Five Benefits Rugged Tablets Bring to the Table for Military Logistics

Key Features of Military Rugged TabletsMilitary supply lines need the ability to rapidly and efficiently transport goods from one place to another. Rugged tablets speed up this process and make it more effective, enabling better logistics and streamlining the entire process.

With rugged tablets, military officials can track their shipments from warehouse to final destination with real-time data and communication. The benefits are many and extremely high value:

Mobility

Rugged tablets for military logistics can be assigned to a location, a transport vehicle, or a shipment. Vehicle mounts provide an excellent way to enhance mobility, and handoffs can be quickly and efficiently completed. One tablet can follow a shipment throughout a journey, going from handheld to vehicle mounted to charging in an office or warehouse.

Communication

The ease of updating databases even from remote locations provides for easy handoffs with instant information transmission and confirmation from dispatch or a base. GPS can track the most efficient routes and shipment if required, to provide real time updates on progress and alert to issues or delays.

Durability

The sturdy design of rugged tablets ensures they can stand up to the harsh environments experienced in military supply lines, from extreme temperatures, mud, dirt, and rain to vibration in transport and impact from use in warehouse settings. Bumps or drops when loading/unloading crates and packages or during handoff can be withstood with military-rated devices.

Scalability

From a small, minimally staffed outlying base to a massive warehouse with hundreds of workers, tablets can be scaled to the operation in progress. The lifetime value of each device is extended by the fact that rugged tablets are built to resist obsolescence, and to remain compatible with rapidly changing software.

RFID Capability

Rugged tablets with RFID can read multiple tags, read at a distance, without direct line of sight, or even while tags are in transit, rewrite tags as needed, and integrate data with the latest information management software. RFID tags are weather- and tamper-proof, can hold more information than standard barcodes, and allow full automation with less manpower than is required for barcode systems.

Rugged tablets have been swiftly implemented into civilian and commercial supply chain logistics and are now delivering the same power and portability to military supply chains.

Seven “Must Have” Features of Military Rugged Tablets

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Military tablet computers must meet stringent operational requirements, and consumer grade devices don’t stand up to rigorous inspection and testing. Rugged tablets, however, can be custom built to withstand even the harshest environment, providing the security, stability, functionality, and speed of communication required for both on-base use and in-the-field mobility.

Rugged tablets will often be tasked with enduring wet or dusty environments, extreme hot and cold temperatures, and prolonged vibrations or repeated impacts. They must allow clear readability and operation in dark surroundings or bright sunlight, accept data input via a variety of options, be useable with gloved hands, bare fingertips, or digital styluses or pens, and deliver exceptional reliability at every turn.

Tablet internal components must match the rugged exterior, providing security, fast processing, and seamless communication of text, audio, video, and imaging. Military applications generally indicate that chosen devices display the following features in their design and construction:

  1. Durable housings must be impervious to contamination from dust, dirt, mud, water, moisture, and other contaminants, and should be capable of withstanding shocks, jolts, drops, and prolonged vibration.
  2. Displays must remain usable in direct sunlight and transition easily between dim and bright environments. Direct sun glare should be mitigated, and the display dimmable in dark environments for safety of mobile users in dangerous conditions. Customized displays should also allow input with touchscreens via stylus or even fingertip writing.
  3. Electronic components must be rated for wide temperature ranges, typically -40˚C to 85˚C Conformal coating of assembled circuit boards and/or potting of specific components may also be required to help prevent corrosion in humid environments or to aid in higher shock/vibration resistance.
  4. Military band radios, remote vehicle controllers, connective, military specific interfaces, and other government related options should be seamlessly implemented.
  5. Operating systems should prevent operation by non-approved users and allow customized configuration to manage specialized user and applications. Defining user and application access must be rapid and accurate.
  6. Encryption keys will enable the protection of both critical data and proprietary application codes stored on the tablet. CAC access can allow use of each device by a range of security levels, providing more flexibility and permitting one device to service several members on a team.
  7. Media blackout options and a “kill switch” function in case of loss or theft should also be part of a military device, and physical tamper detection mechanisms can be embedded to sense attempts to open the device or access it in other ways. Encryption keys can be wiped remotely, and the software set to self-destruct.

Designers of rugged military tablets must both understand the required applicable design of portable devices and be capable of managing the multiple requirements posed by electronics, operating system configurations, rugged casings, heat dispersion, display customization, data input options, and more.

Rugged Tablets are Driving the Migration to Digital Information for Mobile Military

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When deployed forces are able to rely on rugged computers, the benefits of the latest processing and data storage can deliver impressive capabilities to mobile missions requiring data to succeed.

Data in the field has become a serious priority, with a vast majority of mission- and safety-critical defense applications and aerospace verticals turning to rugged tablets to access key information for troop safety and mission success. Emphasized is the critical need for purpose-built, durable, high-performance mobile computing devices which can operate at top performance even in the most rugged of environments.

The military-wide shift over the past few decades to digital information and the use of connected devices both on and off the field has changed the face of communications in all branches of the armed forces. These changes have resulted in a massive demand for rugged tablets and other handheld devices capable of delivering the required data on land and sea as well as in air and space.

