From The Editor | March 29, 2018

Samsung Adds A Rugged Tablet Option To Consider In Your Mobile Device Decision

A conversation with Jennifer Langan, senior director, mobile computing product marketing for Samsung Electronics America

Samsung Tablet

Last week, Samsung announced U.S. availability of its Galaxy Tab Active2 rugged tablet. Samsung says in its press release that the device “is designed for mobile workers who conduct business outdoors or beyond office walls, including in the field, industrial locations, and harsh weather.” Based on a survey we conducted last fall, 36 percent of our respondents’ companies are using a combination of tablets along with a handheld device, and another 23 percent are using tablets exclusively. While the device selection process can already be overwhelming, I thought it would be worthwhile to talk with Samsung about its Galaxy Tab Active2 so that you can determine if this device should be added to your shortlist. Here Jennifer Langan, senior director, mobile computing product marketing for Samsung Electronics America shares some key insight on the device.

Nicastro: In your words, why would the Galaxy Tab Active2 be the tablet of choice for a field service workforce?

Langan: Companies that have many field service workers need to equip their employees with the right kinds of technologies that not only ensure seamless workflow wherever they go, but are also able to withstand the drops, shocks, and rough weather involved when working in outdoor environments.

From the construction site to the electrical tower to the loading dock, the Galaxy Tab Active2 is designed to enhance the efficiency and productivity of employees who work outdoors and in other adverse environments. The Tab Active2 is an ideal tool for field workers, delivering an integrated mobile solution that offers key features for those on the go while enabling seamless workflow. It is MIL-STD-810-certified — the military standard for durability — and is IP68 certified for water resistance. This makes it tough enough to handle rough conditions, including wet weather or extreme temperatures.  It is also designed to be used while wearing work gloves through an enabled touch feature that increases the sensitivity of the touchscreen, or with the IP68-certified S Pen which can be used as an alternate input device. The benefit is maximized productivity while outside and on-the-go.

Nicastro: Our readers tend to be selecting between Samsung, Apple, or rugged devices. What do you feel sets Samsung apart from the others?

Langan: The Samsung Galaxy Tab Active2 was designed specifically for the environments field workers encounter every day. The MIL-STD 810G certification, for example, went beyond drop tests to include 21 rigorous testing procedures covering drop, shock, vibration, rain, dust, sand, freeze/thaw, temperature range, temperature shock, and humidity, so it’s ready to go where field workers go.

Another design focus was to enable the Tab Active2 to seamlessly integrate into the existing workflows of field workers. A water and dust resistant S Pen for e-signatures and annotations, enhanced touch/glove mode capabilities for continued access to the touchscreen, a removable battery, and a POGO connector for easy and durable connectivity and charging, provide seamless mobility. Plus, a robust portfolio of third party accessories and software partnerships makes the Tab Active2 a critical component of a fully integrated mobile solution.

Nicastro: How did Samsung determine the most important features and functionality companies need for their mobile workers? What topped the list, and how does the Galaxy Tab Active2 deliver on these?

Langan: We collaborated with many customers across multiple vertical industries, including field service, to understand their business needs, as well as the way they work. Customers increasingly need to improve service quality, increase customer satisfaction, and reduce the costs and complexities of daily operations. To resolve these issues, they are replacing traditional, paper-based workflows with fully integrated mobile solutions. These mobile solutions require a rugged device capable of being used in outdoor and harsh environments, and that can seamlessly integrate into existing workflows. They must also be easy for IT to manage across the development, deployment, and maintenance phases of the project.

Key features that were added based on customer feedback were the S Pen, the enhanced touch/glove mode, the replaceable battery, additional sensors designed to enable future AR (augmented reality) use cases, and the development of the accessory and ISV ecosystem for complete end-to-end solutions.

