Tag Archives: tablet computers

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.

 

 

Trimming Construction Time And Costs With Tablets

Tablet computers have made their way into many businesses, but one place where their adoption has been slow is in the construction industry. Some feel that the handheld computers don’t have a place in the middle of the heavy and dirty work that is construction.

In reality though, the new technologies offered by rugged tablets can make construction work safer, help to streamline workflow and increase efficiency in many areas of the business. With more rugged tablets on the market designed specifically for industrial use, any construction business that is not taking advantage of them will soon find themselves falling behind.

Here are just a few of the benefits that tablet computing has to offer…

Weather Tracking

Bad weather is the bane of outdoor construction jobs. Unexpected storms and periods of rain or snow will not only cause delays, but can be dangerous to crews out in the field and cause damage to unfinished work.

With tablets on site, managers and crews can keep themselves apprised of weather conditions right up to the minute. Workers can be proactive towards incoming bad weather rather than waiting to be surprised and trying to react when it might already be too late. Unfinished work can be covered and secured with time to spare and crews in dangerous locations can get themselves out of harm’s way.

Distribution of Documents

One of the most costly and time consuming aspects of construction has always been the distribution of the immense amounts of plans and documents needed by virtually every member of the team. Strategic use of tablet computers can not only get things like blueprints, permits and other documents on site and into the right hands faster, it will cut costs associated with paper, printing and distribution through mail or shipping companies.

By combining the mobility of tablet computers with cloud storage options such as Google Docs or DropBox, documents can be stored in one place and made available instantly to everyone who needs them no matter where they are. Teams can even collaborate between office and build site with everyone receiving updates in real time.

Face-to-Face Meetings

Teams can talk to each other face to face even when they are in different locations. By utilizing apps like FaceTime or Google Hangouts, time wasted traveling to make it to a meeting room is completely eliminated. A supervisor on site can update project management about current situations, receive new instructions or updates and communicate them to his team immediately without the need for anyone to leave their location to make a meeting.

Supply Management

Workers on site can update inventory of supplies as they work in real time, with no extra effort. Ordering and shipping can be virtually automated, eliminating extra costs and saving time. Supply levels can be constantly maintained at optimal levels and delays caused by shortages made nonexistent.

Workers will be able to focus on the actual construction work rather than counting supplies and filling out order requests. At the same time, project management will have real time information showing them exactly what is on site at all times, allowing them to make decisions faster and plan more efficiently.

Awareness of Problems or Delays

On site workers can communicate problems or delays to supervisors and project managers instantly, even providing video or photographic information if needed. All parties who need to know can be made aware at the same time without the need for chains of phone calls or tracking down mobile team members.

Imaginative Integration

Tablet computers are still relatively new as far as computing in general is concerned. They are already proving themselves very useful in many current tasks, but will undoubtedly be used in even more ways as the future approaches and technology continues to develop. With a little bit of imagination you will be able to find unique ways that you can use these handheld wonders to improve many facets of your business so that you’re constantly staying one step ahead of your competition.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that in order to take advantage of these types of benefits, you need to be using hardware that’s been specifically designed to handle the rugged nature of the business. Consumer grade tablets aren’t built to withstand dirt and dust, water, extreme hot and cold temperatures, and drops. Rugged tablets, like Cybernet’s Rugged X10 industrial tablet, are built using military grade components and engineered to work in environments where consumer electronics typically fail.

6 Ways Tablet PCs Can Help Your Salesforce

Tablet computers have made their way into just about every facet of business. From stock rooms to boardrooms, these powerful mobile computers are spotted everywhere, filling in the gaps where smartphones are too small and laptops are too cumbersome.

In the area of sales in particular, tablet PCs have changed the way business is being done. With their smaller size, lighter weight and free mobility they are giving sales representatives more information and more tools that allow them to increase their efficiency and effectiveness.

Where tablet PCs were once seen almost as toys or novelties, they have evolved into real and powerful standalone computers that, in some cases, offer better features and reliability than many popular laptop or desktop systems.

The following are just a few ways that equipping your sales team with a tablet PC can increase their productivity and ultimately close more sales.

Digital Catalogs

The need to carry a briefcase filled with bulky papers or heavy books has vanished. The modern sales rep can carry his entire catalog on a tablet PC.

Going beyond just listing items that are available, the tablet PC makes it possible to show pictures and videos that bring products to life, include customer reviews and present other information that just wouldn’t be practical to print in a traditional catalog.

Today’s tablets with high definition screens and powerful processors can display your products in a way that a printed paper catalog could never match.

Best of all, the tablet PC as a catalog is always up to date with the latest products, never wears out from use and doesn’t need to be reprinted or replaced. Not only will tablets make your catalog more attractive and interactive, they can cut the costs of printing and distributing catalogs completely.

