The best rugged tablet for mobile use is a purpose-built solution based on the needs of the company, the user, and the environments in which it will be used. While that is the cornerstone of what it takes to turn a rugged tablet into a business solution, it’s far from the complete story.

Many businesses and industry sectors like healthcare, manufacturing, and energy, among others, are dependent on mobile workflows to operate effectively and achieve stated outcomes. That often requires a custom-built tablet that meets the specific needs of its users. Everything from increased processing power and specialized connectivity to certified hardware/software (FDA, UL, ATEX, etc.), specific UI, back office integration, and numerous features that aren’t likely to be offered in consumer-grade devices.

This shows why custom-made tablets for industrial vertical markets provide the foundation for designing and architecting a complete mobility business solution that fits all of a business’s current and future needs. What businesses quickly find is that trying to fit an off-the-shelf “product” into their most important business systems is a total cost of ownership (TCO) and return on investment (ROI) dead end. When you add in accommodation for unique needs, obsolescence, environments and usage parameters, it’s costlier over time than designing from the circuit board up.

That doesn’t mean that standardization isn’t possible such as with a commercial off the shelf (COTS) approach. But even with COTS, leading mobile device manufacturers like InHand are able to provide a set of options that can deliver purpose-built adaptability, through Modified COTS design processes, while delivering overall cost savings as measured by TCO. The result is a circuit-board level foundation with proven hardware and software that enables designing the best custom tablet for your business needs.

Today’s digital transformations and constant process changes are impacting every industry. In this mobility-first environment, a custom-made tablet provides the best route to achieving compatibility with legacy and future operational technologies. This can be seen in the role of industrial tablets in automation. In the broader picture of digital transformations, many field service organizations are looking at rugged custom-made tablets as the bridge to broader use of Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and other emerging technologies.

For example, as more industries institute the use of digital twin technology, they are finding the need for a custom-built tablet onsite for simultaneous manipulation of field systems that also connect to digital twin replicas to fully maximize effectiveness. Consider industries where drones or AI are crucial to operations and a custom-built tablet becomes the ideal command and control device.

Rugged devices can clearly show their business solution role for use in harsh or challenging environments from the factory floor to the oil field and the transportation supply chain. Things become a little more challenging when it comes to form factors and feature sets that deliver mobile ROI. True ROI and lower TCO requires technicians, field experts, managers and other knowledgeable end users to collaborate with experienced designers to deliver the best custom tablet. The result is a business solution that delivers technical integration and performance capabilities for flexibility, scalability, durability, longevity and reliability.