Why City Governments Can’t Afford NOT to Adopt Tablet Tech

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As day-to-day processes become increasingly streamlined by mobile technology, one of the best places to push faster, more efficient process is at the levels of city government. The initial outlay in tablet technology is quickly recouped by savings from the office to the field, and years of service can defray replacement costs when purpose-built tablets are designed to resist obsolescence.

Rugged tablets are currently being used by the military, logistics companies, first responders, law enforcement, utility companies, and healthcare facilities. The ability to stay connected and input, store, retrieve, transmit, and update information can cut administrative task times significantly, and nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes to bureaucratic centers.

The arena of municipal government work is a natural place for rugged tablets to shine. Mobile tech can make it easy to stay organized from office to the field and back again. With built in durability, functionality, security and privacy measures, and options like 4G LTE, GPS, and CAC readers, mobile tablets can make a massive difference in the efficiency of city employees and contractors.  

With all of these benefits available, city governments simply cannot afford to ignore the advantages of tablet tech. Purpose built tablets can be used for:

  • Training, instruction, and review of documents, information, processes and more. Instructors and trainees can efficiently complete their tasks with no lag in communication and easy access to all materials.
  • Public safety workers need the ability to communicate and develop plans on the move, shifting to accommodate changing situations. Law enforcement and first responders can particularly benefit.
  • Maintenance crews require up to date mapping and the functionality to update on the road or in the field as needed. GIS positioning, maps, blueprints, and more can be reviewed onsite, as dirt, mud, moisture, impact and vibration are no problem for rugged built devices.
  • Public transportation can be a nightmare logistically and administratively, mounted tablets can improve passenger experiences, and streamline important processes like scheduling and rail changes.

The advantage of tablet tech at the city government level is unmatched when it comes to mobile devices. As city, county, and state governments adopt newer ways of increasing efficiency and productivity, the need to move forward with tablet tech will only become more apparent, and the benefits will far outweigh the cost of initial implementation.   

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.