Until recently, telecom and utility companies have heavily relied on paper recordkeeping systems to track all fieldwork. Even with the advancements in computer technology throughout the past few decades, the lack of mobility for computers kept field workers on paper. Regardless of whether technicians and field workers input all information into a computer after the fact, submit paperwork into a filing system, or create and maintain their own organization system, a great deal of time and resources are allocated to organizing and/or transcribing information. By eliminating paper, hours of tedious data entry can be avoided.
In order to eliminate paper, however, mobile solutions must address unique needs for field workers. If a company sends field workers into extreme weather environments, for instance, they need to ensure that the mobile tech won’t easily incur damage. Additionally, a mobile device must integrate a variety of software and applications to meet the specific needs of multiple companies and usages. Rugged mobile tablets provide unparalleled automated field solutions by also delivering solutions for common obstacles.
When telecom and utility companies harness new mobility tools, they can expect an increase in accuracy and efficiency, as well as new and advanced means for communication.
5 Ways Rugged Mobile Technology Assists Field Workers
1. Rugged design allows for exposure to harsh environments
Field workers face unique challenges when it comes to using mobile devices, like needing outdoor viewing capabilities and a highly functioning touchscreen, even when wearing gloves. Just as important, workers must feel confident that their mobile technology can keep up with them. This means having the ability to withstand harsh environments, turbulence, inevitable drops, and exposure to water, dust, and more.
Mobile tech with a rugged design is built to withstand all of these things, making it easier for field workers and technicians to focus on the task at hand. Some rugged mobile tablets, like the Motion F5m from Xplore, also have a built-in handle for easy portability.
2. Extended battery life means hours of uninterrupted work
It’s not uncommon for telecom and utility company field workers to not have access to outlets for hours on end. Therefore, it’s imperative that such workers’ mobile technology keep up with them. Mobile tablets and computers must provide an extended battery life that won’t be diminished when the necessary applications are running.
3. Some mobile computers are compatible with an extensive variety of software
A challenge many telecom and utility companies face when looking for mobile technology is finding devices that can integrate their existing software. Some rugged mobile tablets are built to not only be lightweight and durable but to also provide full PC functionality to manage a variety of software and applications. Useful applications have the ability to drastically improve efficiency and accuracy for field workers.
A Bluetooth enabled camera, for example, records more than just images. It also captures and stores GPS location and other attributes, like height and age of hardware. Furthermore, a majority, if not all, of an inspector’s work can be controlled with a mobile field computer, from on-site risk assessments to access to job and account information.
4. Pen computing makes it easy to capture information
Pen computing eliminates the need for excessive drop-down menus. Excessive choices are time-consuming and could potentially lead to confusion. When a worker is in the field, having the ability to easily create notes or helpful marks ensures deeper accuracy. It also means rather than having to rely on a mix of digital notes as well as additional paper notes, a worker can capture all data in one place.
5. User-friendly interface leads to quick and easy training
One of the potential pitfalls of incorporating new technology into workers’ day-to-day tasks is the time, and profits, lost when training employees on how to effectively use it. Most companies don’t have the luxury of slowing down, as their work is time sensitive and continuous. The mobile computers and tablets from Xplore, for instance, are user-friendly, intuitive, and easy to learn, so that workers can familiarize themselves with the new technology quickly.
Rugged mobile technology ultimately has the power to make field work for telecom and utility companies easier, more efficient, and increasingly in depth. Technology is only as useful as its ability to function in a variety of environments, ongoing dependability, and ability to simplify operations.