A field-service-targeted rugged tablet, developed using the principle of "marginal gains" - an approach adopted by Britain's all-conquering Olympic cycling team - has been launched by rugged technology designer and manufacturer Getac.
The Getac RX10 is a lightweight tablet with features aimed at shaving minutes off field service worker tasks, meaning more work can be done, more reliably, resulting in increased time efficiency in a number of challenging working environments.
"The RX10 is a rugged tablet designed by the same team who have designed some of the world's most effective critical working environment technology - military and oil & gas to name just two - but also healthcare equipment designed to help keep people alive," said Peter Molyneux, President of Getac in the UK.
"On the face of it, RX10 is marginally better an offering than current-market specialist tablet products. But that's the key, it doesn't need to be that much different. It is the slight changes and enhancements in each feature over and above the current benchmark that make the difference, and means that workers dependent upon such technology can accrue a series of 'marginal gains' in time as their day goes on - ultimately adding up to completing more work in a typical shift, thereby saving money.
"If every feature contributes to an accrued tiny percentage improvement or gain in performance of a worker from a time-efficiency perspective, then it means, for instance, a single engineer, technician or logistics professional using a tablet on a typical - but probably unscheduled - ten-hour shift will gain five or six minutes. That may not seem a great deal, but across the day, the week, the year, it adds up. A great deal can be accomplished by somebody in the field in six minutes: an equipment check, surveying a snag, uploading a report, a key component change.
"It's all down to the marginal gains thought-through technology can deliver. For instance, the 3D antenna in a Getac tablet means communication and data downloading is slightly faster; it also means that communication can be sustained in areas where coverage is patchy. That it has a role-specific processor means it does not need a cooling fan. That means less draw on power, but, importantly, avoiding the consequences of the tablet overheating and shutting down for ten minutes. Such attention to detail is a sign of design excellence.
"Even its 'grab and go' handle - key in interrupted working environments - means less time-consuming fumbling or fewer potentially damage-causing drops if somebody has to stop what they're doing and take off on an unscheduled repair emergency. It all adds up: dependability, reliability and the confidence it instils means it becomes an enabler. RX10 is designed for the sector after consultation with the sector.
"Across the board, the RX10 will significantly outperform consumer-based products, which, while they may well be protected by rugged cases, simply do not have the performance of a built-for-purpose tablet such as RX10."
More background, and specification
"While rugged tech is often labelled expensive, in reality the gap is closing between something like RX10 and a consumer-market adapted tablet with rugged case. We offer a three-year warranty on a product designed to withstand and shrug off a drop from four feet. A consumer market tablet can offer neither of those reassurances," said Molyneux.
"If we look at day-to-day use in the field, then that extra few metres of communications provided by the 3D ariel can mean better coverage or faster data flow. Aligned with discrete built-in GPS that can mean a field-service operative is better able to locate equipment or infrastructure on a site visit. If it is an emergency repair, then that could impact, for instance, how quickly a building, industrial plant or even a town is reconnected to essential services.
"There are also the considerations of, for instance, a superior 2D barcode scanner and a more logical location of it in the RX10, the slightly lighter weight, the 'LifeSupport' hot-swappable battery - allowing battery replacement without ever shutting down applications or the Windows OS - plus better screen clarity, slightly better camera resolution, higher rugged rating, slightly better ease of cleaning, higher IP65 rugged rating, it all adds up.
"The principle of marginal gain - looking at and improving each individual component of equipment and human performance by even the smallest amount - wins major sporting accolades.
"But crucial is the DNA of Getac and its influence upon the RX10. We have a long pedigree of designing and manufacturing some of the world's best military and oil & gas industry rugged laptops and tablets which defy the challenges presented by the most extreme of critical working environments, delivering strong performance and reliability when it is vital, because Getac pushes boundaries in design, and offers the latest technology and materials."
The RX10 Field Service, which weighs 1.2kg and is 18.8mm x 280mm x 245mm, comes with Windows 10 pre-installed, features a hot-swappable battery, a 10.1" 800 nits screen Lumibond HD screen with sunlight readable technology, 1D/2D barcode reader, smartcard reader, kickstand, optional detachable keyboard, Intel M vPro processor with up to 1.2Ghz, or 2.9Ghx with Intel Turbo Boost, 4MB Intel Smart Cache, up to 256MB SSD, HD webcam and 8M pixel rear facing auto focus camera; It has MIL-STD-810G and IP65 certification; four feet drop resistance; vibration resistance; operating temperature -21°C to 55°C; storage -40°C to 71°C.