The Next Generation of Purpose-Built Rugged Tablets

The past two years have seen a massive influx of tablet devices in the enterprise space. IDC predicts overall global unit shipments of tablets in 2011 will be 53.5 million units. The iPad’s popularity has created great demand for the tablet form factor and caused many enterprises to start thinking about how they can implement non-traditional laptops into their workforce.

According to a survey conducted by Mobile Enterprise and The 451 Group in February 2011, “drivers for enterprise use of tablets include mobilizing business processes, improving customer responsiveness, increasing levels of collaboration, increased competitiveness, improving sales, and note-taking at meetings.”

In the rugged tablet space, companies are looking for a single device to record and access critical data in the field.  Integrated features like cameras, barcode scanners, GPS, and RFID readers are becoming tools that can significantly enhance efficiency and productivity. The integration of these technologies into handheld tablet computers allows mobile workers to carry a single device, when in the past they may have needed several. From an IT management perspective, this means fewer devices to manage and a single point of contact for support issues.

As sensitive mobile data is a growing reality, passwords aren’t enough protection for many customers in the healthcare, enterprise and government space. Integrated fingerprint scanners are now common as biometric authentication is a growing trend. Smartcard readers are a newer security feature that customers are beginning to demand. The use of smartcard readers is common in government and healthcare industries and a trend that is catching on in the enterprise space as well.

Panasonic has been building Windows tablet form factors for a number of years, beginning with the Toughbook 18, then Toughbook 19 convertible tablets and more recently the H1 Health/H1 Field and C1. Long ago, Panasonic recognized the need to design purpose-built devices for workers who spend a significant amount of time walking with a PC – and often in harsh environments.

As a result, Panasonic designed its tablets to be lightweight and ergonomic in design (handles, straps, etc) to offer workers the most portable and functional products. It was also critical that these tablets have sunlight viewable screens as well as offer protection against foul weather. Touchscreen capabilities allow workers to easily input punch lists and other field data, while an integrated stylus enables signature capture on site. We see a greater demand for features like hot swappable batteries, which allow for virtually limitless use, eliminating down time. The integrated and security features were also a big contributor to the success of the H1, as they allowed organizations to maximize their return on investment through enhanced productivity and streamlined device management.

Customers in healthcare, government and enterprise markets embraced the Toughbook H1 Health and H1 Field for these reasons. Bates County Memorial Hospital, located in Butler, Missouri, has deployed more than 45 H1 Health tablets across its facility to provide nurses immediate access to medical and patient records at the point of care. Bates chose the tablet and touchscreen form factor as it allowed clinicians to monitor patient conditions and vital signs at bedside while integrating with its electronic medical record (EMR) system for patient forms and authorization. You can watch how Matsushita Memorial Hospital in Japan utilizes the H1 Health here.

Our new Toughbook H2 extends this level of portability and functionality and offers mission-critical workers enhanced performance and versatility.  This next-generation tablet includes an enhanced processor, increased RAM and hard drive capacity, I/O ports and improved outdoor viewability through the use of Panasonic’s TransflectivePlus technology.

The Toughbook H2 forwards Panasonic’s mission to design purpose-built devices. This handheld tablet fulfills a need by providing mobile professionals a fast, versatile and reliable Windows tablet computer. The H2 offers customers fully-rugged durability while providing the same level of industry-leading reliability –with a less than one percent annualized failure rate – as the Toughbook H1.