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Using Technology to Enhance Field Service Work

June 14, 2020
A company shares its experience investing in ruggedized mobile computing systems capable of withstanding harsh conditions in the field.

As a company that provides advanced technology to field workers across industries, Geophysical Survey Systems Inc. (GSSI) found itself in need of enterprise-grade devices that could withstand the rigors and unpredictable environments of the field work that its customers face on a daily basis. The company’s technology enables field work across industries, from construction sites, to utilities, to search and rescue missions after a natural disaster, by providing software via mobile devices to its diverse set of customers.

With customers ranging from firefighters to construction workers, to public utility workers, the company faced numerous challenges with its legacy technology because users would oftentimes mistreat the devices, resulting in unforeseen damage, or the devices would fall victim to rigorous outdoor environments, thus reducing worker productivity.

When the company needed to bring its latest ground penetrating radar systems (GPRS) to market, the need for highly-specialized devices for its customers became even more apparent. And searching for devices that were both user-friendly and flexible, but also durable enough to ensure that workers have the ability to finish a job without the risk of downtime or device malfunction, proved to be a difficult feat. The company opted to invest in Panasonic TOUGHBOOK rugged tablets designed for harsh work environments and unpredictable weather conditions. 

After years of relying on more consumer-grade devices and a custom controller that couldn’t keep up with the fast pace of the evolution of technology or withstand tough, field work conditions, GSSI decided to deploy Panasonic’s TOUGHPAD FZ-M1 and TOUGHPAD FZ-G1 rugged mobile tablets. Unlike the technology they were previously using, the rugged tablets offered visibility, long battery life and extreme durability that could hold up to the environmental challenges faced by GSSI customers every day in the field.  

With most of GSSI’s customers primarily working in outdoor environments, they’re notorious for being tough on their equipment. Conducting work in construction and safety zones, their devices might be tossed in the back of a truck, shipped various locations or dropped countless times. GSSI needed to ensure that a tablet-based system could withstand the ways that their employees handle the devices as much as the environment they work in.

In addition to physical durability, screen visibility and battery life were crucial features that GSSI customers benefited from with the new technology. A common complaint among customers was that their devices were hard to read in bright light conditions. The screens on commercial-grade tablets are difficult to see in the sun, which can often cause critical data to be missed and processes to be slowed down. With access to GSSI’s state-of-the-art software on Panasonic tablets, customers were also able to benefit from enhanced connectivity in the field, reduced downtime and long-lasting, reliable technology that could endure the rigors of everyday field environments.

Connectivity was also a main factor that GSSI needed to consider when choosing a technology provider. For workers in the field whose job depends on the ability to access information through their mobile device, it’s important that the devices be able to connect to dual band Wi-Fi or cellular networks – which Panasonic’s tablets provided.

The partnership between the two companies proved to be successful for everyone involved. While GSSI also offers consumer-grade devices that may cost less at the start, most customers turn to the company for their enterprise-grade solutions that are built for challenging conditions and require less maintenance and replacements – ultimately saving money and increasing overall productivity. 

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