In just a few short years, the tablet PC has gone from niche product to mainstream tool as companies across all industries look at to answer their mobile workforces’ computing needs.
However, with so many options on the market, it is important not to take a one-size-fits-all approach when selecting a tablet. In many cases, choosing a rugged tablet PC over a less expensive solution is more cost effective in the long run, as rugged tablet PCs provide the durability and flexibility construction businesses demand for efficiently managing operations while limiting their total cost of ownership (TCO).
Designed with the mobile worker in mind, today’s rugged tablet PCs are armed with the most stringent durability testing criteria. They are able to withstand drops from a height of 48 inches onto plywood over concrete and handle exposure to extreme temperatures and liquid spills.
According to a 2011 study by the Venture Development Corporation, customers who deploy rugged tablet PCs versus non-rugged devices experience 30 per cent lower TCO. In addition, organisations using rugged tablets sustain 35 per cent less productivity loss over those with non-rugged devices. The study also found that rugged tablet PCs’ annual hardware maintenance/warranty costs are 34 per cent cheaper and last 39 per cent longer than non-rugged devices.
While protecting the device from drops and exposure to moisture and dirt is a must for the field technician, breakage isn’t the only factor. Portability, connectivity, extended battery life and a viewable outdoor display are key to ensuring that the tablet is as productive for the user as it is durable.
Portability, which includes the size, weight and ergonomics of a tablet, is extremely important when choosing a rugged tablet PC. There are a variety of rugged options, but at Motion we believe the best solution is one designed purposefully for the mobile worker. A tablet designed to be hard mounted inside a truck is less effective and actually leads to lower productivity than a rugged tablet that can be carried throughout the job site and docked when necessary.
Wireless connectivity, and the ability to use the same software and operating system as the home office is another advantage gained by purpose-built rugged tablet users.
A viewable display that can be utilised across a variety of lighting environments is also of high importance. Whether on an extremely bright outdoor jobsite or in a dark warehouse, display technology is an important piece of the tablet purchasing decision. When combined with capacitive dual touch for both finger and digitizer pen input, and protective Corning Gorilla Glass, the tablet becomes an effective tool wherever the job takes you.
Finally, today’s rugged devices come equipped with an array of additional features to increase productivity including bar code scanners, magnetic stripe readers, digital cameras, high-speed access to secure wireless LANs and integrated RFID technology. With all these features wrapped up into a single rugged tablet, going rugged in the field should not be an option; it should be a requirement.
Image Credit: Motion Computing
By Brett Gross
Australia and New Zealand,