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Future Proof Your Rugged Tablet PC Investment

In these days of swiftly evolving electronics technology, prudent business shoppers are looking to protect their investment in mobile devices and other equipment by maximizing longevity without sacrificing performance as time goes on.

There are several practical steps you can take to ensure any rugged tablet PC you buy will be ready for change when the time comes. Squeezing just an additional six months out of a mobile computer – keeping it four years rather than 3-1/2 – can significantly improve your total cost of ownership. So it’s worth the effort up front to make sure your rugged tablets are capable of accepting upgrades or conversions that can make them even more versatile and increase their lifespan.

The key, of course, is to plan ahead. You may not be able to predict exactly what you’ll need in a couple of years, but selecting equipment that offers the most flexibility – the ability to expand as needed — will support those future needs more effectively. And certainly more cost-effectively.

Here are some key factors that determine how useful a rugged tablet PC will be down the road:

  • Operating systems and software. A Microsoft-based mobile operating system ensures you’ll have seamless interface with other software and management systems. Look for rugged tablets that can also support terminal emulation and browser-based applications, ones that give you full control over critical settings to prevent tampering. Avoid proprietary systems that don’t mesh with other applications or that require the vendor to develop drivers or make software changes.
  • Scanning capability. Your rugged tablet PC should easily read 1D and 2D barcodes and offer imaging ability at a variety of distances. It should be able to read and write RFID tags. Even if you don’t use RFID now, your tablet should allow adding that later. Scan ranges and use of RFID are increasing, so don’t put yourself in a bind here.
  • Bluetooth connectivity. Peripherals are going wireless, so you need to be prepared, not tethered. This includes wireless printing and barcode scanning.
  • Network compatibility. Your tablet PC should be 802.11 a/b/g compatible and should interface smoothly with your internal security protocols. As noted above, avoid proprietary products and protocols that limit your options, especially when it comes to security.
  • Voice/speech support. We’ll be seeing greater use of hands-free and even “eyes-free” productivity improvements as voice/speech systems become more prevalent. Your rugged tablets will need to easily integrate with these systems, including headsets both wired and wireless.

What’s on the horizon? Many of the same types of innovations we’re seeing for personal use of mobile devices, but configured especially for workplace environments. Things like new voice- and speech-activated applications, broader ability to deliver voice and video as well as text to mobile computing devices, refined barcoding and increasing use of RFID.

It’s these internal computing and connectivity capabilities that will govern the future value of your rugged tablets, not their exterior toughness. That may seem counter-intuitive, but studies show it’s technological obsolescence that produces early retirement for a tablet PC.

Employee Time Clock – Can It Feature High Quality and Maintain a Low Price?

It is often thought that a company can be either price oriented or quality oriented when it comes to its business plan. Traditionalists argue, quite erroneously I may add, that an organization can either have quality products and services, or cost efficient products and services, but cannot have both. However, some modern businesses, employee time clock system providers in particular, have effectively achieved a balance between the quality and the cost of services they provide.

How is This Possible?

The key to having the competitive edge in the employee time and attendance tracking industry is to effectively manage both cost and quality. By maintaining a balance between price and service with a well-crafted strategy, quality conscious companies are not only able to compete with their larger equivalents, but can also set remarkable standards for the market.

Price and Quality of a Time Clock Online

First, let’s take a look at the features that are must for a quality workforce management solution.

1. Plug ‘N Play

Employee time clock systems that can be implemented within a few hours are considered to be the top choice by small and medium-sized businesses. These systems function through cloud computing. There are systems that require in-house servers and licensing from service providers that are not as cost effective. Companies that can provide cloud-based services such as Plug N Play have an edge when it comes to competition.

2. Cost of Implementation

It is no surprise that workforce management solutions that are simple to implement and do not cost a fortune are favored systems for businesses. There are time and attendance software systems in the market that require a business to invest heavily on infrastructure such as servers, supplies, accessories, and ongoing IT support. Plus, at times, the software is too complex to be easily understood by employees, which means they need to be trained resulting in even more costs. Companies with user-friendly software and easy-to-use systems once again have the advantage.

3. Software Upgrades

Cloud-based employee time and attendance tracking companies provide free upgrades for their products. Furthermore, seamless upgrades ensure there is no interruption of service and no downtime. In comparison, licensed systems charge for each upgrade. If you are a small business owner, there is no better option for you than a product that is always available with the latest version, at no additional cost.

4. Lifetime Free Replacements

Employee time clock online system providers that offer free lifetime replacements are considered to be the preferred choice by small and medium sized businesses. This is a very simple measure of the confidence these providers have in the quality of their hardware.

5. Payroll Integration

Quality employee time clock systems provide integration with your existing payroll or accounting systems. At present, a reputable workforce management system should provide integration capabilities with more than 50 of the top payroll systems.

A high-quality time and attendance tracking system must have the above features, but it must also have the right price.

Understanding Geothermal Heating and Cooling

We hear the term ‘geothermal’ often in the media but not everyone is aware of what it is and how it works. Simply put, geothermal heat pumps are an efficient way to heat and cool your home or business. They are also able to provide free hot water if set up to do so.

No matter where we live, no matter the climate we live in, a few feet below the grounds surface the earth stays at a relatively constant temperature. The ground temperature ranges from 45°F to 75°F. In the winter the ground temperature is warmer than the air above and in the summer the ground temperature is cooler that the air. Geothermal heat pumps use the constant temperature of the earth below the frost line as the exchange medium instead of the air temperature outside. During the heating cycle they use the earth loop to extract heat from the ground. As it pulls the heat from the earth the system distributes through a conventional duct system. In the cooling mode, the heating process is simply reversed. Instead of extracting heat from the earth, heat is extracted from the air in your home or business and either moves back into the earth loop or is used to heat the water in your hot water tank.

There are four basic types of geothermal systems. There are three types that are called closed-loop systems and the fourth is an open-loop system. They are available for commercial buildings, new construction and existing homes.

Unlike conventional furnaces that burn a fuel to generate heat, geothermal heat pumps use electricity to move the heat from the earth to your home or business. Geothermal technology is a great investment that will help save you money on your utilities each year. Most homeowners see a reduction in their energy bills of 30 to 70 percent. These systems have a lower maintenance cost and have a longer life expectancy than other heating and cooling systems.

Because these systems are so efficient and environmentally friendly, you can receive a tax credit for the installation of a geothermal system. In 2009, a 30% tax credit for the installation of a geothermal system was enacted. This credit is available through 2016. There are a few qualifications one needs to meet to get the tax credit.

Geothermal energy is not a new technology. It has been around for several decades. They have gone by different names over the years. They have been called ground-water assisted, ground-water source and geoexchange to name a few.