When it comes to computing requirements for business, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. The same computer that works perfectly in an air conditioned office might not function at all in harsh operating conditions. Here rugged computers would be the apt choice. As the name suggests, rugged computers are designed to operate in extreme environmental conditions which may involve high levels of heat, moisture, vibration or dust. There are a number of businesses in which rugged computers are ideal, for example field sales / technicians, transport, logistics, manufacturing, healthcare and the military. Not just the external housing, but the internal components of these computers are designed to be sturdy and durable and before you start concocting visions of a large monstrosity, these machines also come in relatively sleeker versions like laptops and tablets.
A rugged computer might cost between $1300 and $5000. So, is it worthwhile to make this kind of an investment on specialized computers? A rugged computer offers reliability and durability, which over time could substantially reduce the total cost of ownership. In addition, for businesses which involve a lot of outdoor work, features such as high battery life are essential for ensuring that employees do not lose productive work hours.
Here’s a look at some of the suppliers of rugged computers
Glacier offers a comprehensive range of rugged computers like vehicle and fixed mount computers, tablets, handhelds, and laptops. Their latest offering called the T510K Rugged Tablet has garnered a lot of attention due to its amazing features. It has a 10 inch display and 23 button keyboard. It has great data collection capabilities with an RFID (or Radio Frequency Identification), barcode scanner and a camera. Dual batteries allow nine hours of operation even in extreme conditions. It is lightweight (2.42 lbs), and offers wireless and Bluetooth connectivity. It can survive a 40G shock and a 4 feet fall. As per Ron D’Ambrosio, CEO of Glacier Computer, “The T510K tablet is a perfect choice for field service technicians”.
Panasonic makes some of the most popular rugged computers. The Toughbook 31 series is probably their biggest offering, with a price tag of about $3300 – $3600. Consider this – a 13.1 inch screen, certification exceeding MIL-STD-810G (highest military standard for a computer), ability to survive a 6 foot drop, can work both in sunlight and dark, webcam and a battery life of 21 hours.
Getac offers some of the most dynamic rugged computers. The Getac X500 deserves a special mention here. It promises durability and ultra fast speed. It’s MIL-STD-810G military certification for shock protection and ruggedness and IP65 rating for dust and moisture protection says it all. The 15 inch display is sunlight readable and can accept input from touch of even a gloved hand. It is priced between $4999 and $6599.
Depending on your business you could evaluate the feasibility of buying a rugged computer for your team. But before doing so, make sure that device has the necessary features for countering the risks associated with your particular line of work.