Smart Tablets for Smart Cities: Introducing Edge Computing

Introducing-Edge-ComputingBy 2050, it is estimated that 70% of city dwellers will live in smart cities. Already many cities qualify as at least having begun this process by introducing one or more integrative options such as smart traffic lights, buildings, transport or waste collection to their city’s infrastructure.

The most important thing when handing over the keys of the city to automated and digitized processes is that there not be a breakdown. Most smart traffic lights and buildings operate via the cloud, meaning if the cloud connection and any backups fail all ‘smart’ things in the city could stop working. This could have devastating effects in transportation, waste management, and more.

City planners can combat the problems of cloud-hosted smart city technology with edge computing and mobile tablet tech. Instead of depending on cloud hosting via a fallible network connection – which even with multiple “failsafes” can still be made vulnerable – intelligence can be shifted to ‘the edge’: a set of smaller clouds that collaborate locally and can be accessed with mobile devices as needed.

Such a setup helps minimize the risk of an entire smart grid going down, and allow workers access anywhere, at any time, to insular systems that have the intelligence embedded in the technology instead of separated from it by virtual space and time.

If smart city applications have a user interface and a ‘layer of logic’ on a tablet, the device can be used to communicate with microservices whether they are stored in the cloud, on the edge, or in a combination of both places. Edge computing and the cloud backing each other up provides a layer of protection that brings intelligence closer in an emergency instead of taking it further away.

Smart Cities

An example of smart technology that uses edge computing would be city vehicles that are being tracked by a fleet management application. Smart tires can send data to the management app, delivering data on tread wear, air pressure, vehicle speed and handling, and more. Instead of sending data directly to the fleet management application, data is initially gathered through the edge – a small computer on board each vehicle, that wirelessly obtains data from the tire sensors and delivers it.

If the fleet application goes down, or the truck drives through a tunnel or a dead zone and the connection is interrupted, the on-board computer or telematics box can still continue gathering and saving data, and be remotely accessed or tapped into later by a worker with a rugged tablet.

API testing, human-centric testing, and code-centric testing can be combined with network simulation to enable multiple scenarios for troubleshooting and analysis purposes. IoT enabled test automation and a shift from the cloud to edge computing powered by mobile devices could be the future of smart cities in 2020 and beyond.

 

How Rugged Tablets Are Positively Affecting Public Sector IT

How-Rugged-Tablets-Are-Positively-Affecting-Public-Sector-ITThe public IT sector is currently prioritizing mobility, business analytics, and paperless processes in an attempt to install smart workflows and minimize wasted time and resources. Large-scale innovation depends on the ability of companies to acquire software and hardware that meets their changing needs, and implementation of digital options to drive and connect the highly dispersed and mobile workforce of today.

Mobility is Key

Piecemeal business systems that depend on incompatible computer hardware/software provide real obstacles to growing and developing business practices. They stifle collaboration, real-time data analysis, fast progress and innovative thinking. In contrast, mobile computing devices are uniquely positioned to help city, county, and state government entities and other public sector verticals execute new transportation, infrastructure, and education initiatives swiftly and with forward thinking processes that will flex with change and remain usable for many years.

Government Employees and Constituents Can Work Together

With properly configured and equipped rugged tablets, government workers who are dispatched into the field can stay connected and supported as they strive to engage with community growth and recovery initiatives. Individuals can share information and strengthen networks through real time connectivity. Constituents can also be brought in, kept connected and engaged, and satisfied that their advocacy for rapid government response to critical situations is being heard and implemented, with quick action able to be taken in a concerted effort to resolve urgent issues.

Public IT Requires Constant Innovation

The best rugged tablet platforms are constantly being refined to deliver higher levels of processing power, storage capacity, connectivity, memory, software compatibility, and data capture capabilities. There is virtually no government agency that will fail to benefit from improved workflows through digitized processes. IT departments in particular can bring different levels of staff together and create unified workflows that provide for maximum productivity and reduced duplication of work between divisions. Multiple locations can consolidate data driven tasks, and efficiency will skyrocket.

Rugged Tablets for Government Provide Real Solutions

Rugged tablets will enable real-time data access and management potential and powerfully drive business intelligence analytics. Records management can be streamlined, and rapid, informed response be strategized across an entire workforce – regardless of their location or tasks. Mobile, purpose built tablets are an example of one of the most cost-effective and easy to implement “smart” technology innovations available. They can be quickly integrated into almost any agency and return real results when it comes to efficiency and productivity.

Are the City Governments of the Future Tablet Based?

Five-Reasons-Government-Agencies-Should-Invest-in-Rugged-Tablets-in-2017Technology has completely changed the way we work, and this change isn’t limited to civilians. Governments, including city governments, have already invested in computers, mobile phones, and other forms of technology. However, their efforts to keep up with the rest of the tech-savvy world don’t stop at desktop PCs and smartphones.

Purpose-built tablets allow for more portability, function, and productivity all in one device. They’re the ideal machine for the workforce, and it won’t be long until many city governments introduce tablets to their employees and officials. Here are a few reasons why purpose-built tablets are the future of information sharing, security, and enhancement.

  • Better access to information. With high speed, wireless connections and more connectivity options than most desktop computers, professional-grade tablets allow employees to access all the information they need, both on-site and on the go.
  • Purpose-built for compliance. As technology advances, the need for compliant tech becomes more important. Governments have an obligation to provide reliable, secure devices for their employees. Purpose-built tablets can be designed with these laws and regulations in mind, avoiding any issues in the future.
  • Security protocols. Contrary to popular belief, a tablet can be just as secure as any other piece of technology. Tablet computers can be encrypted, locked via PIN, and even secured with card-only access. In the event of a lock-down, media can be disabled, tablets can be shut down or locked, and stolen tech can be automatically wiped to prevent information theft.
  • Increased education. Because technology lies at the core of today’s society, it’s becoming more important for professional systems to keep up. With tablet technology, employees can be trained on-the-go. They can access all the information they need in a moment’s notice, eliminating the need for lengthy training courses and decreasing the likelihood of employee error.

