Calculator helps evaluate the cost of going rugged

An online calculator will help IT managers determine whether it is financially beneficial to replace consumer devices with rugged tablets.

Editor's note: This article was updated to correct the name of the research group VDC.

Some government workers need rugged devices because their work takes them into dusty or humid conditions where traditional devices can easily be damaged. For other workers, the choice may not be as obvious. IT managers must weigh a number of factors when deciding whether to invest in a more expensive rugged tablet or stick with a consumer-grade device for their employees. 

Two technology companies have developed a calculator designed to determine whether moving to rugged tablets would be beneficial for them – or not.

Rugged tablet manufacturer Xplore Technologies Corp. and research group VDC partnered to create the “Total Cost of Ownership Calculator,” an application to help IT departments determine the true cost of replacing consumer electronics with rugged devices. 

The calculator factors in soft costs, which may affect the overall replacement price, including IT support, failure rates and minutes of lost productivity. Hard costs, such as software, peripherals, accessories, services and warranties, are also factored in. The calculator suggests an average cost if the user is unsure of a particular charge. 

According to industry averages, rugged tablets have more expensive hard costs, but their annual failure rate is much lower (4 to 18 percent), say the companies. 

And when they do fail, rugged tablets do not need to be replaced nearly as often (20 percent) as nonrugged tablets (45 percent) do when they fail, the firms said. 

After filling out the information, the calculator develops a long-term cost analysis and an estimate of annual savings the switch can bring. The tool is free to use and can be found on Xplore’s website.

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