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AXUG Summit 2016: One (Unexpected) Item to Consider When Going Digital

By Jodi Nuszkowski on

Posted under: Events, Hardware, Microsoft Dynamics

AXUG Summit wrapped up after a week of education and networking for more than 2,000 AX users. With the Keynote announcing the release of Microsoft Dynamics 365, there was a lot of buzz around digital transformation and the future of supply chains in the Cloud. We spoke with many companies looking to go digital with their warehouse operations, but one of the hottest topics throughout the week was regarding a specific component of that plan: which device would they need to achieve their vision? 

As you look to automate your operations in the Cloud, selecting the right device may be more important than you think. As we spoke with hundreds of AX users last week, many companies are looking to rely on consumer devices (their worker’s iPhone) to provide mobility and automation in their warehouses. But are consumer devices the right fit for these industries, which often times can be rugged environments?

With household names like “Apple” and “Android,” businesses are looking to move away from the typical rugged handhelds and instead cash in on consumer-based technology. And the reasoning isn’t too surprising: Consumer devices are easy to use. The touchscreen functionality and device familiarity have businesses turning their heads.

But as we shared last week, if you’re looking at how these devices fit into the enterprise setting … well, they don’t.

According VDC Research, consumer grade devices cost an average of 50% more over a five-year period. There are also many risks to consider when deploying consumer devices into an industrial or even a retail environment:

  • Security: A survey performed by Avanade cites, “the use of consumer devices in the enterprise has caused a security breach in 55 percent of enterprises around the world.” This data is staggering as most businesses regard security as one of their top priorities. Consumer grade operating systems do not have the security features required to comply with PCI standards, increasing the risk of a security breach.
  • Durability: Multiple drops, screen cracks and other damage will happen. Device durability should be one of the most important factors your team considers when choosing a device. Consumer devices are not able to withstand normal wear and tear and has a much higher failure rate compared to an enterprise device.
  • Battery Management: Most enterprise device options come with full-shift battery power – meaning your users don’t have to end their shift early because their device powered down. Most consumer devices are only able to perform up to 4 hours when paired with a scanning application. If a shift lasts 8 hours, take into account that you will essentially require double the amount of consumer grade devices in order to get the job done.
  • Other risks include: Limited Wi-Fi Support, Consumer Life Cycles, Limited Data Privacy, Consumer Feature Focus, Multi-Users/Theft, No Ability to Customize and Limited Data Collection (barcode scanning)

Perhaps one of the biggest trends we are seeing is the influence consumer devices have over enterprise handhelds. Manufacturers have taken everything everyone loves about consumer devices (i.e. touchscreen, tablets, cameras, non-clunky) and have created rugged and secure solutions that excel in the warehouse and retail environments. With device options for any user requirement, RF-SMART customers are increasingly deciding to go with consumer-influenced devices without making compromises on their security, durability and battery life for shift performance.

Regardless if you were at Summit or not, our team of Hardware Experts is here to help answer any questions you may have regarding devices or other areas of your hardware. We can recommend the best device for your use case, as well as send a demo device to test before committing to anything. Now, that’s better than all those pens and giveaways you brought home from the Expo last week, right?

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