Rugged Laptop or Rugged Tablet — How to Decide on the Right Mobile Computer for Law Enforcement

Whether you decide to implement a tablet or laptop solution into your department is completely dependent on the necessary requirements to create a real-time situational awareness crime center for every officer.

We all know how unpredictable and fast-moving law enforcement can be. We can all recall the days when officers carried handhelds the size of a brick, cell phones were an expensive status symbol, no inter-connectivity to personnel was available, and long trips back to the station to input the day’s data entry was a tedious and dreaded task. Who could have predicted the law enforcement workflow of the future — reliable and continual communication, instant access to critical records, GPS guidance, e-citations, fingerprint authentication readers, smartcard and magnetic card readers, body-worn cameras, in-vehicle printing, on-scene incident reporting, barcode and RFID readers, automatic license plate readers, and law enforcement oriented apps and software — these advancements have made it possible for officers to have a real-time crime center. Whether you decide to implement a tablet or laptop solution into your department is completely dependent on the necessary requirements to create a real-time situational awareness crime center for every officer.

Within the past five years’ tablets have become an evolving form factor, some pledging the case for tablets becoming the mobile computing tool of the future for law enforcement, gaining momentum into the market so strongly laptops are being thrown into the abyss of the past. However, opinions differ on whether a tablet can outperform the old tried and trusted mobile workstations via a laptop or notebook, as both have their individual advantages. Keep reading on to discover the advantages of both mobile solutions — tablets and laptops for law enforcement.

The Pros of Rugged Tablet Solutions

Why should you choose a rugged tablet solution for your department? The choice between equipping your workforce with laptops or tablets is dependent upon whether officers are in a patrol car, at a desk, on foot, or in the office. Do officers want to take the device outside of the vehicle? Tablets are a highly effective tool for police motorcycles which can be mounted on handle bars or in the saddle bag, as well as patrol cars, SWAT teams and investigators. Detectives can use rugged tablets to take on-scene film footage and images without requiring expensive digital cameras to capture evidence.

Tablets are light weight and small enough for handheld use and take up minimal space inside police vehicles. Specialized uses for tablets include signature captures, barcode scanning for ID verification and VIN number scanning, field interview creation, evidence photography, plus the ability to exit a vehicle while filming real-time video of emergency situations to properly assess the requested resources for dispatch. Officers can take a tablet from the vehicle to the street and back to the office to be docked and used as a desktop PC — this seamless transition is the definition of true mobile computing. In the past, display real estate has been an issue with officers using tablets for their main computing solution but today tablet screen size has become comparable to the laptop or notebook and even offer digitized screens for glove-touch and sunlight viewability. What about data entry? Many rugged tablets have backlit companion keyboards that seamlessly snap-on or bolt-on for quick typing ability. Rugged tablets are a practical solution offering complete mobility allowing for routine work to be more streamlined in the field, an imperative element in creating intelligent, real-time crime centers.

 The Pros of Rugged Laptop Solutions

Not every rugged laptop is created equal and this is especially true when deciding which laptop solution to implement into your department. Many rugged laptops are purpose built for public safety and offer touchscreens for tapping and zooming, stylus pens for signatures and on-screen entry, a thin and light design, and ergonomic features such as swivel screens to be viewed by individuals both on the driver and passenger sides of the car.

What about removing the device from the vehicle? Many officers never remove their device from the police vehicle and when given the choice, would rather not. When a mobile device is removed from the vehicle such as a rugged tablet the chance of the device being broken, driven over, stolen or misplaced is highly likely. When this happens, the device must be replaced which can be very costly over time. An important aspect of a law enforcement laptop or notebook is the proper vehicle mounting solution. The last thing an officer needs is a large bulky computer impeding the process and increasing risk. Vehicle docking stations and consoles keep rugged laptops charged and ready to go while providing shock absorption and stability. Rugged laptops will continue to evolve aiming to make jobs more efficient and productive — we see this today in the adoption of the two-in-one hybrid notebook which can be used as a laptop or tablet. For those who need the stability of a laptop, yet the light weight flexible form factor of a tablet, a two-in-one device may be the right solution for your department.

