How to Maximize In-Vehicle Mobile Device Usage Safety & Productivity

Connected mobile solutions have the ability to increase driver safety and improve productivity for workers in the field service, utilities, transportation and logistics and public safety industries. However, a solution’s utility all comes down to selecting the right devices and equipment. While it may seem simple, creating an ergonomic and safe mobile office for vehicles can be challenging, as organizations must design a setup that appeals directly to the needs of their employees. This setup typically involves rugged computers, tablets or handheld devices, mounting hardware and a combination of job-specific technologies like wireless routers, scanners and mobile printers.

To evaluate and optimize vehicle solutions for customers, members of our ProServices team will often conduct fleet audits and “ride alongs” with workers to better understand how devices are used and make recommendations to maximize overall job productivity. However, they have also witnessed common set-up mistakes – such as the no-installation approach and DIY approach – which not only hinder productivity, but also compromise safety. Here’s how to identify both approaches and develop a more efficient and dependable alternative.

Pitfalls of the No-Installation Approach

Instead of implementing a device docking station, many workers will take the no-installation approach by placing their computer on their lap against the steering wheel as they type or look up information, and then move the computer to the passenger seat when not in use. Some will take it a step further and create a makeshift desk by placing plywood on the middle console.

While these may be quick solutions in the short term, they lead to inefficiencies and serious safety concerns. In order to offer the most utility, devices need to be properly installed and mounted to avoid damage or injury to the driver. Ultimately, the most effective connected solutions will incorporate hardware, software and wireless solutions that account for the unique needs of the individual’s work environment.

Drawbacks to the DIY Approach

In the case of a DIY approach, workers will set up their own inverter solutions to charge a variety of personal and enterprise devices and purchase pedestals that likely have not been crash tested. Depending on the worker’s industry, connected vehicle solutions can include up to seven different components, including the rugged computer or tablet, power supplies, external wireless router, mobile printer, docking station, external radio and shutdown timer, in addition to the cables associated with each item. While many workers will try to purchase these vehicle solutions on their own to cut costs, it ends up taking longer and costing more in the long-run.

Ultimately, ordering parts from multiple vendors can be just as complex as installing the items, making it important to seek out a single installation partner who can provide one kit containing all hardware and installation instructions. Further, these partners will be able to advise on proper wiring to prevent fire, ensure optimal battery use, allow for a streamlined deployment, diagnose areas of concern and offer real-time support for issues that arise in the field.

Learning from Experience

No matter how many vehicles a customer is looking to equip with connected technology, user experience will be key to ensuring worker productivity and efficiency. Conducting a two or three vehicle pilot program can help organizations make the right technology decisions based on worker feedback before undertaking a full rollout.

Given mobile technology’s potential to enhance workers’ productivity, organizations need to make sure they are deploying the right solutions in the most effective way.

To learn more about tips and strategies for deploying connected vehicle solutions, check out our whitepaper. For more information on Panasonic ProServices Vehicle Installation and Mounting Services visit our website.