5 Ways Rugged Tablets Benefit City Planners

5-Ways-Rugged-Tablets-Benefit-City-PlannersRugged tablets have become a core tool for many in city and local government as well as for architects and construction engineers planning new subdivisions. City planners can also utilize purpose built rugged tablets for their own needs, mimicking the droves of utility workers, police, fire and rescue employees, and other divisions that operate across municipalities.

Purpose built rugged tablets provide not only added mobility for city planners, but unique and effective ways to support smart city planning and Public and Utilities management.

City Planners face unique challenges, including:

  1. Organization of Command Centers, and satellite location management: Physical whiteboards and clipboards are location specific, must be updated individually, can contain errors that are individual or duplicated, and are rarely in synch.
  2. Data Sharing: Critical information often cannot be shared easily and quickly amongst planners, vendors, managers of utilities or public works, and more.
  3. Security: Unencrypted Public Safety radio communications on scanners and smartphone applications are open to the public, and engineering a closed system with networked devices can be difficult.
  4. Documentation: Piles of paperwork that must be manually documented can be time consuming and can be error prone, and ensuring everyone has the latest copy can be frustrating.
  5. Interoperability: Multi – agency teams and collaborative departments can find it difficult to coordinate without a common, compatible platform.

Rugged Tablets can help solve all of these issues. They allow city planners to:

  1. Monitor and coordinate all operations: Command Center and satellite locations work flawlessly with field operatives and telecommuting professionals.
  2. Collect and immediately share data: Providing visuals, graphs, spreadsheets, and editable documents across all members of the team.
  3. Provide superior security and encryption: secure networks allow access only for approved devices and personnel, with a range of security options including media blackout.
  4. Accurately finish each operation with documentation in hand: Everyone’s documentation matches, having been updated by the necessary parties in real time.
  5. Solve interoperability issues: When disparate teams need to integrate, city planners can now get everyone on the same page by deploying devices that allow communication, data sharing, and more, all on a compatible, familiar platform.

City planners and government managers should be clear on what to look for in a mobile computing system for users, including how the agency’s work force will be using the devices. Purpose built rugged tablets are equally valuable in the office and in the field, and the versatility make them the clear choice.

Advantages of Rugged Tablets for Government Personnel

A constant priority across private and public sectors is productivity. The government vertical is one of the most important venues for modern computing infrastructures, budding technological advances, and seamless communication.

Security

Security is a top selling point for mobile wireless devices, and rugged tablets can be specifically designed to meet this need. Government information can be safely transmitted across secure wireless and cellular broadband networks, bridging the divide between indoor and outdoor tasks. Mobile devices within a secure network allow personnel to quickly relay information between administrators and those in the field.

Real Time Sharing

Instant communication is a broad benefit. A rugged tablet utilized in this way allows workers to share information in real time, cutting down on manual data transmission, and promoting the reception of critical data no matter the location or time. Analysis can also be performed in the closed system, preventing any breaches, and IT specialists can use high levels of encryption that protect data at the application level or the data layer.

Added Functionality

A CAC reader allows for secure data access restricted by level of security, so personnel can use the same tablet for specific data access with inbuilt security. Other data capture capabilities, such as barcode scanners, magnetic stripe readers (MSR), cameras, and radio frequency identification (RFID) mean streamlined operations using one device instead of several.

Durability

The rugged tablet also has the ability to withstand extreme environments, whether the harsh conditions result from weather, dust, grime, cold, or heat. Tablets can be used in warehouses, at docks, for field surveys, for inventory matching, and more.  Drops or vibrations that would crack lesser screens or damage housing can be easily withstood by rugged builds. Even static charge and moisture resistance can be improved.

Mobility

Sunlight readable screens allow for easy viewing in any kind of light or shade. Detachable keyboards make the tablet versatile from office to field, and stylus or even finger writing capabilities allow for fast note taking or sketching on the go, without the need to thumb type or attach a board.

As computing needs keep changing, the government must keep pace with rapidly evolving solutions that mesh security, mobility, and productivity. Rugged tablets can be a key to embracing these changes in technology and will provide a seamless workflow uninterrupted by challenges faced with consumer grade devices.

Why Government Implementation of Rugged Tablets Should be a Priority

As the public and private sectors move towards mobile, digital, and analytical processes, the government sector is poised to take advantage of athe single most useful tool available in recent technological history – the rugged tablet. The benefits of handheld, durable devices with superior computing power include:

Security. With closed networks, rugged tablets are some of the most secure devices available to those who require high levels of security to operate. The ability to install security measures for both manual access and potential wireless hacking are a large part of why tablets are overtaking smartphones as the secure device of choice. Card access, pin codes, and even biometrics can be utilized to enhance appropriate accessibility on the fly.

Smarter Processes. The software options available for rugged tablets make them the best choice for those on the move, and the accessibility measures make them the right device for situations in which constant handoff is required. Platforms are constantly being revisited and manufacturers work in tandem with the most used operating system creators.