When the time comes to implement new and advanced technology whether it be a tablet, laptop or a two-in-one device, police computers must be durable, high performing, easy to use with custom features and options, along with a realistic price point — an equation for value and return on investment.

The mobile solutions experts at Group Mobile work with police departments nationwide and can assist you in determining the best equipment for your application and budget.

Mobile Computing Solutions for Automotive Manufacturing and a Review on Getac’s New A140 Rugged Tablet!

The multifunctional hard handle on the Getac A140 serves as a kickstand or handle for simple carrying in the field.

Production and assembly process: How to take the guesswork out of knowing where your product is!

• Comprehensive Inventory Control: Losing track of your product during the production and assembly process always costs money. Group Mobile sophisticated barcoding technology shows you where your product is at all times. And by simply scanning the product into your system, you can greatly reduce errors. With asset staging and tracking, from the day the equipment is deployed and placed into service, to the day you retire the equipment from operations, Group Mobile iCare™ will keep track of your mobile equipment.

• Fewer Network “Dead Spots”: Maintaining connectivity and monitoring can be your IT department’s worst nightmare, since large production and assembly staging areas often include a maze of semi-compatible devices. Group Mobile can even help you find “dead spots” you never knew existed.

• Just in Time (JIT) Capability: A single minute of lost connectivity could cost your company thousands of dollars in lost productivity, as assembly lines come to a halt. A Group Mobile designed, installed and maintained wireless network helps to secure a constant connection with internal and external suppliers. With Group Mobile technology,
your automotive inventory is always “just in time,” and your customers have what they need, when they need it.

• Access to Critical Data in Real Time: Missing or inaccessible information can cost millions in lost productivity when it slows or stops the assembly process. From raw materials to finished goods, Group Mobile data-gathering and real-time reporting solutions provide instant access to critical data – giving you the information you need to make crucial, time-sensitive decisions.

From automotive manufacturing to final distribution, if you’ve been searching for streamlined solutions for your production and plant assembly operations, call Group Mobile today. Through our consultative approach, you can have peace of mind, knowing your product is safe and your deliveries are on-time.

Getac A140 Fully Rugged Tablet

The new Getac A140 fully rugged tablet has an optional multifunctional hard handle which serves as a kickstand or handle for simple carrying in the field — a host of mounting and carrying options make this tablet a perfect choice to maximize mobile productivity!

The Getac A140 is Getac’s largest and most powerful fully rugged tablet! This A140 rugged tablet operates the Windows 10 operating system and is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor. It can be optionally configured with the Intel Core i7, i5 vPro, or i7 vPro processors. It comes standard with 4GB of memory (expandable to 32GB) and an Opal 2.0 128GB solid state drive, with upgrades to 256GB or 512GB solid state drives available.

The Getac A140 has a vibrant 14” HD display that is sunlight readable and features LumiBond™ touchscreen technology for great viewability in any lighting condition. The Getac A140 tablet features various touch modes, allowing for operation in the rain, with gloves on, and utilizing a hard-tip stylus.

Three USB ports, dual RJ45 LAN jacks, HDMI and an optional serial or VGA give the Getac A140 a rich choice of I/O ports. The Getac A140 has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, and optional dedicated GPS and 4G LTE multi-carrier mobile broadband to keep users connected. Workers can use the optional slim-profile vehicle dock to avoid crowding cab space in your vehicle with tri-pass through ports for connection to high-gain GPS, WWAN and WLAN roof mounted antennas. Additionally, the Getac A140 can be configured to include an RFID reader, a 1D/2D imager barcode reader, and a fingerprint scanner.

When it comes to Getac mobile computers in public safetyfield service and utilitiesGroup Mobile  knows exactly what you need. Group Mobile specializes in providing a perfectly customized mobile solution for every customer.

Need a rugged laptop or tablet fast? Group Mobile offers the Getac F110, S410 and V110 with a QuickShip option, which means, get your tablet or laptop in 48 hours!

 

 

Ready to Implement New Technology into Your Agency? How to Find the Right IT Solutions Provider to Solve Your Business Problems!

