Airlines have long focused on reducing delays, and workers are always on the move to keep commercial and cargo operations running smoothly. Peter Poulin, CMO at Xplore, discusses how durable ‘rugged’ tablets can help track flight schedule changes, and anticipate cargo levels, repair needs and special handling requirements in real time.

What are the key benefits of using your tablets on the go?
Peter Poulin
: Xplore’s rugged tablets provide a lightweight but tough computing foundation from which they can mobilise highly complex and integrated logistical tasks in a way that is simple and straightforwardly employed no matter where workers are logging in. Basically, our rugged tablets extend the full PC capabilities of a laptop or desktop to a tablet that can literally go anywhere that airport operations dictate they need to be – whether that is at the gate, on the flightline, or in the nose of an aircraft.

What are some of the main components of the tablets?
Xplore’s ‘grab and go’ docking technology enables fast transfer of these tough mobile tablets – and their extensive data capabilities – from the concourse, on to baggage carts, into the cargo hold and even in the cockpit. That’s important for workers who need single mobile PC accessibility at all times, but also occasionally need to secure the rugged tablet to take a break or free up their hands. Our secure multistorage options also support battery charging, and we offer hot-swappable battery options that can keep the rugged tablet powered for up to 20 hours.

Our rugged tablets also include barcode readers and smart card readers, touch and digital pen data entry capabilities, and big outdoor-viewable, chemically hardened glass screens that make it easy to quickly review instructions, checklists, or other workflow data. Mobile keyboards can be attached to ease completion of tasks for more stationary or data-intense tasks.

What are the most frequent uses for the tablets at airports?
Our tablets are used by gate agents, ground crews and aircraft manufacturers alike. Our tough tablets’ weatherproof features make their use appealing to runway operation crewmembers – baggage and cargo handlers, refuelers, maintainers, and so on – and their high-altitude resistance also makes them amenable to in-flight application.

We’re also seeing significant adoption by aircraft manufacturers – not only in production facilities, but also in the airport environment. From testing to take-off, aviation and aerospace manufacturers of all sizes are directly and indirectly involved with maintenance, repair and overhaul; frequent inspections of the frame, electrical systems, communications systems and engines; and overall safety and regulatory compliance.

What are the key differentiators of Xplore rugged tablets and why are they particularly effective in the airport environment?
Xplore’s rugged tablets enable operational fluidity and widespread quality control measures for the aviation industry. Transportation leaders can’t afford data loss, security breaches or maintenance oversights – all issues that are more likely with paper-based processes or fragmented, desktop-based computing systems.

Five years ago, many gate agents were still handing paper-based passenger lists to the flight crew, and maintenance crews always referenced paper-based inspection checklists. Issue resolution was painfully slow, and the papers used to flag issues were often lost, torn or illegible because of rain, grease or dirt exposure during routine handling.

Fast-forward to today. Baggage transport, aircraft maintenance and refuelling are all becoming more expeditious because of more accurate documentation capabilities – and so is communication between the ground and gate crews. That’s because Xplore’s rugged tablets are enabling real-time data visibility and real- time communication via Wi-Fi, broadband radio and 4G LTE technologies.

In addition, all our solutions integrate easily with the vast systems already used in airport environments, so there’s not much additional time or financial investment needed to quickly implement our rugged tablets or to synchronise them with other organisations’ systems if necessary. We thereby remove the risk of data errors and introduce new reliability – not only in data accuracy, but also in overall platform longevity. Xplore’s rugged tablets offer the best insurance for customers’ critical data and the best protection against delay, for all cargo and passenger-related mobile workflows between landing and take-off.