Have you ever thought about repurposing your consumer devices for business purposes because they are easy-to-use and often less expensive than their rugged counterparts? It’s smart to consider but many times neglecting to invest in a rugged device can be more costly in the long-term. Before investing in a handheld device, you should consider the following.
Consider where the device will be used and what the device may be exposed to. Will the device have to withstand extreme temperatures, water, dust, chemicals or shock?
Rugged handhelds must pass stringent standard tests and rating systems to verify their durability. The tests are designed to replicate some of the environmental stresses a handheld might encounter during deployment in a warehouse or manufacturing plant.
Consumer devices are created for the non-rugged, office environment and do not meet these certifications.
Features and Integration
There are a few important features and integration capabilities to consider. Consumer-grade devices cannot be updated, but some rugged devices are modular, enabling them to grow with your company’s needs. Rugged devices also offer software and hardware development tools that give you the ability to extend functionality and integrate new devices into your current infrastructure.
Also, many rugged devices offer an extended battery life that can increase overall employee productivity. And if you’re doing real barcode scanning you need a real barcode scanner, the image recognition technology used in a smartphone is only going to aggravate and slow users down.
Total Cost of Ownership
When comparing your costs you have to consider the intangible costs as well as the tangible costs. Intangible costs include, lost sales, customer service impact, data loss, employee down time, customer satisfaction impact, employee morale, and time wasted to diagnose issues. Tangible costs to purchase consumer devices may be less in the beginning, but according to a study by VDC Research, it is not unusual for a consumer device to have to be replaced two or even three times before a rugged device would need to be replaced. On average, the lifespan of a commercial device is between 12 and 18 months compared to 7 plus years for good quality rugged devices.
Today’s device must be rugged enough to work around the clock, regardless of the user, the environment or extreme treatment. With businesses and organizations requiring absolute, real-time visibility to information from the ﬁeld, true information mobility is jeopardized by any computer downtime. The devices ability to endure the rough and tumble environment should be of principal concern.