10 Key Factors for Selecting the Right Enterprise Mobility Device

By: Marty Lassiter| - Leave a comment

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In enterprise mobility, there’s absolutely value in employees choosing devices that fit their personal needs. However, there are times when selecting an enterprise-class mobile device makes the most sense. These instances almost always occur when an organization must purchase a corporate-owned device for mission-critical use. In these cases, picking the right smartphone or tablet can mean the difference between success and failure. When choosing a mobile device for mission-critical use, consider these 10 factors to make the best decision for your enterprise mobility strategy.

1. Application

What’s the back-end application you need to use, and how will you access it using a mobile device? Will the application be web-based and accessed through a browser, a native application designed to look and feel like the device or a combination of the two? In these cases, the application may limit the device choices, regardless of other preferences.

2. Form Factor

Do you need a phone, a tablet, a laptop or a hybrid device? It may depend on how much screen real estate your users need to support their application. For example, a field service worker who needs to view the schematics of something he’s repairing might need a larger screen than a delivery driver who just needs to capture a customer signature.

3. Network

Does the device need to support a wireless local area network (WLAN), a cellular network or both? Many devices can handle both, but depending on your industry, you might only need WLAN. For example, if you’re a retail organization handling inventory, a device designed purely for WLAN makes the most sense.

4. Operating Environment

What type of environment must the device function in? Devices that need to be used in harsh conditions should be designed to work effectively in extreme temperatures, or they may require higher levels of Ingress Protection to withstand dust and moisture.

5. Life Cycle

How long is the device expected to remain in service? In most cases, the expectation is that consumer-grade devices will be replaced every 18 to 24 months. However, enterprise-grade devices are generally available for a minimum of three years and supported for at least three additional years.

6. Operating System

Is there an operating system preference or an application requirement? Most enterprise devices run either a mobile version of Microsoft Windows, such as Windows Embedded Handheld or Windows 10, or enterprise versions of Android. These operating systems can be very different, often utilize different hardware and in some cases may require a completely different set of mobile applications.

7. Enterprise Mobility Features

Are there any other critical enterprise features like data capture that might be needed to support an application? While consumer devices are able to capture 1-D and 2-D bar codes with their onboard cameras, they’re designed only for casual use, not for reading hundreds of bar codes per day. Most enterprise-grade devices have bar code readers built in and are capable of reading and decoding different types of bar codes.

8. IT Management

Are there add-on management features that are required as part of the solution or would make the solution more usable? Most enterprise-grade devices support industry-leading mobile device management (MDM) platforms. However, many of these devices add additional security and management features on top of the operating system to enhance MDM’s security and management capabilities.

9. Battery

How long will the device be in continuous use? Most enterprise devices support a minimum of eight hours of continuous use — much longer than today’s consumer devices — and many also have the added ability to hot-swap batteries as needed. This is a huge benefit when devices may need to operate across multiple shifts or for longer than a standard battery allows.

10. Accessories

Will you require any additional device accessories, such as battery chargers, multislot chargers or pistol grips? Consumer mobile devices are great, and most of us use them as everyday, important components of our lives; however, they may not meet all enterprise user needs.

Now that you know what to consider when selecting an enterprise-grade mobile device, discover the services you can use to assist with procuring, deploying and managing your enterprise mobility.

Follow me on Twitter @mlassitr.

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About The Author

Marty Lassiter

Sales Executive for IBM/Zebra Technologies Alliance, IBM

Marty Lassiter has 20 years of experience in the technical space. He currently serves as the alliance manager for IBM/Zebra Technologies Alliance. In this role, he is responsible for combining IBM Mobility Services with Zebra Technologies hardware to provide customers with industry specific and mission critical mobile solutions.

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