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.

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.

Can’t decide between a laptop and a tablet? Get both with a 2-in-1 Hybrid Laptop!

Two-in-one devices are a hybrid of a laptop and a tablet, for those who need the computing power of a laptop, yet the light weight and flexibility of a tablet.

Can’t decide between a rugged laptop or a rugged tablet? Get both with a 2-in-1! By now we all know that a two-in-one isn’t new. They have been around for a while, around 2013, and many companies are adopting them as their new standard and for good reason. Simply put, a 2-in-1 is a touch-optimized convertible-hybrid laptop or detachable-hybrid tablet with both a touch screen and a physical rugged keyboard, preferably rugged.

Whether it’s flipping around into presentation mode to turn a quick discussion into a quick showcase or going from laptop to tablet mode for quick video viewing, 2-in-1s are at their best in situations that you didn’t foresee, especially when out in the field.

Choosing between the regular laptops and the modern 2-in-1 types are very subjective and it completely depends on what industry you work in whether it be public safety, utilities, field service, warehousing or other. Two-in-one devices are a hybrid of a laptop and a tablet, for those who need the computing power of a laptop, yet the light weight and flexibility of a tablet. Here are a few of the main benefits of these versatile devices:

Lightweight

Often weighing in at only a few pounds, these devices allow you to complete the job without carrying around a heavy computer all day. For those with mobile jobs that require substantial travel by foot, or call for access to computing when away from a vehicle or computer stand, the ability to hold a device in one hand without straining your muscles is a huge energy-saver.

Rugged

Rugged two-in-one devices are purpose-built with flexibility and a long lifespan in mind. Manufacturers understand the need for hardy devices that can withstand substantial abuse throughout its working life, so there are many options for two-in-one devices that meet rugged certifications such as IP65, and MIl-STD-810G. All the devices mentioned here and many others we offer are fully rugged – meaning they are tested to military and industrial standards for ruggedness. This means you don’t have to worry about travel, the elements, or just tough working conditions taking the life out of your device. For mobile workers in rugged environments who need electronic access on a daily basis, this kind of reliability in harsh conditions is not optional, but necessary.

Mobile

For those workers traveling long distances in rugged environments, or spend most of their day inside of a vehicle, the ability to easily pack and transport electronic devices is extremely important. Many two-in-one devices retain all the mobility of a tablet, coming in astonishingly compact sizes. One example is the Getac V110, with a thickness of barely 1.3 inches. Devices like these are easily slipped into a pack or briefcase, while retaining all the computing power of a traditional laptop. And don’t worry about tossing it around – the Getac V110 and many other thin two-in-one devices are still fully rugged.

 Flexible

The beauty of two-in-ones is that they can function as both a laptop and a tablet — many have unique features that highlight this benefit. This notebook is lightweight and very versatile, allowing you to attach and detach the keyboard with only one hand. Detachable notebooks are an excellent choice for mobile computing, allowing workers to access a lightweight touch screen while on the go, all the while, still having access to a full keyboard when needed.

It’s easy to see why two-in-one devices are a popular choice for mobile workers in rugged environments, as these devices have all the benefits of a traditional computer or tablet but with the added bonus of a flexible form factor, rugged, fully mobile, and lightweight. To learn more about two-in-one devices, or for assistance in picking the best device for your needs, feel free to contact us. See our full list of featured rugged convertible two-in-one devices.

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.

Rugged laptops and rugged tablets are used in all branches of the military and for good reason. Rugged computers are able to withstand the intense heat and sand of the desert and can survive the bumps and jolts of an armored vehicle or naval vessel.

For every veteran and every active duty soldier and individual in military uniform — thank you. Thank you for the sacrifice you continue to make every day on our behalf. And for every family who’s lost a soldier due to service to their country — thank you. Thank you for your family member who’s made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. No words can ever express the debt we owe these brave men and women.

