Tag Archives: rugged tablet

Industrial Tablets for Construction

The 8 Best Uses for Industrial Tablets in Construction

Either your company already has industrial tablets for construction work and wants to know how to deploy them to maximum effect, or you don’t have them and are considering an upgrade.

No matter what stage you’re in, know that the right application of a handheld, rugged tablet can cut through a lot of the fuss and muss that comes with the paperwork, scheduling, planning, and ordering that can trouble even the most well-organized construction site.

Plus, they’re usually tough enough that if you drop them or accidentally bang them into a girder, they’ll probably be okay.

1) Belly Up to the Internet

Unless you’re only using your industrial tablet to play Solitaire, one of the most important uses for an industrial tablet in construction is to access the internet.

While WiFi can work in a pinch, and with the right infrastructure on the site, a tablet with 4G LTE capability is going to be your best bet for always-on connectivity.

The internet isn’t just for cultivating a mean Instagram feed — it can help for taking notes, looking up replacement parts, finding vendors, sending messages to your crew, and pulling up maps for delivery routes, nearby hardware stores for the little stuff, and any other local needs you or the crew might need.

2) Declutter Your Blueprints and Plans

Juggling rolls of blueprints? Constantly scrabbling for plans in some dusty file cabinet or tossed into the back of a truck? A rugged windows tablet near at hand allows you to pull up plans in seconds, even if you’re in a cherry picker or up on the 50th floor.

That’s also where a tablet beats a phone — the large screen makes it much easier to read the smallest details of a plan. Plus, if the industrial tablet is installed with AutoCAD, you can even alter or fix plans on the fly as needed — no long walk back to the office trailer necessary.

3) Tracking Drivers and Deliveries

Waiting on a vital delivery to continue a project? Need to know what kind of progress the driver of your gravel truck is making?

The GPS and internet connectivity of an industrial tablet allow any supervisors to keep a close eye on incoming and outgoing traffic. Important deliveries for parts and materials can be tracked at any time with the tablet, so you can keep a tight rein on time estimates for both the crew and the company.

Tracking drivers and company trucks has become a commonplace practice, allowing dispatchers and managers a birds-eye view of the transportation fleet. With an industrial tablet near at hand, you’ll be able to know which drivers are running late, which are the most efficient, and just where they are on the road when you need them.

4) Ordering Made Easy

Need more sheetrock? Did someone buy spools and spools of the wrong gauge wire? Out of water bottles for the crew? Instead of putting together a list and ordering back at the office at the end of the day — and hoping you didn’t forget anything — an industrial tablet can allow you to order whatever you need right now.

If a contractor needs more drill bits, tap a few keys on the tablet and get back to work.

The transaction is also digitally recorded and available at any time — no need to collect receipts from gofers and fish them out of a back pocket or from under a car seat.

5) Untangling the Schedule

Construction doesn’t always happen on a clean 9-to-5 basis, and it doesn’t all happen at one stationary work site. Construction workers aren’t always full-time, 365 workers either. To add to the scheduling frustrations, sometimes crews have to wait on each other before they can work — the drywall can’t go up until the electrical or insulation is done, for instance.

Sometimes, weather or traffic concerns can cause delays and play havoc with a schedule. That’s where an industrial tablet at your side comes in extra handy — pull up the work schedule at any time to know exactly who is supposed to be and where. Make alterations as the circumstances demand — you can even configure your scheduler to send notification via email or text to any workers who have been affected by the change, depending on the software you use.

6) Signing Legal Documents

E-signatures are more official and protected than ever before — they are, in fact, just as legally binding as a standard signature in ink.

The first benefit is a physical space thing — instead of having to carry a pen and contracts around, any worker, delivery driver, or contractor can sign the appropriate spot on the digital document right from the tablet.

The second benefit is that, surprisingly, digital esignatures are actually far safer than a signature on a piece of paper. They’re easy to track — most esignatures have built-in metadata tags that record when and where the document was signed, and by who. Plus, since those documents can be stored in encrypted folders, computers, or cloud services, they’re a bit more difficult to steal, destroy, or alter.

Lastly, consider the speed: ditching the paper chain leads to a massive boost in productivity. Did an architect sign off on changes to a plan? Simply email it to all involved. Done. Without the tablet, the long journey begins — the party in question receives the document, prints it out, signs, then either scans in and emails it or has to fax it over. The whole process is barely one step removed from a carrier pigeon.

7) Using Video to Show, Not Tell

Don’t let the video camera on your industrial tablet go to seed — it can be a valuable tool on any construction site.

First off, the built-in, front-facing camera is perfect for video conferences on the go. Need to talk to a contractor, an investor, the architect, or a city official? Construction sites are rarely set up for such communication, but a 4G LTE-connected device can push you into the 21st century in a portable and easy-to-use way. Face-to-face communication is sometimes the best way to get a message across — it’s easier to misinterpret the tone of an email or text than to misunderstand someone’s facial expression or the timbre of their voice.

Video conferencing adds a nice personal touch that can’t be replicated with text or just audio.

Of course, unlike many modern businesses, construction work isn’t just numbers on a spreadsheet — you’re building something physical, something large, and something highly visible. If the boss asks “how’s progress” you can literally flip the camera over and walk them through the state of the current job. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then video is priceless for communication.

8) Discover 3D Volumetric Measuring

Add-ons like a RealSense 3D camera, and corresponding software, can allow you to use the tablet to take three-dimensional pictures of a physical space.

