You’ve heard about it. The global mobile workforce. Well it’s growing.
The number of mobile workers across the globe will reach 1.3 billion by 2015 but research commissioned by ClickSoftware Technologies indicates that companies are not ready to tap this trend.
Forty-six per cent of CIOs surveyed believe current corporate strategy does not deliver on the ‘Mobile Dream.’ However, 74% of CIOs believe mobile customer service is important for the companies.
Mobile is where it‘s at, so much so that many workers use their own devices (BYOD) for work and home. But as observed here, the potential cost savings on equipment can quickly vanish as potential IT/security issues mount with regard to linked devices loaded with software that the employer does not control.
But that’s not the only barrier. The mobile dream cannot be delivered from the retail shelf either.
There are no mass-market, one-size-fits-all-here-is-an-app-for that solutions to any number of possible rugged mobile work-force requirements, be they durability, connectivity, or network security. Every business or operation has different needs, and when you are talking about the cost for the equipment that will actually last, no one wants to pay for features they will never use.
Put more simply; there is no iPad for the industrial workplace.
If you want a shot at making you mobile computing dreams come true, you need to look someplace else.
“Someplace else” will need to understand “what mobile computing is to you?” It isn’t just in your pocket, wherever your pocket may happen to be. Mobile could be moving work-tables, carts or vehicles; cars, trucks, forklifts, an ambulance or rescue vehicle, construction equipment, off-road four-wheelers or golf carts. It could be a crane, a police car, or just the advantages of using an in-house wireless network, with fixed , handheld, or detachable devices, communicating device to device via Bluetooth, with access to a cellular network, or all of the above.
Sometimes mobile is a mounted PC or a dock-able tablet you can charge and use in-vehicle and then remove when the work requires the employee to take that device with them. And that’s not the only thing you may need.
To quote a recent Glacier White paper…
Commercial tablet customers want a device that runs fast, takes abuse, and works in their environment, no matter how harsh.
Engineering for rugged portable tablets starts at the component level and moves outward through the power supply, housing, display, and docking stations.
Processor speed needs to be fast enough to handle a typical workload, but also able to handle heat dissipation and limit battery drain. Batteries must accommodate multiple hours of use, be hot swappable, and quickly charge in vehicle docks.
The housing (may) need to withstand 3 to 6 ft drops to asphalt covered parking lots and daily vibration loads while docked in a moving vehicle.
Ingress protection against moisture and fine articles is standard and rated with at least an IP54 rating. Military standard specifications are also common and required by many companies, but components needed to meet those standard specifications are more expensive and drive up overall costs.
Displays are treated with anti-shatter and anti-glare technology. Working outside requires a sunlight readable display. Additional I/O ports and vehicle docking stations are also part of the total engineering process and costs.
So what’s in your mobile workforce?
What kind of connectivity do you require? Are you planning to integrate in house software, do you need to limit access outside your network, do you require access outside your own network, and do you have a plan for IT security regardless of your network needs? Your rugged computing solution has to not only have the ability to answer those and other questions, it needs to be built so that it can be modified or even repaired quickly when your mobile workforce finds a way around all the “rugged” you thought you needed.
So there is a good deal more to mobile computing than just moving around without wires. And seeing as this is our blog, we feel obligated to point out that Glacier Computer has a wide range of rugged mobile options, with a variety of configurations, to meet the needs of the rugged mobile workforce–and the ability to modify those options to your more specific needs. Whether it’s hot, cold, damp, wet (check out some video), dirty, dusty, or just needs to endure day-to-day shock and vibration, we can help you cut the cord, make your workforce more mobile, and do it with the right equipment, and the right features, so you get the data you need, when you need it, regardless of the environment.
The Mobile workforce is growing. Leave no man behind.