Panasonic TOUGHBOOK Puts On a Show for Emergency Services

Panasonic TOUGHBOOK recently returned from the Emergency Services Show at the National Exhibition Centre – the UK’s premier emergency services show event – providing it with an invaluable opportunity to meet the full spectrum of decision makers and blue-light customers and prospects.


written by: Will Holmes, Business Manager (Public Sector), Panasonic TOUGHBOOK

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Notwithstanding attending its second major event in as many weeks, the TOUGHBOOK team left the Emergency Services Show in Birmingham with a spring in its step, given the range and depth of conversations with partners and system integrators. Furthermore, it provided a great opportunity for Panasonic to speak directly with so many end-user customers. 


Emergency Services Show Lives Up to its Billing

Billed as ‘the UK’s premier emergency services event’, this isn’t simply hyperbole for the Emergency Services Show – it truly is the one place where the entire industry comes together. This is partly due to a rather simple – and perhaps obvious – characteristic: the location of the NEC. With many of Panasonic TOUGHBOOK’s customers and prospects based outside of London, it’s an ideal opportunity for some face-to-face focus time with those we speak to on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. 

The turnout in Birmingham must have broken last year’s record-setting attendance, given the buzz on the show floor. Furthermore, TOUGHBOOK’s physical positioning within the NEC was perfect for us this year; it allowed us to be front and centre for key IT, operations, and fleet management decision-makers to stop by the stand, let alone capturing the attention of those who passed by and were genuinely interested in Panasonic’s technology. 

The Entire Spectrum of Blue-Light – and More

A key differentiator for ESS is the sheer number of operational and strategic decision-makers across blue-light services that turn up; you really get the full spectrum of people to talk with. It’s not solely those who only work with technology; you’re speaking with end-users, fleet managers, and senior IT officers, to name just a few. It’s a real open forum.

Unlike other events that – whilst very rewarding and important – are only focused on IT technology, the feedback from the likes of fleet managers, coachbuilders, and vehicle integration partners is tremendously insightful. For example, it’s exciting to hear how they are constantly analysing vehicle layouts and working with docking partners for situating appliances, demountable devices, and mobile data terminals, how they are increasingly adopting hybrid and electric vehicles, and what the latest trends are in this area. 

This face-to-face contact is incredibly satisfying; even for me with over 20 years of experience – and more than a decade with Panasonic – you never stop learning and gaining knowledge of what others are doing. This is especially true at this time of the year when companies are planning to introduce new models for the start of 2024.

Realising What’s Possible with TOUGHBOOK

As I said earlier, you never stop learning; this is true for everyone at ESS. It was great to speak with so many who are already using TOUGHBOOKs – such as our dependable, high performance TOUGHBOOK 33 – who are looking at their replacement strategy when they come to the end of their device lifecycle, and educate them on what’s possible with Panasonic going forward. Naturally, we have a few things up our sleeves in terms of new and updated rugged models coming, that offer even greater performance, which I can’t go into here!

There was a lot of myth-busting and education taking place for those who don’t currently use TOUGHBOOKs, with many prospects currently using consumer-focused devices that are not fit for purpose in blue-light environments. There were many with very specific use cases, who have been experiencing high failure rates, so it was great to open their eyes to what’s possible when taking a different route, where customisable TOUGHBOOKs that can offer a very competitive total cost of ownership over the device lifecycle can be configured to specific requirements.

On a personal note, it was great to see Panasonic TOUGHBOOK technology being used across different stands – it really emphasises our position as the leading rugged tablet and notebook provider for the emergency services, and if anything, reminded me just how integrated Panasonic is with existing solutions. Clearly, we’re doing something right!

Inspiring Future Generations

We had one eye on the future at ESS, with a plethora of students from emergency service-focused courses across the UK in attendance. It’s great to see so many excited about working in this sector, but with technology an enabler for so many millennials and Gen Z students, it was important for Panasonic to engage with them through our TOUGHBOOK technology.

The role of the typical emergency service worker – like so many disciplines – is firmly focused on the core task of saving lives or keeping people safe, but now also includes having a deep understanding of how the application of technology helps them to do their job to the best of their ability. 

That’s the way it should be, but there were plenty of students that I spoke to that felt that their course only focuses on the fundamentals, and somewhat neglects how technology can help. Coming to a show like ESS opened their eyes to a new world, and new possibilities. This is how we’re going to inspire future generations to choose a career in the UK emergency services. It’s something we probably take for granted, and we therefore have a moral responsibility to make them see what’s possible.

ESS surpassed expectations in 2023; it’s definitely the place to be for anyone that’s currently working in the sector, or for those looking to take their passion for technology and pursue a career in the police, ambulance, or fire services, whatever that may be. 

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