Given that their equipment is used at jobsites all over the world, you could say that Caterpillar has always been a mobile company. Their latest foray into mobile technology, however, is into some surprising territory: not new bulldozers or tractors, but a line of smartphones.
Cat’s line of rugged phones completely adapts the Cat vision and brand, meaning they’re 1.) super high quality mobile technology and 2.) extremely tough and rugged.
In their article, “Behind the B15: The design process of Caterpillar’s Rugged Smartphone,” Equipment World addresses why Cat would release with a smartphone when they’re not what you’d consider a typical technology company. Dave Floyd, director of technology at Cat Phones explains why: “While it might seem like a leap for a manufacturer of heavy equipment to get into the business of selling smartphones, CAT is no stranger to technology. The thing about heavy equipment, we look at them as lumps of steel, but there’s a hell of a lot of technology on board.”
In MSI’s exclusive interview with Cat Phones Director of Sales, Kevin McCutchan, we go deep into the benefits of using a Cat phone for your business and how deploying rugged mobile devices in the field can take your business to the next level.
1. CAT Dealers tell us that field technician recruitment is one of their toughest challenges. How could a CAT Phone improve the work experience for a field worker like a CAT service technician?
Cat Phones are built specifically for mobile and outdoor working and workers – that means the hardware and the software. So from a design point of view, field workers benefit from having a phone that can be used with full functionality even in the most testing of conditions. No matter where they are or what they need from their smartphone, a Cat Phone means there’s no compromise on usability and performance.
But that’s not all. Our focus on software – specifically the pre-loaded App Store for Cat Phones – means that field workers can quickly find the most relevant apps for their jobs without the endless searching through Google’s Play store (which is of course available on all of our smartphones). We curate the best apps relevant to the industries and pastimes relevant to our customers.
2. Cat phones run on Android. Why did you choose Android as your operating system? What benefits does Android bring to CAT phone users?
Android is the world’s number one operating system in shipments and install base and it offers the perfect mix of open source flexibility and great user experience. We (Cat Phones) do not ‘skin’ Android as some other vendors do. We believe customers want the pure Android experience. Our only other choice of platform is Windows Phone but its application catalogue is limited in comparison to Android and therefore restricts users’ flexibility.
3. How would a field service organization, such as a CAT dealer, benefit from using Cat rugged phones over consumer-grade mobile devices?
Put simply, if an organization requires its employees to use mobile smart phones in locations where they will be exposed to water, sand, mud, snow, ice and potential drops on hard surfaces, it will benefit from standardizing on our devices over regular consumer handsets. Even when put into rugged cases – which we also offer – consumer devices are not waterproof or shock proof to the specifications that Cat Phones are tested to (IP67 and MIL SPEC). We typically see organizations coming to us when they are getting a lot of cracked screens or broken devices due to dirt being introduced via open ports or badly sealed cases.
Then there are the productivity benefits. With features like wet-finger tracking (meaning the screens can be used even with wet hands) field workers can remain productive in conditions that would normally require them to put their devices away. And of course, a growing collection of apps in the pre-loaded App store of the device presents an additional benefit.
4. What are the biggest benefits or best features Cat phones bring to their users in an enterprise, blue collar, field service environment?
We bring the levels of ruggedness and durability you’d expect from the Cat brand to a smart phone. This means our customers can use their phones in the most challenging of conditions and locations without any compromise. For field workers where productivity is an important consideration, Cat Phones offer the best of both worlds – high end handsets and high specification protection.
Cat Phones: Harnessing the Power of Cat in a Mobile Device
What field service organization isn’t concerned with field worker productivity and device durability? Looks like Caterpillar knew what they were doing when they decided to manufacturer a phone they knew would most benefit the industries that use Cat equipment.
Now that the toughness you associate with Caterpillar can be found in a handheld device, you’ll be able to unleash your mobile field workforce without hesitation. Mobile is becoming a ubiquitous tool in field service and Cat has harnessed the need for advanced mobile technology in the field with the durability companies expect from Cat. Bravo!