Executive Perspective: Experience Matters for Successful Mobile Deployments
The Panasonic Toughbook Technical Services team offers customers a dedicated partner focused on customizing purpose-built mobile device and software deployments to help ensure success. In this blog, Robert Estrada shares his insights on what makes mobile deployments successful.
Over the past 17 years, I have partnered with Panasonic customers to solve all types of technology challenges. I’m responsible for leading field engineers in the Northeast, supporting solutions for customer issues and requests. I’m also responsible for leading the Mobile Software and Testing teams, and proud to have been part of the team that established the Panasonic Configuration Center, which has significantly improved customer support turnaround time and quality control.
How does Panasonic ensure that its rugged devices meet the needs of mobile workers across industries? Our Technical Services team brings together field, software, testing, and configuration engineering groups with our professional services team — all with deep industry vertical experience. Many members of the team have been with Panasonic for more than two decades, and we regularly participate in ongoing professional development and certifications to continuously update our skills and experience.
It All Starts with “Purpose-Built” Mobile Devices
For the Panasonic Technical Services team, customer-centric success is a core value. That means bridging the gap between customers, account teams, and R&D teams to identify additional features to meet customers’ needs. We conduct ongoing research of new technologies to adopt across the Panasonic Toughbook product line, defining trends for future models and creating next-generation use cases in partnership with customers to anticipate future technology needs.
This process allows us to truly deliver purpose-built mobile devices. As an example, a recent purpose-built feature adds an innovative 3:2 display to our Toughbook 33 2-in-1 rugged mobile device. Panasonic chose to add this feature based on feedback from our public safety customers that the additional scrolling required for traditionally-sized screens takes valuable time from police officers and other first responders.
We have added many other features and products based on customer feedback, including an angled barcode scanner on the Toughbook N1/F1 handheld devices for easier scanning and reading and hot-swap batteries and sealed ports to maximize productivity and reliability.
Customization as a Differentiator
But when customers choose to work with Panasonic, it’s about more than the technology. Our team is customer-focused from beginning to end. That means going above and beyond expectations to help solve our customers’ challenges, and we don’t shy away from building creative, smarter mobile solutions.
In both pre- and post-sales engagements, our field engineers work with our entire technical team to address customer needs. With this breadth of technical expertise in-house, we work with customers to provide comprehensive mobile technology solutions, providing additional software deployment and configuration services, enabling them to work smoothly, safely and more cost effectively. And we work as hard as we can to provide quick resolution to any and all customer issues. We are constantly trying to reduce customer issue resolution turnaround time, which we track and measure regularly across the team.
Our field engineering team is the first group to meet with potential customers. This team scopes end user needs, preferences, and work habits. Our field engineers are also responsible for understanding unique requirements for integration of legacy applications or devices, or anything else out of the ordinary. It’s their job to pull multiple resources together to find a way to make the solution work properly.
Depending on the requirements, the task may be handed off to our software engineers, who can work to customize or optimize software to fit the customer’s need. For example, a customer may require that a specific application for Android or Windows work with our barcode scanners or cameras, and we can make that happen. Or maybe a customer wants to make sure that their company’s Android-based devices don’t update themselves automatically. Perhaps a customer wants to implement a MDM (mobile device management) application that requires specific functionality. In that case, we would work with an MDM partner to ensure the functionality can be met. Whatever it is, our software engineers work to make it happen.
Recently one of our customers that had purchased our latest generation 2-in-1 device for workers wanted to find a way to integrate their existing legacy barcode scanners and application with their new Toughbook mobile devices. Because their scanners were end-of-life, the manufacturer wasn’t providing support. So our team stepped up to begin developing software that will act as middleware to provide the integration and special data outputs needed. This will save the customer considerable time and money, and they will have the latest generation Toughbook solution working seamlessly with their legacy scanners and application.
Our team also works with the Panasonic ProServices team to make sure customers get the optional support and services they need. One of our biggest partners is our National Service Center, which takes care of tasks that can make or break a new mobile device deployment. These optional services include conducting extended timed stress tests to make sure devices are set up and working well, affixing asset tags along with mobile device management software, imprinting the company’s disk image on all units, and integrating both Panasonic and third-party accessories like smartcards, barcode readers and straps. By the time the units leave the National Service Center, they are outfitted exactly the way the customers want them.
All of this brings us back to my original point: we are dedicated to doing what it takes to empower our customers to be able to work smarter, faster, and safer. It’s about flexibility, ingenuity, and a willingness to solve our customers’ business challenges.
So when you are researching for your organization’s next mobile device deployment, look beyond just the hardware requirements. Industry trends and technologies will change but one thing never will: If you have a true partner — not just a hardware vendor — you’ll have the solutions and functionality you need to keep your business and teams running.
Read more about customizing a mobile technology solution to meet your specific needs.