Design matters for the tech to work
Design matters for the tech to work
We have all seen the crazy internet videos of frustrated office workers smashing up their PC and throwing it across the office. Extreme, I know, but we have all felt the red mist begin to descend and our blood pressure start to rise when the technology doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. “I just want it to work” is the universal cry from everyone to the parcel delivery person, as they try to scan a barcode. In the end design matters. It doesn’t matter how smart the technology is, if someone hasn’t thought carefully about how it’s going to be used.
Let’s face it, there have been some ridiculous inventions over the years. One of my personal favourite Instagram accounts is Unnecessary Inventions that's dedicated to creating weird and wonderful gadgets that no one really needs. It was featured on Pocket Lint recently and some classics caught my eye. Airsticks – Ear buds with chopsticks attached??? The Pillow One S – A bed in a box for your smartphone, well it deserves a good night’s charge! And last but not least, the Hoverbrella – an umbrella/drone hybrid that keeps you dry but hands-free. They may actually have something there!
Design is one of the reasons I am so proud of the latest Panasonic TOUGHBOOK S1. As a product manager, I know that ergonomics and design are the things that have helped make our rugged notebooks and tablets the market leaders and this latest device takes it one step further. The roles of today’s mobile workers are so varied that the future of mobile computing has to be in devices that are tailored and that can be adapted for specific tasks. The modern mobile worker deserves a mobile computing device designed for their everyday needs – not just another consumer tablet in a hardcase with all the potential problems they bring.
The TOUGHBOOK S1 tablet is the ultimate rugged Android™ tablet for the truly mobile worker. It’s been designed for use in the hands of security and police forces patrolling the streets, technicians monitoring production lines, field services engineers carrying out inspections and maintenance or construction workers on site.
Every aspect of the device has been considered with this type of mobile worker in mind. First of all it’s ergonomically designed and lightweight (426 g). With or without a handstrap it fits conveniently and comfortably in one-hand for use over long periods of time. Users tell us that the ability to hold in one-hand for long periods is essential, so that the other can be used for data input or for other essential tasks as they move around for their job.
Secondly, tech for mobile professionals needs to be used in all weather conditions. So no more squinting to see the screen. The outdoor readable display is easy to use with a market-leading brightness of up to 500 cd/m² and enhanced anti-reflection technology ensuring clarity in the brightest sunlight. Rainy days and the need to remove safety gloves are also problems of the past because of its effective rain-mode and glove-enabled touch screen. For those needing to capture signatures or complete reports or forms, there is an optional stylus pen that is accurate and easy to use.
Another major frustration for mobile workers is battery life. There is nothing worse than having to stop what you are doing to recharge or swap devices. To ensure this new rugged tablet can work as long as any shift, it is equipped with a simple click and switch design for “warm swapping” batteries. A warm swap means that you don’t need to interrupt work and power down the device or remove fiddly panels to change batteries. You just switch the batteries and by using the extended battery the device can operate for up to 14 hours on a single charge.
Even with its ergonomic and lightweight design, the tablet still has all the protection required for a device being used in all types of conditions. This device has been designed to withstand the extremes of weather and all the knocks and scrapes that an active mobile worker is likely to throw at it. It’s fully rugged - meaning a dust and water protection rating of IP65/67, tested to MIL-STD-810H and to withstand drops of up to 150cm onto concrete.
Lastly, it’s flexible and convenient. There is a configurable gadget port offering combinations of barcode reader or additional USB port. A 13MP rear camera with flashlight and a front 5MP camera are ideal for capturing images to attach to reports and for video conference calls with colleagues. And the tablet shares key accessories with the older TOUGHBOOK L1 and A3 Android tablet ecosystem, such as batteries, cradles, docks and stylus pens, meaning no need to buy new ones.
There’s one last bonus for the IT administration teams too. The TOUGHBOOK S1 tablet is Android Enterprise-ready and comes bundled with the Panasonic COMPASS suite of Enterprise Management tools. The Complete Android Services and Security package offers everything a business needs to configure, deploy and manage its Panasonic rugged Android devices securely.
I’m not a betting man but I would put money on no-one experiencing the same frustrations with this latest TOUGHBOOK as the internet meme of the PC-smashing office worker.