Over the previous 2 decades mobile phones, PDAs and wireless technology have developed to provide businesses with what has proven to be an essential tool as they help to boost productivity and streamline communication for both office based employees as well as mobile workers. Advancements in mobile networks in terms of national coverage and data transfer speeds as well as lower costs for mobile data have played a key role in ensuring that customers benefit from a reliable and easily accessible service that offers value for money.
Businesses that are looking to implement a mobile workforce system into their organisation need to not only consider what is required of the software but also what is required of the device itself and in what environment it will be operated in. It is likely that your employees have already been provided with a mobile phone, smart phone or PDA and there is often an eagerness to utilise these handsets for a mobile worker solution rather than paying out for new handsets and increasing your costs. However, choosing the right device from the outset will ensure that employees have all the tools they need to do their job and ensure that they are not having problems using the device because it is not designed to be able to operate in their working conditions.
The majority of mobile worker applications are compatible with a wide range of different devices offering the customer total flexibility. This is important as these devices vary in the features that they offer and some may be essential to you such as a bar code scanner, in-built camera or GOS receiver for navigation and tracking to name just a few.
Just some of the devices available include:
Mobile Phones & PDAs
These devices are often ideal for mobile workers including sales reps, health visitors and home call engineers. In fact, they are most likely already furnished with these devices to make and receive calls and have access to their emails. These types of devices often include inbuilt GPS antennas which add to their versatility as many mobile worker solutions can be combined to form an all in one navigation, lone worker tracking and job management solution. In addition, many mobile worker application providers are able to provide customised forms, where required, which allow your employee or customer complete an electronic form (such as a job sheet, survey or signature for completion) on their PDA handset and instantly send it back to the office.
Ruggedised devices have been especially designed to cope with hardwearing use and environments. These types of devices are ideal for employees that work outdoors where the device may be prone to being dropped or getting wet. As well as being dustproof and shock proof these device can offer many of the features, including inbuilt GPS Antenna (for tracking & navigation, camera and bar code scanner, that are provided by other data capture and mobile phone/PDA handsets.
Signature/Barcode Capture Devices
These devices are widely used by couriers to scan the barcodes of goods and obtain signatures from recipients and instantly feedback that data to central location where the proof of delivery signature can be stored. These devices are designed to last in the environments that they work in and can easily handle capturing the signatures of heavy handed customers.