Real Time Stock Levels

Your sales team will never have to tell a customer to wait while they make a phone call to check on the availability of products. They can get real time inventory data and tell the customer not only if a product is available, but also when it can be delivered. They’ll never have to say, “Let me get back to you on that” again.

Availability and delivery times can even be integrated into the presentation and pitch process with live, up to the minute data.

Real Time Order Placement

Orders can be placed immediately with little to no paperwork. With just a few taps on the screen, a sales representative can jump from a catalog display to order placement and even allow the customer to fill in his own details and close the deal himself.

The process of closing the sale instantly becomes more interactive and personal, leading to a greater feeling of customer satisfaction and security.

With ultra-fast processors and multi gigabyte memory capabilities available now, switching between apps and screens is seamless. Sales reps can move from one screen to another to process and close a deal faster than it can be done with pen and paper.

Face-to-Face Communications

A salesperson working on the road can stay in constant communication with colleagues back at the office. There’s no need to travel back to the office to make a meeting, and colleagues can be brought into meetings with clients when needed as well. Sales personnel are able to dedicate more time to clients and growing the business instead of making time to run back to an office to gather updates and new data.

With the available memory and storage on these devices constantly growing, meetings and announcements can also be recorded for later review or playback. Salespeople can even record their meetings with clients to avoid the need to stop and take notes in the middle of conversations when momentum is important.

Quick Access to the Web

In addition to internal documents and data, a tablet PC provides a smooth transition to the web to show off other relevant data that will help close a sale. Clients can be shown how other people or businesses are making use of products and services. Independent data that backs up the salesperson’s claims will also help to instill a feeling of integrity and trust.

Professionalism

Overall, the use of tablet PCs gives clients a sense of preparedness and professionalism when they meet with a member of your sales team. Your sales reps can simply pull out one device and have everything they need in a beautifully presentable form. There is no fumbling with papers or searching through a briefcase to find missing pages. The need to stop in the middle of a conversation and make a phone call is gone. There is less wasted time and more attention paid directly to the client. Customer service is actually improved with less effort and sales numbers naturally rise.

Touch Screens: Essential Technology for PCs Today

Was it a smartphone or the ATM or a retail kiosk where you first used a touch screen? Touch screen devices are ubiquitous today, and people now expect their PCs at work and at home to have touch screen capability also. Why is touch screen technology so popular? It saves a lot of time, and eliminates the possibility of keyboarding errors for those of us who lack proficiency with the keyboard or are just impatient.

In its simplest definition, a touch screen is a type of display screen on a computer or mobile device that is sensitive to the touch of one or more fingers. Touch screen technology evolved from an invention by E.A. Johnson in the UK in the late 1960s, who used it to develop a system for air traffic control. Thereafter in the early 1970s, Sam Hurst further developed the idea into a touch sensor while an instructor at the University of Kentucky. He went on to found a company, Elographics, and patented the first resistive touch screen technology in 1977. That’s still the type of touch screens used in devices today. The first home computer with touch screen was introduced by HP in 1983, setting off several other uses for the technology throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. When Apple introduced the all-touch screen iPhone in 2007, that changed the game. It made the touch screen interface a standard for smartphones, tablet computers, and PCs and increased the demand for touch screen capability from both business users and consumers.

Touch screen technology has become more sophisticated since the 1960, but the basic principle remains the same: touch screens digitize the point of finger contact into an X-Y coordinate. Some touch screens have “multi-touch” capability, whereby you can use 1, 4, or even all 10 fingers. Most of today’s touch screens are passive, and there are three different methods of operation:

–Resistive: these screens are pressure sensitive, and use two active layers – a flexible plastic layer on top of a rigid plastic or glass layer, with insulated space in between. The layers are coated and different voltages are applied, so that when touched the relative voltages enable the controller to determine the X-Y location.

–Capacitive: this method uses one layer consisting of metallic coated glass, and voltage is applied to the corners of the screen. When the finger touches the screen it draws a bit of current that the controller then measures as a change in capacitance and the resulting X-Y location.

–Projected Capacitive: a hybrid method uses a sensor grid sandwiched between two glass layers. When the screen is touched, the controller measures change in capacitance in the grid and then the X-Y location. This grid system enables multi-touch capability, as is common in smartphones and tablet computers today.

Today, touch screen PCs are used in many industries and businesses. Medical staff members use touch screen PCs to quickly enter and update electronic medical records. Manufacturing facilities use touch screen PCs for their operations control systems. Retailers use them for self-service kiosks and POS systems. Hotels and airlines use them for check-in. Banks use them for ATMS but also for self-service stations within bank branches. Government agencies use them in emergency dispatch centers. Universities and schools use touch screen PCs to aid student learning.

What are some of the other uses of touch screens that you’ve seen lately? Where do you think the technology is going next?