When you are ready to implement new IT systems into your department, really spend the time to select the proper partner who truly understands your IT ecosystem.

We are all aware of the large concern administrators face when trying to implement new technology solutions into their organization or agency. Many problems arise such as short on capital, project creeping inevitably ensues, and the technology does not perform as expected. Now for the difficult part — finding a vendor who will listen to your needs, understand your project timeline and requirements, while still providing a solution to obtain your desired results, and yet in the end, performs as promised. Some might say that is almost impossible to find, do you find this to be true?

Implementing the right technology is not always about the “best of breed” but it is always about delivery. Everyone has worked with vendors who pursue based on dollars and do not understand the or care to understand your actual needs. There are key differentiators between an integrator and a solutions provider, these levels of support are crucial to successful technology rollouts. What do you look for when selecting a vendor? The increased complexity across the technology ecosystem, combined with the continual emergence of new trends and offerings, has made it extremely challenging for most agencies to effectively design and manage their IT systems. Finding a partner who will act as a complete solutions provider to listen, design, implement and manage the entire system is a big deal today and more and more agencies are searching for this model. After all, who has the time, resources and patience to manage multiple IT vendors?

Here are a few things to consider when searching for your next IT solutions provider:

  • Look for a company who makes meaningful connections with their customers and has a high level of client referrals.
  • Companies who invite perspective and innovation — working together to bring the best possible solution to clients no matter what.
  • A one-stop-shop value proposition: a multi-partner approach with strong product manufacturer relationships and distribution partners to service a global portfolio of IT solutions that make the most sense for your specific IT environment.
  • Look for an organization who understands complex licensing requirements, who understands how to optimize agency usage and compliance management.
  • Find a vendor with custom client portals which enhance the user experience, manage customized purchasing, and allow for a view of hardware warranties and software licenses. Furthermore, streamline procurement and processes through a self-service online tool available in the client portal.
  • Find a partner with scalable service and solutions offerings — select a vendor who helps organizations of all sizes and has well-developed services capabilities focused on managed, technical and professional services that integrate hardware to provide end-to-end solutions to meet your individualized agency needs.
  • Find a company with strong cash flow with the resources necessary to invest in sales, technology, training, engineering and leadership. By doing so, this vendor will deliver the promised leading edge technology solutions.
  • Choose a company who is efficient, with high-volume and cost effective direct sales and marketing models to allow for the most competitive prices. By having a choice of multiple partners, you will be provided a variety of product solutions to address your specific department needs.
  • Look for a company with a vendor-agnostic approach, who will assist you in choosing the best IT systems to meet your needs, not based on what product they are trying to promote or push.
  • Vendors who currently hold a significant number of cooperative purchasing contracts are a wise choice and offer a variety of viable options.
  • Choose a partner who begins with either an assessment or planning and design session. Technical specialists and field solution architects are experts in many areas including unified communications, networking, wireless, network and physical security and server/storage solution. Make sure this partner has a trusted team of advisors to protect your investment.
  • Decide on a partner whose services offerings include assisting agencies with onsite help desk and technical support services. These services will provide skilled, temporary staffing to assist with IT challenges that will arise.
  • Several engineers and project managers, paired with configuration capabilities, allows a company to handle any rollout project that agencies may have. Choose a company capable of delivering on your investment.
  • Installation services can include installing and deploying new systems, moving existing equipment, assessing systems and testing installed equipment, and advanced IT support. Staging options are also important, should you need to complete the installation in several rollouts — selecting a company capable of deployment services is a must.

Bottom line, when you are ready to implement new IT systems into your department, really spend the time to select the proper partner who truly understands your IT ecosystem. It is easy to find a reseller who will order boxes of hardware and deliver them to your door. Choosing the right partner not only ensures a successful implementation but a partner who will be present and available for the life of your project. Select a company who cares to align a complete consultation to understand your budget, timeline and project details — that is how you achieve a true return on investment. Contact one of Group Mobile’s public safety technology experts today to discuss how your IT rollout can be a seamless project from beginning to end.