Need to know how much insulation an irregular-shaped room needs, how much concrete you’ll need to lay a four-inch sidewalk slab in a thirty by twenty-foot oval, or how much dirt to fill a trench? Grab your industrial tablet, affix the 3D camera, and allow the computer to record the work space in question and do the calculations for you.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Industrial tablets, when used properly, can transform a construction site and save workers a lot of time and hassle they would have spent wrestling with the small stuff. Many tablets even have built-in barcode readers and RFID scanners, and can do double duty for inventory and asset tracking around the job site.

For more ideas on how to use industrial tablets for construction, or for deploying other rugged mini PCs, contact Cybernet Manufacturing today.

medical tablets and tablet with barcode scanner

3 Usages of Medical Tablets in a Mobile Environment

As the health landscape changes, the technology adapts to fit the needs of the people. Healthcare professionals strive to reach patients that aren’t always able to travel to healthcare centers; that’s one of the reasons why telehealth usage has grown in the past few years. As technologies adapt to smaller forms and communication capability increases, more individuals that can’t frequent hospitals or clinics are seeing the benefit of medical tablets. They’re being used in various ways to improve the lives of patients while removing the pains of commuting and increasing convenience. Here are three usages of these tech-smart devices where older, less mobile technology wouldn’t be viable to use.

Mobile Blood Banks are All the Rage

It’s true there’s a critical blood shortage in the US. The American Red Cross often calls out for blood donors since blood is often in short supply. Complex medical procedures call for large quantities of donated blood, and as these procedures increase in frequency and complexity, donated blood reserves dry up. As recent as September of 2017 it’s reported that The Red Cross is behind by roughly half of the necessary units for daily optimal operations. One of the ways The Red Cross is gathering blood is by organizing and running blood drives.

These blood drives often employ medical practitioners to travel to various sites and use medical tablets to track the blood withdrawn and then have it preserved for use later. It’s convenient for individuals willing to donate since often times mobile blood banks are at traffic-heavy events where anyone can sign up and donate blood to help patients and victims of disasters. With the extensive battery life of a medical tablet, a blood bank can be in service for several hours to collect all the donations needed.

The same technology is heavily used by emergency response teams. Patients in dangerous car wrecks or people that have fallen victim during a natural disaster can be administered blood via a medical tablet. A paramedic can test to see what blood type a patient has, locate and identify a compatible blood reserve using a tablet with barcode scanner, and then use the tablet to track the blood while they’re being prepped for hospital admittance. The time saved matters.

Combating the Opioid Crisis with Medical Tablets

Time reports that in 2016 alone, the ongoing opioid crisis claimed more than 42,000 lives. There’s been a nationwide effort to reduce opioid overdose incidents, but the problem is still prevalent. With this medical crisis on the rise, a lot of less fortunate victims that have strong addictions to painkillers and other drugs may need emergency on-the-site assistance from first responders in the event of a patient collapsing.

An emergency team can use a medical tablet to diagnose and administer proper dosages of medicine to treat drug addicts and save lives. The tablets used could be used to immediately send patient information, vital signs, condition, and other information via the 4G wireless technology in order for medical staff to prep for immediate hospitalization. When it comes to overdoses, seconds can be the difference between life and death. Any advantage that first responders can gain in that race can save lives. 

Medical Tablets Hit the Streets

An opioid addiction isn’t the only reason tablets might be fielded—sufferers of agoraphobia, the disabled, eldery, and homeless patients that need medical help can’t easily help their selves to nearby healthcare outlets.

Medical staff can use a medical tablet to perform telehealth operations and visit those who aren’t able to check in to clinics. Those immobile or bedridden can stay indoors and have a doctor diagnose and treat patients using the built-in wireless technology. Or, a tablet could be paired with a medical device to diagnose or examine health problems. Therapists and psychologists can hold telehealth sessions via medical tablets to consult with their patients. Scheduling, prescribing medication, and transmitting patient information can all be wrapped into a familiar platform for doctors and nurses. Telehealth capability skyrockets with using this new form of sophisticated technology.

 

Medical tablets are the new standard for mobile healthcare, simply put. The boost in communication, capability, versatility, process time reduction, human error reduction, paperwork minimization, and telehealth capability is second to none. The possibilities as this new technology develops more over time are virtually endless. Contact us to learn more.

medical tablet and military grade tablet

3 Ways Mobile Technology Can Help People in Emergencies

Hurricane Sandy was one of the most destructive storms to hit the United States in the past decade. It’s listed as the fourth most costly storm in terms of property damage for the US and is reported to have caused at least 147 deaths. The death toll for every natural disaster is thankfully smaller than the potential count because of excellent emergency response teams. Natural disasters are more challenging events for first responders because they require thorough preparation and risky travel—sometimes directly in the middle of disaster zones. It’s not just skill, speed, and expertise in the mind of a paramedic to save lives, it’s the technology they use too. With the right kind of equipment, first responders can help the lives of those stranded during disastrous emergencies and keep lives afflicted as low as possible.

Medical Tablet Communication Without WiFi

Communication during medical emergencies in afflicted locations must remain constant for first responders and emergency medical teams. A first responder team will rely heavily on radio communication, but it takes more sophisticated technology to inform a hospital’s ICU that they’ve found a patient amongst the debris of a damaging storm.

First responders can use a medical tablet with 4G wireless technology to take photos, relay vital signs, provide patient information, and give an approximate patient arrival time, then send off the information to a nearby hospital so in-house emergency staff can scramble to prep before the patient arrives. The same medical tablet can be used in-house to track the patient’s progress to full rehabilitation. One tool to do multiple jobs—one based in the field, another based in the hospital.

