Not All Rugged is Created Equal

The choices made by businesses are often determined by necessity. In instances where the work to be done is mostly out in the elements instead of in an office environment, the equipment will need to stand up to the unpredictable challenges that weather and outdoor job requirements can impose.” An increasingly mobile workforce has driven up the requirement and demand for ruggedized technology. Plenty of technology suppliers will build hardware and call it “rugged”, but many buyers out there need to ask themselves what is the standard by which “rugged” is measured?

There is no universal agreement on the standardization of rugged. However, a recent whitepaper sets out “Everything you need to know about rugged tablet and laptop claims” based on the exacting standards of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). In short, the DoD developed the MIL-STD-810 Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests (Mil-Spec), that simulate how a piece of equipment will operate under a variety of stressors and environmental conditions. Once a device passes the latest iteration of MIL-STD-810G specifications, it is approved for use by all departments and agencies of the United States DoD.

Understanding Mil-Spec testing is the first step in selecting the highest quality, most reliable rugged device for your needs. There are dozens of different simulations as part of Mil-Spec that test a device’s durability, but there are a few very important ones that buyers of mobile computers should pay special attention to. Customers that are armed with the key questions they should be asking are best positioned to understand the product they are investing in.

When evaluating products, look beyond the spec sheet. Some products are described as “rugged” and have been built to look hardwearing without meeting any type of standard, while others claim to meet Mil-Spec but have never been rigorously tested. .

There are wide range of questions that buyers need to ask suppliers regarding a claim of “rugged”. With so many different aspects to ruggedization, and so many types of rugged mobile devices on the market, it is important to understand how a device will stand up to the intended use environment.

To learn more about the standardization of rugged and the questions to ask, read the full whitepaper. For more information on Panasonic’s rugged computers and tablets, visit