Gobi Technology Enhances the Toughbook Mobile Experience

CMG employee uses the Toughbook U1 to scan magazines

For the past two years, we have been integrating Qualcomm’s built-in mobile broadband Gobi technology in our Toughbook mobile solutions, enabling customers to connect to both HSPA (AT&T Wireless) and EV-DO (Sprint and Verizon Wireless) networks with a single solution. Embedded cards with Gobi provide a secure and reliable connection to major U.S. and a number of international carriers – without having to swap out a modem every time a new network connection becomes necessary.

This is great news for both, field workers and IT managers. Our customer, Comag Marketing Group (CMG) received an Honorable Mention in last year’s Mobile Enterprise’s Mobilizer awards for their deployment of Toughbook U1 and T8 mobile solutions with Gobi. This is a great example of an effective use of the embedded Gobi technology for a mobile workforce.  In brief, CMG is a sales, marketing and promotional services company that works with many of the world’s leading magazine brands. They previously collected in-store data on its clients’ magazine brands by manually filling out forms, and later typing updates on consumer-grade laptops to submit weekly reports. They used carrier-specific external mobile broadband cards to connect users, but found that these cards often broke, failed or were lost, requiring CMG to keep an inventory of spare cards. Overall, the whole reporting process took 3-4 weeks.

Now, using Toughbook U1 and T8 mobile computers with Gobi, CMG employees provide near real-time updates on inventory, scans and orders, eliminating many of the problems CMG faced in the past. Gobi enabled CMG to work with one carrier, while being able to leverage alternative operators in areas where their primary carrier was not an optimal solution. CMG’s IT department was able to keep a single SKU for both mobile computers, simplifying the company’s workload and support costs.  At the in-store level, this near real-time data has maximized the companies’ efficiencies, made them more competitive, and helped its clients become more profitable.

By using an embedded solution, CMG experienced a sweeping reduction of trouble-shooting calls from mobile workers – by almost 75%, many of which were previously due to hardware failures from external mobile broadband cards. In addition, CMG has improved remote training capabilities, increased visibility into its data usage, and eliminated hidden Wi-Fi and DSL costs. The full customer story was recently featured in RCR Wireless News.

Being a frequent traveler myself, I spend a lot of time at airport terminals, working remotely. This is where I notice a number of notebooks with external PC cards, which are more prone to failure than embedded modems. If, for example, an individual drops their notebook on the floor or bumps it against a hard surface, the card could break and not only stop working, but more importantly, it could cause damage to the notebook’s motherboard, causing a large expense for the IT department and more downtime for the mobile worker. In addition, these cards have to be swapped out every time an individual needs to connect to a new wireless network, which means that our world traveler would have to maintain a number of PC card modems – at all times. Last but not least, these external cards’ antennas are not as strong as those of embedded modems’. In summary, using an external PC card, and foregoing an embedded solution, represents a financial burden and is simply inconvenient.

I also wanted to let you know that we recently began integrating the new Gobi2000™ technology in our mobile computers. This means that your field force can now take advantage of the modem’s new built-in GPS capabilities as well as have faster upload speeds and increased global connectivity options. Gobi2000’s improved performance and flexibility, joined with the reliability and mobility of Toughbook computers, make an ideal combination for today’s increasingly mobile workforce.