4 Points to Consider When Choosing Rugged Tablets for Your Mobile Workforce

It used to be the norm to work within the confines of soft cubicle walls, but now workers are regularly breaking out of the box and being deployed in the field. As a result, enterprises are utilizing alternative mobile tech to ensure that data is collected, processed, and entered into a central system without delay.

This shift is particularly important in the transportation industry, where mobility requirements of on-the-go workers continue to evolve. And with the introduction of rugged computing, tasks that were formerly tackled with pen and paper have now become routine with the use of one device: a rugged tablet.

Not only can rugged tablets perform difficult office tasks, but they also can ensure connectivity for everyone — from a long-haul truck driver to a remote utility worker in harsh weather.

At Xplore Technologies, our rugged tablets are deployed across a variety of industries and sectors, including energy, military operations, manufacturing, distribution, public service, public safety, and government.

No matter the sector, matching your workers’ unique needs to the capabilities of the communications system is crucial. After all, connectivity issues can cause delays, errors, and even safety hazards.

As you select a rugged tablet for your mobile workforce, consider these four points:

1. Rugged Tablets Require Rugged Security

Security is paramount with any business technology implementation. Protecting proprietary information should be your primary concern, especially when using mobile devices. A stolen tablet, a compromised password, or an inappropriately downloaded app can take down your entire network.

Human error accounts for the majority of security breaches, so ensure you have a solid security procedure in place to mitigate risk. Even the best software is no good if people don’t know how to use it, and your IT department should be monitoring all network traffic to identify breaches.

2. Closed Operating Systems Aren’t Always the Answer

It might seem counterintuitive that an open operating system would be more secure, but Android has proven that it is. The open architecture of the Android framework allows organizations — such as the Department of Defense, for example — to essentially build their own security.

For enterprise applications, it’s important to strip down the operating system to its essential functions. You don’t need the application store, games, or entertainment — the devices belong to your business and are for business functions only. Keep in mind that although the Google and Microsoft operating systems allow for this customization, Apple’s operating system doesn’t.

3. You’ll Need Implementation Testing

Sandbox testing is often used in enterprise programming before rolling out new software. A sandbox environment mitigates risk by using dummy information in a replica “test” environment to try new software and code supplied by vendors, contractors, clients, users, etc.

Microsoft has been serving enterprise customers for decades and has a great sandbox mode. Both Apple and Android include sandbox mode, but Android is more robust. It provides the ability to inspect the host system, read input devices, and more.

4. Mobile Device Management Is Crucial

Enterprises implementing mobile devices should have a mobile device management solution. Such a solution allows IT administrators to exercise greater control over devices, enabling them to trace and wipe stolen devices and introduce upgrades remotely.

GPS and Bluetooth (along with Wi-Fi) allow rugged tablets to communicate real-time data from the field — an essential feature for effective deployment of personnel and equipment. For example, GPS can enable a utility worker to dispatch a truck to an outage or emergency with extreme precision.

Rugged tablets are able to survive harsh environments while providing remote workers with the same accessibility they would have if they were tethered to their desks. And as mobility requirements change, you need exceptional communications through rugged computing devices to stay competitive and efficient. In fact, mobile workers in real-world situations expect the quality of communications in their devices to exceed those in consumer devices, so why not help them get from point A to point B quicker than ever?

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