Today’s public works departments still have a lot in common with those of years past: It’s their job to keep the community running smoothly, year-round, in all kinds of conditions. What gives today’s workers a huge advantage over the predecessors is that they have the rugged handheld computing technology to get more done, more efficiently – and in any environment.

No matter how it’s structured, a public works department is responsible for creating and maintaining some of the community’s most important assets, including streets, parks, water and sewer systems, facilities, vehicle fleets and much more. Whether your community comprises 100 people or 1 million, the public works department can be more efficient by using accurate, powerful and rugged mobile computing solutions.

Streamlining common tasks

Public works employees do everything from trimming trees to plowing snow, from cleaning public spaces to patching roads, often in inclement weather. By equipping public works employees with rugged mobile devices, communities can dramatically improve productivity, safety and delivery of public services.

Forward-thinking public works departments are using ultra-rugged tablets and PDAs to improve multiple aspects of their daily duties, including work orders, maintenance and repair scheduling, real-time inventory management, safety checks and more. With their ruggedness, powerful processing, connectivity and communication capabilities, Handheld computers allow public works staff to easily and accurately track inventory, manage fieldwork, monitor vehicles, and send and receive project updates.

A large part of public works involves managing and maintaining a community’s infrastructure assets — including facility inspections, scheduled maintenance, damage repair and asset management. Staff can use their rugged tablets and PDAs to schedule maintenance and repair work, track equipment and vehicles, and document infrastructure conditions.

Public works employees are expected to schedule and provide services and repairs in a timely, efficient manner. Rugged handheld devices help them save time and maximize productivity and resources, without adding staff.


Performing in challenging environments

One constant of public works duties is that it doesn’t matter what the weather’s like; you’re probably going to be working outdoors at some point in the day. To stay productive and efficient all year long, city workers need equipment that’s as tough in the face of challenging environments as they have to be. Today’s rugged computers make fieldwork vastly more efficient, allowing public works staff to quickly and thoroughly perform tasks in the field that previously could only be completed in an office or using much less efficient methods.

Large, sunlight-readable displays and heavy-duty specifications make ultra-rugged PDAs and tablets ideal tools for field service, whether they’re docked in a vehicle, mounted in a holster or carried in your hand. These handhelds are built tough, so they can survive repeated drops, strong vibrations, extreme temperatures, and dust and water exposure. It doesn’t matter how grimy that vehicle bay or repair shop is; these sealed, rugged mobile devices repel nearly everything from liquid to grease. And their batteries last all day, so staff can get their work done without interruptions for recharging.

Data collection and documentation are simple and quick, with touchscreen technology, physical keypad entry, and high-resolution camera and scanning capabilities.


Improving communication in real time

Public works personnel rely on strong communication tools to share critical data among management, supervisors and crews. Rugged mobile devices keep workers in the field connected over cellular broadband as well as via BT, WLAN and wired devices such as external antennas – even if they’re working in remote areas. They can easily identify and schedule projects, communicate with coworkers, and send and receive real-time status updates.

The multiple connectivity options allow instant data transfer, as well as communication and syncing with office servers and inventory databases. Workers can accurately track tasks and update schedules in real time to improve efficiency. And thanks to built-in GPS, you can also send location information or identify optimal service routes, saving time and fuel costs.


Keeping costs in check

In addition to needing rugged devices to withstand the elements, public works departments always have another factor to consider: the need to keep costs in line. Return on Investment (ROI) is particularly important for communities, which are accountable to the public for what they spend. That’s another reason so many public works teams have turned to rugged mobile devices; they tend to be much more durable – and longer-lasting – than standard mobile devices. Research from IDC backs this up; according to a recent report, organizations can achieve ROI for rugged notebooks within two years, and for rugged tablets and smartphones after just one year.



Customer Stories

Public works departments all over have been using rugged Handheld technology for years, to solve some of their biggest challenges. Read about these customer solutions:

Asset tracking/asset management: Rugged technology streamlines asset management for election officials

Data collection: Public works employees use rugged Nautiz handhelds to improve data collection

Data collection: Stormwater inspection program achieves greater efficiency with handheld computers

Meter installation and reading: Field technicians improve meter-reading speed and accuracy with rugged technology

GIS/GPS: PDAs + GPS tracking improve reporting and save time for a Florida public works department