The Tab Active2 is built to stand up to challenges the real world dishes out. Its military-grade design can withstand harsh conditions, and its resistance to dust and water keeps it operating in virtually any environment, so users can focus on their work instead of their equipment. The tablet keeps team workflow going, whether inside or out, rain or shine, gloved or not. Its innovative features and ecosystem of partners and solutions make it easy to work anywhere. 

While the Tab Active2 is tough enough for the field, it’s easy for IT to manage. Samsung’s suite of Knox IT solutions provide end-to-end solutions that are trusted and secure. The Tab Active2 also features an array of customization options and support to help address business needs across all phases of a project.

Nicastro: Field service organizations are especially interested in use of innovative technologies like IoT and AR. How does the Galaxy Tab Active2 enable field service companies to take advantage of these innovative technologies?

Langan: As digital technologies continue to evolve to support more IoT and AR capabilities, the Tab Active2 has been designed with these trends in mind. For instance, it is AR-ready. Equipped with tracking tools – including an accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS, and a geomagnetic sensor – it can be loaded with third-party applications that let you deploy easier in-field asset management, quicker equipment inspections, and more realistic reviews of blueprints and specifications.

As an edge device in the field, the Tab Active2 can also be used as part of a company’s IoT initiative. It can provide real-time data aggregation, analysis, and reporting to manage your business in real-time with the latest information at your fingertips.  

Nicastro: What benefit does Samsung Knox provide business users in terms of security and management of devices?

Langan: Samsung Knox is a suite of IT solutions that provides end-to-end solutions that are trusted and secure.  Key components include:

  • Defense-grade security – a proprietary security platform built from the chip up for superior protection and easy manageability
  • Knox Configure for easy updates and changes.  With Knox Configure, our cloud-based management solution, you can configure the Tab Active2, push security patches and deploy application updates, all remotely
  • Knox Mobile Enrollment to enroll all devices at once.  Enroll your team’s devices all at once, without having to manually enroll each one.  With Knox Mobile Enrollment, your employees can just power on their devices and connect to the network to enroll.  So you can save time and ensure that devices are secure and under IT control from the moment your team starts using them
  • Knox Manage is a cloud-based solution with an affordable license fee that provides a simple deployment process to help address your team’s security concerns
  • E-FOTA – The Tab Active2 comes with Samsung’s Enterprise Firmware Over-The-Air (E-FOTA) built-in. E-FOTA enables remote device management, test updates, and control firmware and OS updates while allowing your devices to stay in the field

Nicastro: Samsung offers access to a number of accessories and applications that can be used with the Galaxy Tab Active2. Can you describe some of the accessories and applications field service businesses may be most interested in?

Langan: Yes, we have collaborated with both system integrators and independent software vendors to enable Tab Active2 solutions that are integrated and comprehensive. We have also made available a wide range of third-party accessories designed to support multiple business use cases, including field service. For instance, we designed the Tab Active2 to solve problems in specific areas like asset management, mobile workflow, and telematics through integration with the appropriate application. 

With Fleet Management solutions, The Tab Active2 can help address needs in the transportation and logistics industries when combined with solutions such as Omnitracs XRS fleet management software, professional-grade vehicle mount options, and other accessories including ruggedized keyboards that can also be mounted inside the vehicle. This solution lets drivers use the device to digitally monitor hours of service (HOS) logs while on and off duty, to comply with federally mandated electronic logging requirements.

For field operations that require bar code scanning, Samsung has paired Scandit’s data capture platform with the Tab Active2.  This helps delivery and retail workers at a rainy loading dock or refrigerated stock room use the device to rapidly scan multiple barcodes at once. Accessories are also available -- such as hand straps for secure one-hand operation or holster carrying cases designed to easily carry the Tab Active2 when you need both hands to get the job done.

Other accessories, such as multi-bay chargers, are designed to store and charge a fleet of Tab Active2 devices using durable Pogo connectors – ideal for assisting teams of workers handing off devices or in different work shifts. Plus, spare battery chargers can keep charged batteries available, making it easier to manage and deploy Tab Active2 devices across your entire workforce.