Choosing a Rugged Computer for the oil and gas industry

Choosing a Rugged Computer for the oil and gas industry

                    Choosing a Rugged Computer
                    for the oil and gas industry
  The process of getting oil and gas out of the ground                 (and more) of a normal PC without risk of a failure on
  and into the hands of the consumer requires an                       the job. Rugged tablets come with varying levels of
  organized effort on a massive scale: thousands of                    damage protection, data security, communication
  people, processes, and assets must be tracked and                    abilities, and other features that can assist users in
  managed, and the resulting data load and logistical                  streamlining workflows and enhancing productivity.
  challenges can be overwhelming. In recent years,                     Unlike regular computers, rugged hardware also
  a digital trend has emerged in the oil and gas                       ensures lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO),
  industry. Monitoring and managing software                           as their rugged design prevents breakdowns,
  designed to increase insight and transparency into                   increasing uptime and limiting need for repairs.
  equipment and processes has proliferated, with                       In addition, rugged tablets can typically be used
  the goal of reducing risk, increasing response time,                 across a multitude of field and office applications,
  and tightening up operations in general. However,                    depending on their internal configurations and
  a reliable hardware architecture is needed to run                    operating systems.
  this software, and most computers are not durable
  enough to withstand the harsh environments                           Integrating rugged tablet PCs into oil and gas
  commonly found in the oil and gas industry, such                     operations can improve productivity levels,
  as inclement weather, extreme temperatures, and                      transparency and collaboration across the workforce,
  heavy machinery. A hardware breakdown in the                         data accuracy, response time, risk management,
  field can accrue significant costs from downtime,                    and insight into equipment performance, as well as
  and if a computer fails during a mission-critical task,              reduce costs in all areas of operation. However, not
  assets, workers, and a business’ bottom line are all                 all rugged tablet PCs are alike. Before purchasing
  at risk.                                                             rugged hardware for oil and gas operations, the
                                                                       following criteria should be considered to ensure
  Rugged tablet PCs offer a mobile solution for the oil                the tablet you buy will most effectively meet your
  and gas industry that provides all the functionality                 specific needs.

1-888-44-XPLORE (9-7567)                               WWW.XPLORETECH.COM                          XPLOREINFO@XPLORETECH.COM
Choosing a Rugged Computer for the oil and gas industry

               Rugged and Environmental
   Necessary Features
   Workers in the oil and gas industry often find themselves in a
   variety of harsh outdoor conditions, and a rugged tablet PC
   should be equipped with several features to be most effective
   in these environments. A sunlight-readable display is a must
   for outdoor workers; proper screen visibility allows workers
   to assess written instructions and information with ease
   and accurately input data. Additionally, hardware should be
   “intrinsically safe—” that is, ATEX and UL1604 Class I Division
   2 certified—otherwise it is unsafe to use around explosive
   atmospheres that are common to the industry. Finally, tablets
   with a “resistive” touch screen—which responds to pressure
   and not the electrical properties of a person’s fingertips—will
   allow workers to easily manipulate the screen with gloves on or
   in damp or rainy areas.

