Six Industries Where Rugged Technology is Needed

eWEEK DATA POINTS: When looking to outfit a mobile workforce, durability matters, especially for those workers in unique, challenging and unpredictable environments.


When most people think of BYOD, they think of employees bringing their mobile devices to and from a traditional office building. but in reality, there are many industries where the “office” isn’t confined to four walls and a cubicle. In these tough conditions, a regular laptop or handheld won’t do.

When looking to outfit a mobile workforce, durability matters, especially for those workers in unique, challenging and unpredictable environments. IT device vendors who offer ruggedized devices include Dell EMC, Panasonic, Getac and Durabook.

In this eWEEK Data Points article, industry information from Panasonic's Mobility Division points out six industries where rugged mobile technology is needed to ensure that workers stay connected and productive and get the job done efficiently.

Data Point No. 1: Police/First Responders: For those working in public safety, the availability of mission-critical communications and access to real-time data is a necessity for both the worker and the communities they serve.When put in life or death situations, device failure isn’t an option. Rugged devices are purpose built to handle the drops, spills, dust and extreme temperatures that occur when officers and first responders are on patrol or onsite in an emergency situation. With daylight readable displays, responsive touchscreens and extended battery life that lasts a full shift, rugged handhelds, tablets and laptops help public safety professionals enforce the law and save lives.

Data Point No. 2: Retail Warehouse / Back Office: The retail warehouse and back office environments continue to evolve as brick and mortar and online stores blend. Workers equipped with versatile mobile devices can tell customers where their merchandise is and when it should arrive, accurately service and bill, load trucks and move goods in the warehouse more efficiently whether by hand or by forklift. Mobile devices that deliver enterprise-grade performance, enhanced security, flexible form factors and versatile mounting options help optimize workflows and improve efficiencies for retailers. As a result, they can reduce costs and increase productivity.

Data Point No. 3: Utilities: Utility workers spend their careers responding to unpredictable outages, and customers expect dependable responsiveness and minimized restoration time now more than ever before. To meet this demand, companies are adopting rugged mobile devices to decrease the time it takes to recognize, respond to and resolve problems, while offering the constant communication customers now expect. Rugged devices are also important because utility workers are outside in the field the majority of their day and often deal with extreme weather conditions, work in standing water, and make repairs underground or atop ladders.

Data Point No. 4: Supply Chain: To help supply chain and logistics workers sustain accurate inventories and ensure that products are being delivered to the right place at the right time, mobile devices are needed to efficiently move goods through the supply chain. These devices must be tough enough to withstand the conditions in the warehouse floor and on the road. Traditional mobile devices cannot handle drops from a forklift or extreme temperatures and rainy weather while out for delivery like a rugged device can. Warehouse staff, truck drivers and retail store clerks depend on rugged devices to help them make the critical data entries the supply chain depends on.

Data Point No. 5: Military: Military personnel face some of the most demanding work environments. They need holistic, mission-critical solutions to help them work efficiently and safely both on and off the battlefield. Whether being used to control drones that are dropping vital resources to troops on the battlefield or integrating them with parachute systems, there’s no room for error when it comes to mobile solutions. Laptops and tablets that are purpose-built with a military-grade design are a must for these professionals.

Data Point No. 6: Oil and Gas: Offshore and onshore rigs provide unique environments for the oil and gas industry. When using mobile devices, they must be built to withstand just about anything, including a rig's harsh environment of salt, chemicals, machinery and moisture. On a more local level, oil and gas companies are deploying rugged devices to fuel delivery personnel and service technicians in the field to more efficiently serve customers, access real-time route data and adjust schedules on the go.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...