Did you know Group Mobile has inventory on Getac rugged devices and can ship out in 48 hours? Three different Getac devices are in stock and ready to ship, the Getac V110 convertible laptop, F110 rugged tablet and S410 semi-rugged laptop. These rugged computers are three of the most popular computers manufactured by Getac with the most popular custom features on the market.

What to Shop for When Selecting a New Mobile Technology Solution

When you invest in technology to improve your business, you must be confident the investment will pay off in the end.

The public safety sector is on the forefront of real-time data use. The value of real-time data is almost immeasurable as having access to true, real-time data can save lives. Given this, the

The ideal best practice for every organization is to pilot a technology before procurement, but this is not always feasible and many budgets don’t allow for trial and error testing.

Talk to other agencies

How do you know what to shop for when selecting a new mobile technology solution? Group Mobile suggests choosing a mobile device that has the right feature set for your needs or will be able to fulfill all of your agency’s operational requirements in a single device. There is no reason to procure a device that falls short of your agency’s needs. Also, finding a solutions integrator who fully understands all elements of your organization from pre-deployment, deployment and post-deployment professional services. 

When it comes to mobile technology deployments, Group Mobile knows the road. Many mid-size cities, towns and counties have similar workflows and, therefore, similar mobile device requirements.

Before buying, do your research and talk with other agencies that mirror yours. Set up a call with them or meet with them in person to understand the lessons they’ve learned in their mobile journey. You’ll find that agencies are always willing to help another agency and give you an honest assessment.

What to look for

This portfolio list of options will help you focus your requirements and conduct a full analysis of your own current technology portfolio to make early decisions regarding:

  • Operating system preference: The applications you choose will drive your OS decision. Most public safety agencies choose to run Windows for compatibility and security. Though there are new applications arriving on the Android platform today that may benefit some organizations. Fortunately, fully rugged Android tablets are now available.
  • Mobile data and mobile device security: This may include VPN access, multi-factor authentication, fingerprint readers, Common Access Card (CAC) readers, TPM, Kensington physical locks and other internal and external measures.
  • Data entry tools: Do you need the flexibility of keyboard and touch for data entry? Do you need a digitizer pen (which is much more accurate than a stylus)?
  • Size and weight: Do you prefer a larger 10-12” screen for easy, full-page viewing of documents and apps? Or can you make do with a 5” screen? Can your techs juggle a 5+ pound notebook and patient care in the field? Or do they need a more lightweight 2-4-pound solution?
  • Wired and wireless connectivity: How many I/O ports do you need? Which I/O ports do you need? Will your teams have access to Wi-Fi hotspots all the time, or do they need multiple wireless network and ancillary device connectivity options such as 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, IP, Gobi 3000
  • Rugged requirements: Which MIl-STD-810G and Ingress Protection (IP) rating levels are enough – and how much is too much? It depends on how often your mobile device will be exposed to water, dust, humidity, or corrosive elements, for example, and how prevalent shock or vibration will be in the vehicle. Will the device be used in potentially explosive environments? Make sure it’s also ATEX or C1D2/C1Z2 compliant for Hazardous Locations.

Impediments to true public safety mobility – inappropriate form-factors, fragile devices, heavy notebooks, weak data radios, limited mobile workflow software – are a thing of the past. The decision to go mobile today is just that – a decision to go mobile. Real-time information, streamlined reporting and constant communication make your service to the community faster, better and safer.

Make smart, near-term buys to lay a foundation for a full mobility solution with long-term return on investment. That may be just a handful of rugged tablets to power a new dispatch system. But it gives you time to fine tune your solution, define next best steps, and measure ROI.

One of the most challenging elements of implementing or upgrading a technology solution is achieving the return on investment. When you invest in technology to improve your business, you must be confident the investment will pay off in the end. It is critical you reach the maximum benefits in the time frame desired for your new technology solution. Group Mobile will identify the benefits available to your company based on a return on investment mobility model, and deliver technology solutions and services to ensure a successful outcome.

Group Mobile’s team of industry experts can assist you in selecting, designing and implementing a multi-network environment for mission-critical fleets, request a free personalized quote.