Delivering Assistance to the Hungry and Homeless

Hurricane Harvey, another more recent storm, is listed as one of the most devastating natural disasters for the US. Several thousand people were rescued from the damaging winds and heavy rainfall. Nearly 50 thousand homes were affected, leaving many people without shelter. FEMA supplied 3 million meals, several thousand blankets, and thousands of hygiene kits for survivors. With such a hefty delivery to disaster areas, how are they able to keep track of such a high count of supplies, and how can they ensure every individual is served and protected?

Such a massive inventory distribution requires sophisticated tracking to ensure all meals—and all survivors—are accounted for. By using a military grade tablet, inventory from emergency supply warehouses to afflicted disaster sites can be scanned, tracked, and then marked as delivered once the meals are on-site. Discrepancies can be located easily on each disaster site as meals are scanned upon delivery into someone’s hands. Plus, the military grade tablets can be used to connect the disabled and hard-of-hearing to sign language interpreters—something that FEMA listed on their site as recent as 2013.

Military Grade Tablets are Best in Disaster Zones

In the aftermath of a hurricane, earthquake, tornado or any other natural disaster, emergency responders can’t rely on flimsy hardware to do their jobs. The tablet market is littered with underpowered, easily breakable tablets with poor viewing angles and speaker holes that are common failure points. Air quality is bad, dust and debris are often swirling, standing water is everywhere and access to survivors in need of attention can often mean crossing rugged and rocky terrain. We’ve heard of stories where water seeps into the crevices of tablets and gets under the screen, damaging the internal components and blurring the resolution. We’re sure paramedics have dropped equipment in the past, too; you can often see the result of a dropped touchscreen device in the hands of someone unlucky. A paramedic shouldn’t need to decipher what’s on a tablet screen through a series of deep cracks in the glass.

Drops and ingress are bound to happen in disaster areas. That’s why emergency responders need military grade tablets that can resist drops, accidental damage, and water ingress; the proper type of tablet has an ingress rating of IP65 to resist direct water sprays, splashes, and to ensure dirt and dust don’t seep into the tablet innards. Settling for anything less in an emergency can cost time—and more.

 

If you’re searching for the best tablet for emergency situations, don’t settle for models on the consumer market; the right tablet for the job can withstand the perils of emergency disaster zones and help those afflicted like none other. Features such as 4G wireless connectivity, barcode scanners, and ingress protection ensure the tablet has full capability so you can get the job done. Contact us today to find out more.

industrial tablets and medical tablets

Understanding Tablet Battery Life: Not All Solutions are Created Equally

Mobility in the workplace is crucial to boosting productivity. Ask any construction worker or physician using a tablet how their operations have improved and they’ll easily give a laundry list of benefits—time is money in the workplace, and saving one saves the other. However, changing to a mobile workstation can also present a new set of problems that can be pain points for professionals on the go. Battery life is probably one of the most common complaints with any mobile device, whether that be for personal or commercial use. But simply choosing a commercial grade tablet that boasts the longest battery life can end up causing a host of new problems that end up costing you more in the long run. A recent report by VDC Research shows that 18 percent of consumer-grade tablets fail every year when used in the workplace—that’s just one metric a business faces when insufficient tablets are used on the job. Here are a few more pain points to consider.

Understanding your Processing Needs

Scour the market to locate the best rugged tablet and you’ll find a vast majority use low-powered, compact processors. They’re great for running a quick app to check sports scores and what new 5-star restaurants are in the area, but those processors aren’t built for running sophisticated business software meant to track metrics, project progress, or other important business-related numbers. The wrong tablet in the hands of a professional can be frustrating—unresponsive applications, hefty load times, the works. We hate loading bars just as much as you do.

Address that problem early. Find a rugged tablet with an i5 or i7 processor. Your complex software will operate a lot faster than any tablet with the consumer-grade processor. While a more powerful processor can drain a battery faster, hot swap technology means you can just swap depleted batteries for charged ones without having to turn off the unit. Plus, any future upgrades to your software won’t mean you’ll need a new tablet upgrade for at least a few years.

Your Environment Impacts Readability

If you’ve held a mobile device recently (and you likely have), you probably recall squinting or moving to shadowy areas just to properly read what’s on the screen. We’re sure some professionals in the past have shielded the sun or find a darker area of their working environment—a heavy annoyance if you’re working on a construction site during mid-day or you manage a mobile medical unit trying to process patients. The reason for this is that a lot of commercial grade tablets choose to sacrifice screen resolution and brightness to preserve battery life.

The best rugged tablets have a high resolution of 1920 x 1200 and a “nits” emittance of 400 brightness—one of the highest brighest ratings for tablets available today. Brighter screens and higher resolutions are much easier on the eyes. You’ll likely experience fewer headaches and fewer frustrations.

Commercial Tablets Can Get Bulky, Quickly

If a physician is using a medical tablet, they’re a step ahead in maximum efficiency. Same can be said of a warehouse worker using an industrial tablet. However, their evolving task lists might require the use of different peripherals like barcode scanners, RFID readers, biometric security devices, and other equipment to do their job efficiently. External peripherals like an RFID scanner can increase the bulk of a medical tablet. Commercial grade tablets have limited ports, which in and of itself can make it difficult to connect peripherals like barcode and RFID scanners. And if you do manage to connect all of your devices, the tablet itself becomes bulky, and you know have two or three extra devices that you have to purchase and properly maintain.

Skip the tool belt approach by finding a tablet that has all the peripherals included in the design! All three components can be wrapped into the design for a rugged tablet so you don’t need to carry around devices to plug in or store away, risking time drain or possible peripheral loss. Not to mention that plugging in external devices to a tablet is going to contribute to battery drain anyway.

