Six Ways Rugged Tablets Meet Military Needs

Military-Grade-Rugged-Tablets-Answer-the-Call-of-DutyPurpose built devices intended for military use require a design that mirrors the military – strong, versatile, and reliable. Military rugged tablets are expected to stand up to the harshest environments, keep working no matter what, and deliver above and beyond the call of duty.   

Military Rugged Tablets Must Be Durable

Rugged tablets designed for military personnel must be built to be strong and durable. They have to meet exacting specifications and standards, to stand up to wind, rain, dust, mud, vibrations and static electricity. They will be enduring harsh environments and will be expected to withstand impact, moisture, and more while maintaining functionality.   

Military Rugged Tablets Must Be Savvy

Tablet tech is becoming smarter each year, and customizable OS/software is being designed and specifically built to work on trusted platforms. Military grade rugged tablets that are configured to run analytics can calculate risks, and users in the field will be able to provide accurately computed results in real time and combine reports and older data to update records in seconds for teams on the ground in critical missions.

Military Rugged Tablets Must Provide Security

Rugged tablets outfitted with the latest security options prevent hacking and can be wiped remotely if lost or stolen. Tiered access can be keyed to passwords, PINs, cards, and even optional retinal or fingerprint scans. Tablets can be unlockable only by specific personnel or access can be allowed on a person by person basis with secure levels of data made available only to those with correct clearances. 

Military Rugged Tablets Must Work at Sea

Maritime mobility brings with it specialized requirements, and rugged tablets meet the challenge. The Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines can depend on rugged tablets to work even in conditions which could wreck a lesser tablet – water damage, corrosion, and extreme temperatures are expected, and rugged tablets must be able to remain functional.

Military Rugged Tablets Must Be Adaptable

Rugged tablets are portable and built for flexibility, with versatility that ensures they are suited for broad use on deployments.  Vehicle mounts and one hand carry options provide mobility, screens can be customized for sun or shade, and keyboards attached or detached at will to be replaced with a stylus, digital pen, or even finger writing used on the field.

Military Rugged Tablets Must Be Customizable

Software upgrades (like GIS mapping and GPS guidance) and hardware add-ons (like barcode scanners, cameras, RFID readers, and CAC keycard access), can turn a single rugged tablet into a multi-function device that replaces up to five or more individual pieces of equipment.

The military demands excellence, and rugged tablets from DT Research deliver on every conceivable front.

 

Seven Ways Rugged Tablet Mobility and Usefulness is Maximized

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Rugged tablet mobility is continually being improved, with features and benefits that make each device more useful and easier to use. These seven things in particular make rugged tablets the device of choice for dozens of verticals that demand the latest and best in mobile technology to increase efficiency, boost productivity, and improve workflows:

  1. Carrying cases that convert into rugged tablet stands offer portability from office to field, convenience with the ability to function on any surface, protection against damage when being transported or used in the field, and an extra layer of security.
  2. Detachable keyboards provide the option for those who prefer a keyboard to work quickly and familiarly with tools they know and prefer. Removing the keyboard turns the device back into a handheld, touchscreen operable device that can be used with fingertip writing or a digital pen with ease.
  3. Fully integrated data capture options include bar code and RFID scanners that can quickly register and record data. CAC scanners, card swipe functionality, QR code readers and signature capture add more options for data capture for multiple uses and from multiple sources.
  4. Multiple battery chargers can allow extra batteries to be kept charged at all times and provide centralized and satellite stations where a fresh battery can always be accessed. Likewise, tablet charging cabinets can also be used if preferred.
  5. Hot swappable batteries allow rugged tablets to be recharged without losing power or data, ideal for intensive work environments from construction, warehouses and logistics to medical, military, and first responder teams.
  6. Vehicle mount cradles and vehicle chargers make mobility simple, allowing rugged tablets to convert from handheld to mounted and charging in seconds then back to handheld when on scene. Connectivity is uninterrupted and data transmission is secure.
  7. Fanless designs remove a common point of failure, preventing problems often seen with fan using devices when the fan fails or cannot prevent overheating, or is damaged when debris is sucked into the fan. Less points of failure means higher reliability on and off the field.

DT Research rugged tablets are designed for functionality, ease of use, durability, security, and reliability. Having extra features makes each tablet fully customizable for the job at hand and increases the usefulness and lifespan of each device.

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.