Determining the Right Mobile Device Mix for Your Organization
With all of the device choices on the market today, it can be difficult to determine the optimal mobile mix for your organization. Rather than just picking one type of device out of convenience or cost, it’s best to examine the various use cases across your organization and select a variety of form factors based on employee needs. This is especially true when field workers are part of your company as they operate in a unique environment and have a particular set of needs apart from office workers and managers. Panasonic recently examined these needs via a webinar with Field Technologies and Intel.
During the webinar, which is now available on demand, Alan Rose, Director of Marketing for Energy and Utilities at Intel, and Dan Diliberti, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Panasonic System Communications Company, examined laptops, tablets and convertibles and the various pros and cons for each.
- Laptops: When it comes to mobile form factors, laptops offer the most extensive software choices, the largest screen and highest resolution, the most storage capacity and the most durability. In addition, they come equipped with a full keyboard and easily replaceable battery. These features make laptops ideal for supporting a multitude of tasks. They are also best suited for workers that need to input an extensive amount of data or frequently create content. In the field, this can include workers that need to port into external equipment in order to run diagnostics or troubleshoot, as well as mapping technicians. Because laptops can be bulky or heavy and harder to use while mobile, they are not ideal for field technicians that are frequently on-the-go or that need to regularly interface with customers in their homes or places of business.
- Tablets: Compared to laptops, tablets are more portable and also have touch screen functionality. They also feature instant on/off, built-in cameras and long battery life. Due to these benefits, tablets make the most sense for employees involved in customer service, including tasks such as entering a customer’s home or property, capturing signatures and logging service reports immediately. They are also great for extremely mobile workers and anyone who needs to capture images or videos. Because tablets typically have less processing power than laptops, smaller screens and lack built-in physical keyboards, they are not the best choice for stationary workers or those who need extended computing capabilities.
- Convertibles: Convertibles combine a laptop with a tablet, offering a “best of both worlds” approach as workers have full laptop functionality when needed but can remove the display portion of the device for use as a tablet as well. This means that users can switch between devices depending on the task at hand, making convertibles a good fit for workers that need the extended functionalities of a laptop but are often on-the-go or anyone that is customer-facing but also needs data processing tools for the creation of reports and other materials. While convertibles have a number of benefits, they are often more costly than laptops or tablets alone and offer fewer size choices.
Beyond considering the aforementioned pros and cons, as well as employee needs, the grade of the device should be taken into account as well. Consumer-grade devices were created for household-use, whereas enterprise-grade devices are able to withstand the unique conditions of field work. Enterprise-grade features include visibility in sunlight, the ability to use with gloves on, durability and drop resistance, the ability to use while the screen is wet, an easily replaceable battery and lack of sensitivity to vibration. Other benefits include various port and input options, as well as superior wireless connectivity. Since field workers can operate in a variety of harsh environments, from outdoors in the freezing cold to a kitchen where they are surrounded by food, liquid and large equipment, you should look for enterprise-grade devices no matter which form factor you choose.
In summary, there is a variety of device choices on the market today and there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach when it comes to mobility. Before selecting the best device for your organization, you should consider how employees, and particularly anyone in the field, leverage computing power. Based on user needs and the pros and cons of each form factor, you should deploy a multi-device approach so that employees are equipped with the devices that work best for them and their productivity is optimized, positively impacting your bottom line. To learn more about Panasonic’s various mobility choices, visit www.panasonic.com/toughbook.