Solving the Battery Issue Without Sacrificing Functionality

After working ten hours with two hours to go on an exhausting shift, flashing battery lights and notifications that your tablet needs an immediate recharge are not welcome. Work has to be postponed to restore the tablet to a full charge. We’re sure there are cases where the internal battery for an industrial tablet malfunctions, the power shuts off, work is lost, and the battery is sealed inside, impossible to remove without voiding the warranty or cracking open components. If the tablet is out of warranty (or voided), it’s usually a costly repair. Once more, time and money are lost and your business suffers.

Resolve that potential roadblock by using a tablet with swappable batteries. There’s virtually no downtime when there’s an extra set of charging batteries that can replace one at the first sign of battery drain. Extra batteries can be charged at a central location and be quickly swapped out for a drained battery in seconds without having to power off the unit. This eliminates both downtime and the need to worry about battery life completely. In theory, a tablet with hot swap batteries can run 24/7 so long as you keep the extra batteries charged and ready.

The bottom line is time and money are at risk if you only consider one thing when purchasing a tablet for your business. Think about what the needs of your business are and what the potential pitfalls might be if you settle on a budget tablet. Cybernet features both a medical grade and an industrial grade tablet that are ruggedized and have a robust component integration, powerful internal processors that beat out consumer choices, swappable batteries to increase uptime, and high-resolution screens with above average brightness. Contact us to learn how we can customize our solutions to meet your unique needs.

 

 

industrial tablet

Common Problems in the Warehouse Solvable by Industrial Tablets

Your warehouse isn’t just a place to store inventory—it’s a central hub for your product, and if it isn’t managed properly that could sacrifice time, money, customer retention, and ultimately your business. Here are a lot of common problems you might face in your warehouse that can be resolved by utilizing the best in technology.

Strategize Your Warehouse with an Industrial Tablet

Efficiency and lean processes are common buzz words used in manufacturing and distribution. Every process you can make more efficient means an increase to the bottom line. But too often businesses aren’t applying these strategies to how their warehouse is laid out. Having strong knowledge of how your inventory is organized in your warehouse can save man hours over time. x holding an exhaust pipe. Using an industrial tablet coupled with RFID technology can allow you to track how workers move through the warehouse. You can scan bin locations as product is moved to the production line or picked for order shipping. When this data is fed to an ERP system, it can quickly help a warehouse manager diagnose which items are used the most or how workers move through the facility to create a more efficient inventory locations. Warehouse layouts can be updated based on the most efficient traffic flows. Creating an efficient inventory workflow will ultimately lead to increased profits.

Ensure Accurate Inventory Counts with a Barcode Scanner

If there’s a manual count of six boxes of head gaskets and your inventory system shows seven, it’s time to find what’s causing the discrepancy. You’ll have to pull away several workers, sacrifice time and money, and do a product hunt for one box that might be lost in the myriad of products—or perhaps it doesn’t exist. Good luck. Inventory counts are a fact of life, and are extremely labor intensive and subject to a high degree of human error. If you’re out of a product, but your inventory management software says its in stock, that creates a customer service nightmare and could even result in losing that business for good. That’s where a rugged tablet with a barcode scanner comes into play. As inventory comes in from third part vendors, it can be scanned into your ERP system. Then as materials are moved out to the manufacturing floor or as product is bought and shipped, each individual unit can be scanned, creating highly accurate inventory counts. Over time, this saves time and money and help to provide a better customer experience as well.

Streamline Manual Picking Processes

If your warehouse isn’t fully automated—and most aren’t—there’s the struggle to know where all products in the warehouse are located. Pickers might receive an order list from a customer and be tasked with wandering around the warehouse to find the corresponding products to prepare them for shipping. This can be a time consuming task and can also result in the wrong orders being sent to customers. If a picker is using an industrial tablet, it can provide the location for each item available in a warehouse for each order and the fastest path to each item in an order based on the traffic flow and inventory layout of your warehouse that we discussed above. Each item picked can be scanned by the tablet, achieving two outcomes. First, by scanning the items, order accuracy is guaranteed. Secondly, inventory levels are updated into your ERP system in real time. Both improving the overall customer experience.

Higher Levels of Worker Management

Running a warehouse on paper will eventually lead to errors. This applies to employee time management as well. While most businesses today utilize some sort of software based time clock management system, there are some still using manual punch cards. In either case, using industrial tablets in the warehouse can help streamline this process. While tablets are primarily used to manage other processes, you can also install your time clock software onto them. Instead of employees having to line up at the one or two stationary computers to clock in and out, tablets can be positioned throughout the warehouse, making the process smoother, and keeping more accurate labor records than manual punch cards.

 

These are only a few challenges that an industrial tablet can help you overcome in a warehouse environment. Helping you identify those challenges and discover ways to overcome those challenges through technology is what we do at Cybernet. See how an industrial tablet can improve your warehouse operations by calling us today or seeing our inventory.

 

 

tough tablets

Industrial Tablets vs Off-the-Shelf in the Field

Since 2010, Apple has seen tremendous success after the corporation released it’s first iPad tablet, launching a new market and being the trendsetter in a new line of mobile technology products. As recent as 2016, Apple’s global market share has reached 25 percent for tablets, leading Samsung by approximately 10 percent. It’s clear that this market has seen tremendous growth and application in the past 7 years—Apple sold more than 40 million iPads alone in 2016. However, what we’re looking at is largely representative of the consumer market for tablets and not the industrial market. It’s likely the case that an industrial company settled on Apple products for mobile productivity in the past, but there’s an important financial factor that’s hard to see on a day-to-day basis; the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is an estimation of expenses related with buying, deploying, using, and then retiring of a piece of equipment or product. Industrial companies focus a lot on TCO, but consumer grade tablets aren’t best in the long run for industrial companies. Generally the TCO for a tough tablet is lower (better) since they last longer. Here’s an in-depth look at why.

