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Ruggedised devices combine a mix of hardened dust-and water-proofed cases, toughened screens and dedicated input tools, often with dedicated applications for a specific task. A basic example is with postal delivery agents, requiring the recipient to sign off a delivery on an electronic device. However, such dedicated small devices do not meet the needs of all workers – it is often the case that a larger rugged tablet or laptop capable of running multiple apps is required.
Here, five jobs are considered where a more rugged device makes more sense.
Engineers sent out to fix, for example, utility systems need not only simple job ticketing systems, but also need access to instruction manuals, blueprints and ‘how to’ videos. Standard laptops and tablets do not have the right attributes to cope with the rigours of what is required, whereas ruggedised versions can cope with the knocks, dust and damp that such work entails.
Those working on construction sites need systems that can provide access to plans and also take inputs – but can also take being dropped, being run over by construction vehicles and so on. Ruggedised tablets that can be used one handed but can also take clip-on physical keyboards can ensure that these workers get what they need.
Social workers have a need for devices that can be used for job ticketing, checking records of the people they are dealing with, and to input further information while in the client’s house. This could involve a mix of tick-box input via a tethered stylus alongside textual input via a soft or hard keyboard.
Not only should the device be built to cope with being out on the streets, it also needs to be security hardened to ensure that the personally identifiable information (PII) central to a social worker’s job cannot be compromised.
The police, ambulance and fire services are becoming increasingly dependent on accessing information from central points. For example, police need to be able to check car registrations, insurance details and suspect’s details; paramedics need to be able to check medical histories and look up possible treatments for rarer problems; fire service personnel need to check blueprints for building configurations and access to necessary utility services. Each may also have a need to record data via voice, image or video using the device.
Such access may need to be carried out in tough situations: shock-proof casings and hardened touch-enabled screens alongside easy touch or voice operation are almost necessities.
Insurance companies that act faster to insured events will be winners in the market. The need to rapidly collect information at the point of incident is driving an increasing move to loss adjusters using devices in the field, leading to faster decisions on whether to pay out or not.
This needs devices that can cope with being in all sorts of environments, from minor household or road incidents to burnt-out or flooded buildings, environments with hazardous chemical spills and other major incidents.
The chosen device must be able to cope with contact with all the surroundings, and must also allow for the easy input of data – including image and video via the device’s camera.
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