Emergency and support services are the glue that holds our society together, the mortar between the bricks, the last net before the fall. And while they’re certainly no stranger to technology and advanced tools, you might be surprised how much work something like a rugged industrial tablet can save police officers, firefighters, soldiers, and disaster relief workers.

Are your precincts, stations, or units making use of this relatively simple and inexpensive technology? Modern computer technology, apps, and interconnectivity have turned rugged industrial tablets into surprisingly effective centers of communications for hundreds of industries.

Here are just a few ways emergency and support services are deploying intuitive and portable tech to their advantage.

Rugged Tablets in Law Enforcement

Up until recently, laptops have been the technology-of-choice mounted in squad cars. And while they’ve served admirably, the fact is, they just aren’t as necessary.

When laptops where the only way to reliably get computing power with a widescreen into a dashboard, they were perfect. These days, rugged tablets can handle the daily duties of police officers just fine, and with a smaller form factor, more portability, and much longer battery life.

Tablets can also more easily be pulled out of their mount in the car and taken outside or even back into the precinct to work. Witnesses can fill out electronically sign documents right on the street, officers can look up information from anywhere, write reports anywhere, and they can even take picture and video with a tablet.

And while some officers may cling to their laptops because they want a full keyboard, remember that tablets can come with keyboards. Detachable keyboards, in fact, that are usually smaller and far more portable than anything that comes with a laptop.

Rugged industrial tablets also tend to have a better form factor for things like mapping software: a large, bright screen with touch sensitivity allows officers to move around the map and zoom with far more agility than a laptop. This ensures that not only are officers able to do their paperwork faster, but they’ll actually arrive on the scene faster.

Fighting Fires and Saving Lives

Information is one of the most important tools for fighting fires.

Firefighters don’t just roll and up crank the hose — they need to know where they’re going, the condition of the building (and the fire), the location of other first responders, and a dozen other variables.

Firefighters even use mobile technology to bring up building or site schematics. Accurate, up-to-date schematics can literally save lives. They can help to more safely find and evacuate victims, showing firefighters all entrances, exits, and emergency egresses. Schematics can show firefighters floors or rooms that might have otherwise been missed, and they can show firefighters where the structural weak points of a building may be (and whether or not they’ve been engulfed in flame and likely to fail).

Rugged industrial tablets offer the power and wireless, 3G, or 4G connectivity for all of these endeavors, and does so with a small footprint.

The “rugged” part is of course even more important in the firefighting world. Heat, water, fire, dirt, airborne dust, and smoke are a daily way of life for firefighters, and their technology has to be able to stand up to it.

Which is why it’s so important that a rugged tablet for firefighting use has military-spec parts, sealed bezels, drop protection, temperature tolerance, and an IP65 rating for liquid and dust intrusion.

Secure Industrial Tablets in the Military

Of course, few situations in the world are as brutal and unforgiving as a combat zone, but that doesn’t mean the military can afford to go without up-to-date communication and portable technology.

Even outside of combat, military uses are rarely perfectly clean and sterile. Rugged military tablets operate in deserts, freezing tundra, in the rain, on ships, and in a dozen other climates and adverse conditions. The best rugged industrial-grade tablets are designed from the ground up to trample over these issues with ease.

Perhaps one of the most important features of a rugged tablet for military use is security. A rugged tablet can’t just be tough and water-resistant: it needs to be equipped for the intense security needs of military intelligence. This usually comes in the form of multi-factor authentication, a type of security combining more than one mode of identification to grant access.

Traditionally, these IDs fall into one of the following three categories for user authentication: something the user knows (a password, an image, a security question), something the user has (an ID badge, a radio tag), and something the user is (fingerprints, retinal scans, etc).

This is where rugged industrial tablets work so well: they can come configured with built-in options for multi-factor authentication. Instead of having to rely on biometric peripherals, things like fingerprint scanners, SmartCard readers, and RFID readers can be installed right in the tablet itself. It’s even possible for multiple options to go with it, creating a truly secure platform for military operations in any clime.

Improving Logistics in Disaster Management

Disaster management teams need rugged computing solutions perhaps even more than any other group of the list. Disasters can erase entire communities, whole towns, and even put entire states or small countries on the back foot. And due to the chaotic nature of disasters (hurricanes, wildfires, floods), logistics becomes the most important tool for rebuilding.

People need to be found and accounted for. Inventory like food, water, clothes, and medicine all need to be obsessively tracked down to the last box to ensure that they’re being sent what they’re needed most. Even the need for food and other supplies must first be entered into a computer to help suppliers know where everything needs to go.

Enter a rugged industrial tablet. Obviously, the kinds of conditions that cause disasters require a ruggedized, mil-spec tablet. But, in order to manage disasters, two of the most valuable tools can come attached right to the tablet itself: barcode scanners, and RFID readers.

As mundane as it sounds, inventory management, human resource management, and asset tracking can save more lives than anything else. If survivors in a refugee center are all tagged with barcoded paper bracelets (like a hospital), the numbers of needs of all people and patients can be tracked. Survivor counts, food needs, medicine, and even triage and medical care can all be tracked with a quick scan of a tablet. This information can then be used to provide better, more efficient support (and ensure that no refuge or victim gets lost in the shuffle).

Barcodes and RFID tags are used quite successfully in medicine, agriculture, and manufacturing to track inventory, protect medicine, and improve logistics. The expiration date of food can be tracked automatically, ensuring that nothing goes to waste and the supplies go where they’re needed most.

Tech Support

As you can see, the computer needs for emergency services and civic support services are intense. Durability and computing power are only the first couple lines on a long list of requirements.

When the job is saving, protecting, and improving lives, there just isn’t room for off-the-shelf tech.

To find out more about deploying cutting-edge tablets and computers for complex operations, contact Cybernet today.