Tough Industrial Tablets Utilize a Hot Swappable Battery

If you’ve ever tried to remove the internal battery for a tablet, it was probably a frustrating and educational experience. Most tablets are sealed, so battery removable and replacement either requires someone who has experience getting into the innards of a tablet, a trustworthy individual with a steady set of hands who can learn quickly, or device shipment to the manufacturer who can replace the battery if the tablet is within warranty. If it’s not within warranty, expect to pay around 100 USD for a battery replacement and a turnaround time of 3-5 days with no promise of restoring all the previous data. If you’d prefer to remove and replace the battery yourself, kits often cost around as much as a manufacturer’s price for a battery replacement anyhow. That’s not a strong outlook for a business, especially if the tablets have no backstock, leaving at least one employee with no way to be productive. Or, you could just swap out the removable battery on the tough tablet instead and resume productivity. Not only does this removable battery functionality affect TCO greatly, it prevents production downtime. Plus, if a battery doesn’t hold a charge, others are available to purchase. The hot swappable battery function justifies the cost alone. It can take productivity from a few hours to a full work shift—or more, depending on how many people on different shifts use one tablet. One tough tablet with three batteries can be used continuously over the course of an entire day instead of three separate tablets in use, each potentially lasting the time span of a shift and then stored away to charge. Again, industrial tablets have a lower TCO.

Tough Tablets Need Tough Glass, and More

Some tablets use Corning’s Gorilla Glass, an alkali-aluminosilicate sheet of glass that is highly resistant to scratches, direct damage, and drops. Gorilla Glass has become a staple in tough tablet and smartphone manufacturing, but it’s not indestructible and a lot of videos have surfaced online demonstrating it can shatter if a tablet is dropped in sensitive areas—usually a corner. Industrial tablets are known to use Gorilla Glass and often have housings to protect the corners, which iPads and other consumer-grade tablets lack. Sure, a CFO can get protective cases for tablets too, but a rugged case can hit the wallet at about 80 USD—another cost consideration when going with consumer tablets. Why buy more when an industrial tablet comes with the protection? The last accidental drop a warehouse needs is one that shatters the glass on a tablet, potentially rendering the device useless. Tough tablets are built to withstand shocks and vibrations.

Tablets Tend to Bend

A quick search online reveals that consumer tablets aren’t the most resilient to warping. Some have actually shipped bent in the past, and others warp so much the glass actually shatters. Couple that in an industrial warehouse with temperature changes—not a favorable result. Even aluminum and stainless steel are known to warp a few microns because of temperature changes in machine shops, so we’ve come to expect sheets of silicon, aluminum, and glass to do the same. Industrial tablets are built to withstand temperature changes, vibrations, shocks, and accidental damage, extending their life beyond what a consumer would expect. Built with industrial-grade components, these tough tablets have a Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) timespan of six years. Consider that the original iPad released in 2010—several models of the iPad have been released between then and 2017, suggesting that one industrial tablet will last longer than several iPad generations. Again, lower TCO for the industrial tablet.

Capacitive is Great Technology—but Not For Industrial Tablets

Working in a warehouse often requires gloves—regular gloves, unless you buy capacitive-knit gloves (which are expensive and don’t provide much protection), don’t work on capacitive screens. Capacitive technology uses the electrical charge from our hands to actually register a change in voltage, thus changing the elements on screen. With a gloved hand, the electrical charge doesn’t register. Consumer grade tablets usually use capacitive screens, so a gloved hand won’t work. Industrial tablets use resistive screens so a gloved input can actually register. Sure, employees can take off their gloves and work with a tablet screen, but that’s quite a tedious annoyance.

These reasons clearly outline why tough tablets are the best choice for an industrial setting. Consumer grade tablets warp easier, batteries aren’t easily replaceable, gloved hands can’t interact with their screens, operational life is shorter, and there’s a higher TCO. Consider that the MTBF for an industrial tablet is longer than the lifespan for several generations of iPads and other tablets! You don’t want your employees to suffer productivity downtime over charging batteries or sending a broken tablet off to a manufacturer over one drop—unless you prefer spending more money over time.

 

 

How Companies are Automating the Warehouse with Industrial Tablets

Now that eCommerce has blossomed into the giant industry it is today, online retailers find automation is a more pressing need. Supply Chain Brief reports that Amazon hired over 120,000 workers one holiday season just to fulfill the influx of online orders—not a light expense! Automating the warehouse is no easy feat, since some operations in the supply chain management field are currently better handled by humans than robots. A fully-automated warehouse would be a supply chain dream, but we haven’t reached that point yet unfortunately. However, companies have made improvements in other areas which have streamlined processes. Automating the warehouse is an easier task with use of an industrial grade tablet, and here’s a few reasons why.

On-Demand Warehouse Feedback with Industrial Tablets

One obvious problem with automation is “the machine” can—and will—fail from time to time. Even Tesla’s self-driving automobiles have a track record of failing when on self-driving mode, a record recently improved through functionality implementation. The same can happen in an automated warehouse—the incorrect product is picked by a machine, a scanner can malfunction, or a conveyor belt can break down, essentially bringing production to a halt. The best way to avoid cascading problems is to have the right individuals notified of a problem immediately. If a conveyor belt breaks, managers with industrial tablets can receive instant feedback of what has malfunctioned and where—or perhaps even control automation systems remotely. Keeping information transfer as quickly as possible allows people to make the right decisions in an event of automation failure. If warehouse managers don’t have that immediate access to information via an industrial tablet, automation failure can be costly—it’s clear a battery-powered, tough tablet is the solution to keep automation problems addressed.

