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Going rugged and mobile with modern apps

One of our (many) successful projects was Silver Fern Farms “Pasture” (scroll down for video), a portable technology solution that allows vital information to be captured and made available to the organisation in near real-time.

Moving from paper to tablet was a big challenge and fully embracing a mobile solution was an even bigger challenge. More than 85 Livestock Representatives maintain contact with Silver Fern Farms’ 11,000 farmer partners, capturing vital information that needs to be sent back to the business.

The solution involved mobile technology, Windows 8 tablets and a touch-friendly custom-designed modern app that followed a user-centric approach.

The most important outcome of this mobile solution was the ability to have the right information available at the right time in the right place.

I was just thinking about mobility after writing my previous post about the “mobile-first, cloud-first” transition we are experiencing, when this Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 tablet landed in my lap.

Toughpad Windows 8.1 tablet

Actually “lap” is just a figure of speech. This is a 7” Windows 8.1 tablet – light enough to be comfortably held with one hand, and small enough so that when holding it with both hands you can use the on-screen keyboard comfortably without having to move your hands.

The 1280 x 800 screen resolution is not full HD but works really well – and it is very usable outdoors, even under direct sunlight.

The model I have here is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor and comes with 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD. The built-in TPM solution allowed me to encrypt the drive using BitLocker Drive Encryption to make sure all the data is secure even if the drive is removed from the device.

This little wonder has 4G mobile data, WiFi (sorry, only 2.4GHz at the moment), NFC, Bluetooth and a built-in barcode scanner. You can expand local storage using a microSD card up to 128GB and it supports USB 3.0 for connecting external devices.

It is a rugged kit, with IP65 specification to resist water, dust and drops up to five feet (yes, I tried the drop test a few times).

Perhaps the most interesting feature here is the special Bridge Battery that allows hot swap – you can remove the battery, fumble around, insert a new battery all without the tablet ever stopping working.


Did I mention it runs Windows 8.1 Pro in this small package? Truly mobile days…

Posted by: Mauricio Freitas, Online & Digital Marketing Specialist | 21 July 2014

Tags: Modern User Interface, mobility, Windows 8.1

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