When your job takes you all over the world to unknown conditions, when every move you make is dependent on real-time intelligence and decision making capabilities, having a mobile device that is durable, dependable, and fast is an absolute necessity to power through every military operation. Group Mobile offers many different military grade computing options purposefully built to weather the burden of battlefield operating extremes — dust to water, bright sun to pitch black darkness, plus the rugged environment in military vehicles. 

Rugged laptops and rugged tablets are used in all branches of the military and for good reason. Rugged computers are able to withstand the intense heat and sand of the desert and can survive the bumps and jolts of an armored vehicle or naval vessel. Rugged computers have been tested according to military standards (MIL-STD 810F) and have daylight-viewable displays for in-field use. Some top features for military include:

  • Sunlight-viewable display
  • Protection against intense heat and sand
  • Protection against bumps and jolts
  • Military standards approved (MIL-STD 810F)

 

See some of Group Mobile’s top devices for military and homeland security.

5 Reasons You Need Rugged Technology as a Travel Nurse

Whether you’re a traveling nurse looking to upgrade your own mobile computer or a provider who is hoping to purchase rugged equipment for the entire staff of traveling nurses in your practice, it’s important to choose the right equipment for their daily needs to increase efficiency and effectiveness of patient care.

As a travel nurse working in healthcare, you have unique responsibilities and make unique demands of your mobile technology equipment. From your tablet or laptop computer to your phone or mobile printer, you need a rugged device to keep up with your strenuous environment. If you’re a travel nurse, there are several reasons why rugged technology is critical for everyday on-the-job responsibilities. Using a rugged healthcare tablet is the best way to ensure  your needs are met every day that you use your device.

  1. Your mobile laptop or tablet needs to be easy to clean. As a travel nurse, you can end up in a variety of locations. You don’t know whether the homes you’re in are clean or what you’ll be exposed to while you’re there, or what will end up on your equipment. With rugged technology, you can be rest assured it will be easy to clean your rugged device with alcohol or other tough cleaning chemicals.  Not only are rugged healthcare devices made from antimicrobial technology which will prevent bacteria and viruses from reproducing across their surfaces, they’re easy to wipe down and clean. This means no matter what kind of mess you encounter, you can simply clean your tablet and keep moving without any worry or concern of damaging the device especially after months or years of cleaning.
  2. Ergonomics are critical. As a travel nurse, you find yourself in a variety of uncomfortable positions. You need to be able to kneel down on the floor, support your patient, and often juggle other items in one hand while holding your tablet in the other. You need a balanced device with a handle or accessory specifically designed with ergonomics in mind, making it easier for you to use your device no matter what you’re doing with your patient. Many rugged tablets have easy to support hand straps and shoulder straps for ease of use.
  3. You need a device with drop protection. If you have a choice between a patient who is tipping dangerously toward the floor and your tablet, the choice is clear: you’re going to drop your tablet to catch your patient. Unfortunately, that can make for unfortunate accidents, as can kids, pets, and other individuals in the house while you’re caring for your patient. Drop protection will help protect your tablet from those types of accidents and ensure that you won’t have to replace your equipment if dropped.
  4. Vibration protection will keep your tablet running longer. Drop protection is great, and it’s a vital part of your needs. Vibration protection, however, is equally critical. As a travel nurse, you spend a large percentage of your day in your vehicle. This can spell mechanical disaster for your tablet over time as connections vibrate loose in the car. With a rugged tablet, on the other hand, those vibrations won’t bother your machine at all, it will hold up much better to your everyday travel requirements. Rugged tablets have many options for vehicle mounts which make the entry of information simple and easy while in and out of a vehicle.
  5. You need increased connectivity you can count on. You need access to your medical database and important patient information constantly, and you can’t count on a WiFi connection in your patients’ homes to provide it. With increased connectivity on your rugged healthcare tablet, on the other hand, you can have peace of mind that no matter what patient you’re working with, you’ll be able to easily access vital information about them. That means you won’t find yourself struggling to find the right information for your patient’s care at a critical moment.

