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Rugged or Consumer: Which tablet is best for me?

Rugged or Consumer: Which tablet is best for me?

We are all accustomed to choice when it comes to personal ‘tech’ devices. Our decision on which brand and model we plump for is usually based on our specific needs, budget and perhaps also the impact of advertising campaigns, persuading us to upgrade.

When it comes to using devices for business applications, the temptation may be strong to simply utilise personal tablets – after all they seem to be multi-functional, speedy and reliable – but is this really a viable option for the mobile working environment?

Caution is required when making this decision. What may initially appear to be a low-cost option can work out to be far more expensive in the long run and may also have a detrimental effect on productivity, efficiency and accuracy.

There are a number of areas to consider when deciding between Consumer Enterprise Mobile Devices (smartphones or tablets deemed to be personal devices) and Rugged Enterprise Mobile Devices (those built specifically for commercial use) and these are: –

Consumer devices have operating systems which may not support business extensions or applications required within retail, distribution and manufacturing. Even where components can be supported, they have to be manually downloaded onto every individual device (provided that the in-built security features will allow this). Rugged options are built with these processes in mind and therefore require very few, if any, additional applications to be installed.

Wi-Fi radios within consumer devices are not designed with a constantly moving workforce in mind and therefore do not always manage to support the mobility, application performance and constant connectivity required to maintain efficient working practices.

Consumer tablets rely on individual users applying and updating their own security measures. System information may be able to be accessed off site by multiple persons and therefore has the potential to be compromised, intentionally or accidentally. Rugged devices
are designed with built in, enterprise level security which can cope with multiple users and unique logins to prevent unauthorised access and minimise risk from viruses or data theft.

Whilst consumer devices rely upon the addition of protective covers, their commercial counterparts are already built to last. Rugged enterprise tablets have significantly higher ingress protection ratings (indicating their high tolerance to moisture and dust particles) and are specifically designed to withstand drops, shocks, vibrations, – even exposure to many

Many functions of the commercial units simply wouldn’t be possible on those designed for personal use – e.g. high-performance barcode scanning. The swappable long-lasting batteries of the rugged devices also outperform even the most impressive personal devices
hands-down and provide targeted information on user activity and maintenance status – functions which would not be possible on the average tablet.

Whilst this may not be an exhaustive list, it illustrates the fact that, when deciding upon the right tablet to use within your organisation, purchase cost is just a small part of the overall calculation.

What initially might seem to be a huge price difference between personal and commercial options fades into insignificance when additional costs are considered – maintenance, downtime, repair etc. Thought needs to be given to the potential limitations of design and how this could impact productivity, effectiveness – and perhaps also levels of frustration – within the workforce.

Want to know more?
At PLM Global we can advise on long-term advantage. We are specialists in the supply, repair and maintenance of hand-held capture devices, mobile print and EPoS hardware so we are well placed to offer a wide range of options (plus the benefit of our experience) to help with what can very difficult decision process. If you would like to discuss your own needs or challenges simply get in touch with our team here.
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