   IP Ratings and MIL-STD Tests
   A computer’s “ruggedness” is measured by two standards: IP
   rating and MIL-STD-810G testing. IP ratings determine level
   of protection against ingress from dust and liquids—lower            More Rugged,
   numbers indicating less protection. For oil and gas, where           More applications
   weather, spills, and other wet conditions may be common, an
   IP rating of 65-68 is recommended: fully protected against dust      The IP rating and rugged standards of a tablet should be able
   (represented by the first number, 6), and protected from liquid      to withstand the projected conditions it will encounter over
   ingress from either low pressure jets (5), temporary flooding        its life cycle. However, to maximize versatility and ROI, it is
   (6), shallow immersion for extended time (7), or long periods of     recommended you start with a tablet with a higher IP rating
   immersion under pressure (8).                                        that is tested to the most rigorous and varied MIL-STD tests. This
                                                                        way, the tablet can be used for a variety of different projects,
   MIL-STD-810G tests assess product suitability for the                without worry of breakdowns and repair or replacement costs.
   environmental conditions anticipated throughout its life             Companies should also base their warranty off their MIL-STD
   cycle. In the case of oil and gas, this could be with regard to      testing and IP rating, to ensure the tablets will live up to its
   the computer’s use on offshore rigs, in extremely hot or cold        rugged specifications.
   temperatures, dusty or chemical spill-prone areas, inclement
   weather, high humidity, and around heavy machinery. For
   longest life cycle, hardware should be MIL-STD certified for a
   four foot operating drop. If the equipment is used near heavy
   machinery or vibrating vehicles, it is important that it has
   undergone vibration testing. MIL-STD also include tests for
   temperature extremes, thermal shock, humidity, blowing rain/
   wind, various drop/shock tests, salt fog (for offshore), fungus,
   emissions, and more. Whatever real-world conditions the tablet
   is likely to encounter, ensure it has been proven to withstand its
   laboratory equivalent in MIL-STD tests.

Choosing a Rugged Computer for the oil and gas industry

              Compatibility & Mobility with a
              Tablet PC Platform
              Adopting a rugged PC tablet for use across multiple management and
              monitoring applications can simplify operations and customer support
              needs, and cut costs by reducing training and implementation
              variables. When considering a rugged tablet for use as your
              hardware architecture solution when digitizing your operations,
              its compatibility with software and other devices is a key

  Operating System
  Industrial tablets typically feature either a Windows® or
  Android® operating system. While Android can serve a purpose
  for certain applications, more software is optimized for a full
  Windows® platform. This lets users run a wider assortment
  of software, and simplifies integration. Needs will vary from
  business to business, however, so compare the tablet’s system
  to your current software; if it runs on a different OS, expect
  delays and costs due to necessary customization of critical
  software, or errors due to lack of syncing between various                  Mobility: Docking and
  processes.                                                                  Carrying Options
                                                                              A computing solution intended to provide a full hardware
  CONNECTING WITH                                                             architecture across multiple applications must be able to travel
  EQUIPMENT                                                                   where it is needed, whether that be in the office, mounted on a
                                                                              frac truck, secured to an oil rig, or in the hands of an inspector.
  If you intend to connect your rugged PC tablet to other tools               Tablets are by design more mobile than laptops, since they
  in order to take measurements, perform inspections, monitor                 don’t require a flat surface to sit on during data input, which
  equipment, or acquire any other data, a suite of input/output               can cause delays if there is no such surface available. A tablet
  options on your tablet computer is recommended. Equipment                   solution will provide the utmost in mobility and versatility,
  connections vary, but full USB outlets are recommended, and if              however, if it can handle all working environments, syncs with
  your work requires managing equipment with bar code or RFID                 your current software and equipment, and comes with a variety
  tags, many rugged tablets include these scanners as standard                of docking options. Office docking should connect peripherals
  or integrated options.                                                      that allow the tablet to be used like a regular PC. Vehicle
                                                                              docking options should also be certified as fully rugged, and
                                                                              adaptable to any vehicle. Just like the office dock, the vehicle
                                                                              dock should offer extra ports for peripheral connectivity. For
                                                                              workers on foot, find a tablet with an appropriate form factor
                                                                              and carrying options, such as a handle, lightweight design, and
                                                                              a hand strap.

1-888-44-XPLORE (9-7567)                                      WWW.XPLORETECH.COM                                 XPLOREINFO@XPLORETECH.COM
Choosing a Rugged Computer for the oil and gas industry

               Making the Most of Data Acquisition
               No matter what area of oil and gas you work in, significant amounts of
               data will always need to be managed regularly. Slow or inaccurate
               data collection can have costly implications when it comes to
               compliance procedures, drilling errors, mismanaged assets, or lax
               environmental monitoring. Digitizing your operations through
               the use of a rugged tablet PC can prevent these outcomes by
               incorporating tools into data input processes that improve
               the speed and accuracy of data collection and allow for in-
               field data input.