Group Mobile Launches New Microsite Dedicated to Xplore Products!

The Xplore powered by Group Mobile microsite also offers pages dedicated to vertical market industries that require rugged mobile computing solutions. 

Group Mobile has launched a new microsite dedicated to Xplore Technologies maker of industrial rugged tablets for customers in Energy, Utilities, Manufacturing and Distribution, Public Safety, Field Services, Transportation, and Military sectors for more than 20 years. This microsite will provide Xplore customers with a faster and more flexible way to shop for Xplore rugged tablets and accessories online. The Xplore powered by Group Mobile microsite also offers pages dedicated to vertical market industries that require rugged mobile computing solutions.

Visit buyxplore.com and enjoy a limited-time 15% discount on XSLATE R12 award winning, fully rugged tablet! The Xplore XSLATE R12 is a highly mobile, extremely flexible and always resilient tablet PC. The transformational two-in-one device gives you all the high performance capabilities and complete computing functions you need in a single platform. You’ll have the right connectivity and ergonomics for a quick transition from the field to a full desktop computing experience – and the most conveniently stored rugged keyboard on the market. With a highly responsive pen and touch input capabilities, magnetically-attached Companion Keyboard, adaptable form factor, and customized mounting options, this powerful rugged XSLATE R12 tablet gives all of your workers the flexibility to quickly and comfortably complete any task at hand no matter what working condition they face.

See why people are talking about this award winning Xplore XSLATE R12 tablet.

Visit https://BuyXplore.com to learn more about the Xplore rugged tablets Group Mobile offers.

How to Guarantee Your Agency Will Have In-Vehicle Connectivity and Ensure Success for Mission Critical Applications

A multi-network concept refers to any setup that provides the vehicle with more than one network connection, meaning, there can be a mix of technologies onboard ranging from cellular and Wi-Fi to LMR, satellite, or new formats as they come online, such as the FirstNet network for public safety.

Technology in the squad car is advancing every day which means staying on top of the best IT advances can be a huge challenge for any department.  Video surveillance, license plate recognition (ALPR), electronic ticketing systems and the latest vehicle dispatching and tracking technologies enable officers to safely cover more area, and coordinate with other officers and agencies. Today’s police officers, paramedics, firefighters, utility workers, transit operators, and other public safety workers rely on advanced mobile applications, such as automatic vehicle location, traffic signal prioritization, computer aided dispatch, route and schedule management, and fare payment systems that increase productivity and improve safety.

The main point of access for these applications is often from the vehicle, because it’s equipped with onboard wireless connectivity and transmits and receives data on a nearly continual basis. In-vehicle connectivity has become customary, with first responders and field service personnel driving cars, vans, and trucks equipped with a network connection that provides convenient access to voice, text, and video data.  However, if the vehicle has only one onboard connection, the setup involves a certain amount of risk. Any issues with network coverage, bandwidth, or usage can mean delayed communications or, worse yet, no communications at all. Losing the onboard connection can have extreme consequences, and can even mean the difference between life and death. How do you reduce this risk?  By adding at least one more onboard network connection you can greatly reduce this risk. An alternative connection – to a secondary cellular network or some other format, such as Wi-Fi or satellite – creates a layer of insurance. When the primary connection isn’t up to the task, the alternate connection can be brought online to keep communications intact. Having two or more available connections onboard the vehicle, or “multi-networking”, protects against worst-case scenarios, and increases resilience for emergency response and other in-field services.

So, what is involved in a multi-network concept? A multi-network concept refers to any setup that provides the vehicle with more than one network connection, meaning, there can be a mix of technologies onboard ranging from cellular and Wi-Fi to LMR, satellite, or new formats as they come online, such as the FirstNet network for public safety. A multi-network router installed in the vehicle is used to manage the switches from network to network. So, when are these typical network changeovers? Changeovers usually happen at three points of operation: When leaving the depot and transitioning from Wi-Fi to cellular, when returning to the depot and transitioning back from cellular to Wi-Fi, and while the vehicle is in motion, with the router switching from one network to another to optimize in-field connectivity.

