Rugged devices in industrial contexts: why they are increasingly used

Rugged mobile devices are increasingly carving out an important role also within the industrial world, with tangible benefits in terms of innovation of activities and processes as well as increasing productivity.

In this article we will try to understand what the impact of these solutions is and what are the parameters to be evaluated in choosing the most suitable type for each context.

Rugged devices in industrial contexts

Rugged mobile solutions can provide significant benefits within connected companies and smart factories, in which more and more activities are managed using mobile or even wearable devices.

In general, these solutions can guarantee efficiency, versatility, functionality, connectivity and access to the cloud in different work contexts: manufacturing, logistics, transport, retail, catering and much more.

In the industrial world, mobile devices are playing a key role thanks to mobile cloud computing (MCC), the paradigm that allows the distribution of advanced applications on mobile devices, even in the presence of different hardware platforms and operating systems. The installed apps are then able to harness the power of the cloud for processing and storage operations, thus improving flexibility, performance and scalability.

Edge computing infrastructures are also increasingly evolving into multi-access edge computing (MEC), allowing even more complete use of mobile devices within an industrial context, especially in the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) environment.

Market prospects

In the 2020-2024 time gap, a $ 1.22 billion expansion of the value of rugged portable devices is expected.

There is a growing preference for the types equipped with the Android operating system, whose user interface is considered better than the others.

Another trend to take into consideration is the one that describes the increase in the demand for IoT-type rugged devices, which can be easily integrated with communication technologies.

For example, Panasonic has long introduced rugged Android solutions, used in various sectors: manufacturing, transport, logistics, retail and emergency management services.

How to choose the right rugged device for your needs

The basis from which to start in choosing the right device is certainly the definition of immediate and future objectives, and then proceed to the evaluation of some main characteristics.

Total cost of ownership (TCO) and return on investment (ROI)

It is undeniable that choosing a rugged mobile device entails a higher initial cost than consumer-type counterparts. But it should be noted that extending the life cycle beyond two years (up to five or seven) and intense daily use in harsh environments allow for a generally lower long-term TCO and a clear ROI compared to classic solutions.

Life cycle

In addition to the greater durability, robustness and more extensive additional features that rugged devices are able to provide within workflows, it is important to evaluate suppliers that guarantee effective lifecycle management services, especially with regard to support, maintenance and management of the device downtime (which directly and negatively impact productivity and ROI).

Software security

The growing connectivity of devices within companies leads to a greater need for the security of the software used, in addition to the stability of the operating systems loaded on the various machines. The best choice should take into account parameters such as the presence of security and system support updates during the life cycle of the product.

The wide range of Panasonic rugged devices allows for multiple choices, including basically all the features listed above.

Sources:

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