Traceability by RFID Technology

Since the consumer purchase process has turned highly automated in the past 15 years, the needs for the supplying warehouse must meet those demands. Traceability is necessary in an automated warehouse, and so all products need to be marked with RFID tags to track where they move. Without immediate and constant access to tracking any one item in an automated warehouse, companies are at the whim of human mistakes, automation errors, mechanical failures, and other factors. That’s why it’s important for warehouse managers to have battery-powered industrial tablets—lightweight, rugged computers that provide necessary tracking information through RFID. That’s just one method how companies are automating the warehouse to keep efficiency high.

Industrial Tablets Must be Made Industrial-Strength

Warehouse managers won’t be looking for the best rugged tablet crafted out of Fabergé eggs. Similarly, they won’t want a tablet rivaling the size and heft of a tank. Tablets must be lightweight to reduce fatigue and rugged enough to withstand several drops onto a warehouse floor. Managers also need a tough tablet with protection from hazardous materials—water and tablets don’t mix. Tablet users need to be free of tethers and safety hazards, so a battery-powered solution is a must. Plus, barcode scanners are crucial to warehouse operations in order to identify and count product.

The Cybernet Industrial Tablets Solution—the Rugged Windows Tablet X10

Cybernet has our best rugged tablet to assist with automating the warehouse—the X10 industrial grade tablet! It’s capable of withstanding constant shock damage, sand and dust exposure, temperature extremes, prolonged exposure to humidity, and random vibration with it’s MIL-STD-810G design standard, a standard maintained by a partnership between the US Navy, US Army, and the US Air Force. The tablet can also resist water splashes and sprays to it’s front bezel with it’s IP65 rating. This tough tablet is portable around an automated warehouse with hot-swappable batteries that can keep it running all day. Plus, the tablet weighs 2.2 pounds with the batteries installed! Automating the warehouse may not be a fully-realized vision, but industrial tablets like the rugged X10 are helping supply chain professionals ensure current systems in place are running smoothly and mishaps can be addressed with minimal downtime.

5 Key Aspects of Running An Effective Mobile Inventory Solution in Retail

Supply chain companies now face more challenges in tracking and expediting their inventory than ever, as the multichannel retail landscape shifts from “I-want-it-now” to “I-need-this-yesterday.” In order to stay competitive, retailers need to have an up-to-date knowledge of where things are, in what quantities, at all times. They need to be able to rebalance inventories, redirect shipments, and respond to whatever new demand arises immediately.

Among the most important trends for retail industry this year forecast by Vend, one of the industry experts, are three particularly important points:

  • Merging online and offline data collection and analysis. As consumers go through different paths to a purchase, retailers need to start analyzing online and offline data combined.
  • Single-view, cloud-based solutions. The modern retail strategy requires a unified view of the multiple channels of sales, inventory, and customer visibility. Cloud-based solutions enable retailers to scale quickly, work from anywhere and execute their multichannel initiatives with more efficiency as they get a timely insight into key aspects of their business. It is important to maintain an up-to-date item file, accurate inventory levels and pricing system across multiple channels. Several years ago, when many retailers went online, they maintained separate systems for online and offline sales, which became an important technical roadblock companies are now overcoming through the adoption of cloud-based IT solutions powered by rugged industrial tablets.
  • Adoption of Internet of Things throughout the supply chain. From barcodes to RFID beacons, retailers are leveraging the IoT in their warehouses and stores. IoT in retail is estimated to have an economic impact from $410 billion to $1.2 trillion per year by 2025. Forward-thinking retailers pioneer the adoption of the smart devices to streamline various business processes from inventory management to in-store shopping.

5 Key Aspects of Running An Effective Mobile Inventory Solution

  1. Desktop-to-Mobile Compatibility

    Inventory management software increases warehouse and shop staff efficiency when checking inventory, stocking shelves, transferring goods from the central warehouse & vendors. Most retailers have by now adopted an inventory management solution in their networks, and the primary software solution is deployed on Windows-powered desktop PCs. How do you scale that powerhouse of an application to mobile?Many software providers port their desktop programs to mobile operating systems, but that transition often comes at a cost of reduced functionality and crippled usability. So, why change operating systems?Windows-based industrial tablets are compatible with most desktop programs retailers run on their desktop systems, so users won’t run into any learning curves when switching to the mobile version. The functionality and usability are preserved while retailers run the full version of their preferred software on a mobile device.A fully-fledged mobile solution that is completely compatible with your enterprise resource planning system (ERP) cuts down the costs of deploying a third-party mobile inventory solution and integrating it with the ERP, an expensive and challenging process. It’s much easier to deploy solutions that are compatible with your existing ecosystem from day one rather than trying to bridge fundamentally different systems together.

  2. Barcodes and RFID

    Handheld barcode scanners and RFID devices are things of the past now that industrial tablets come integrated with these previously external peripherals. Standalone scanners and readers only capture some type of inventory data. It then needs to be synced with the main retail management program. Such devices tend to be expensive to program, integrate and maintain, and difficult to use.With the barcode reader and RFID scanner integrated into your rugged tablet, your employees collect, sync and create actionable reports on the go. This immediate data availability boosts the accuracy of inventory management.Through the use of RFID technology, your employee’s industrial tablet can be used to recognize where the employee is in the warehouse or in the store, and present the employee with the relevant options and information for the given location.RFID is also used in inventory management solutions to track inventory availability and alert the employees when a product is soon to be out of stock.

