safer than ever on Kyocera’s rugged phones.

4. Construction workers don’t have to sacrifice features or performance with a rugged device. That’s a win-win.

Just because you have a rugged smartphone doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the features you want or the device performance that meets your company’s needs. Rugged devices such as Kyocera’s newest smartphone, the DuraForce PRO 2 available through Verizon Wireless and AT&T, includes the latest Android OS, superior battery life, Glove & Wet Touchscreen Operation, fingerprint detection and an underwater mode for its cameras. It features high-quality rear- and front-facing cameras in addition to a wide-view 4K action camera, which is perfect for taking photos and video of anything from a full jobsite to a wall-to-wall tile job in a small bathroom. These are features anyone, especially those in construction, will find indispensable.

5. Push-to-Talk services enabled on rugged devices allow you to connect with your team between far-reaching jobsites, even in extreme conditions like heat, wind and rain.

Today, Push-to-Talk (PTT) over Wi-Fi or LTE is extremely affordable and enormously helpful for construction businesses relying on one-touch walkie-talkie style communications between individuals and groups. Whether supporting Verizon’s PTT Plus, AT&T’s ePTT, or independent PTT solutions, such as ESChat Zello or Orion Labs, devices that enable PTT capabilities need to be rugged and have loud front-facing speakers to be a viable solution, especially when operating in potentially noisy or hazardous environments. Many rugged devices have dedicated PTT buttons for true walkie-talkie-style user experiences and the PTT button can also be reassigned to another app for one-touch access if PTT isn’t used. Rugged devices with dedicated PTT buttons and PTT applications also allow users to communicate with existing two-way radios using a backend gateway so they can continue communications and even expand their existing two-way radio system.

6. Rugged devices can reduce the total cost of ownership, meaning cost savings for your business.

Construction owners and operators need to keep overhead expenses low. Broken phones mean lost productivity, lost communication and extra time spent getting repairs or replacements. That’s time away from doing the work that pays the bills.

A rugged device on the jobsite can deliver a lower total cost of ownership compared with a typical nonrugged smartphone. Ruggedized devices hold their value longer than nonrugged devices, cost less in repairs, don’t require expensive aftermarket accessories such as waterproof cases and, most importantly, ensure workers won’t need to pay hundreds of dollars to replace broken phones.

7. Increase productivity on the jobsite with smartphone features.

Smartphones are much more productive on a jobsite and with rugged smartphone protection, downtime is reduced. They allow for more accurate data collected directly from the field like timecard reporting, mobile worker tracking, project collaboration, asset and equipment usage tracking. And there are mobile device management solutions allowing control over the applications workers are using.

8. Add-on accessories increase device functionality in a snap.

A variety of add-on accessories can help workers on the job. For instance, when combined with the VIBES Multipurpose Case, a universal mount designed specifically for the DuraForce PRO 2, extended-use hot-swappable batteries can be quickly attached allowing workers to use the same device through multiple shifts or for long shifts. A barcode scanner and RFID reader allow for scanning inventory on the jobsite while the Spike Smart Laser Measuring Tool helps to measure hard-to-reach areas and from long distances. Using a remote speaker microphone (RSM) or a headset allows for hands-free operation meaning no call interruptions during the job at hand.

Why is Kyocera the right rugged device choice for construction businesses?

As the largest OEM catering to the rugged market, Kyocera has a long history of providing the best combination of durability, affordability and performance. Kyocera believes that rugged phones should enable workers to stay productive in places where normal phones can’t. The manufacturer understands the unique challenges and pain points of the construction industry and deliver solutions that exceed needs and expectations. Kyocera is committed to continuing to lead the way in developing rugged, advanced products that allow construction businesses and workers to do more with solution-oriented mobility at their fingertips. With a large ecosystem of accessory and application partners, customers can customize a solution to address the unique challenges of their businesses and feel confident knowing Kyocera is always there with a dedicated help line through its Business Select program and 2-year manufacturer warranty.