Panasonic has announced its entry into the European vehicle computer docking market with the launch of a wide range of vehicle docks and services for its Toughbook and Toughpad rugged mobile computers. The docking stations are used to hold mobile computers in vehicles and can be used in many industries such as utilities, emergency services, and transportation. They can also be used for mounting devices on trolleys and work stations in the health, automotive and manufacturing sectors. It offers customers a pan-European single point of contact for their rugged computers and vehicle docks plus design, installation and support services.
Giving drivers computer support in the vehicle can greatly enhance their productivity and totally re-engineer their roles. With the growth of internet trading and home delivery, the vehicle driver is often the only human interface an organisation has with their customers. Panasonic vehicle docks allow the Toughbook or Toughpad computers to be removed from the vehicle and be used during customer engagement allowing the driver to take new orders for example. Having a computer in the vehicle can also assist with GPS location, dynamic routing, driver fuel efficiency measurement and much more.
Panasonic Computer Product Solutions offers a core line of 10 different docking stations, combined with a range of flexible mounting plates and arms. It can provide services from concept, design, prototyping and manufacturing through to installation, certification and full life cycle support.
Panasonic Computer Product Solutions acquired selected assets, intellectual property and patents of Europe's leading computer vehicle docking company at the end of 2011 with their design team, designs, manufacturing and support services. The company had an installed based of 50,000 vehicle docks supporting Panasonic Toughbook computers. Hence Panasonic Computer Products has, out of the gate, the largest European installed base of vehicle docking solutions for rugged notebooks.
"Panasonic Toughbook helps transform the way businesses work by giving people access to information and applications using our rugged mobile computers in places where it was never before possible. The natural extension of this offer is to provide this level of computing in the vehicle. With our recent acquisition of Europe's leading vehicle computer docking organization, we can offer a total solution to organisations across Europe, whatever their industry or specialisation," said Kevin Jones, Sales Director of Panasonic Computer Product Solutions. Panasonic Computer Product Solutions vehicle docking services includes:
Concept: With 30 years of research and development experience the team can quickly and efficiently establish the best design concepts to meet a customer's need.
Design: Using its state-of-the-art design centre, Panasonic uses Faro Arm technology to model the exact interior of a vehicle cabin space and transfer it to a CAD environment. By creating detailed CAD/CAM drawings, the design team can then speed the time to prototype of new products. 3D printing technology is used to cut prototype production time from the traditional weeks to days. The quality of the prototypes even allows for impact safety testing to be checked at this early stage.
Manufacturing: Full assembly of the docking stations and mounts take place at the Panasonic vehicle docking manufacturing plant in Europe with in-house manufacturing and installation of all Panasonic electronics, ensuring the tightest control over quality.
Test and Certification: Rigorous testing and certification against European standards is undertaken for all products, covering environmental, impact (ECR) and advanced impact testing, temperature, humidity, shock, vibration and life cycle usage tests.
Installation: Panasonic offers a European-wide installation service in alliance with industry-certified partners to ensure docking stations and mounts are fitted to specification and European safety requirements.
Life Cycle Support: In line with Panasonic Toughbook's market leading service and support, Panasonic offers a standard warranty of 1 year on all vehicle docking products (this can be extended up to 5 years). Standard repair times are 96 hours.