3 Keys to Rugged Tablet Deployment in the Field

It has become clearer and clearer to businesses that adoption of the latest technologies is the most practical and competitive decision to make to position their company for success. The modern world requires businesses in the field and in the factory to ready themselves as such because of technology's widespread impact.

Yet equipping your firm with these tools requires serious thought to avoid being swept up in the tide of proliferating consumer electronics and furious investment and end up missing the boat. The benefits of rugged tablets are many, but without the due diligence done in business planning, implementation can go awry.

There are many considerations to factor in when first investigating, and then using, rugged tablets:

Know Your Platform/System Needs

Rushing into a decision often leads to conceding on some points to get a quick fix that evolves in to an unsustainable patch. Not understanding how your specific needs dictate the tablet selection process - a lack often exposed when rushed or uninformed - will lead you to the same dead end.

Knowing what field operators need of tablets is also crucial.

One scenario laid out by Tom McEwan, IT consultancy head at PA Consulting Group, spoke to the tablet deployment of a utility provider. The decision called for weighing the merits of iOS and Android. Then, it took applying the needs of users to baseline understanding of operating system pros and cons. As it was, 75 percent of field workers' time was spent completing work orders.

Criteria to Judge Suitability

Every business decision must be one that is informed and rationalized. The success of implementation hinges upon the tangible effects felt in workflow, productivity and other basic measures.

In order to reach your goals with rugged tablets, the objectives have to be set, with progress toward them monitored.

If you aim to improve worker efficiency, measure the time savings of billing and processing at the point of service using mobile solutions. Think of tracking the rate of ease in installations and maintenance when using diagnostic tools for field work. With this data, the success of a tablet can be measured against the benchmarks of manual processes or existing digital infrastructure.

Success can be measured purely in terms of cost-savings, but that's becoming less and less the standard by which implementation is judged. According to Dimensional Research data cited by content management system provider Xyleme, just 4 percent of tablet adoptions were driven by a bottom-line focus.

Can the Tablet Serve in the Field?

Outdoors isn't the best place to be for some tablets. Those devices without rugged qualities are likely to malfunction in rain, become compromised by dust or particulate matter and wear down all too easily with the use required by that of field operations work.

Not only that, but if it does require service while on assignment, field upgradeability is a key consideration. Remote repair is often needed and when selecting a vendor, the extension of such a service becomes a great asset for the business in implementation - and continued productivity in the long term. A tablet such as the iX104C5 DMSR, that allows parts like the SSDs and RAM to be easily removed and replaced in the field without tools, is one example. By cutting out the time-consuming task of sending the tablet in for basic repairs/upgrades, total cost of ownership is reduced for long-term savings.

To learn more about cost considerations when deploying rugged tablets for field operation, download our Total Cost of Ownership white paper.