Friday, September 30, 2011

Quality and Value in Mobile Computing

Police departments coast to coast are looking for quality and value when purchasing state-of-the-art mobile computers. Most law enforcement agencies require that their mobile computers are rugged, this type of quality durable product gives the security of 24/7 up time. Given the current economic times and with state and local governments having budget crunches, value is of up-most importance. So the question is “Where can a cash strapped police department find quality and value?” There are a few options which include purchasing new name brand rugged laptops like the Panasonic Toughbook, tapping into the refurbished market or purchasing an off brand rugged computer. We will review each of these options and give some idea as to the best viable answer to the quality and value question.

When local and state governments look for value in the computing solutions they need, they require the products to be efficient and effective. In other words they need BANG for their BUCK! If we look at the cost of brand new equipment, the investment in that technology can be enormous. Let's face it, budgets are tight and getting tighter, this equates to some real belt tightening. So what is the solution to a slim budget, great technology that will do the job at hand, provide a reasonable life span and have the ability to upgrade at a reduced cost.
We feel that the solution is easy. Consider refurbished or sometimes referred to as used laptops. To take a look at this option will require a certain amount of knowledge about your specific use and application. In most cases, cutting-edge technology is not required in a police vehicle setting. In most cases all that is used is a broadband solution with some light software. What is very important is to understand the environment that this laptop will be subjected to on a daily basis. During the summer months temperatures are boiling while in the winter temperatures can dip below zero in some areas. In addition, liquids may be spilled on the laptop. This requires a water and temperature resistant unit not to mention the vibrations that this mobile computer will endure. A rugged laptop is the order of the day.
The rugged laptop of choice for mounting in a police cruiser is a brand new Panasonic Toughbook CF-30. However if you are reading this article about law enforcement you know that your budget would take a major hit by purchasing this model which has an average cost of $4,000 each. Just one model older than this unit is the Panasonic Toughbook CF-29 which will typically cost between $300 to $600. Features that are very popular are touchscreen, WIFI, GPS, and Back Lit Chick-let keyboards. The entire unit is ruggedized with water tight doors to protect all the ports as well as vibration proof hard drive and chassis. Simply add your broadband device and mount in the vehicle with a Ram Mount made to fit your model car.
When quality and value are the order of the day. Used ruggedized laptops like the Toughbook CF-29 are an excellent choice for cash strapped township police departments.

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