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Written by Jan Kaempfer - General Manager, Marketing for Panasonic Mobile Solutions Business Division Europe

Evaluating Mobile Tech

5 considerations for choosing the right mobile technology for your workforce

As the mobile workforce grows, high-performing mobile computing devices become ever more business critical. They can be essential tools used for gathering and analysing data, communicating and providing services, and vital components of the modern workforce’s productivity.

So, when it comes to buying new mobile technology, how do you ensure you’re choosing the right solution?

Here are five tips...

A postal courier using an N1 device to navigate in a vehicle, scan a parcel and accept a signature

1. Know your demands: The right tool for the right task

The day-to-day responsibilities of your employees are the first thing any business should consider when looking to buy new technology.

The daily demands your workforce encounters will help guide you to a perfect computing solution. Depending on your workforce’s role, those solutions could be vastly different from those you have currently – or you could be looking at upgrading your existing fleet with a new and enhanced version of a technology you already own.

Ultimately, it comes down to purpose. Buying a fleet of handheld barcode scanners is only useful if it’s a tool your employees will use. Equally, buying a device without the ability to perform certain tasks, install particular software, or handle multiple tasks at once may be to your workforce’s detriment.

TOUGHBOOK G1 being used for surveying

2. Got the power? Ensure your device does

There are two angles you can consider when talking about the power of a device: its physical power in terms of battery life, and its processor or computing power. For many mobile fleets, both factors will have equal importance.

Buying a device with adequate battery life is self-explanatory; your fleet of workers can remain switched on, more mobile and more productive for longer.

Whether you need a device which has long enough battery life to last for an entire shift, or if a hot- or warm-swap battery option is a better fit for your teams’ needs, it’s essential to understand how these will affect your workforce productivity.

A device’s processing power is also integral to efficiency. Mobile computing is increasingly used as an employee’s principal tool: from measuring and recording data, to remaining in contact with the rest of your fleet, clients and support teams. All from one device.

If you want your employees to be able to multitask on their device, you’ll need a processor that packs a punch. And, that’s something to take into consideration when you’re looking at a device’s battery life – the higher the processing power, the more intensive the usage, the more likely that battery is to drain. 

3. Protect and secure: Tech that’s front-line ready

Having a powerful device is one thing, but security is of paramount concern to any modern business; whether that’s physical device protection, insurance or built-in data security.

Damage, theft or corruption can result in the loss of data, loss of revenue and even legal consequences. Plus, there are risks to your business’ reputation which can be hard to recover from.

Luckily, there are a ton of fit-for-purpose solutions available on the market to keep your devices – and your data – secure.

So, whether that means finding a docking solution which keeps mobile computers out of sight and secure while on-the-move; a rugged device which can handle drops, knocks and scrapes; insurance which keeps your fleet covered or built-in antivirus on your mobile computer, there is bound to be a solution fit for your business’ needs. 

 

4. Future-ready vs. reliable today – which to choose?

Sometimes it’s difficult to know whether to choose a tried and tested mobile solution, or to take the plunge with something new. With emerging technologies such as big data, sensor technology and the IoT all gaining momentum, the temptation to take a leap is stronger than ever before. Luckily, whitepapers, research reports and sector case studies are usually readily available online, so you can do your own research and explore which solutions might work best for your industry.

Plus, many established mobile devices will already include these capabilities, or the option to upgrade in the future. For example, the TOUGHBOOK 55 is an evolution of the successful TOUGHBOOK 54. It’s more flexible, faster, tougher, secure, and longer-lasting than its predecessor. But despite the upgraded technology, accessories from the previous device are forwards compatible, including vehicle docks and desktop port replicators – so you don’t need to worry about outdated technology or having to replace an entire fleet of add-ons.

 

5. Think ‘sustainable’ for a futureproof business

Even when you’re buying a new fleet of devices, it’s worth thinking about their lifecycle – how long that’s expected to be, the total cost of ownership (TCO) for the device, and what happens to your computing solution once it reaches end-of-life.

Some devices with a lower acquisition cost will see you paying for it through downtime, repairs or additional accessories – all of which will significantly raise your TCO. Plus, these unforeseen additional costs can make cash flow difficult to manage.

Look for manufacturers that offer professional warranty services. You can select the package which best works for you – standard, extended, protection plus with accidental damage cover or ultimate care – so you know exactly what your costs will be, for a sustainable way of managing your technology spend.

At end-of-life, recycling or buy-back programmes can be few or far between, so be sure to look into the manufacturer’s policy if they have one.

Discover which TOUGHBOOK fits your business needs with our Tough Product Selector tool.

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