“With more people living in cities, local governments should be taking advantage of a wide range of innovations now that can result in better infrastructures and aid in the design and operation of city services.” Those are the words of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology(PCAST) in February. However, only thinking of “innovation” in terms of smart cars, smart grid, smart cities, and other similar technology initiatives can be detrimental to impactful change. Though these forward-thinking concepts aren’t so futuristic anymore, public sector leaders need to consider the underlying technologies required today to enable the design, delivery, and maintenance of these more exciting investments in the coming years.
That’s why it’s important not to discount the true impact that seemingly rudimentary mobile computing technologies can have on enterprise visions. Rugged tablets provide the fundamental, near future-proof mobile computing platform needed to provide long-term investment protection for hundreds of other government agency initiatives. They also have a lower total cost of ownership and tend to yield higher returns on investment (ROI) than any other mobile PC form factor. Here’s why:
Organizations clearly recognize the need for better data management, document/content/records management, and business intelligence: They all are tech applications government IT executives named as priorities for 2016 in a recent Public Technology Institute poll. So was the creation of a truly mobile workforce.
Yet there are grave limitations to legacy systems’ contributions to current modernization efforts and valid concerns about the challenges of green-lighting “smart” innovation initiatives with insufficient back-end infrastructure. Without efficient processes in place at the most fundamental levels of an organization, many projects risk false starts – and the consequences of data lapses, cost overruns, frequent delays, and the continued reliance on aging infrastructure unable to accommodate growing populations much longer. You can’t put the cart before the horse.
Plus, legacy mobile computing systems – and even some still marketed as ideal “business” devices today – require multiple peripherals to be piecemealed together in a very expensive and often complicated way. Government agencies are still budget constrained and don’t benefit from devices that require a separate camera, barcode scanner, GPS device, mag stripe reader, monitor, keyboard, or mouse to be connected to the mobile PC via USB or other plug-in. However, investing in a rugged tablet form factor, which consolidates all peripherals into a single device, provides new economies and offers a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) when all is said and done. It also makes it easier to leverage all available technologies from all job sites.
After all, as we have come to understand all too well in today’s society, “The whole idea is not about the choice between using or not using technology. The challenge is to use it right.”
Government leaders and IT departments that embrace innovation first and foremost as a “change or alteration” of currently inadequate internal processes will be more successful in implementing the far-reaching “transformational” and “gee-whiz” innovations expeditiously. That’s also why federal, state, and municipality organizations of all sizes should rally behind rugged tablets.
For some organizations, budgets are beginning to rebound and they’re finally in a position to evaluate new technology investment options. Others, still strained by dwindling budgets, need to compensate for the costs of new growth and rebuilding initiatives by capturing savings in other areas. Either way, every federal, state, and local government entity is eager to restart the race to a better, more sustainable future. They’re in dire need of tech innovations that can enact fast changes and offer the most promising long-term ROI.
Fortunately, as Fierce CIO recently noted, “Innovations are ‘increasingly within reach’ that provide an opportunity to revamp how cities operate at all levels.”
Want to determine which rugged tablet-based mobility solutions are within your government agency’s reach?