As defense moves in the direction of using tablets and 2-in-1 personal computers to bridge the gap between the old way of doing things and the new, a clear pattern of migration becomes apparent. As cell phones went from the “brick” to the clamshell to the slider to the slim, flat screened phones of today, so too have rugged tablets evolved from clunky, consumer grade devices to the high end, sleek, lightweight yet exceptionally durable devices of the modern age.

Maintenance and software in aerospace and defense is starting to catch up. Touchscreen interfaces and long life batteries with hot swap capability are becoming the norm as various branches of the military and homeland security adopt ruggedized systems. Administration, logistics, and field operations all benefit from fully functional, connected devices that are mobile and resistant to breakage, temperature, impact, and harsh environments.

Flight-line and field maintenance for military aircraft and land vehicles especially benefit from the introduction of rugged tablets, which enable them to digitize processes and implement usage of built in barcode or RFID tag readers.

Rugged tablets connected to satellite communications (SATCOM) can monitor and inform in-theater communications on the battlefield, providing situational awareness through mapping data, images, and videos shared via unmanned drones between the field, command center, and other deployed troops on the ground.

Rugged computers are in use at our borders, facilitating security, safety inspections, and highway monitoring through mounted applications in vehicles operated by both military and civilian personnel. Future applications are almost unlimited, as land, sea, and space are further explored and the demand for outstanding mobility and functionality continues to rise.

Speed, Security, Safety, & Stability – Military Grade Tablet Tech Has It All

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Mobile technology is quickly becoming one of the most popular military upgrades, and it’s not hard to see why. By boosting productivity and adding a degree of mobility, rugged tablets have begun replacing laptops in military operations.

Unlike laptops, tablets can be used virtually anywhere, and only require one hand to carry safely. They can be mounted for easy use within vehicles, and aren’t as fragile as most laptops, even ruggedized models. Their familiar interface makes them easy to use, and they manage the same processing power as a traditional computer.

Here are a few more reasons that military-grade tablets are the next best investment, and how they can benefit any military operation.

  • Real-time information and communication are the most useful tools any team can have. The ability to seamlessly share and view information is crucial to many operations, and tablets make it easy. Rugged tablets go anywhere the team goes, and they can be passed around, carried, or mounted within vehicles for easy viewing.
  • With secure networks and locked-down devices, even mobile tablet computers can be just as secure as desktop computers. Properly fortified networks can make it difficult for intruders to gain access, and physical protocols like keycards and passwords/PINs can lock down any physical device. In the event of theft, tablet computers can also be remotely wiped or encrypted to protect data.
  • Rugged tablets are designed with hard use in mind, and they meet all military specifications. With protection against drops, falls, and impact damage, they can be carried without fear of breakage. Their sealed ports prevent dirt, dust, and sand damage, and they are also certified to withstand vibrations and other threats, including water damage. This durability makes them safer than their larger, more cumbersome counterparts, especially more fragile devices like laptops.
  • With multiple ports, rugged tablets can be used with a variety of accessories and tools. Pens, keyboards, and other tools can be plugged in and used immediately, reducing the need for additional devices and tools. This multifunctionality also makes it easy for older and newer staffers to use the same device. Where tech-savvy officers may work fine with the digital keyboard and touchscreen, seasoned staffers may require the keyboard and pen.

By providing the necessary tools for military operations to run smoothly, productivity is increased. Tablets speed up many necessary functions, thus reducing downtime and making it easier for staffers to move onto their next task.

 

Rugged Tablets Bring New Potential to the U.S. Navy

Rugged Tablets Bring New Potential to the U.S. Navy

As purpose-built tablets become more familiar to every branch of the military, new applications are being found on land and at sea. The U.S. Navy is turning to tablet tech to meet a variety of challenges, and rugged tablets are standing up to the challenge. Here are three important ways this particular type of mobile technology can change the productivity of this branch of our armed forces from the shipyard to the open sea.

  1. Recruit training at boot camp. In anticipation of wider adoption of tablets across the Navy, recruits at boot camp are being trained on the use of mobile tablets and introduced to important concepts using the devices’ compatibility with interactive training. Tablets have been used in a pilot program around the Great Lakes area to help introduce the idea of and inform recruits about human trafficking, to prepare them for situations that may involve such circumstances. In addition, all documents, manuals, and other important information normally supplied to recruits can be loaded on the tablet and studied in class or on the job.
  2. Potential for shipboard use. If such pilot programs continue to go well, the important issues of security and connectivity on board vessels will be addressed and tablets will likely become part of standard gear for Navy personnel. In time, most immediate communications and information delivery on board Navy vessels can be communicated using handheld devices. The potential for inventory reconciliation and base delivery is enormous.
  3. Destroyer maintenance. Tablets have already been pressed into service at administrative level when it comes to gathering maintenance information on board destroyers, providing a faster, more efficient way of handling admin-based maintenance tasks and creating more compact files with several layers of security and redundancy. The goal is to automate many procedures that formerly had to be done by hand when it comes to information collection, sorting, and retention. This can readily be translated to similar support for fleet maintenance including ships, planes, and other vehicles.

Overall, the Navy is planning on collating results from multiple programs involving wireless devices, and eventually merging them into a concerted push towards better connectivity and higher efficiency.  

Submarine based wireless technology, microwave antennae creating 4G networks, and tablet adoption are only three facets of a larger effort to improve and update the Navy’s use of mobile tech. As security fears are addressed and more options made available, sailors can expect to see tablets become part of normal shipboard routines.