Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Silver Springs, Nevada
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Snartphones...tablets...laptop...Which works for you??
With the never ending advancements of electronics that are out of date before the warrentary's expire I've been looking how to stream line some of our opperations...On another bloging site I posed the same question this a response from one of the participants in the thread, John Durard.
What are your thoughts on mobil devices in the field???
Mobile devices have gone leaps and bounds in the last decade. I heard people ask "What tablet should I use" and "what mobile device is best". There are a few things to consider which should make the selection quite easy.
Ruggedness: Some technicians need more robust devices than others because of their work and the environment. There are many ruggedized tablets and mobile phones but they usually come with a big price tag. Consider armors that can be put on a normal tablet to ruggedize it. They do just as good a job and you will save a fortune by ruggedizing your device yourself. Just about every tablet model has rugged cases available for them.
Operating system: Will IPADs and IPhones running IOS have MANY limitations that Android devices do not, such as file storing: you can save files on android devices while you can't on the apple devices. Driving directions, GPS features come at a price with Apple devices while they come free on android devices.
Cost: an android tablet equivalent to an IPAD will cost you way less. When we talk about how rugged a device needs to be we are talking "cost" and you may be surprised to know that a MIL Standard rugged tablet will cost you easily 3 to 5 times the price of a good tablet. Even if you had to replace a tablet 3 times more often than a ruggedized one you might still be saving money...
Size: 10.1 inch screens are great but HVAC technicians that have to go on roofs to access the equipment might still be too bulky so you may want to consider the 7 inch versions which now have great resolution and are dirt cheap.
USB port: If you have diagnostic devices such as a midtronic or an alber cell corder, those devices can usually export the test results to a file or computing device. Android tablets can have USB ports, a big plus, and along with the android file system you can store and retrieve the test results files. Even if you have but an RS232 port on your device you can buy a cheap adapter to convert the RS232 to a USB.
Maintenance: Android devices can be tied to your Google account. If you did link it to your Goggle account (personal Google accounts are free), then should the device you have die suddenly before you had to time back it up that is not a problem. When you buy a replacement device first link your Google account then the system will tell you what you had on the broken device and install everything for you including all applications. Within minutes you will have a fully functional device.
Brand: finally what brand should I buy? There are 2 brands I can recommend by experience: they have great quality products and support, Samsung and Motorola.
Finally, MY BIGGEST RECOMMENDATION: a device is but a device it is nothing without a software application... If you are trying to improve your services with mobile devices you are going to need a service management software that runs on such devices SO BE CAREFUL WHAT SOFTWARE YOU BUY because you MAY REGRET IT! Let's say you chose to go with IPads and the software you chose works exclusively on IPads. You start using the solution only to find that the IPads are limiting what you can do and decide that when the current IPads need to be replace you will replace them with Android tablets... Only to find out that the software you bought only works on IPads.... I can see the steam coming out of someone's ears by now... If you are going to go mobile make sure the mobile application you will use is SERVER BASED; in other words it runs on a servers not on a specific device's operating system. Also make sure the software does not rely on third party software such as Flash that can work on one type of device but not another. THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT IF YOU WANT TO MAXIMIZE YOUR INVESTMENT AND IMPLEMENT A SOLUTION THAT WILL LAST A LONG TIME.
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