The Future of Tablets in the Automotive Market

As auto manufacturers increase the technological complexity of their vehicles, auto mechanics will have to become more tech savvy to keep up with the changing industry landscape. Repair shops are heavily reliant on skilled labor for diagnosis and repair processes. Employees within the industry are required to have a thorough understanding of advanced technology as cars are now built with complex electronic systems and computers.

According to Strategy Analytics, a total of 66.9 million tablets shipped worldwide in 2011. This represents a 260 percent growth from 18.6 million tablets shipped in 2010. In the automotive space, tablets can be especially useful for service advisors and service bay technicians. Service advisors can use tablets to interact with customers in the shop front and provide up to date information on parts availability and vehicle status as well as present visual displays of design options. Service bay technicians utilize tablets on the shop floor to aid in vehicle diagnostics and workflow management.

However, there are several considerations that automotive shops must take into consideration for tablet computing including ergonomics, battery life, durability and security. If an automotive professional is going to carry a device all day, it needs to be lightweight and easy to hold for long periods of time. Panasonic has designed a variety of “hand-free” ergonomic straps and dome hand support system that cradle the hand for comfortable long-term use.  Batteries should last around 10 hours and also come with field serviceable batteries that can be replaced. We also recommend that automotive professionals look for tablets with MIL-STD-810G ratings for drops as well as ingress protection ratings for resistance to dust and water. Enterprise-class mobile computing requires an enhanced level of device security that isn’t available in today’s consumer tablets.

Some rugged tablets offer an easy-to-use dual touchscreen functionality, which helps workers go from using touch to capture signatures or select data with a stylus.  Tablets that are ideal for service advisors will be supported by an eco-system that includes an enterprise-focused app store, peripherals, developer tools and development support.

You can find more information on tablets for the automotive market in a Panasonic webinar presented by Ward’s Auto online here. You can ask questions in the webinar console or leave comments in the section below.