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Or is thy lustre drawn from heavenly hues,

A sumptuous drifting fragment of the sky,

Caught when the sunset its last glance imbues

With sudden splendor, and the tree-tops high

Grasp that swift blazonry,

Then lend those tints to thee,

On thee to float a few short hours, and die?

Thomas Wentworth Higginson

The beauty of a butterfly is undeniable, but as Thomas Higginson is quick to point out in his poem, butterflies only live a few hours and die. Their tenuous grip on mortality does not begin there; butterflies whilst functional and beautiful are also delicate. Have you ever caught a butterfly without damaging its gossamer thin wings? Or witnessed its night-time cousin the moth slowly die as it encircles a hot light or flame? Their beauty comes at a price!

Beauty is not the solely the domain of living things, I myself admire the beauty of 21st century technology, especially consumer electronics such as Smartphones and Tablets. These are all designed to be eye-catching lines and tactile, that make them desirable like a sports-car and drive their owners to buy the latest and greatest available. Yet it is a fact that these devices are like the butterfly; beautiful and functional, yet fragile, so we conceal their beauty in protective cases. It is somewhat ironic that what drew us to them in the first place – their looks – is so quickly hidden from view, and also that one of their features – thinness and lightness – is completely negated by a bulky casing.

Like the butterfly, consumer devices quickly run out of power and die, so we have to be constantly aware of the need to plug-in and recharge or suffer the consequences.

It is not only gullible consumers like myself that fall victim to this, organisations buy fragile and beautiful devices in their thousands, ignoring the fact that the reason they are beautiful is to make them desirable, and that beauty comes at a price, durability. These organisations experience high-attrition rates as a result, or buy the best protective cases, once again nullifying some features of a device.

Perhaps there should be different thinking here, perhaps we should consider what we need the device for in the first place: If I am using a device in a warehouse the environment means if I drop it, it will be onto a concrete floor. If I leave it laying around it may have a heavy box dumped onto it, or even be run-over by a forklift truck? Maybe I need my devices to support my field service operation where I need to operate it with gloves whilst it is assaulted by oils, corrosives, and the elements, and where there is not a charging point for miles around? There are many exacting environments where we shouldn’t expect our ‘butterflies’ to thrive, or even survive, and where functionality and durability eclipse beauty.

In these environments we need to consider devices that can withstand being dropped from height onto a concrete floor, can be rocked and shaken, splattered with chemicals and water, resist electromagnetic fields, with high-capacity hot-swappable batteries that extend the usable time significantly.

Once again, the argument comes down to consumer vs industrial device with the consumer device dedicated to providing social interaction and entertainment for our personal lives, and for everything else, choose something from Sumo’s range of ruggedized devices. They aren’t even that bad looking!!

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