Over the past several years, tablets have begun to surpass laptop computers, touch mobile computers, and traditional industrial handhelds as the most popular devices for digitizing public safety workflows.


One of the biggest reasons is that tablets provide the screen space, computing power, memory, and versatility of a laptop device but in a much thinner and more lightweight form factor. Specialized device manufacturers have also introduced ultra-rugged enterprise-grade tablets, which are incredibly durable and remarkably secure, which makes them ideal for use in tough indoor and outdoor environments and for storing and transmitting sensitive data securely.


In particular, devices such as Zebra’s L10 Series rugged tablets and its newer ET85/ET80 tablets offer military-grade drop specs, IP65 waterproof and dustproof sealing, extreme temperature resistance, and powerful security such as CAC/NAC card readers, optional fingerprint readers, removable solid-state hard drives, and even facial recognition (ET80/ET85).


But the biggest value in these devices is their ability to digitize public safety workflows, which can completely transform the way that police, fire, EMS, and government business gets done. By enabling digital efficiency and automation across a wide variety of applications and by providing data capture, running resource-intensive business apps, and offering larger screen space with touchscreen simplicity and the option to add a physical keyboard for data entry, tablets have become the device of choice for many public safety agencies.


This is something we’ve seen first-hand as a provider of mobility and data capture solutions to many police and fire departments, EMS teams, code inspectors, field technicians, and other public safety and government operations. Along the way, we’ve helped them digitize their public safety workflows in seven key ways that consistently lead to better productivity and better efficiency while saving considerable costs. And here’s how you can do the same.


  1. Streamline and Simplify Your Mobile Tasks


Tablets help public safety workers get more done in less time because they can provide blazingly fast computing powered by the latest octa-core Intel Core vPro processors as well as 16GB and more of RAM, built-in barcode scanning and data capture, the latest Wi-Fi 6 and 5G connectivity protocols, and far more screen space than a smartphone-style touch computer or industrial handheld mobile computer.


The added screen space means you can complete tasks in fewer screens and fewer steps while displaying far more information and data at a time, and the enhanced power and capabilities of tablets speed up, streamline, and simplifies processes at every step.


  1. Seamlessly Track and Manage Your Assets


Another major advantage of rugged industrial tablets compared to smaller smartphone devices or consumer-grade tablets is that they’re built with onboard barcode scanners engineered for intensive data capture. These advanced scanning engines are designed with algorithms that help them capture and decode 1D/2D barcodes and other data much faster and more reliably than trying to rely on a smartphone or tablet camera. This means you can easily use tablets to maintain asset inventory and maintenance records by seamlessly capturing barcodes on asset labels and then updating related data and information with workflows that are as easy as tapping a button on your screen or using a virtual keyboard.


  1. Maintain Real-Time Situational Awareness


All the extra screen space of tablets and their ability to connect via 5G/4G, CBRS, and other public safety networks means they’re a great choice for maintaining real-time situational awareness.


For example, many fire departments now use tablets and specialized software to manage fire scenes and to help track personnel, equipment, and their movements while an event is unfolding. Using the right apps and with the latest connectivity protocols on board your device, you can get real-time alerts and manage scenes and situations on the go with data, dashboards, and visualizations at your fingertips.


  1. Communicate with Personnel and Dispatch


Since rugged tablets are designed with built-in microphones, cameras and high-quality audio speakers, and since they offer both wired USB and wireless Bluetooth connectivity for headsets and other peripheral devices as well as 5G/4G wireless and connectivity to CBRS and other networks, tablets are a great way to communicate with other personnel and dispatch. You can stay in touch in real-time, sending and receiving mission-critical communications without having to rely on walkie-talkies or other separate, traditional devices.


  1. Issue eCitations with Time-Saving Automation


Many police departments and parking enforcement agencies have been adopting tablets to save time and minimize roadside risks with fast and efficient eCitation workflows. There are many great eCitation software options available, which digitize the entire process of issuing a ticket. From scanning IDs or license plates to connecting with public databases and integrating with mobile printers to print citations, tablets bring everything together in one device that helps officers issue eCitations faster and minimize the time they’re on the roadside.


  1. Conduct Code Inspections with Digital Efficiency


Code inspections are another area where workflows can be streamlined with tablets, especially since they can digitize the entire process with touch-enabled workflows, customizable software keyboards for data entry, and easy touch interactions. Inspectors can easily connect to databases through inspection apps, pull up records, document inspection results, and even issue citations or update records in a fraction of the time that it would take with other devices or manual and paper-based workflows.


  1. Access Your Mission-Critical Workflows in the Office or Out in the Field


Mobility is a big key with tablets, but sometimes you might also need to use a tablet as more of a desktop-style device. Fortunately, with 2-in-1 tablet devices, you can get the functionality of a mobile tablet as well as a laptop or desktop replacement with one solution, and with mounting solutions and ports for connecting to peripheral devices, you can easily mount a tablet in vehicles or use them in an office and then use a quick-release mechanism or disconnect them and take with you into the field.


However, the different ways you can digitize public safety workflows with tablets doesn’t end here. These are just some of the most common ways that we’ve helped our public safety customers deploy and integrate tablets into their operations.


To learn about all of the possibilities and to explore some of the best tablet devices for public safety and government use cases, connect with our team at Vantage ID. We’d be happy to provide insights and recommendations based on real-world applications, plus pricing, specs, and other details. Contact us now to get started.