TOUGHER THAN A DAY AT THE OFFICE
Does commercial-grade equipment such as laptop computers and PDAs have a place in public saety? Ocourse. It’s just that their place is in the ofce. That’s what they were made or, and that’s where they belong.A tough day at the ofce or a typical laptop computer involves crunching numbers, not being crunched by asnaking fre hose. A PDA’s keyboard that works well in a conerence room doesn’t usually work so well in ablizzard.
IT’S NOT JUST ABOUTPURCHASE PRICE
When budgets are shrinking public saetydepartments are oten aced with some very toughchoices. “It’s tempting to walk into a consumerelectronics store and purchase a bunch o laptopsor under $1,000 apiece, and some PDA’s or about$500 each,” Delm admits. Ruggedized computersand handheld devices can easily cost three or ourtimes that much or even more. That’s when it’simportant to remember the most ancient o clichés,“you get what you pay or.” Nowhere is thataphorism more relevant than in public saety andother government ront-line and feld applications.“The truth is, the real cost dierential betweencommercial-grade and ruggedized devices canonly be discerned over time,” says Delm. MostIT proessionals understand the idea o “totalcost o ownership,” or TCO. This is a conceptthat examines cost variables including purchaseprice, support and maintenance costs, repair andreplacement costs and loss-o-productivity due toailure costs over a period o about fve years.
FIVE-YEAR TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP
There have been a number o research studies examining the TCO o commercial-grade versus ruggedizedequipment in the public saety sector. In a 2007 study by VDC Research Group, the cost dierentials over afve-year span proved to be substantial. In the same study, a ruggedized handheld device cost approximately$23,500 to buy, support, and operate over fve years, while a commercial-grade PDA cost over $10,000 more.These numbers show the substantial longer-term economic benefts o purchasing ully rugged equipmentversus commercial-grade units. Although the initial purchase price o ofce-grade equipment wasconsiderably lower, over the fve-year time rame, the ruggedized equipment delivered a savings o about$2,000 per unit per year.
- Tougher Than a Day at the Ofce
“In the eld and on the front lines, equipment made for the ofce is seriously out of itselement,” notes Delm. “Unfortunately, when crucial communications are interrupted byfailing equipment, the consequences can be devastating in terms of lives and propertyplaced in serious danger.”