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Rugged Tablet PCs Replacing Laptops and Handhelds in Field Services

Utility and energy industries – water, electric, gas, telecommunications as well as support services – are rapidly replacing traditional PCs and time-consuming paperwork-centric processes with a lightweight hand-held rugged tablet PCs. They’ve found that a rugged tablet can go anywhere and do everything, creating outstanding efficiencies everywhere it goes.

rugged tablet pc field service utilitiesUtility crews know what it’s like to work outdoors, year round. They’re some of our first responders in cases of natural disaster, working extensive hour under the worst conditions to restore vital services. Even under normal everyday circumstances, customers expect speed and virtual perfection. A rugged tablet PC ensures field personnel always have the resources in hand to get the job done quickly and correctly.

The practicalities of the job require portability, extreme toughness inside and out and top-of-the-line technical capabilities. That adds up to far more than you can get from  consumer-grade equipment that’s not powerful enough and simply too fragile. A rugged tablet PC is designed to work in real-life conditions in the field or in the plant, shrugging off:

  • Dust, water, even flammable gasses.
  • Vibration and hard knocks such as drops onto concrete floors.  
  • Severe and fluctuation temperatures.

A rugged tablet PC is equally effective underground, even in the near-dark, as it is in the bright glare of direct sunlight. It’s an all-in-one tool as durable and high-performance as the name implies, with built-in features like:

  • Compact size. Light weight.
  • Display screens large enough to see.
  • Wireless communication via internet, Bluetooth to laser rangefinder, wireless headset, barcode scanner, peripherals, enterprise networks.
  • Touch screen.
  • Digital camera with optional geotag capability to automatically stamp photos with time, date, GPS.
  • Easy integration with specialized utility management software.

A rugged tablet PC moves seamlessly from the office to the field.

Utility companies are using a rugged tablet PC to achieve operation-wide efficiencies such as:

  • Instant remote access to reference materials, schematics, images, GIS system data, whatever resources they need to perform work.  
  • Workforce management.
  • Asset mapping and tracking.
  • GIS mapping.
  • Routine and emergency dispatch.
  • Greatly improved accuracy of data collected.
  • Automated paperwork such as work orders that eliminates time, errors and the need to haul around books and binders.
  • Immediate communication with field staff, sending service orders and scheduling details and uploading completed orders and associated documents, signatures, etc.
  • Real-time analysis of work-related data.
  • Vehicle tracking and mileage, employee work hours and travel time.
  • Inspections and capturing capture photos or video.
  • Track and inspect assets underground or on the surface, water network modeling, check as-builts, report and track outages or other problems.
  • Faster, safer location of underground lines or pipes.

It’s a long list, so it’s no wonder utilities are so quickly making the move to a rugged tablet PC. Everyone has access to information right away, averting the kind of miscommunication previously caused by delays in posting payments, etc. Even billing can be done in real time. With a rugged tablet PC you get faster response time and better customer service.

Happily, cost is one of a rugged tablet PC’s most attractive features, from direct benefits like substantially longer lifespan and low overall cost of ownership to indirect benefits accrued through across-the-board efficiencies. Those are savings utilities can apply to other budget lines or return back to rate-payers or members.


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