With the right multi-network solution in place, changeovers from one network to another can happen automatically without any kind of manual intervention, and the necessary security protocols are maintained without interrupting the flow of work, even when there’s a VPN (Virtual Private Network) involved. Furthermore, the selection criteria for each network connection can be customized, based on things such as vehicle location, vehicle speed, or the type of data being transmitted. The overall result is more efficient network usage, more effective field services and lower operating costs. Law enforcement and other organizations are now using more video, and at a higher resolution. The video is typically stored in the vehicle and then transmitted to the backend system at periodic intervals. The mobile router can be configured to use a dedicated link to send video, so the data-intensive video transmissions don’t disrupt or slow down the other services in use. Alternatively, the router can be configured to send video transmissions when the vehicle returns to its home base, using the depot’s faster, more secure Wi-Fi connection to transfer video. Now, how to choose the right mobile router for your workforce to ensure connectivity in the field.

The operating costs and in-field effectiveness of a multi-network platform are heavily influenced by the ability of the router to manage seamless network changeovers and protect data. The router’s switching speed, security features, and programmability all affect how well the solution performs, and how much it costs to manage. It’s important to consider all these factors when evaluating the various options available for mobile multi-networking.

Transitioning to a multi-network environment is a serious undertaking. To maximize your return on investment and fully realize the benefit to your organization we recommend three things to look for in a multi-network mobile router:

  1. Switching speeds that are fast enough to support seamless connectivity.
  2. The ability to provide continuous security without impacting performance.
  3. A policy engine that can be configured for intelligent switching and customized operation.

Choosing a mobile router that meets all three criteria lets you create a multi-networking environment that not only enhances efficiency but also adds value. Group Mobile works closely with Sierra Wireless to offer the world a comprehensive offering of hardware, software, and services for connected devices and machine-to-machine communications. Together, Group Mobile and Sierra Wireless provide innovative, reliable and high performing solutions.

Group Mobile’s team of industry experts can assist you in selecting, designing and implementing a multi-network environment for mission-critical fleets, request a free personalized quote.

A Durable Tablet for the Warehouse Floor — The Xplore Bobcat Fully Rugged Tablet!

The Xplore Bobcat will bring real value to applications in markets such as field service, public safety, manufacturing, warehousing, transportation, distribution, and wherever a tablet is a more suitable choice than a laptop.

Whether you need to protect your data, your workers or both, ultra-portable, fully rugged Xplore Bobcat tablet will prove its worth. This Xplore Bobcat rugged tablet will power all of your complex warehouse and manufacturing operations while on the move, including a forklift mount for ease of use when mobile.

The Xplore Bobcat fully rugged tablet is ideal for warehouse management including:

  • Supply Chain Management
  • Asset Tracking via RFID
  • Barcode Scanner-based Inventory Management
  • Inventory Quality Inspection and Damage Documentation
  • Warehouse Maintenance and Repairs
  • Work Order Management for Packing, Shipping and Receiving

The Xplore Bobcat features a Kensington Lock Slot, a broad range of I/O ports and optional NFC, Smart Card reader, Fingerprint Scanner and CAC/Smart Card Reader safeguards.  This tough Xplore tablet ensures only authorized personnel gain access to your most sensitive data. The Xplore Bobcat will bring real value to applications in markets such as field service, public safety, manufacturing, warehousing, transportation, distribution, and wherever a tablet is a more suitable choice than a laptop.

The Xplore Bobcat is powered by the latest Intel Quad Core 1.9GHz processor, 4GB RAM, and a 128GB solid state drive. The Bobcat offers a full suite of enterprise tools for any application. Integrated options for CAC, NFC, fingerprint scanner, and 1D/2D scanner, give the Bobcat the flexibility to meet exact user needs. A multi-modal communications suite, including 802.11ac WLAN, Bluetooth, GPS, and optional 4G LTE mobile broadband, enables real-time data transfer and uninterrupted communications for field workers.

Contact one of Group Mobile’s trusted technology advisors to get a personalized quote today.