  3. BYOD vs Industrial Tablets

    Retailers widely adopt Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy, assuming it’s cheaper and easier to deploy than providing corporate devices to the employees. However, BYOD & poor cybersecurity awareness of users is a part of the reason why the retail industry is plagued by cyber threats. The criminals are after financial data they can monetize, and retail is the industry to hit, with the large databases of vendors, consumers and employee banking data, Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information.BYOD devices add more work to your IT staff when scaling the system for a fleet of different devices running different OS’s, and having to look for a mobile solution that would be compatible with the variety of BYOD assets.Industrial tablets provide robust cybersecurity functionality complete with easy-to-use two-factor authentication with a biometric reader, CAC or smart card reader, full disk encryption, capability to encrypt data on external hard drives, capability to set up a tablet for multiple users with access controls, remote wiping and remote access for the ITs to update software of introduce timely changes.

  4. Ruggedness

    Inventory management requires your workers to be mobile and flexible. Hence, the mobile device has to be easy-to-operate and reliable. Rugged technology comes with a slew of advantages:

    • A carrying handle, strips and light weight simplify tablet handling.
    • Hot-swap batteries, a charging station for 24/7 uptime.
    • Military-grade components with the fail rate of less than 2% under constant use.
    • MIL-STD and IP65 drop protection, shock, vibration, temperature fluctuation and water protection for reliability in any out-of-the-office environment.
    • Integrated barcode, RFID, CAC or smart card reader paired with biometric reader increase the functionality of a single device.
    • Can be mounted on a wall, inside a vehicle, on a desktop.
    • Full disk encryption, capability to encrypt data on external drives.
    • Highly customizable OS, software and legacy ports.
    • Advanced wireless connectivity and support of the carrier of your choice.
    • Easy to deploy, cheap to maintain, low TCO if compared to that of consumer-grade mobile devices.
  5. Cost of Hardware

    Windows-powered industrial tablets do not require any intervention by your programmers, so the deployment cost is the cost of the hardware. When calculating the total cost of ownership of your industrial tablet, take into account:

    • integrated scanners and readers, which eliminate the need for bulky and expensive peripherals necessary to make IoT work;
    • it is rugged and durable, with 5+ years of continuous uptime;
    • hot-swap batteries, charging station for 24/7 uptime;
    • it is compatible with the inventory management software you run on your desktops;
    • failure rates of industrial tablets are normally 4% (it’s 2% with Cybernet’s devices) while the failure rates of consumer devices skyrocket 15%-30% when they are used intensively in working environments where they can fall, be exposed to humidity or fluctuating temperatures;
    • industrial tablets offer better security to maintain your corporate data protected from breaches whereas BYOD devices are looming with malware, spyware and ransomware stemming from poor user cybersecurity awareness and the lack of hardware-level in-built security functions.

Agility and performance in retail inventory management can be leveraged to their full extent when the dedicated software runs on a powerful, secure and reliable hardware such as rugged industrial tablets.

The Benefits Of A Mini Rugged As A Point Of Sale Computer

Leveraging Point of Sale

In any competitive business, the point of sale is a lot more than just a place to register the cash flow. When equipped properly, POS becomes your strategic center, your shortcut to the many business processes that help you grow your business. These processes need to be in-sync to provide the blazing fast customer service, and instill the customer satisfaction and loyalty. A powerful POS computer also helps you cut down the inventory costs, increase your POS mobility, durability, and performance.

The most important trend in today’s POS systems is the increasing mobility and scalability of hardware. The ability to mount a mini point of sale computer in more areas than just the traditional cash register station significantly widens their functionality and contributes immensely to the customer satisfaction. The introduction of a mobile POS is literally revolutionizing customer-centric businesses. The ability to hand a rugged point of sale tablet into the hands of an employee for a faster customer inquiry processing leads to shorter waiting times, faster order processing, storage checking and so much more. Your client leaves your premises faster because he/she gets a blazing fast customer service instead of frustrating queues. Likewise, mounted rugged minis as POS computers make purchase processing possible virtually anywhere.

POS As A Data Collection Hub

A balanced POS combines the robust hardware capable of running not only your point of sale software that processes the cash flow in the front of the house. Its integration into the back-end processes is equally important. When your point of sale is the service hub for tracking inventory, cash flow, orders, and customer habits and preferences, its benefits of becoming the data collection center are omnidirectional.

In this respect, mini rugged computers are robust and powerful enough to run complex POS software, handle various inventory databases and accounting, and keep the complex interactions between your different departments in-sync at all times. Its connectivity capabilities allow businesses to sync data between the remote POS stations where WiFi is unavailable and the company headquarters.

Cost-Effective Inventory Tracking

Affordable mini rugged PCs and rugged tablets not only save your retail space but also your money. Inventory tracking is one of the most time-consuming and labor-intensive business processes, where having too little, or too much leads to losses. According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. retailers lose $45 billion from insufficient inventory in stock and $224 billion due to excess inventory. Thus, a robust point of sale system that is rugged and can be installed in virtually any industrial, retail or service area cuts down those costs by letting your employees keep your inventory up-to-date at all times.

Having a mini rugged as a point of sale that can also be used for inventory tracking significantly reduces the number of times shopkeepers conduct physical inventory count, too.

Consumer-Grade VS Rugged

The best POS configuration encompasses three vectors – affordability, robust hardware that can be mounted in various environments and handle power- and resource-consuming software, and the ease of use for the employees.

Basic consumer-grade computers stuffed with a regular POS system that can accept payments and process sales are no longer the solution that will keep your business ahead of your competition. Your POS system needs to cover time- and cost-saving features such as accounting, inventory tracking, customer data gathering, staff management, marketing, and task automation.

Consumer-grade PCs don’t make the cut – they can’t withstand the excessive dust of brick and mortar shops and warehouses, or humidity of nursery stores, or excessive heat and grease particles that populate the restaurant and fast food areas. To optimize the performance in these areas, businesses are increasingly deploying rugged mini computers that can be mounted in virtually any place or VESA-mounted near a stand. Rugged mini-PCs come with a perfect combination of robust military-grade hardware and processing capabilities that make them the exceptionally powerful point of sale computers.

