Tough Jobs in the Public Sector Need Tough Devices

Whether it’s law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency medical services, public works, or social services, public sector organizations have one thing in common: helping and protecting the public. Public sector employees must be able to be productive and communicate effectively, securely and quickly, from any location, at any time, in all types of situations. And many public sector workers do their jobs in dangerous, hazardous, or time-critical situations.

This is why many public sector organizations rely so heavily on mobile devices, and why most opt for rugged devices that can withstand extreme heat, vibration, drops, moisture and other hazards. And since these organizations work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year on their mobile devices, having rugged mobile devices purpose-built for longevity is critical. 

Law Enforcement Mobile Technology Needs

Law enforcement officers rely heavily on rugged smartphones, tablets, and notebooks. According to a recent survey from, law enforcement professionals consider ruggedness and the ability to endure harsh environments the most important feature for mobile devices. Law enforcement professionals routinely use rugged devices both inside their vehicles—usually mounted in a dock—and by hand. Mounted rugged units allow officers to access criminal databases, issue citations, and interact with computer-aided dispatch systems, while handheld units provide secure connectivity and functionality for security and crowd control.

First Responder Mobile Technology Needs

Fire and rescue teams rely on water- and dust-resistant units with outdoor-viewable touchscreens to access and capture information, communicate situational information and complete inspections. Like law enforcement, fire and rescue teams need mountable, shock- and vibration-resistant 2 in 1 laptop devices that are detachable for handheld use, or they need separate rugged mobile tablet or handheld units.

And EMS crews never know what situations they will encounter when arriving at the scene of an accident or disaster. Rugged mobile devices with integrated antennae modules and shock-mounted hard drives that can withstand vibrations and shocks help ensure that they will be able to reach dispatch and access and communicate critical patient data with medical facilities. Spill-resistant devices that can be regularly sanitized with disinfectant wipes also help ensure that bodily fluids don’t disrupt operation of the units.

Other Public Sector Mobility Needs

While law enforcement, fire and rescue, and EMS organizations may be the most obvious users of rugged mobile devices, other public services agencies can also benefit from rugged capabilities:

Code enforcement, property appraisers, and public works: Code Enforcement departments and their staff are out daily in the community at job sites, in homes, or at commercial buildings doing inspections and appraisals using work orders, recording results, and updating records.  Public works employees do everything from trimming trees, plowing snow, cleaning public spaces and patching roads, often in inclement weather. By outfitting these staff members or public works employees with rugged mobile devices, productivity, safety and delivery of public services can drastically improve.

Transportation departments/fleet maintenance: Whether it’s keeping a fleet of city trucks or county air patrol helicopters maintained, fleet maintenance can be difficult and dirty work. With sealed, rugged mobile devices that repel nearly everything from liquid to grease and can withstand drops, however, fleet maintenance workers can accurately track vehicle maintenance, order parts, and update schedules in real-time to improve efficiency.

In addition to needing rugged devices with the ability to withstand the elements, public sector organizations have something else in common—the need to keep costs in line. Return on Investment (ROI) is particularly important for public sector organizations, which are accountable to the public for what they spend. That’s another reason why so many public sector organizations have turned to rugged mobile devices; they tend to be much more durable—and longer lasting—than standard mobile devices. Research from IDC backs this up; according to a recent report, organizations can achieve ROI for rugged notebooks within two years and for rugged tablets and smartphones after one year.

Read case studies of how Panasonic Toughbook rugged mobility solutions have helped public safety teams provide critical services in their communities and cities.