When Is Rugged Tech or Non-Rugged Tech Right For Your Business?

For some industries, like construction and first response, seamless communication and access to real-time data are vital. That’s where rugged tech steps in.

Nowadays, many businesses and industries have to take into consideration the technology and the kinds of equipment necessary to make their work easy and efficient. When choosing between rugged or non-rugged tech for your industry, there are a few points to consider: cost of ownership, security, compatibility, and durability.

What Is Non-Rugged Technology?

Non-rugged or commercial technology includes electronic devices such as tablets, smartphones, or laptops that can be used for business or as a personal device. A store manager, for example, can use his own personal smartphone to look up data and inventory.

While commercial-level devices are getting more and more durable to meet user demands, they still have limitations that prevent them from lasting and performing as well as rugged technology.

What Makes Laptops and Tablets Rugged?

Rugged tech and its three tiers of ruggedization (semi, fully, and ultra-rugged) are built to withstand harsh environments. Rugged tablets are also built to withstand vibrations, explosions, dust, and water, among other environmental factors.

Semi-rugged technology is ideal for industries that don’t work in extremely harsh environments but need a device that is a step up in terms of durability more so than commercial devices.

Fully and ultra-rugged devices are built to withstand military-grade testing and are nearly indestructible, able to withstand extreme temperatures while weathering dust and water ingress.

Cost of Ownership Considerations

While it’s true that initial costs for commercial technology are lower than their rugged counterparts, costs down the line such as repairs, updates, and replacements should be taken into consideration.

A study done by Venture Development Corporation (VDC) found that non-rugged notebooks had a 30% failure rate while rugged notebooks’ failure rate was only at 9%. Considering that non-rugged notebooks fail about 20 times per year and users lost an average of 75 minutes of productivity every time a device failed, these limitations translate to actual dollars lost.

Taking into account repairs and replacements, the total cost of ownership for rugged handheld devices is $2500 while the total cost of ownership for non-rugged devices is $4000, according to the VDC study.

Security and Compatibility Considerations

Many businesses opt for a Bring Your Own Device model. While this may be cost-effective, there are security and compatibility concerns that should be taken into consideration.

Commercial smartphones and other devices may not be equipped to handle enterprise-level applications and programs. Furthermore, operating systems on commercial devices, such as Android and iOS, may not be compatible with specialized industry applications needed to perform specific tasks and duties.

Rugged devices, on the other hand, can be built specifically to run all the necessary applications and software you or your business will need.

Commercial devices also present a safety concern when it comes to data theft. Users have to personally safeguard proprietary information and prevent them from being accessed through their device.

Rugged devices come with more robust data and mobile device security capabilities, such as VPN access, multi-factor authentication, Common Access Card (CAC) readers, Kensington physical locks, and other internal and external safety measures.

Durability Considerations

Accidental drops or bangs are unavoidable and, especially in industries that work in the field, durability concerns are compounded by harsh environments. Devices need to withstand dust, dirt, and water as well.

According to research, devices fail 11% of the time in the first year and that rate doubles by year five. An approximate 6 hours of employee productivity are lost to repairs due to broken tech. This downtime can be a waste of money and potentially put lives in peril.

Rugged technology is built to last longer, are prone to less breakage, and can withstand drops, rattles, dust, spills, and extreme temperatures.

Industries That Benefit From Rugged Technology

For industries or businesses whose devices don’t need to be out in the field or need specialized setups to run enterprise-level proprietary applications, commercial devices could be the best fit. And those who work in offices in sales, advertising, or marketing may be perfectly fine with commercial-grade computers.

For industries that need extra security and durability in their tech, rugged technology would be a better fit for their needs.Industries that benefit from rugged technology include construction, manufacturing, military, healthcare.These industries have to brave potentially harsh environments and conditions and, in order to do their jobs, their devices have to be reliable and durable.

However, other more unexpected industries can benefit from using rugged technology as well. Industries such as retail, agriculture, and hospitality can also make use of rugged technology. The retail industry, for instance, can make use of rugged solutions such as inventory management and shipping tracking. Those in the hospitality industry, on the other hand, can use rugged tech’s advanced data sharing capabilities, as well as reservation and booking automation. The agriculture industry can make use of inventory management and livestock RFID tracking capabilities only found in rugged tech.

Industry Benefits of Rugged Tech

Many industries can benefit from rugged technology. Those which need robust devices that can withstand drops and spills, as well as industries that need better data protection and security, can benefit greatly from using rugged tech while on the job. Contact the experts at Group Mobile to learn more about which rugged tech solutions would benefit your team most.

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