Wanganui District Council has deployed a fleet of Panasonic Toughpad’s to their personnel in the field as Councils across New Zealand increasingly turn to rugged technology.
With the demanding outdoor nature of Council work, rugged technology has emerged with the growing deployment of Panasonic Toughbook and Toughpad products to key personnel, equipping them with devices capable of going anywhere Council staff do their work.
Richard Thomas, IT manager at the Central Hawke’s Bay District Council, explains why he believes tough technology is a better bet for outdoors work.
“We decided long ago that a ‘normal’ computer isn’t the best idea on, for example, a building site where you have to cope with dust, potential knocks and drops and other harsh characteristics of these environments,” he adds.
“Our Toughbooks have survived just that for over four years now with no trouble whatsoever.”
In Wanganui, Information Services Group Manager Jason Simons says tablets have become “very useful” tools in the workplace as they allow applications and technology to easily go with personnel in the field.
“However, for many Council activities,” he explains, “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.”
Tough tablet technology
Simons says Wanganui initially tested standard tablets but quickly found their limitations, particularly for what he calls ‘infrastructure areas’ – staff members tasked with building inspections and management of drains, roading and other council property.
But the flexibility, reliability and performance of the Toughpads has resulted in Wanganui expanding the use of the devices in its environment, Simons confirms.
“We’re moving through our field staff to see where Toughpads are the best tool for the job,” he adds.
“Wherever we have a need to either capture or retrieve information – and with Council a landlord and property manager, there are a lot of such environments – and whenever we have anyone in a truck or car or environment which isn’t nice and clean, then we look at deploying the Toughpad.
“These things are built tough and that means they last. Some are looked after better than others, but with the Toughpad, there are no breakages and that means no business process interruptions.”