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Harsh Environments Demand Tough Devices

June 24, 2020
New Panasonic device fills the need for secure, reliance, performance-driven devices capable of thriving in demanding manufacturing environments.

Not all technology works as intended on the plant floor. And the reason is quite simple. With all the moving parts and heavy equipment, plant floors are far from ideal.    

This is where devices like the Panasonic Toughbook A3 thrive. Announced today by Panasonic System Solutions Company of North America, the Toughbook A3 device expands the company's family of rugged devices for Android. Designed to address the demands of today’s diverse mobile work environments, the new Toughbook A3 offers features that are tailored to the needs of the mobile workforce, including outdoor viewable screen and Panasonic’s patented rain-touch functionality. With a 10.1 inch screen and 6-foot drop rating, the Toughbook A3 is suited for users across industries to tackle the toughest jobs and mission- critical applications. 

Panasonic Head of Mobility Product Management and Market Strategy Dan Dilberti tells IndustryWeek, “The A3 Toughbook is a ruggedized device strategically positioned for manufacturing environments. Unlike many consumer devices used to visit YouTube or Netflix, these are purpose-built tools with very specific use cases that people need to effectively do their job, day in, day, day out,” he says. 

By using the Qualcomm SDM 660, Panasonic leverages a long-life chipset that will be available for the next five to seven years – providing users with confidence and stability needed to continue to rolling out devices over time, explains Dilberti. "The A3 also has a dual hot swap battery system enabling nine hours of operation. Long life batteries provide 15 hours straight," he says. "Additionally, the ability to swap batteries without ever having to shut down, disconnect or save data is critical when running in time-sensitive production environment where downtime or inefficiency is costly."  

A3 also has a high performance, high resolution, two-dimensional barcode reader enabling an array of use cases including maintaining component traceability, pulling up work instructions or scanning plant floor assets before conducting maintenance procedures. 

Beyond the device 

When investing in devices for manufacturing environments, successful deployments go well beyond the device itself. While, it's great to have quality hardware, without the applications to run on it and service to always keep it in-tune with evolving needs, a device can quickly become a brick.  

To help manufacturers avoid this scenario, Panasonic also introduced productivity+, a suite of Android support solutions to future-proof rugged mobile deployments for existing and new customers transitioning to the Android operating system. Productivity+ is a multi-faceted offering that features hardware, software, and professional services, including from an extensive support partner ecosystem to capitalize on the modernization and digitization of rugged mobile devices.  

Panasonic’s line of Android solutions provides customers across industries – whether existing Android users, or those considering a replacement for legacy operating systems – the support and services to future proof their operations by leveraging the capabilities of modern mobile devices. Android, the top operating system for rugged mobile deployments following Windows CE’s end of life, gets real time information in the hands of decision makers in the field to drive better business outcomes

“Panasonic is fully committed to customers transitioning from Windows CE to Android. Whether enterprise, federal government, public sector, utilities or manufacturing, industries built upon the support of the mobile workforce likewise need support to modernize mobile devices,” said Magnus McDermid, senior vice president mobility solutions, Panasonic. “The technology ecosystem that powers these industries is complex, but Panasonic provides comprehensive support tailored to the needs of our customers and current market demands, which allows them to seamlessly transition to Android and update their rugged mobile device deployments.”  

When deploying a device like A3 into a production environment, it's usually mission-critical and the expectation is that it can securely and reliably remain in this environment for at least the next three to five years. As such, the ability to service and support the device while it's in the wild is crucial.  

Panasonic’s productivity+ features software solutions for mobile device development, deployment and sustainment for customers, whether existing Android users or those considering the transition. Productivity+ offers the ability to rewrite applications, configure device settings and define user access for Android devices. The platform supports mobile deployments across industries with features that enable IT managers to seamlessly configure, deploy and sustain devices, while preserving legacy applications. Additionally, end-users are able to operate devices securely to protect proprietary data and ensure devices are always updated and ready for work, wherever and however tough the job may be.  

The productivity+ platform provides a combination of software tools for the enterprise to develop deploy and sustain these devices as they move into manufacturing environments, explains Walt Chantlos, national sales manager at PanasonicOn the software side this includes valuable tools such as offering mass configuration of devices in advance of deployment,” he saysAs a result, IT can develop a single configuration or a couple of configurations, and quickly deploy it through the MDM to all devices at once. The software piece focuses on supporting hardware by providing the seamless ability to manage device throughout the entire lifecycle.

Panasonic’s support partner ecosystem is comprised of highly qualified partners that offer exclusive support to customers and have been specifically selected for their industry expertise. This network enables collaboration with independent software vendors, resellers and third-party accessories built to support a technology stack that brings multiple technologies together to meet customers’ complex needs. By working with software vendors proactively both pre- and post-deployment, Panasonic creates value for customers by ensuring software integrates flawlessly with various devices and provides customized solutions tailored to the mobile workforce’s specific job requirements.  

Panasonic ProServices offer the support needed to power Android solutions at every stage of the customer’s journey. Panasonic’s long-term Android service support also features consultation, replacement services as well as multi-year, global warranties with expeditious turnaround times. 

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