Rugged versus Consumer Cost of Ownership

Feb. 11, 2014
New online calculator is designed to help determine the total cost of ownership differences between rugged tablets and consumer tablets.

Over the past few years, we’ve increasingly seen more examples of consumer technologies, such as smartphones and tablets, being used for industrial applications. This trend is becoming more ubiquitous as companies allow or mandate BYOD initiatives.

But somehow, the use of mobile devices for these applications has largely sidestepped the whole rugged-versus-consumer discussion that typically comes into play. Such industrial-versus-consumer comparisons are extremely common and range from knowing the difference between industrial and consumer grade networking cables and connectors to differentiating between enterprise and industrial IT expertise for security purposes. Unlike routers, cables and connectors, mobile devices have not yet fully entered the industrial versus consumer debate, likely due to the fact that smart phones and tablets are not fixed parts of the industrial operation.

Despite this fact, as reliance on mobile devices grows, increased calls for their ruggedization will surely follow, even it is not adhered to as stringently as it is for installed network devices.

For those considering the use of ruggedized mobile devices, Xplore Technologies and VDC Research have created an online calculator to help users determine the cost of deploying rugged versus consumer devices. Granted, as a supplier of rugged mobile devices, Xplore Technologies has a message to convey around the products it sells, but that does not negate the overall point. After all, in some applications, the cost of regularly replacing consumer tablets could far outweigh the higher initial cost of a rugged tablet.

“VDC Research has conducted extensive research on the total cost of ownership (TCO) for mobile devices used by frontline mobile workers. Backed by a rigorous and in-depth primary research campaign, the TCO models reflect the aggregate responses from technology decision makers in organizations across multiple industries, representing various mobile use cases,” said David Krebs, vice president of enterprise mobility and connected devices at VDC Research. “The [calculator] is designed to provide guidance to organizations making mobile investment decisions, while acknowledging that all deployments are unique.”

VDC’s analysts formulated cost equations to account for both hard and soft costs, while taking industry averages associated with both rugged and consumer devices into consideration.

The tool is available at no cost and can be accessed at

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