Rugged Mobile Computers Built Kiwi Tough

Don’t judge a country’s work ethic by its size. New Zealand, a small island country well known for its Maori origin and scenic landscapes, takes business just as seriously as any larger nation, and government officials don’t have time to deal with tools that limit productivity potential.

At the Wanganui District Council (WDC), Information Services Group Manager Jason Simons manages a team that conducts a range of outdoors activities for the community. In the past, they managed these activities with paper-based processes, resulting in substantial inefficiencies. After taking the digital plunge and initially testing off-the-shelf consumer tablets, the WDC quickly discovered these devices’ limitations, particularly when they tried to take the technology outside of the office.

“Tablets have become very useful tools in the workplace as they allow applications and technology to easily go with personnel in the field,” said Simons. “However, for many Council activities, you need something which is capable of handling knocks, drops, spills and splashes – and, while it may not seem a major issue, you really do need something that can be viewed clearly outside.” Rugged computers with sunlight-viewable screens allow workers to take their devices outside, confident that any glare from the sun won’t affect their ability to get work done on-the-go.

While they may be a higher initial investment, the long-term cost of rugged computers is negligible when compared to the value they add to the organization. “The acquisition cost isn’t at all high,” says Simons. “For example, an iPad is a great consumer device, but it’s not suitable for the field. When you’re out working on sites, you need something that can take a knock and perform.”

Additional factors to consider when investing in a rugged computer are the device’s feature set. Having the capability to capture images and use integrated GPS not only creates a more convenient all-in-one device, but eliminates the costs that would go into purchasing those additional accessories.

Simons says that after switching to the Toughpad FZ-G1, his organization has benefited from a device that can provide “greater efficiency, improved convenience and computing that meets the needs of the business. User experience is key and this package delivers. It is, in effect, a complete desktop that you can carry into the field.” Choosing a rugged computer with RAM, processing power and SSD drive capacity comparable to that of a desktop PC means staff are essentially equipped with one device that can serve in multiple environments – both at a workstation and out in the field.

As we have seen with New Zealand, as well as with rugged mobile computing solutions, the productivity and durability of an entity should not be judged by its size. Looks like great things can come in small packages.

To learn more about Panasonic’s rugged tablets can be utilized in government environments, visit