Customer Database

A robust POS mini rugged PC that tracks customer preferences will let you know who your best customers are. With the point of sale computer having access to the customer database, you can see a customer’s purchase history at the register. This lets you inform the customer of a new product that is of interest to him/her.

For example, a nursery owner might give a quick heads-up to the orchids lover about the new shipment of those flowers he might have failed to notice during his short soil mix shopping trip. Likewise, a manager at an auto parts store can query the availability of a spare part with the inventory database immediately. More sales, faster customer inquiry processing, more happy customers, ease of use for your employees.

Benefits of Rugged Mini

Your point of sale computer needs to be rugged, which is particularly relevant to retail and warehouse environments. The devices need to withstand the excessive dust, humidity, grease or vibration and be robust enough to provide the computing resources to power all your POS software and accompanying programs.  Whether you mount them in your warehouse, in your store, along the supply chain, or in a restaurant, your POS  is so much more powerful when it’s rugged and made with the military-grade components.

Moreover, retail transactions can take place virtually anywhere – indoors or outdoors. So, your point of sale computers must be able to withstand heat, cold, or humidity. Combine a rugged mini PC with a rugged tablet as your point of sale computer, and you get a mobile system that’s not only dust and waterproof but can withstand drops and bumps, be cleaned frequently and look presentable to feature product images to customers.

Finally, adopting technological advancements is fine, but what if you are using legacy peripherals and aren’t ready to upgrade or replace them just yet? Ensure the computers have sufficient legacy and serial ports to support the hardware add-ons you use. Receipt printers, QR and RFID readers, barcode scanners, card readers, additional displays and the like – you will save a lot of money by integrating your legacy peripherals into a new POS system. Yet, to do that you can’t make do with a consumer-grade PC that does not support legacy extensions.

Summary

A mini rugged as a point of sale computer does not just process payments but offers a wide range of benefits including:

  • Scalable, fits almost anywhere, withstands rugged environments, supports legacy peripherals.
  • Military-grade components and rugged casing lead to a 2% overall failure rate only.
  • Inventory management, purchasing reports, stock replenishment orders.
  • Reduces wastage by minimizing the excessive and the insufficient stock.
  • Generating sales reports.
  • Managing and syncing customer databases.
  • Managing employee timesheets.
  • Handling barcodes.
  • Handling sales and promotions.

A robust POS system syncs your operations from sales to inventory and customer data, improving efficiency and productivity,  decreasing errors and enhancing a customer’s shopping experience. Check out Cybernet’s solutions for the point of sale computers featuring affordability, cutting-edge computing power, and support for legacy systems. Combined with robust rugged casing and military-grade discrete parts, Cybernet’s mini rugged PCs help businesses harness the benefits of smart technologies in their point of sale systems.

The Need for Small Form Factor PCs in Industrial Plants and Factories

While large scale PCs may be the perfect choice for a number of industries, this is not always the case. In certain industrial plants, factories, and warehouses, the standard desktop and in many cases a standard laptop computer is simply too big to be functional. These systems are not designed to be used in such harsh conditions.

In many situations, a small form factor PC such as a tablet or all-in-one PC such as those offered by Cybernet make a better choice. These PCs can be designed to work in areas where dirt, vibration, and rough use are commonplace because they offer fewer service interruptions, longer lifespans, and improved productivity.

What Is a Small Form Factor PC?

There are several types of small form factor PC, including the netbook, small laptops, all-in-one PCs, and tablets. Each of these has their uses and can be put into action in a variety of environments. Small form factor PCs are lightweight and thanks to a built in battery pack are completely portable and self-sufficient.  This makes them ideal for carrying around the office, the production floor, and from one area to another. Each of our units is designed to be waterproof and shock resistant to ensure maximum lifespan and usability.  Depending on the application, we can supply you with a tablet or PC with a barcode and/or smart card reader, a RFID scanner, and a BioMed scanner.

Advantages of a Small Form Factor PC

Of all the advantages of integrating small form factor PCs into your system, size and portability are probably among the most important. Your employees need a PC that can be moved around the job site, not one that they have to keep running back to every time they need to enter data or check the logs. A tablet can be carried around like a clipboard and used freestanding, while sitting down, or at a desk or workstation with equal success.

The tradition desktop PC requires a desk or workstation along with a power source to be functional. Most are not designed to be used in a manufacturing environment as they have not been sealed to protect them from the environment. Thus, if your factory or industrial facility creates an excess amount of dust and dirt or there is the risk of exposure to water or any other type of liquid, a standard PC is not a viable option. The small form factor PC is designed to meet standards to those used by the military with regard to how rugged they are.

Military Grade Materials

Cybernet’s Fanless Rugged Mini PCs are made of military-grade materials, which makes them shock and vibration proof. They are sealed to lock out water and moisture and are rated to withstand heat up to 70 degrees Celsius or 158 degrees Fahrenheit. Cybernet offers a range of fully customizable small form factor PCs. This makes it much easier for you to find the perfect unit to match the right unit with your company’s needs and the environment in which they will be working in.

The net result of purchasing ruggedized small form factor PCs from Cybernet for your business is increased production, less downtime, and most importantly, a major reduction in the amount of capital that is typically spent each year maintaining your IT infrastructure and in production losses.

Our systems are designed to perform flawlessly in a number of industries, including petrochemical, gas, oil, and many others. They are designed to integrate flawlessly into your current IT infrastructure where they will go to work immediately reducing your overhead costs and helping to increase productivity.