7-Steps for Successful Android Device Deployment

Roadmap for a Successful Android Device Deployment

Whether upgrading an existing base of iOS mobile devices or replacing those that are running on Windows CE, more companies are deploying rugged, Android operating system devices for their front line workers. Now a top operating system (OS) for enterprise-grade handheld devices from OEMs like Panasonic, Android provides an affordable, globally-available, and open-source option for organizations of all sizes.

Like any IT transition, the path to successful Android device deployment is best approached using a series of steps—all of which come together to create a migration plan that allows companies to leverage the latest mobile innovations. Right now, we’re seeing a lot of companies either migrating to Android or moving from older versions of Android to newer versions of the OS. As organizations move down this path, there are some definitive steps that we recommend be taken in order to help ensure a winning deployment experience for the business and the end users.

7-Step Roadmap to Success

Here’s a 7-step roadmap that enterprises should take when rolling out a new line of Android devices :

  1. Ask the device users how they work and what they need. Don’t just purchase devices and put them into users’ hands, expecting them to pick them up and start using them. Instead, talk to the employees who will use the Android-based devices, learn what their jobs entail and ask how they’ll be using them. What types of apps do they need? What form factor will work best for them? What type of environment will they be used in? And, how rugged should the devices be? Through good user research, you can come up with a preliminary “shortlist” of must-haves for your new Android device deployment.
  2. Find the right ISV and line of business applications. Once you’ve determined the use cases, the next step is to select an independent software vendor (ISV) and line of business application software. OEMs like Panasonic, test, and work with a variety of ISVs for smooth deployment. Panasonic offers application program interface (API) software development kits and Android software tools and experts to help companies work through the application deployment process on its Android Enterprise-recommended products. Selecting the ISV early in the process helps ensure that the right support structure is in place for both during and after deployment. In my experience, the ISV and its application team will play important roles in the total ecosystem so the right selection is key.
  3. Pick the right devices for the right application. Take the time to shop around and find the devices that best fit your use case and meet as many of the workforce’s needs as possible. Offering both a 7-inch tablet and a 4.7-inch handheld, Panasonic is continually expanding its Android portfolio in order to accommodate the growing demand for these compact rugged devices in the workplace. As more companies move away from Windows CE-based devices and have to choose between Android and iOS, the former is rising to the surface as an enterprise mobility system of choice. For example, Panasonic’s flagship FZ-N1 handheld is used frequently in the transportation, logistics, and supply chain fields. It’s also popular in field service applications, where the device’s angled barcode scanner, ergonomics, and patented glove and rain-sensing mode touchscreen come together to provide a solution for field technicians. Running on Android 8.1, the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK L1 and T1 have a thinner, lighter yet durable form factor that consumers are accustomed to using in their personal lives, and that lends itself to easy integration in a variety of applications.
  4. Decide what the end-user screen will look like. Will you use a lock screen? What settings will the user need to interact with? What apps will he or she be using on the device? How customizable should this interface be? These are all important questions to ask (for set-up and staging of the devices) as they all directly impact the user experience and productivity. My recommendation to IT and managers is to think carefully about what you want the end-users to be able to do when using the device. And what you do or don’t want them to have access to. At Panasonic, our Android software team can help with determining and enabling an optimal screen interface.
  5. Develop a mobile device management and implementation strategy. The administration of mobile devices and the MDM application are an important consideration for all Android rollouts. One option is Android Enterprise, which enables the use of Android devices and apps in the workplace. The program offers APIs and other tools for developers to integrate support for Android into their enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions. Wireless configuration, device button functionalities, and individual device controls should all be factored into this step.

At Panasonic, we go much further than just providing rugged Android devices. We offer toolsets for configuring and managing devices, Android operating system utilities, and software experts, along with our ProServices for engineering support for provisioning, device deployment and smart monitoring and management services.  In the end, it’s about making sure you can control and manage the user experience for optimal performance and without complicating things for the end-user.

  1. Define the firmware update strategy. Once your Android devices are in place, you’ll want to keep them up-to-date and security compliant with the company’s latest firmware updates and upgrades. A lot of companies assume that because they’re in a ‘steady-state’ with their device deployment they don’t have to worry about updates. At Panasonic, we urge companies not to wait until something happens to update their firmware. Whether the new version includes a bug fix, a security patch, or a new capability, it’s more than likely going to improve the user experience and stability of the OS itself. Along with the software updates, be sure to include device battery replacements as part of your ongoing maintenance policy.
  2. Pick a vendor that provides post-sales support. Technology can be unpredictable at times, which is why it’s important to work with vendors that provide post-sales support for your Android devices. An application that crashes repeatedly or a network that goes down can bring productivity to a standstill. To help companies recover quickly from these and other issues, Panasonic offers applications that track detailed device operation data in real-time and responds —either remotely or in-person—to solve the problem. We have a team of technicians dispersed nationwide that quickly kicks into gear to start analyzing, troubleshooting, and solving the problem.

It’s no secret that deploying new devices and operating systems requires time, energy, and effort, but by following the seven steps outlined in this article you’ll be well on your way to developing a successful implementation strategy for your organization.

For more information or help with planning a move or refresh to Android-based mobile devices contact our ProServices Team, via email proservices@us.panasonic.com or 1-888-245-6344.