Chris Pepin 110000H1GN firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  rugged mobile | 0 Comments | 697 Visits
Open any magazine, watch any TV program, listen to any advertising, observe any office workers, travel on a train, look at the young coming out of school/college : What sort of mobile devices do you see?
• Blackberries YES ;
• Smartphone YES ;
• Tablet devices YES and growing ;
• Ruggedized mobile devices (handheld computers, laptops, tablets): Surely not?
Is there still a need for rugged devices – particularly in your enterprise – given your CFO will tell you the other more exciting devices can be half the price. It’s simple : out with the old and in with the new: yet just before jumping - it may be worth using a different measure.
Does it matter what device my employees are seen with?
Yes – or does it?
If you are working face to face with your customers and want to present a good image why not use a sleek Smartphone or tablet device – why would you want to go with a more clunky and ugly rugged device. And buy these devices with a lower purchase price means that I can even equip my teams with more than one maybe a Smartphone and a Tablet …. Surely this is the key point and the debate is over…….
But what if my mobile workers are service engineers, delivery workers, meter readers, Funfair workers, construction workers, parking wardens ….. now is image as important a consideration as capability and longevity of life?
As we move outdoors perhaps other considerations are a more relevant Must Have device……
Does in matter what environment my employees operate in?
Yes it does
If you are outdoors in a rugged environment : Wet, Dusty, Bright Sunlight, Cold Frosty morning : You need to consider robustness – remember many tablets and Smartphones today are engineered for consumers and don’t offer appropriate levels of security and durability or the functionality needed for business use
Also what if I drop my device will it bounce?
Here rugged devices have a place …. They are shipped with IP Ratings, can be manufactured to operate in safe environments (Zone 0), whilst device manufacturers just love to talk about drop height tests (a whole topic by itself) ….
So perhaps there are environments where a rugged device is a Must Have device…….
What does this mean ……
More and more companies now encourage employees to bring their own device – bring their own rugged device … not so likely. Yet this is where the price differential could assist. Consider rugged devices as corporate liable devices, they look the same, feel the same, operate in the same way and don’t have a picture of the holiday home on them, Now e can share devices across shifts / employees / premises : its not your device it’s the companies. An ugly rugged device supports corporate liability ….
And don’t forget if it’s your and not mine will my behaviour alter – easier to protect a rugged device from dropping off a Fork Lift truck than it is a Smartphone…. and your health and asftey officer will let your Fork Lift driver wear his device …….
TCO & Device Stability Important ?
Yes in your enterprise absolutely
We have already considered a Smartphone is cheaper – but is it. What life can you get from your Smartphone, will the particular manufacturers derivation of Android be supported in 2 years time let alone will the application still run: and that assumes the device isn’t scratched or damaged ….
So whilst up front costs can appear lower, consider the broader TCO measure and again don’t automatically discount that stable rugged device.
Not so easy then??
Its comfortable sitting on my fence, but it does appear to me that whilst there is an undoubted take-up of Smartphone and tablet devices into the enterprise, there am still a need for rugged devices supporting specific user requirements, environments and delivering stable TCO and stability. Probably the future lies in mixed deployments now I have the challenge of managing such an estate from a single platform – but that’s for another day:
Now what do you think…… ?