Company Focus

Why rugged is the key to unlocking value from new and future technologies

Communication and technology are undeniably at the centre of emergency service, public safety, anti-terrorist and defence personnel daily work lives. Implementing the latest technologies is critical to driving improved productivity, efficiency and communication; automating and streamlining operations; greater access to intelligence and data; and keeping one step ahead.

But with so much technology available and squeezed budgets, organisations must consider efficiency over complexity, and ensure assets are able to perform to the maximum throughout their lifecycle. Rugged devices are fast becoming the lynchpin of all of these technologies as they enable organisations to realise even greater benefits.  

“IDC expects the ruggedised segment to continue thriving across devices as companies continue their digital transformation journeys and update their device installed base. Device manufacturers are expected to introduce new specifications and features that will need to meet their client’s needs and embrace the long-tail business concept.” The Impact of Ruggedized Devices on the Future of Work

For example, Durabook’s Z14I rugged laptop not only withstands the harsh conditions field work throws at it, but it delivers the power, performance and functionality to seamlessly integrate with new technologies for any given situation. Using an expansion module or via other connections, it can quickly be transformed on the fly into any number of different solutions - from an ultra-portable workstation, a remote control/radio system for robots, drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), a server or storage device, or remote command centre.

Here we look at some of the key technologies supporting emergency, defence and first responders in the field and how a single rugged laptop can be used to drive greater efficiency and other benefits.

Data in the field

The ability to capture, interpret, share and store analytical and mission information - often at scale - in the field is essential to successful operations, but this needs powerful processing capabilities not usually found in commercial off the shelf portable devices. Operation teams can be empowered by real time intelligence simply by connecting a rugged laptop directly into IoT devices or drones, or to act as a central server or storage device. Alternatively, the rugged device can be connected directly to aircraft or vehicles for diagnostics, repair and maintenance, allowing engineers to detect issues, quickly access manuals and other specific information related to each specific task.

Drones, robots and unmanned aerial vehicles

Aerial drones or unmanned aerial vehicles collect massive amounts of data from their journeys recording live streams in order to assist first responders and public safety workers, for surveillance, or inspecting and monitoring mission zones. A central rugged device has the capacity to collect and process this data in real time to provide instant intelligence to teams on the ground. The device can also be used as a remote control for unmanned vehicles and robots, or integrated with other technologies such as thermal imaging, heat sensors or night vision goggles.     

3D Graphics, GIS Mapping and Augmented Reality

All of this data can be consolidated and analysed so it can be used immediately to help inform missions and courses of action for teams on the ground. Using a rugged device, which has the necessary data processing, storage capabilities and functionality, teams can generate powerful graphics for data visualisations. For example, in a disaster recovery situation, teams on the ground can rapidly access and process high density data such as 3D graphical mapping and overlay augmented reality for situational awareness and to develop action plans, while keeping them agile in often extreme environments.

The power of a single rugged device

Only specialised rugged mobile devices have the power, performance, functionality and expansion capabilities to connect with and drive additional benefits from these innovative technologies in the field, and are built to withstand even the harshest of environments.

Durabook’s Z14I rugged laptop’s expansion box is one of the most powerful enhancement tools, especially for field based missions. By simply connecting via either of two PCIe slots, it enables the laptop to transform quickly into an ultra-portable workstation, a remote control/radio system for robots or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for example. The latest dual band wireless AC 9260 and Bluetooth® V5.0 ensure that all data can be instantly synchronised and fed back to the command centre without interruption. A comprehensive selection of input and output options (including video ports, card readers, USBs and PCMCIA Type II slots) enables additional connectivity with a broad range of both legacy and cutting edge systems, as well as secondary battery option and hot-swappable battery technology, allowing for non-stop power.

As technology becomes more and more important for field teams, maximising capabilities and benefits is a must. Not only do rugged devices act as a force multiplier so that ground teams operate more efficiently, they are capable of expanding to support a range of tasks and amplifying the benefits of other technologies too.

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