Real Time Access. When data is required in the field, sooner is better than later. The ability to transfer or enable access to data immediately and share updates and changes makes the rugged tablet even more valuable from a time saving and productivity standpoint.

Data Capture Capability. Data entry in the field is fast and easy with a virtual keyboard, a stylus, a scanner or a built in code recognition system. ReduceNo errors by using fully built in data capture rather than transferring data between various separate scanners and readers or less reliable snap-on toolson paperwork, and records can quickly be checked and matched with offsite inventory counts.

Compatibility. The ability to work between old tech and new, easing the transition between outdated PCs and smartphones, while bringing new innovation and tech to life in their field is another major attraction for those now trialing rugged tablets – it’s the bridge device that was needed to connect office workers and field workers on common ground.

Ease of Integration. Finally, rugged tablets are already proven to integrate seamlessly into almost any environment, enabling real-time data access and management as well as business intelligence analytics. Add in fully responsive records management, and rapid, informed decision making capabilities for every individual on the team – regardless of whether they are on foot, on a forklift, in a vehicle, or behind a desk – and you have the ideal computing and data capture device that most managers dream of.

Any government organization’s basic process can benefit from the support that rugged tablets and other mobile technologies can drive progress and improve productivity. It’s the smart, strategic decision, with a reasonable CAPEX and a solid ROI.

Meeting the Gold Standard for Rugged Tablets

At DT Research, we design rugged tablets to meet or exceed military specifications, providing a product that is durable, highly functional, and secure. Some of the standards each tablet must pass include:

  • IP65 is a designation that informs the user what level of protection the device has against dust and against water spray from any direction. Rugged tablets need to be able to withstand harsh conditions and this can include in-the-field operations where dust, sand, water, ice, and snow are present as well as winds from any direction.

  • MIL-STD-461F is a military standard that designates what kind of EMI (electro-magnetic interference) protection the device has. Lightning and ESD (electro-static discharge) can instantly fry a device, so rugged tablets are built to insulate against such events.

  • MIL-STD-810G is a broader military standard which includes up to 28 different testing methods for use on all kinds of equipment. These tests (of which 8 normally apply to rugged tablets) determine the device’s durability and resistance to high and low temperatures, humidity and water droplets or spray, sand and dust, complete immersion, and vibration.

Mass market tablets overall are not designed to withstand extreme conditions or heavy use in the field. They are prone to break readily if dropped or sat on; they don’t have strong electromagnetic resistance, and they aren’t water resistant. For military personnel, a regular tablet simply won’t stand up to the testing or in field use.

However, there are tradeoffs for ruggedness. Heavier, thicker casings are required to house them and provide adequate protection. Nevertheless, the size and heft are still good tradeoffs when you don’t have to replace each tablet every couple of months, that helps save the TCO.

Durability plus computing power is another benefit of military grade rugged tablets. Custom software can be matched with hardware to make the rugged tablet more functional. The resulting product saves money and effort over time, increasing productivity and streamlining operations while allowing real time communication and data sharing between units in the field and staff at HQ.

Rugged tablets that meet military specs can be utilized anywhere there is a demand for durability and ability, including in the field, on the base, in tough weather conditions, and harsh working environments. DT Research builds each tablet to order, so that the exact options can be chosen to meet the exact needs of every project.

Increase Productivity in Multiple Verticals with the Rugged Tablet

When device failure happens, the time spent to fix or replace the device can eat into productivity margins and derail the workflow. Rugged tablets restore productivity by significantly reducing the rate of failure, simply through making the device in question much more impervious to damage.

There are various verticals in which issuing rugged tablets to staff, employees, contractors or other personnel makes sense. The time saved will increase productivity in these four specific verticals, making the choice to switch to rugged tablets from other mobile devices the obvious one.

Government / Military

Exposure to harsh working conditions and the need for a device that can handle inclement weather as well as sand, dirt, mud and grit is paramount. The rugged tablet keeps going even when lesser devices succumb to heat or cold, making it easy to access sensitive data on the move. Productivity stays strong when devices don’t have to be replaced.

Industrial / Manufacturing

A rugged tablet can survive being dropped, knocked off of a shelf, passed from hand to hand throughout the day and even exposed to chemical fumes or high or low temperatures. A tablet that can survive a drop and keep scanning and storing data can be invaluable in maintaining productivity.

Logistics / Field Work

For employees always on the go, a rugged tablet is the best way to stay connected and not have to worry about the device getting jostled, dropped off a truck, or spilled out of a carryon. The ability to stand up to miles of travel and being taken into every conceivable location makes a rugged tablet the smart choice for both mobility and strength, and raises productivity by replacing all other devices.

Construction / Utility

On the job or work site, rugged tablets enhance productivity and prevent snags – when all of the pertinent information, including surveys and blueprints, is in the device, there’s no running back and forth to retrieve specs or frustration over missing pans or warning flags.

There are other industries where rugged tablets can also shine, including healthcare, hospitality, and retail. Any scenario in which device failure can throw a wrench in the day’s plans can benefit from the productivity increase a rugged tablet can provide.