By Harry Lerner, CEO, Janam, www.janam.com
BYOD’s (bring your own device) moment is not quite here.
Consumerizaton of the enterprise is a hot topic. In fact, these days the amount of coverage dedicated to bring your own device (BYOD) can easily lead one to believe there is a seismic shift taking place. While there’s no question that mobility has gone mainstream and its value is gaining recognition, the true meaning of mobility is getting lost in the noise. Giving workers the ability to check voicemail or email while at Starbucks or in the airport does not equate to mobility — it’s only a small piece of the pie. In the world of enterprise mobility, there are a tremendous number of operating environments, user requirements, and mobile applications. Yet, according to a recent industry report, only 10% of mobile workers today are running enterprise mobility applications on their mobile devices. So, BYOD’s moment is not quite here yet. The real news is that IT departments are fast gaining insight about the importance of matching mobile devices to application, user behavior, and work environments. Interoperability and convergence are emerging as dominant themes, and the next hot topic is DC: Device Coexistence.
Semirugged, consumer-style devices and smartphone/ PDAs are used primarily to “untether” workers from PCs. As a business management tool for workers on the move, these devices make it easy to receive and review data anywhere, anytime. What is most important to note, however, is that the data itself, the information used to generate business intelligence, was likely captured by rugged mobile computers on the assembly line, in the warehouse, or in the field, where operations take place and consumer-grade devices fall short.
For workers who primarily work indoors, in a carpeted, climate-controlled setting and who treat work-based technology as an extension of their connected life, consumer devices are a perfectly valid option. A significant number of mobile applications, however, require the features of traditional rugged mobile computers, including removable (and replaceable) batteries, unique WiFi security or encryption protocols, rapid-fire bar code scanning, rugged durability, resistance to dust and water, long-term OS support, SDKs (software development kits) and application development support that accommodate both bleedingedge and legacy applications, accessories and peripherals designed to support enterprise applications, and so forth.
The swift rise of BYOD has already had remarkable impact on enterprise mobility. It is, however, most often presented as a one-sided story, depicted as a universal solution for all workers and all businesses, which is misleading.
Consider the business benefits of mobility, and let’s say they fall into two categories: performance and practicality. Performance benefits of mobility are derived from the ability to use data anywhere and are fundamentally tied to productivity. Performance benefits include streamlined processes, improved operating efficiencies, and the ability to accomplish more. It’s fair to say that these benefits are supported by all types of mobile devices. BYOD delivers just fine.
Rugged Computing Essential To Practical Benefits Of Mobility
The practical benefits of mobility, which stem from extracting performance benefits in a cost-efficient way, are TCO (total cost of ownership)-based. In this area, rugged mobile computers outperform consumer-grade devices because they are designed to meet real-world operating conditions. Every component of a rugged mobile computer is specifically selected for its ability to withstand extreme use and perform capably in tough conditions. They are built to survive continual operation and heavy wear, impact, vibration, dust, moisture, and other environmental extremes. Some manufacturers of rugged mobile computers offer long-term product support, well-planned product line extensions, and cross-platform accessory compatibility, which generate more TCO-based benefits for enterprises. Companies that invest in rugged mobile computers enjoy high return on investment, maximum uptime, and the ability to keep getting the job done.
Businesses are now looking beyond the BYOD phenomenon to device coexistence as they rapidly recognize that a successful mobile enterprise cannot be built with a one-size-fits-all approach. The best solution matches product features with business requirements, where requirements extend well beyond price and operating system. Different jobs require different tools, and the demand for multivendor solutions, device interoperability, and open, nonproprietary standards is mounting. For the foreseeable future, DC considerations will prevail.