City governments have a need for durable, reliable technology, and many consumer-grade devices cannot withstand the strain of a professional setting. Purpose-built tablets are designed with users in mind, making them more versatile and durable than their consumer counterparts.

Unlike consumer-grade tech, purpose-built technology is designed to resist obsolescence. The tablets run on many popular operating systems, including Windows, making them easy to integrate with existing systems. This adaptability makes them perfect for running/designing custom applications, and their familiar operating system makes management easy for any IT specialist.

Technology is an investment, and finding the most reliable, long-lasting option is key. Rugged tablets combine all of the needs of any city government into one device, making them ideal for any office or workspace.

9 Advantages of Tactical Devices for First Responders

Empowering Law Enforcement with Digital Options (2)

Many first response units have chosen the rugged tablet as their primary tactical device, and for good reason. They encourage better communication, unit cohesiveness, and situational awareness. Their purpose-built design makes them ideal for any tactical unit. Here are a few of the aspects that set rugged tablets apart from consumer-grade technology.

  1. Connectivity. A spotty connection puts everyone at risk. With high-speed connectivity, first responders can access vital reference materials, collaborate on documents, and communicate wirelessly to successfully coordinate large-scale operations.
  2. Flexibility. Rugged tablets can successfully replace other devices (desktop PCs, smartphones, and separate GPS systems) and fulfill many other purposes, including those of a camera or card reader.
  3. Integration. If there is an existing system present, it can be difficult to integrate new devices into it. Rugged tablets eliminate this issue entirely. Running off of the traditional Windows OS, they can be designed to interface with many existing systems, including computer-aided dispatch and remote-management systems.
  4. Mobility. Combining the functionality of a computer with the mobility of a smartphone, tablets can be picked up, passed around, and mounted in vehicles for easy transport.
  5. Compatibility. Unlike commercial-grade technology, rugged tablets’ software agnosticism makes them compatible with almost any application and software necessary. Safety equipment and tracking devices can be synced to tablets for easy monitoring, and custom-designed applications can be effectively incorporated.
  6. Cost. Along with being durable and cost-efficient, rugged tablets are easy to update and protect against obsolescence. Rugged tech is a long-term investment, and it’s one that’s guaranteed to pay off.
  7. Security. Information is one of the most easily stolen assets, and should be protected adequately. Multiple security modules are available for rugged tablets, including CAC card readers, barcode/magnetic stripe scanners, and PIN locks.
  8. Standardization. With an all-in-one, fully integrated device, first responders can rely on one device instead of three. This standardizes the workplace and reduces the likelihood of technical failure.
  9. Durability. Protected against drop/fall damage, shock damage, water/humidity, heat, and sand/dust, rugged tablets are designed to withstand hard use. For first responders, this kind of reliability can be invaluable during a tactical mission.

In the event of a disaster, no hands or time can be spared to handle tech failures and faulty equipment. Rugged tactical tablets prevent these issues by remaining functional and reliable no matter what the situation. With the added benefit of cost-effectiveness and compatibility, they can successfully replace less-reliable devices and streamline any system.

Utility Field Workers are Driving Demand for Mobile Tech

How-Rugged-Tablets-for-Utilities-Streamline-Field-Operations

Businesses are mobilizing at a rapid rate to stay competitive in industry after industry. Tablets are a staple of today’s workplace, having become indispensable to certain workers during the BYOD revolution. Now, organizations in every vertical are making rugged, portable tech another budgeted for item, thanks to the demand for connectivity and mobility for workers on the go.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the utilities vertical. The tablet revolution is not limited to the office cubicle or the busy regional managers travelling constantly between locations. Rugged tablets are being deployed in field service industries in increasing numbers so field workers can interact with clients, perform diagnostics, collect data and communicate with both their home base and other workers in the field more effectively.

Utility worker use of tablet tech has led to improved productivity, better real-time information access and decision making, and reduced operating costs overall. This is a boon at a time when many smaller infrastructures are struggling to keep up with the demands of a growing grid.

Having tablets in the field requires choosing devices developed with challenging environments in mind, including temperature changes, drops from a height, dust and debris, and other hazards. Rugged tablets are only a wise investment if they can stand up to these harsh environments without quickly becoming unusable or obsolete.

The number one advantage of rugged tablets for utility workers is mobility; with dependable connectivity, weight and dimensions that encourage handheld use or vehicle mounting with ease, and superlative touch capabilities, tablet tech is proving ideal for field service workers who may need to transport themselves and their device to many different sites on a daily basis.

While the cost of outfitting an entire crew with rugged tablets may seem like a large expenditure, the payoff can be enormous. With the right tablet, productivity and efficiency can be exponentially increased, and with built in resistance to obsolescence, the need for replacement will generally take place long after the tablet has earned back its initial cost.

With long battery life and superior data entry functions, tablets can be taken by the utility field worker up a pole, in and out of vehicles, into customer service settings, and on the street to locate water mains and buried lines for telecom and power. The portable design of a tablet is integrated with specialized tools for field service applications that can be utilized for reading meters, accessing billing information and troubleshooting guides, managing work order and assets, and collecting diagnostic data live with results uploaded directly into a reporting system in real time.

For many utility companies, rugged tablets have become a key part of their field service team. Automated data capture, real time communication with other personnel, and improved customer satisfaction are signs that rugged tablet tech for utility use is here to stay.