Tablet Applications: Technology Tools for SH&E Professionals
- David L. Fender (Murray State University) | Clinton T. Wol?ey (Washington River Protection Solutions)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- January 2014
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 28 - 31
- 2014. American Society of Safety Engineers
- 0 in the last 30 days
- 47 since 2007
- Show more detail
Safety professionals are constantly on the go. As a result, portable de-vices are becoming essential work tools that provide users with a competitive edge. Many types of portable devices are available, but tablets show much promise for daily use in safety as new technology has allowed for more intuitive interfaces that allow users to streamline processes through time efficiencies, cost reduction and improved communication.
What is different about tablets? They come in many sizes and types, but all have a touch screen interface. Screen sizes range from 7 to 10 in. (measured diagonally), although one tablet available measures 14 in. In some respects, a tablet is nothing more than a smartphone (without calling abilities) with a larger screen. However, it is the larger screen that greatly enhances its usefulness. A tablet is smaller than a laptop and highly portable. Some small models fit in a large pocket, such as those common on outdoor clothing.
Tablets are instant-on devices and have no external keyboard, mouse or other devices. Most tablets are equipped with Wi-Fi or wireless capabilities, and some models might use a cellular connection to transfer data. Most tablets also have a camera and audio recording ability. A person’s finger is the in-put and selection device, or a stylus can be used (as it may be more precise than a finger). In addition, portable Bluetooth keyboards can be purchased and used.
The usefulness of a tablet is not limited to the hardware. Available software or apps are another benefit. The three main operating systems for tablets are Apple iOS, Android and Microsoft Windows 8. Microsoft Windows 8 is new with a limited number of safety applications at this time, although it can use regular PC-based soft-ware. The large number of Android devices avail-able is too broad to cover in this article, but the devices are improving quickly and more apps are being developed.
At this time, based on the authors’ research and use, the iOS iPad and iPad mini are the best choices. The hardware is solid and reliable, and many safety-useful apps are available. Therefore, this article focuses primarily on use of an iPad and appropriate apps, many of which can also be used on an iPhone. Some cited apps have an Android equivalent and a search of the Android app library will reveal additional options. Apps are updated and added constantly so this is a ?uid area.
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