   Features for Accuracy
   With a rugged tablet PC, data can be entered on-site into a
   data management software system and transmitted back to a
   central office instantly. This minimizes mistakes by removing
   redundant data entry (e.g. from a paper form into a computer)
   and allowing managers and engineers to monitor field workers
   and alter processes as needed. Data retrieval is also critical
   for efficient job performance; workers in the field often need
                                                                        Data from Scanners
   to consult instructions and other information from the home          Tasks can often involve collecting data about equipment via
   office. The remoteness of the location should determine how          scanners. Some tablets come equipped standard with barcode,
   powerful your communications system should be; wherever              magstripe, smart card and RFID scanners, or offer them as
   your workers are, they should be able to retrieve information        options. Others are able to integrate with scanning peripherals.
   quickly to maximize productivity. Finally, to ensure greatest        In addition, many rugged tablet PCs come with a GPS option,
   accuracy, choose a rugged tablet with an autosensing dual            which allows for geo-verification options when performing
   mode and digitizer pen, which allows for easy switching from         compliance checks. Always check to ensure integrated features
   touch to pen mode, and increases precision when writing or           are robust enough to suit your needs, and weigh them against
   filling out forms.                                                   other features to determine the best tablet configuration for
                                                                        your business.

                                                                        Processing Power
                                                                        In order to avoid slow processing, downtime, and data errors,
                                                                        a processor needs to be on par with the amount of data it
                                                                        will be handling. Consider factors such as complexity of data
                                                                        and software the tablet will run, amount of applications it will
                                                                        need to access simultaneously, and what types of data it will
                                                                        handle—simple measurements, or large maps? Predicting data
                                                                        loads in applications and projects and selecting a processor
                                                                        that can handle that data load is essential when choosing a
                                                                        rugged tablet PC.

Choosing a Rugged Computer for the oil and gas industry

              Data Protection
              In the oil and gas industry, as in any industry, data is extremely
              proprietary and confidential, as it guides operations and
              factors in greatly to your bottom line. However, for projects to
              be managed efficiently, vast amounts of sensitive and vital
              information must be communicated to numerous devices
              and parties on an ongoing basis. Data can be kept secure
              on a rugged tablet, but only if is equipped with multi-level
              security options that protect it from theft, unauthorized
              viewing, and data corruption.

  Security from Theft                                                           Protection from Damage
  There are many options available on rugged PC tablets that                    While data security will protect your data from unauthorized
  protect your data. Some form of anti-theft program should be                  use, there is also a threat of data loss from hardware
  in place that allows you to wipe data and locate the tablet from              breakdowns. While a rugged design can bolster against
  a remote location. In addition, to prevent unauthorized access                hardware failure, Solid State Drives (SSDs) are the final step in
  and data corruption, a pre-boot identification system should be               superior data protection. Unlike traditional hard drives, SSDs
  present. This could be via password input, or for added security,             have no spinning parts that are prone to damage from shocks,
  an integrated fingerprint scanner or smart card reader.                            and feature flash-based technology for vastly superior
  Finally, there should be a set of protocols that verify                                  data retention properties and performance. If the
  the integrity of the machine, maintain platform                                              SSD is also removable, users can preserve their
  integrity, and encrypt disks as needed.                                                         data by transferring it from a fatally damaged
  TPM 1.2 is one such service—it governs                                                            computer into another. If you want to take
  encryption standards and processes,                                                                 data protection to the next level, tablets
  and ensures the tablet operates within                                                               with a RAID 1 configuration duplicate
  its set specifications. Finally, to protect                                                           data onto two different drives,
  against physical theft, most rugged                                                                   providing backup should one drive fail.
  tablets come with a lock slot that
  allows you to secure the tablet to a
  vehicle or dock.

