Field workers often face tough conditions. Jobs can take them into remote areas of the country. Their working environment can be dusty, wet, freezing, hot or cramped. And they still have to perform at their best, getting tasks done right the first time and on schedule. This is where the right technology makes all the difference. And rugged devices are the only sensible choice.
Right now, rugged tablets are a good news story, a sharp contrast compared to consumer models, which are seeing declines in shipping volumes. The consensus is that large screen rugged tablets are rapidly becoming the default choice across a wide sweep of sectors – automotive, logistics, manufacturing, retail, industrial, healthcare, warehousing, aerospace and defence. In fact, the rugged tablet market is expected to grow to $623.6 million by 2020, according to VDC Research1.
Rugged tablets have had a makeover
For many years, rugged devices were seen as the ugly sisters of the sleeker, more sophisticated consumer-grade models. Bulky, cumbersome to use and lumbering, along with outdated technology. But no more. Today’s rugged tablets look good and handle well, offering the latest software and protective technologies. This means enterprises no longer have to equip field workers with two different devices in order for them to work effectively. And that means fewer repair bills for fragile consumer devices damaged in the working day and less employee downtime. So, it’s no surprise that a recent survey2 found that rugged tablets are still the top choice for those responsible for a highly mobile workforce (64%).
Big and bright
So, let’s look at the anatomy of a rugged tablet and see which features make this the device of choice for mobile professionals such as technicians and engineers. Firstly, screen size matters. Whether making products or making repairs, workers are often looking at complex data – which is much easier to assimilate from a larger screen. And the screen must be readable in all conditions, even in bright sunlight. Equally, the tablet must work perfectly in the rain or freezing conditions, whether that’s servicing a pipeline in January or stock checking in a sub-zero environment. It has to be responsive and easy to use, even when the user is wearing gloves and other protective wear.
Shaken, not stirred
Industrial and manufacturing environments can expose a tablet to prolonged vibrations. Quarries and building sites bring the challenge of dust and grit. Rugged tablets have to stand up to this, plus the inevitable drops and knocks that happen along the way. Field services can mean many hours away from power sources, with no chance of recharging. This is when hot-swappable batteries are a must-have. Another feature that consumer-grade devices generally lack.
It’s not just the durable exterior that has to be up to the job. What’s inside is equally important, and processing power matters. To keep workers productive, a rugged tablet needs to be nimble when skipping between apps and dealing with data-intensive multitasking. This is particularly critical for engineers and technicians, dealing with complex technologies, such as the automotive sector.
Connected in more ways
Collaboration can be crucial in getting a job done. It might be a face-to-face chat with a colleague back at base to troubleshoot an issue, or the ability to attend a meeting via video conference. Also, capturing good quality still images and video is another must-have for many field workers, who need to document the site or carry out visual inspections. A versatile rugged tablet can save them carrying a separate camera which is unlikely to cope in a challenging environment. Connection options shouldn’t stop at wifi and Bluetooth. For vehicles, the tablet needs to connect to high-gain WWAN, WLAN and roof-mounted GPS antennas too.
A tough nut to crack
Considering the sensitive nature of information held on tablets – think defence contracts, power companies and automotive prototypes – security is a priority. And it has to be multi-dimensional in order to defend against the many threats – from deliberate hacks and malicious insiders to a tablet being stolen or left behind on site. A rugged tablet needs to offer multifactor authentication as well as the ability to be remotely disabled by the user or the enterprise. So, it needs to be as tough on the inside as it is on the outside.
The Getac A140 rugged tablet – the largest, most secure yet
Cutting a strong figure on all fronts is the A140 fully-rugged tablet – the largest created so far by Getac. With a spacious 14-inch screen, powerful Intel® Core i5 and i7 processors and a robust security suite, the A140 tablet has go-anywhere convenience – from the field to the vehicle, from the factory floor to the office. It’s been certified to MIL-STD 810G, IP65 and MIL-STD-461G standards, handling falls, vibration, water and extreme temperatures with ease.
The Getac A140 offers the most robust suite of security features of any fully rugged tablet. This includes TMP 2.0 which ensures the device is tamper-free at start-up before releasing control to the operating system. The option of Absolutely DDS enables the tablet to be disabled, should it be lost or stolen. And the A140 has a host of multifactor authentication options, including fingerprint, RFID or SmartCard readers, letting users take advantage of Microsoft Windows 10 identity and access control features.
The A140 features a brilliant sunlight readable display and responds effortlessly to every touch via revolutionary LumiBond 2.0 touch screen technology. Advanced touch modes ensure operation in the rain, with gloves or using the included hard-tip stylus. This the ideal tool ideal for capturing signatures or taking precision notes on drawings, maps or forms. And the A140’s sharp contrast, crisp colours and large working area make sure even detailed diagrams are clear – giving it an advantage over the average rugged tablet. Full HD front and 8 MP rear cameras make an image and video capture, video conferencing and field training convenient and easy. Finally, the A140’s hot-swappable dual-battery design means this rugged tablet never needs to power down – creating an unbeatable combination of strength and stamina.
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