Are you a sales rep? If so, have you considered using thermal imaging as part of your sales demo? If you have but thought it was too expensive, then be prepared to have your mind changed. Caterpillar has brought out the world’s first smartphone with an in-built thermal imaging camera and some damn good specs.

Integrated thermal camera

Forget Apple’s tiny tweaks branded as game changers, this is proper innovation. Caterpillar’s new S60 smartphone has an integrated thermal imaging camera from the team at FLIR, widely known as the leaders in thermal technology.

Here’s what Caterpillar’s press release has to say about it:

The Cat S60 includes an embedded thermal camera from FLIR, the global leader in thermal imaging technology, allowing Cat phone users to be the first in the world to use their smartphones for a multitude of use cases, including: detecting heat loss around windows and doors; spotting moisture and missing insulation; identifying over-heating electrical appliances and circuitry; and seeing in complete darkness.

The thermal camera visualizes heat that is invisible to the naked eye, highlighting temperature contrasts. It can pick up heat and measure surface temperatures from a distance of up to 50 to 100 feet, and see through obscurants such as smoke, enabling a huge range of use cases for building professionals, utility workers, outdoor sports enthusiasts, and emergency first responders to name but a few.

The Cat S60 is also waterproof to depths of up to 5 meters for one hour, allowing it to be used as an underwater camera, pushing the boundaries of mobile technology, and how and where it’s used.

Now it’s unlikely that reps and surveyors are going to be under five metres of water for an hour or so, but the fact that a phone with technology of this kind integrated into the phone itself is a massive deal, at least in my eyes anyway.

Read the full press release

As a sales person, this is something I would find immensely useful during demonstrations. The ability to show a homeowner their heat loss with the clock of a button, and show them a comparison with a house with our windows installed will send a very powerful message. It could also help show up a few of my competitors too.

Key features

Here’s some of the important specs:

  • Strengthened Die Cast Frame
  • Drop proof to 1.8m, MIL Spec 810G
  • Super bright display (typical 540 nits), Gorilla Glass 4
  • 4.7” HD capacitive multi-touch with auto wet finger & glove support
  • Optimised battery performance (3800mAh)
  • High quality audio experience (>105dB)
  • Underwater 13MP main camera with dual flash, 5MP front-facing camera
  • 4G LTE
  • Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor
  • 32GB ROM, 3GB RAM
  • Android Marshmallow
  • Dedicated FLIR thermal camera app with MSX technology; still image, panorama, and video capture; changeable heat palettes; temperature spot meter; and min, max, and average temperature data

This thing is built to be durable, and should easily survive a day on site. It’s got a fantastic battery, amazingly strong screen via the Gorilla Glass 4 and should survive just fine if an installer accidentally drops it whilst sealing the bottom of a first floor bedroom window. Apple fans might raise an eyebrow though, as it runs on Android Marshmallow.

Here’s another bit of good news, it’s no more expensive than a normal smartphone. It will retail in the US at $599 and 649 Euros in Europe. I suspect as and when it goes on sale here it will retails at the £600 mark. This is very good value, considering the superb specs and thermal imaging technology.

Will this turn the world of mobile technology on it’s head? Probably not, although it should do. If it was Samsung or Apple announcing this sort of product then I would expect this phone to ship in large numbers. However, I suspect that this phone will be snapped up by those who work in trades where specific needs are met by this phone.

I think the window and door industry will find the features in this phone incredibly useful, and reps will get the value of the purchase back in no time as they impress home owners and demonstrate how their windows can keep all that valuable heat in thanks to FLIR’s thermal imaging.

A big shout out to @HomeGuardDG for pointing me to this new gadget. If you end up buying one, consider this as an invitation to write a review of the phone for DGB! ;-)

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