Defining the Best Rugged Tablet for Field Service Technicians

Rugged Tablet

The millions of field service technicians working for countless companies across numerous industries like utilities and many others rely on rugged tablets every day. For each of them, the best rugged tablet constitutes several common and uncommon features that make it possible to do that job.

The field service industry requires mobile devices that deliver broad connectivity to dispatchers, technicians, and service managers to meet client needs. That includes the ability to receive and log last minute scheduling changes and enable improved location tracking for better customer service. To do this, a rugged windows tablet used by a field service tech needs advanced wireless connectivity for Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN) access.

In addition, this level of connectivity may require tri pass-through antenna ports, allowing users to simultaneously connect high-gain global positioning system (GPS), wireless WAN, and wireless LAN roof-mounted antennas for expanded signal range. Oher connectivity needs may include HDMI and VGA ports to expand monitoring options for interfacing with other complex systems.

The best rugged windows tablet for their needs provides real-time visibility into all field operations. This enables them to gain  critical insights and complete service calls  that may require twelve-hour days in the field. Dual or hot swappable battery options are a must have for long days in the field using processor-intensive applications.

Advanced processors must go together with long battery life and power saving capabilities. These attributes are critical to a field tech’s ability to Integrate data between the office, the cloud and the field via ERP, CRM, or other systems.

The integration and connection to those systems as well as departments such as sales, engineering, product support, or marketing are vital while collecting data. Vital data gathering and transmitting needs may also require seamless use of tethered or wireless barcode scanners, RFID readers and even color cameras for inventory management and remote specialists support.

Improving the customer experience (CX) has become the chief defining characteristic of successful field service programs. This can be seen in the recent Field Technologies Report that shows CX as the No. 1 strategic initiative for 76 percent of the service organizations surveyed. That can translate to having best rugged tablet capabilities like integrated signature capture for streamlined onsite billing.

Field techs need  highly defined user experience (UX) capabilities that are designed into the purpose-built rugged windows tablet they are using. That means large screens and adaptability for easy viewing in extreme bright or dark lighting conditions.

Of course, rugged tablets must be capable of being rugged on an internal component and build level as well as the outside to deliver uninterrupted operation and long life. Field service techs are working in weather extremes of ice cold to baking hot with dust, moisture and other harsh physical conditions a constant challenge. This makes MIL-STD-810G and IP65 certifications a must have where the device is built to survive drops, vibration, water, dust and extreme temperatures.

Today’s field-service technicians require a long list of features and purpose-built design functionalities to meet their definition of the best rugged tablet. As technology and business needs change in the digital era, rugged tablets must be capable of meeting those evolving while continuing to work flawlessly over the course of a longer lifecycle for true ROI and maximum productivity.