World-Beater – How Panasonic’s New Toughbook Is Set To Change Heavy Industry

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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The Toughbook CF-54 will offer workers in all kinds of areas new opportunities to go mobile

Those of us who work in an office are getting used to be able to work on the go, whenever we want, but for workers in more difficult industries, getting things done can be a complicated procedure.

How can you file a project report when it’s snowing a blizzard outside? How can you urgently upload a photo of a broken sewer main to make sure it gets fixed quickly? And what if you’re working on an oil rig and desperately need to request new parts for a machine?

Panasonic’s Toughbook and Toughpad products have been helping a wide range of industry verticals get mobile and increase productivity for several years now, and the company’s new Toughbook CF-54 could be one of the biggest steps forward in heavy industry mobility yet.

panasonic toughbook cf-54Up to scratch

Unveiled at an event in Germany yesterday, the Toughbook CF-54 is Panasonic’s most durable product yet, able to put up with levels of punishment most other PCs and tablets would be unable to cope with.

This includes drop protection from heights of up to 76cm alongside improved dust, water and temperature resistance, as well improved spill protection for the keyboard and display area.

Its durability was even demonstrated by a Panasonic executive putting a CF-54 in a freezer for the duration of his keynote speech, before taking it out and booting it up with no difficulties. But just what kind of work would benefit from such a device?

In the field

Panasonic says the new Toughbook CF-54 is better suited to a wider range of industry verticals than ever before, and it’s set ambitious targets to get the device into as many workplaces as possible.

“We want to make (the Toughbook CF-54) slimmer, lighter, and make it business-like” said Jan Kaempfer, the general manager of marketing for Panasonic Computer Product toughbook cf-54

Typically, the company has targeted verticals such as automotive, professional services, and field services (such as utility and telecoms) for its Toughbook and Toughpad range, but thanks to the durability and performance of the Toughbook CF-54, Panasonic is now aiming for new horizons.

During the launch, the company explained how the new device would help it move into the ‘occasionally outdoor’ sectors such as insurance, construction, and even military, thanks to a design and specifications that make the ‘semi-rugged’ Toughbook CF-54 closer to a business laptop than its traditional ‘rugged’ devices.

Labelling the Toughbook CF-54, which weighs just 1.99kg, as ‘semi-rugged’, Panasonc highlighted that the rugged device market was growing fairly stagnant, so wanted to design a device that was able to cross over traditional borders.

The new device, with its lighter and thinner design alongside wide customisation options, seems well placed to offer something new to businesses whose employees travel a lot, especially if this is to locations or situations with increased danger where a standard laptop would not be able to survive.

“This latest Toughbook redefines the semi-rugged notebook category,” concluded Kaempfer, “It is bio-engineered for business.”

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