These are challenging times for any business which has a large contingent of remote, connected workers, such as field services. There are pressures to optimise productivity, deliver better customer service and reduce costs. And that relies on making the best use of mobile technology.
But a number of significant challenges stand in the way of achieving those goals. Those challenges cut across many industries – transport and logistics, warehousing, e-commerce, manufacturing, automotive and utilities.
The biggest of these is complexity. To make improvements, there is a need to untangle the current situation in order to see where opportunities lie. And that means one of the main areas of focus for a business is its mobile device estate, applications and infrastructure.
Running to stand still
Managing and maintaining devices for a distributed workforce can be an almighty task – one that’s time- and effort-intensive for IT. But ensuring those devices are functioning correctly and powered up is crucial to operational efficiency. In a warehouse setting, a device with connectivity issues can be disruptive. For a field operator who’s miles from anywhere, it can lead to cancelled jobs, frustrated customers and broken SLAs. So, will the vital task of device management get any easier? Not without a significant change.
Shining a light on longevity
Another reason that mobile devices are in the spotlight right now is the end of support for certain Windows Embedded operating systems. Thousands of rugged devices are already affected, with Windows Embedded CE 6.0 becoming end of life this year, and 2020 seeing the end for Windows Embedded 6.5 Handheld. Android is the OS being considered by many businesses, who see the appeal in its familiar user interface and in Google’s technological might.
Android takes over, but there are concerns
Indeed, there’s a great deal to recommend Android. However, there are concerns over security and the frequent OS updates that could mean extra work to keep devices and apps running smoothly. And Google’s support for Android OS versions tends to run to consumer timescales, only lasting about three years. By contrast, businesses look for more longevity, not wanting to be forced into replacing devices due to the OS no longer being supported.
All that said, Android is an enterprise-worthy option, with growing momentum around it as the leading choice for rugged devices. However, the decision as to which technology to invest in isn’t that simple.
Future-gazing from the top down
Future-proofing is top of mind for the C-Suite. Investments that solve short-term issues also have to align with medium to long-term growth strategies. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is something many businesses are exploring. Any technology investment has to be ready for IIoT. And ideally, it’ll play nicely with key software that drives other areas of the business, such as an ERP solution. Otherwise, there’s still a barrier to achieving maximum value and efficiency.
Turning decision paralysis into a positive choice
It’s a small wonder, then, that many businesses are sweating on old devices and struggling to take the next step. There’s a lot riding on it. Mobility at the enterprise edge is at a point now where it offers companies the ability to capitalise on new capabilities and accelerate away from their competition. One business who saw this potential some time ago and has been creating an all-encompassing solution to help businesses capitalise is Honeywell. Its acquisition of Movilizer back in 2016 was part of this vision.
Movilizer brings cloud connectivity to mobile workers
Today Honeywell Movilizer is an industry-leading cloud platform technology for field operations. It gives businesses the power to develop mobile business models by making any operation available on any mobile device while connecting with back-office operations. Movilizer offers secure connectors for SAP, Oracle, IBM Maximo and Salesforce, as well as any external stakeholder, such as suppliers or subcontractors. And on an operational level, the Movilizer App connects the field workers with the office and with each other. All this real-time connectivity transforms visibility and collaboration, improving customer service, empowering decision-making and driving profitability. It’s a game-changer for businesses who want to develop SAP apps, as it can all be done in a single platform – no need for middleware. Alternatively, businesses can tap into a library of existing apps, and work with Mobilizer’s SAP experts to achieve their vision.
Honeywell Mobility Edge Platform – a single, powerful solution
Movilizer is part of Honeywell’s recently launched Mobility Edge Platform – a hardware and software platform for the next generation of its mobile computers, designed for Android. Offering a powerful, unified solution, Honeywell promises to cut through the complexities of managing multiple devices across the enterprise. Mobility Edge Platform accelerates deployments, optimises performance and extends the lifecycle. It brings unprecedented visibility to the business’s entire estate of Honeywell devices, simplifying and accelerating management and support – which in turn significantly reduces costs, time and effort. IT will also welcome versatile out-of-the-box capabilities and a rapid provisioning suite that lets them validate once and deploy everywhere. Mobile workers enjoy a productivity-boosting experience, helping them perform at their best. The business gets a future-proof solution, with support for existing and future Android OS versions, extending the lifecycle and reducing total cost of ownership (TCO). In short, Mobility Edge Platform consigns the burdens of fragmented mobile computing to history and ushers in a new age for enterprise mobility.
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