1-888-44-XPLORE (9-7567)                                        WWW.XPLORETECH.COM                                XPLOREINFO@XPLORETECH.COM
Choosing a Rugged Computer for the oil and gas industry

             Workforce management
             and safety
             Much of the work in the oil and gas industry requires the coordination of
             large teams of people. Project completion efforts must be perfectly
             harmonized with safety and environmental monitoring, or the
             project runs the risk of liability from personal injury, death,
             equipment loss, reservoir and product damage, and
             more. Rugged PC tablets can empower your workforce
             with a means of constant connection and oversight,
             even in hazardous areas, which facilitates instant
             response times and operational transparency. As a
             result, projects are completed more efficiently, risks are
             assessed and avoided before they occur, and safety and
             worker operations are improved as a whole.

                                                                          Communications Systems
                                                                          Workforce and safety management requires rugged design
                                                                          and software compatibility to minimize costs from damage
                                                                          and training, as well as allow for use in hazardous areas. First
                                                                          and foremost, however, you should make sure any tablet you
                                                                          consider has an excellent communications system, as a break
                                                                          in connectivity can cause lost revenue from work stoppages,
                                                                          and communication errors may risk safety, equipment and
                                                                          environmental damage. 801.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi provides excellent
                                                                          local connectivity on the project site. For locations that require
                                                                          communication with a remote office or otherwise, computers
                                                                          should have Gobi 3000 or 4G LTE available. Some tablets
                                                                          feature accessories that improve broadband connection on
                                                                          the fringes of the network, and these accessories should be
                                                                          considered if your workers are in particularly remote areas. An
                                                                          integrated camera, noise-cancelling microphone, and speakers
                                                                          can also aid in worker collaboration, and many rugged tablets
                                                                          come standard with these tools. If you add on these options,
                                                                          however, make sure they have the same rugged specs as the
                                                                          tablet itself.

Choosing a Rugged Computer for the oil and gas industry

             Rugged tablet computers in the
             oil and gas industry
             Although rugged hardware might be on the expensive side, the
             ROI cannot be beat; companies that have adopted rugged
             tablet PCs regularly report significant gains in productivity,
             and significant drops in operating costs. By streamlining
             management and monitoring activity, reducing liability
             costs, and increasing operational efficiency, the tablet
             you buy will quickly pay for itself many times over.
             However, to get the most out of your tablet consider the
             points listed above before you purchase. A versatile tablet
             is a good solution for adopting as a cross-application
             hardware architecture, but always determine whether a
             tablet’s rugged, technical, security and communications
             specs are on par with the projected environment and type of
             processes it will be performing. This way you ensure a long life
             cycle and smooth integration into all your operations.

                                                                      About xplore technologies
                                                                      Xplore Technologies Corp., maker of the
                                                                      most rugged tablets on Earth, has
                                                                      been in the business of developing,
                                                                      integrating,     and     marketing
                                                                      industrial grade rugged tablets
                                                                      for our customers in the Energy,
                                                                      Utilities, Manufacturing and
                                                                      Distribution, Public Safety, Field
                                                                      Services, Transportation, and
                                                                      Military sectors for over 15 years.
                                                                      Xplore Tablets use the most powerful
                                                                      and modern processors and components
                                                                      and are tested more vigorously for shock, thermal, vibration,
                                                                      impact, ingress and emissions than any other PC in the
                                                                      industry. Xplore’s products enable the extension of traditional
                                                                      computing systems to a range of field and on-site personnel,
                                                                      regardless of location or environment. Xplore’s portfolio of
                                                                      products is sold on a global basis, with channel partners in the
                                                                      United States, Canada, Europe and Asia Pacific. Xplore’s main
                                                                      offices are located in Austin, Texas with regional sales offices
                                                                      throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. Xplore is a public
                                                                      company that trades under the symbol XPLR on the NASDAQ
                                                                      Stock Exchange.

1-888-44-XPLORE (9-7567)                            WWW.XPLORETECH.COM                                  XPLOREINFO@XPLORETECH.COM
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