Whether you’re a traveling nurse looking to upgrade your own mobile computer or a provider who is hoping to purchase rugged equipment for the entire staff of traveling nurses in your practice, it’s important to choose the right equipment for their daily needs to increase efficiency and effectiveness of patient care. If you’re ready to save money and make it easier to use healthcare tablets in the field, contact one of Group Mobile’s trusted technology advisers today. We’ll work with you to find the perfect device or devices to match your exact user requirements at a price you can afford.

Vehicle Mounting Solutions for Mobile Workers!

Vehicle mounts enable you to customize your fit and ergonomics to ensure you have the laptop or tablet in your vehicle when and where you need it.

For many public safety workers, their vehicle is their second home. And since we all live in the 21st century, reliable access to electronic communication devices is a must – not just to complete job requirements, but also to ensure continuous communication with coworkers and others, often for safety purposes. Whatever your communication device may be, having a reliable vehicle mounting solution is essential. Having a computer, cell phone, tablet or other device fall while driving or working and be inaccessible is not only inconvenient, but can significantly impact your workplace safety and efficiency. Here we’ll discuss some of the most popular vehicle mounting options for many public safety workers.

Gamber-Johnson Mounts 7160-0327_g1_thin

Consider installing a Gamber-Johnson mobile workstation in your vehicle. The right computer stand for mobile workers is one that securely mounts to the vehicle, provides flexibility for both passenger and driver to access the computer, and allows for the computer to be removed, if needed, to take on the job. A laptop mount for mobile workers should also be custom-built for the type and size of computer it will hold, to ensure a solid fit. Gamber-Johnson makes vehicle mounts for just about every vehicle on the market. If you’re a mobile professional and you frequently find yourself on your computer while in the driver’s seat, a vehicle mount, which includes a universal laptop tray, is a good option for holding your device inside your vehicle. Another great benefit to mounting your laptop in your vehicle is that you get a stronger GPS signal when integrating a GPS antenna. Gamber-Johnson offers a large assortment of mounting hardware, and accessories.

Havis Mountsc-hdm-176

Havis also supplies a huge range of mount options. Havis offers docking stations and cradles for specific electronics and car models, but they also have a unique offering of universal mounts:

  • Universal laptop mount. This mount can be used to access any laptop with a width of 11.5″ to 14.1″ and a thickness of 0.7″ to 1.2″. For departments with a variety of computer types, this would be a prudent purchase.
  • Universal tablet mount. Similar to the laptop mount, this universal tablet mount can accommodate any tablet with a width of 9.3″ to 11.2″ and a thickness of 0.6″ to 0.9″.

RAM Mountsram-vb-189-sw11

RAM offers the most extensive selection of vehicle-specific mounting solutions in the industry. These bases are engineered to conform to your vehicle interior and are constructed from high-quality steel. Installation is simple with the use of your existing passenger side seat leg bolts. Several adjustment points throughout the mount enable you to position your laptop in the most ergonomic and comfortable position possible. Some of those mounts include:

  • No Drill Mounts. There are many options for seamless integration of a vehicle mount into the RAM, using the passenger side seat rails. One example is the laptop mount for the Dodge RAM 1500 and 2500/3500, which offers telescoping features and dual swing arms.
  • Ergonomic Mounts. In addition to being no-drill, many mounts offer ergonomic features to ensure comfortable typing and laptop viewing from a car seat. One example is this Dodge Ram Mounting Kit, which is a laptop mount with a multi-adjustable swing arm.

As you can see, there’s no shortage of vehicle mounts for every possible make, model, and mobile computing device. Finding a durable and reliable vehicle mount is essential for the longevity and efficiency of your mobile office, so take your time finding the perfect mount for your needs. If you have any questions about the mounts discussed here or any other type of vehicle mount, or would like assistance in selecting the proper vehicle mount for your purposes, please feel free to contact us. We pride ourselves on providing trusted technology advice for all mobile workers.