Using rugged TOUGHBOOK Windows tablets in sun, wind, rain and sea spray
Fjord1, the country’s largest ferry company, carries passengers across Western Norway’s fjords 24 hours a day – 365 days a year. The notorious Norwegian west-coast weather imposes particularly severe requirements on the technology used on board. That is precisely why they have opted for Panasonic’s TOUGHBOOK rugged Windows tablets.
"For Fjord1, technology that can handle wind, sun, rain and cold is an absolute must. The tablets are one of the ticket inspectors’ most important tools, so they have to be reliable. "
Lars Inge Myklebust, responsible for ticketing systems at Fjord1, says that they have approximately 300 TOUGHBOOK devices distributed across approximately 50 ferries. The devices are predominantly used to take payment, while ferry masters use them to guide the boats into a mooring machine.
“For Fjord1, technology that can handle wind, sun, rain and cold is an absolute must. In addition the devices must be able to withstand impacts, as every now and then they will hit the deck. The tablets are one of the ticket inspectors' most important tools, so they have to be reliable. The ferries will always run, whatever happens, regardless of the weather.”
World's first zero-emission ferry crossing
Ole Kristian Haugen, master of the MF Gloppfjord, which is the ferry used on the Anda-Lote crossing, says that it is the first crossing in the world with zero emissions and that both of the boats used on it are electrically powered.
“MF Gloppfjord and her sister ship, MF Eidsfjord, which both serve the Anda-Lote crossing, are the first electric ferries in the country. They are full of modern technology. Among other things, we use the TOUGHBOOK M1 to berth at a mooring machine – a use that is totally new in a ferry context. An easy-to-use app allows us to control mooring and cast-off, in addition to monitoring wind and weather in general.”
Sun and rain – not a problem
For the ticket inspectors at Fjord1, sun and rain are no longer a problem when they have to collect payments. Peter Falkevik, a trainee on the MF Gloppfjord's daytime watches, says he is pleased that the ferry company has invested in rugged devices from Panasonic.
“On the devices we used before, we had to put a plastic film on the screen to get them to work in all weathers. With the TOUGHBOOK M1 this issue is a thing of the past. They work in all conditions, which makes the daily routine for those of us who work on deck far easier.”
Lars Bjønnes, CEO of Mobitech AS, which has developed the ticketing solution used by Fjord1, says the M1 tablet was selected as a result of the ferry company's specific needs. He explains that it is a Windows-based tablet which is tailored to work in challenging environments.
“The tablet has a capacitive touch screen for outdoor use. Another important point is that the devices are customised for SIM cards, which means that they are online to be able to communicate with the back-end systems. In combination with our proprietary ticketing application, the tablet is the optimal choice.”
The fully rugged TOUGHBOOK M1 sets a new standard for using tablets outdoors. The tablet is designed to optimize the efficiency of field workers. Various connectivity options ensure that data is always available when needed.
“The TOUGHBOOK M1 is the optimum choice for use on ferries. Both the application used for ticketing and the tablet are designed to work whatever the conditions. Not many people may know this, but ticketing solutions are some of the most complex to develop. So, compatibility between software and hardware is vital,” explains Lars Bjønnes.
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