How to Choose a Tablet Computer for Enterprise Use

October 16, 2020 Sam Liao, Chief Technology Officer, Winmate Inc.

The global tablet market has been growing over the last few years. Enterprises are rapidly adopting mobility solutions to improve business operations. With enterprise-grade tablets, workers stay connected all day. They could access enterprise systems for updates and communicate across the network.

Yet, in harsh conditions like a warehouse, field services, or a manufacturing facility where dust, rain, and extreme cold are a factor, consumer devices may not be the best choice, they’re too fragile. If someone drops that tablet on the ground several times per day, it's either headed for repair or replacement — which means downtime and cost. Data security is another concern when using a consumer-grade tablet.

When many industries adopt mobile devices for workforces, a critical decision to make is whether to choose rugged enterprise-grade hardware, or consumer-grade technology. This decision is essential. When selecting the right device, organizations should consider the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), and the long-term cost of tablets. The purchase of rugged devices cost more up front, but have a longer life span in enterprise environments. Choosing a suitable mobile device for workflow, and the environment in which it will be performed, is the key to success. Doing so reduces the risk of a failed or poorly performing mobile solution that disrupts workflow productivity and increases the overall cost of ownership.

Some Tips on Choosing Enterprise-Grade Tablet

Choosing the best portable tablet for business is not easy. But, you have countless options. After all, you need a device to be durable, secure, robust, light, and capable of lasting through a long workday.

Define your basic requirements

Every option starts with the basic requirements. First, you should define the necessary product specifications, including screen size, operating system (Windows, Android, or Linux), usage scenario, and price range. When you have basic requirements on hand, you can dig deeper into the usage scenario to understand how exactly the devices are intended to be used. In the end, you will have to choose the device wisely to provide a good balance between portability and productivity.

Choosing a tablet for enterprise use

Use a device that is designed for your work environment. When selecting the right solution, only compare specs that matter to you. For industrial applications, several features matter like IP rating, drop and vibration resistance, battery life longevity, and data capture capabilities. But do not be mislead by the numbers. For example, a higher IP rating does not necessarily mean that it is better for performing tasks in your application. Generally, the higher the score, the better the protection. The choice of protection level, IP65 or IP67, depends on the needs of your application.

Consider available accessories for your application

Accessories can add flexibility and utility to your handheld device. You must consider options like a charging dock, carry-case, stylus, and vehicle mount solution. Keep in mind the end-user application scenario. Consider whether the tablet will be installed in the vehicle and occasionally used for data collection, or carried by the worker around the site. Then narrow down your choices by looking at available add-ons for the devices you are considering.

Think of how to manage tablets deployed in the field

Next, it is crucial to consider the maintenance plan for all the devices deployed within the organization. You can consider SOTIMobicontrol or any other mobile device management (MDM) solution that suits your business needs. Most MDM solutions allow managing the policies and features of data and apps, such as encryption, PIN enforcement, and remote wipe. IT should be aware of which MDM product supports its organization's fleet of tablets.

Do your research

Before the purchase, ask the expert or contact the reliable manufacturer to learn more about the product details, gather test reports, and choose the right fit for your rugged application. Make your choice wisely and find a reliable device that will not only last long, but perform in harsh conditions. Remember that consumer tablets were not built for tough environments, and most likely do not offer the range of functional accessories that these industrial applications demand.

But, even if you choose the most suitable rugged device, simply buying a tablet and deploying it business operations is not a case. After the purchase, you need to support these devices and manage them effectively for years to come. You would ideally want to choose the partner who can supply the tablets if it is broken, provide accessories you need at the right price, and can work with you to successfully deploy the new devices across your business. Winmate, a rugged computing and embedded solutions provider for industries operating in some of the most challenging environments, offers enterprise-grade tablet computers rugged on the outside, powerful on the inside. They are engineered to work in challenging environments. Ready to perform tasks anytime, anywhere.

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