This is part of a special series by Fairfax Business Media Asia previewing speakers at the CIO Summit 2012.
Amos Tio, general manager of Panasonic Toughbook Asia Pacific Group, talks about the attractions of Panasonic's "fortified" portable computing devices.
What are the key concerns of laptop computer users who work out in the field, apart from the usual factors like battery life, weight and hardware performance?
The other factors most field mobile computer users pay attention to are:
Ruggedness for mobile field computing, where the laptop is exposed to the elements or is used in situations where it may risk dropping from some height or in contact with water. One of the key requests from field workers is that their laptop be subjected to stringent Ingress Protection (IP) testing and rating. IP rating is developed by European Committee for Electro Technical Standardisation, specifying the level of protection an enclosure provides. The IP rating normally has two digits, e.g. IP22. The first digit (ranging from 0 to 6) indicates the level of protection that the enclosure provides against access to hazardous parts and the ingress of solid foreign objects. The second digit (0 to 8) indicates protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against harmful ingress of water. The majority of Panasonic Toughbook products are given a rating of IP65.
Sunlight readable screen for mobile field workers. Used outdoors, normal commercial laptop screens may not be readable as they reflect sunlight. Panasonic has equipped Toughbook products with transflective screen that remains bright under sunlight, thereby making them readable when used outdoors.
Mobile wireless network connectivity. Most field workers require wireless WAN connectivity to be able to work in remote areas. Panasonic Toughbook can be configured with HSDPA (3G) connectivity, to enable users to connect wherever there is telecommunications networks.
Third-party accessories connectivity. Field test engineers usually require computing devices that can work with a wide range of third-party data collection, data inspection or diagnostics devices. Often, these devices can only be connected via the RS-232 serial port, which is a familiar feature on Panasonic Toughbooks.
Portable expansion dock. Most field workers travel with their laptops secured to their docks which are mounted in their vehicles to take advantage of additional peripheral devices and power supply. As the dock is detachable, the user has the flexibility to bring along the entire expanded assembly, or if portability is preferred, the dock can be detached.
What are some the major factors your customers look for when they purchase a Panasonic Toughbook?
Reliability and good track records. These are backed by more than 15 years of history since the first Toughbook was designed, built and delivered to our customers. Over these 15 years, we have continuously invested and improved on our products based on customer feedbacks.
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