How to Select a Mobile Device for your Workforce

Minno TabletThe power of mobile devices to change business models, engage customers and connect employees to data, analysis, and systems 24/7 is becoming mandatory for companies to remain competitive in the global marketplace. RCR Wireless News predicts 42.5% of the global workforce will be mobile by 2022, up from 38.8% in 2016.

Deploying and managing tablets for field operations can be expensive and counterproductive if not properly planned and executed.  Through years of experience customizing and supplying tablets for enterprise and education, Minno has identified the critical elements to consider when selecting a tablet for your workforce. Consider these five questions to help create a disruptive business solution instead of throwing time and money at devices without a strategy to use them.

  1. Who will use the tablets?
  2. What are the goals for going mobile?
  3. What are your Operating System choices?
  4. What hardware options should be considered?
  5. How will devices be used and connected?

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1. Who will use the tablets?

Mobile devices may be used for sales or customer engagement, however, the primary users may be your employees. Companies are increasingly using devices as their primary work platform and leveraging the power of mobile devices to increase communication, instantly access and upload data, and increase productivity by having a connected mobile workforce. Whatever the use, it’s advantageous for firms to consider who’s using the device and how before investing in hardware, software and device protection.

2. What are the goals for going mobile?

Organizations mobilize their workforces for many different reasons. Whether it’s lowering costs by enabling an agile workforce in the field, engaging customers at the point of sale, or providing your sales force with access to presentations and your CRM system, inventory reports and sales presentations, companies need clear goals for going mobile. Are you looking to increase customer service through real-time data; or hoping to boost sales through customer engagement, or improve the efficiency of team collaboration? No matter what the goal of the firm, an app can be created or customized to achieve it.

Thinking through how you want mobile tablets to change your business and developing the right applications is the first step. Whether it’s your own application or a customized 3rd-party application, Minno can supply tablet hardware to meet your use requirements, even if we need to customize it.

3. What are your Operating System choices?

There are three players in the mobile OS space: Android, Windows and iOS. Mobile device operating systems have similar interfaces and user experiences. iOS is a closed system architecture, which makes Apple’s useability excellent, but limits opportunities for custom business application development.

Google’s Android interface and basic features are more customizable.

With Windows 10, it’s possible to create applications that work in both the desktop and mobile environments and allows files to be transferred between the two.

Android, iOS and Windows are all enterprise solutions with products for business, so consider which option gives you the most flexibility, security and compatibility with your goals and current IT environment.

While it may not be necessary for many businesses, Windows and Android each offer versions (IOT Enterprise for Windows, Things for Android) that allow enterprises to limit/lock features and user access, giving more flexibility to customize enterprise solutions or lock a device to a specific business use.

Virtual assistants have improved with better voice recognition. Google Now, Siri, and Cortana are powerful user interfaces for Android, iOS and Windows 10 respectively. Google is opening its APIs to developers, so Google Now can currently interact with third party apps using voice commands.

4. What hardware options should be considered?

The size and form of the device becomes more important when you consider who will be using it, and how it will be used. For example, if you are equipping a sales executive for a client presentation, the mobile device will likely be customized differently than if you’re connecting a field engineer to real-time data.

In addition to device size, companies should consider screen resolution, memory requirements, processor selection, and use features such as ruggedization. If tablets will be used in a harsh environment or where it’s likely to be dropped, ruggedization can be an important design requirement, but can also be very expensive. In many cases, businesses that initially request ruggedized tablets come to realize it’s more cost-effective to put a strong protective case on a regular tablet – even if it means replacing a percentage of broken devices – than pay for a ruggedized device.

5. How will devices be used and connected?

How workers will use mobile technology in the field should influence your device strategy. Companies need to determine if their devices will primarily use wifi connectivity or cellular (4G/LTE, which requires SIM and a data plan). For example, if wifi only is the requirement, the application needs to be designed for online/offline use, so that data can be entered in the field with or without wifi access and uploaded once a wifi connection is established.

Additionally, businesses should consider the level of security and device control that’s required by the company.  Enterprises are increasingly choosing to supply mobile devices to their employees rather than institute a BYOD policy for personal devices with enterprise solutions. BYOD policies seem inexpensive for the corporation at the outset, but it can be costly for the IT department and create a legal minefield for corporations.

Finally, health care or hazardous use applications may require that a tablet be easily sanitized which might require adjustments to the case design.

Minno is mobile innovation – providing a broad selection of tablet specifications and configurations for enterprises. Or, we will help you customize the right mobile device solution for your business.

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