By Drew Moore, Executive Director and General Manager, Dell Rugged Mobility Products
The majority of customers served by Dell Rugged are field workers—a group that has changed drastically in the recent past. The job functions expected of the modern field worker are much more complex and mission critical than just ten years ago. They aren’t just collecting field data and imputing the results into an office system the next day at their desk; they are as productive as any office worker while in the field and are expected to provide real time content creation wherever the job takes them. That includes highly complex computing such as Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) software as well as inventory control and management tasks. In order to retain and gain new customers in the rugged computing space, it’s not enough to just have a durable device anymore. The winners in the rugged space have evolved their technology solutions in tandem with the roles of field workers to provide elite computing power that meets the complex needs of customers.
Some of the innovations to rugged technology apply to all field workers, like glare-resistant screens that maintain viewability while working in the sun, but others speak to the specified roles into which that field workers have grown. For those with job duties that require a lighter, more portable device and the use of a touch functions for job-critical applications—that technology has arrived. But touch screens usually need direct skin-to-screen contact to function, which is inappropriate for workers that wear gloves every day. A recent innovation in rugged computing, resistive touch screens with multi-touch capability, enable full touch gesturing—including pinching and expanding—without having to remove gloves every time users need to access a mission-critical app. Many field workers require tablet functionality and mobility in concert with a full keyboard for intensive data input and other forms of content creation. A solution that is becoming increasingly popular in the rugged space—convertible notebooks—shift between tablet and notebook form factors, giving workers the versatility for a variety of job functions.
Not every employee in an organization that requires rugged technology has the same needs, however. In an attempt to control cost, organizations often stunt productivity by ordering a single type of rugged product that only meets the specific needs of one of many distinct job roles. A company that exclusively purchases a larger, full-screen rugged devices will hinder its more mobile workers that need the portability of a tablet form factor. Technology can’t only evolve to meet the specific needs of niche field working roles. Rugged technology providers must also offer compatibility between their mobile, fully rugged and semi-rugged solutions. Just as a single organization can have several types of field workers working together at one company, so too must the nuanced rugged offerings. This goes for items as simple as shoulder straps and handles or as critical as universal docking capabilities, common management and security protocols; Dell offers leading solutions for all of these capabilities within its rugged portfolio.
Fortunately for field users, rugged computing technology is growing with the needs of our customers.
Drew is the Executive Director and General Manager for Dell’s Rugged Mobility Product line, with cradle to grave responsibility for the development, marketing, service and customer experience of these products designed to thrive in the harshest of work environments. Learn more at Dell.com/Rugged.