Why You Need a Rugged Tablet for Your Field Workers
From working in the pouring rain to climbing and crawling into tight, dark, dusty spaces, field workers frequently find themselves in some tough work environments. Fieldwork technology, such as rugged tablets, is now enabling these field workers to be more productive — all while delivering seamless workflows and greater insights to the enterprise.
According to VDC Research, ruggedized tablet shipments are expected to expand from fewer than 350,000 devices globally in 2016 to 517,000 devices by 2022. While some of these rugged tablets are still Windows-based, VDC sees shipments of rugged Android devices growing rapidly during this period. Rugged tablets are set to become core equipment in the field worker’s toolbox, as businesses seek to create more seamless digital workflows in industries such as utilities, telecom, auto manufacturing, transportation and logistics and the military.
For these industries and for fieldworkers in general, the rugged device offers a number of advantages. Here’s a look at how rugged tablets are improving productivity and streamlining operations in a variety of industries.
Transportation Industry Gains Logistics and Performance Insights
The introduction of ruggedized mobile devices changed the operational landscape for the transportation industry. In the past, tracking the hours of service and location of drivers has been challenging and problematic. With the ELD mandate, it became more critical than ever to monitor hours of service and maintenance recods. Transportation fleets needed better insights to improve fuel efficiency, compliance and track proof of delivery.
Today, rugged devices not only allow fleet managers to track hours of service, driving habits and behavior behind the wheel — they also make it easy for drivers to complete Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports and other tasks around the truck. A rugged device such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active2 can handle the elements, including rain and dust, as well as the vibrations of the road — and through the use of facial recognition and a capacitive touch S Pen, drivers can conveniently use the device while wearing gloves.
Additionally, with LTE and Wi-Fi capabilities, drivers can use the device for navigation assistance with access to real-time updates on road conditions, approved routes and geofence capabilities to direct trucks to the correct entry gate and loading docks — all of which enhance driver productivity and reduce fuel costs by avoiding excessive idling or route finding.
Airlines Take Off With Rugged Tablets
In the airline industry, maintenance is a critical cost component: flights grounded by mechanical failures are incredibly costly. A study of airplane maintenance practices in Forbes found that the cost — to a single airline — of poor quality analysis totaled $3.2 billion in a single year.
By using maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) software, airlines and maintenance contractors can better manage the process across their fleets. To implement a digital MRO solution out on the tarmac, a rugged mobile device needs to withstand being exposed to drops, shocks, vibration, rain, dust and both scorching and freezing temperatures.
When passenger safety and airport security is at stake, device security is critical too. Using a rugged device like the Galaxy Tab Active2 that can deliver enterprise-grade security gives added peace of mind. With Samsung Knox, the Tab Active2 is protected from the chip on. Devices can also be “locked down” to ensure they are used only for their intended purpose, or access can be blocked when the tablet is outside a designated area.
Even in an environment less exposed to the outdoor elements, such as onboard commercial airplanes, airlines are finding that rugged tablets for in-flight entertainment and POS systems are often a better choice than consumer devices. Rugged devices are better able to handle constant bumps and accidental impacts that occur as part of in-flight usage — thus limiting financial hits from out-of-order tablets and passenger frustration when devices aren’t working.
Warehouse Management Looks to Rugged Devices
Warehouse management and operations have used mobile devices to help with a number of tasks, including to track inventory stock, shipping and inventory consolidation. However, a rising number of warehouse managers are looking to upgrade their legacy mobile solutions to provide greater flexibility.
The Internet of Things is also offering new potential ways to use devices equipped with sensors to make warehouse operations truly “smart” — allowing operators to better meet customer demands for fast shipping while lowering costs.
Rugged devices built to withstand harsh environments are becoming an increasingly appealing option for warehouse IT decision makers. According to research from Ivanti and VDC Research, non-rugged devices have a failure rate of 19.8 percent compared to 3.8 percent for rugged devices. The report also reveals that device failure costs an average of 30-40 minutes of worker downtime.
Enabling Asset Management in Any Environment
Tracking assets and equipment in the enterprise is a constant challenge. That goes double for businesses working in extreme environments, heavy-duty manufacturing or large remote workforces. Often, the wear and tear on expensive capital investments is even higher for them, and consumer-grade technology can’t stand up to conditions in the field.
For smarter asset management, the Tab Active2 combined with asset management software lets enterprises equip their workforce with tools that better track equipment and reduce the cost and complexities of daily operations — even when they’re in extreme heat, cold or other inclement conditions.
Protecting the Public — and Private Data
Public safety agencies have embraced the use of hand-held and wrist-worn devices, including using smartphones and tablets in the field. While many smartphones now feature IP68 certification, indicating a level of protection against water and dust, most are still vulnerable to drops. The Tab Active2 has MIL-STD-810G certification in addition to IP68 certification, ensuring the level of durability and ruggedness needed for public safety use cases. And with and biometric authentication technology, first responders can be confident that any sensitive data stays accessible to those who need it and protected from those who don’t.
As the number of mobile workers continues to expand across industries, more will be turning to fieldworker technology to improve worker productivity, lower costs and enable better data collection and insights. Having rugged devices that can handle being in the field is a critical component of enabling greater field worker mobility and productivity.