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Rugged devices: Tough technology on the frontlines

Client Computing | Posted on June 7, 2016 by Joseph Byer

When the job gets tough, you need technology that can keep up. Insert: rugged devices. For working environments that present excessive motion, extreme weather, harsh temperatures and exposure to various elements, a rugged notebooks will provide key defence on the frontlines. Their design is focused entirely on withstanding these conditions, which may include everything from their external housing to their internal components and cooling arrangements, too.

What is a rugged device?

For simplicity, let’s focus on three types of rugged technology. These include semi-rugged, fully-rugged and ultra-rugged. These levels outline a rugged notebook’s ability to withstand various impacts and elements.

Semi-rugged. These devices can be best described as enhanced versions of typical, everyday hardware. While the features remain the same, they’re better protected. This may include thicker casing, a gel-mounted hard drive and water resistance.

Fully-rugged. These devices are designed (both inside and out) to function in extreme temperatures, to withstand impact, and to resist water and dust. They may be built with a solid state hard drive—one that has no moving parts, and runs cool without needing a fan.

Ultra-rugged. These devices often meet detailed specifications for military use. They are built to withstand the harshest environments, including sandstorms, freezing temperatures, heavy precipitation and even space travel.

Why get a rugged device?

The following features—in varying degrees (depending on the levels discussed above)—contribute to the durability of a rugged notebook.

Shock resistance. This indicates how much shock load the device can withstand while still maintaining its functionality.

Water resistance. This is a measure of the device’s performance following exposure to water and moisture.

Dust resistance. Most rugged notebooks are designed to dispel heat without the use of fans, which can collect dust and dirt. Instead, heat is released through the device’s casing.

Vibration resistance. When on the go or used alongside heavy machinery, rugged notebooks need to withstand heavy vibration.

Temperature resistance. With rugged notebooks often needing to perform in extreme temperatures, some devices can be equipped with a heater for operation in the cold. Further, software can assist in monitoring internal conditions resulting from the external temperature.

Where are rugged devices used?

Based on working environment, most typically, you’ll often find rugged notebooks on the job in the following industries:

  • Military and government – armed services, defense contractors, intelligence sector, homeland security and field agencies
  • Emergency response – search and rescue, disaster aid and relief
  • Field services and sales – energy sector and utilities, insurance, retail and shop floor, forestry and park services
  • Industrial applications – manufacturing, oil and gas, transportation and warehousing
  • Public safety and first responders – police, law enforcement, fire departments, paramedics and ambulance
  • Scientific research – geological survey, marine sciences

Considering a purchase?

If your technology is on the frontlines and needs to withstand harsh conditions, consider if rugged notebooks are the best option for you. Book an appointment with a Softchoice expert today to discuss the specific hardware needs that your business or industry is facing.

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