The mobile revolution has transformed how service engineers do their jobs. But run-of-the-mill iPads just don’t cut it in hazardous environments where everyday electronics pose a combustion risk. These include oil and gas refineries, mines and chemical plants, among others.

Technicians in these environments need consistent digital access to apps and data while also staying safe and secure. The good news? Specialized mobile devices, many of which that run familiar operating systems (Android, Windows,  iOS) are designed to limit electrical and thermal output. These devices adhere to ATEX (from the French term atmospheres explosibles) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards.

“Modern mobile apps can then be downloaded to these devices to enable service transformation toward increased asset uptime and productivity while reducing safety and compliance incidents,” says Phil Schwarz, oil & gas product marketing director at ServiceMax.

Do your technicians work in a combustion-risk environment? Here are five ATEX- and IEC-certified devices that are guaranteed to not spark an explosion. What’s more, they all support Bluetooth 5.0 for hands-free operation.

Bartec Pixavi Impact X

Image: Pixavi

The Impact X‘s ergonomic design allows technicians to use it while wearing gloves. Two forward-facing cameras toggle between portrait and landscape mode, allowing techs to take HD videos and photos with one hand. (The device can be purchased without a camera for secure environments where cameras are restricted.)

  • Features: 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, 8MP camera, video streaming, waterproof
  • Specs: 4.3-inch display, 10 oz.
  • OS: Android
  • Cost: Contact Pixavi directly for a quote; available from resellers for $4,000

ECOM Smart-Ex 01

Image: Ecom Instruments

As an ultra-rugged Android smartphone, the Smart-Ex 01 offers a large, multi-touch, scratch-resistant display that’s visible in direct sunlight. It supports live streaming to connect technicians with remote experts. Designed to make operational mobility trouble-free in hazardous environments, the Smart-Ex 01 includes “man down” alarm notifications, an integrated torch light for visibility and wireless interfaces for accessing data ecosystems and beacons.

  • Features: Bluetooth 5.0, 8MP camera, video streaming, waterproof
  • Specs: 4.3-inch display, 10 oz.
  • OS: Android
  • Cost: Contact Ecom Instruments directly for a quote; available from resellers for $1,975

i.safe Mobile IS520.2

Image: i.safe Mobile

An intrinsically safe smartphone with a solid industrial design, the IS520.2 offers a responsive and accessible touch-sensitive device for field service workers in a variety of hazardous environments. Tasks can span indoor/outdoor monitoring, condition-based maintenance, and indoor/outdoor tracking and navigation. The IS520.2 offers lone-worker protections and push-to-talk communication for fast, “get in, get out” conversations. The group services feature enables conferencing with multiple users.

  • Features: Bluetooth 5.0, 8MP camera, video streaming, waterproof
  • Specs: 4.5-inch display, 11.5 oz.
  • OS: Android
  • Cost: Contact i.safe Mobile directly for a quote; available from resellers for $1,794

Dorland Multi 9

Image: Dorland

The Dorland Industrial Smartphone Multi 9 integrates intrinsically safe circuitry and battery protection to limit energy, electrical and thermal output to a sub-incendiary level. Its advanced technology and sturdy design features ensure that workers can access the latest apps, mobile communications and compute power in any type of hazardous location.

  • Features: Bluetooth 5.0, 8MP camera, video streaming, waterproof
  • Specs: 5.7-inch display, 8.5 oz.
  • OS: Android
  • Cost: Contact Dorland directly for a quote

Sonim XP5s

Image: Sonim Technologies

The ultra-rugged Sonim XP5s handset ensures both workforce safety and productivity for field service individuals in remote locations. Employing Sprint’s “push-to-talk” feature enables team members to collaborate via real-time communications in all types of hazardous environments. The XP5s offers capabilities that help simplify and streamline diverse field service tasks and features a comprehensive three-year warranty.

  • Features: Bluetooth 5.0, camera, video streaming, waterproof
  • Specs: 2.64-inch display, 9.17 oz.
  • OS: Proprietary
  • Cost: Contact Sprint and AT&T directly for a quote

About Kerry Doyle

Kerry DoyleKerry Doyle is an analyst and writer who has covered business and technology issues for over a decade, first as a technician at the fabled PCWeek Labs and a reporter for PCWeek magazine, then as senior editor at ZDNet.com. He has contributed articles and content to organizations as diverse as IDG/ComputerWorld, GigaOm Research, Monitor Group, Harvard Business School, and Global Knowledge. He provides cogent analyses of the newest trends in technology, from nanotech to the cloud, with a focus on issues relevant to leaders in field service.

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