What is Mobile Computing? | Zebra

What is Mobile Computing?

Handheld Mobile Computer being held by warehouse worker

Mobile computers are rugged and enterprise class devices with extensive wireless communications options and advanced data capture capabilities that allow mobile, on the go workers to exchange real-time, business-critical information whenever and wherever it’s needed.

Mobile computing devices can be used by employees inside the enterprise or out on the road, mounted on a forklift or in a long-haul truck, worn on the arm of a warehouse worker, even tablets with large screens ideal in customer assistance roles.

Enterprises of all sizes are embracing mobile solutions across almost all functions of their operations. They view mobility as a strategic benefit and are seeking broader applications across more functions.

What are mobile computing applications?

Mobile computing applications are generally specific to businesses and their pain points. Below are some examples of industries where mobility solutions can be used effectively.

Energy and Utilities

A mobility solution can be used to help a utilities customer maintain their powerlines.

Manufacturing

A manufacturer can gain visibility into their work in process and quality metrics in their factories

Transportation and Logistics

It can provide a postal company with an easy and reliable way of providing proof that packages have been delivered to the right address

Retail and Hospitality

It can help a retailer increase revenues by enabling their managers to be mobile in the store to help customers.

Healthcare

It can help to reduce medical errors in hospitals and securely update medical records at the bedside.

Education

It can ensure that students and faculty have information at their fingertips to enhance not only their learning environment but also their safety.

Applications for the workforce include those who work in the back-of-house like warehouse and inventory personnel, those in the front-of-house who are more customer-facing like store clerks and managers and those who work in the field like service technicians, sales reps and drivers.

Each working environment places requirements on the mobile computing devices. When you look at ruggedness requirements, back-of-house workers are typically in a harsher environment with concrete floors, dust and dampness. They need rugged and often the most rugged devices whereas front-of-house workers usually have carpeted floors and conditioned air. Their need is for rugged to durable devices.

Field workers perform a large range of tasks in varying environments. For examples, sales reps often call in on customers in office space where high drops onto concrete are unlikely, therefore devices on the lower end of the ruggedness scale are fine but for delivery workers, jumping in and out of trucks, using their devices while juggling packages, a maximum rugged device is required.

All mobile workers need access to enterprise data and most need voice communication between team members. For workers in either the back-of, or front-of-house, devices that can simply connect to the enterprise’s WLAN will enable those functions.

Field workers must also have WLAN connectivity to send and receive mission critical data while on the road. Often, field workers also need cellphone functionality, the ability to see the display screen in bright sunlight and the location services of GPS all in one device.

Lastly, the devices form factor must be considered, larger gun-style devices work well for back of house workers but need to be scaled down for front of house workers. This goes even further for field workers, where many require a device that can fit in their pocket but still provide all the needed functionality.

Worker type and application considerations drive the selection and configuration of mobile computing devices.

What are the benefits of mobile computing?

User Productivity

On average, employees are up to 14% more productive using mobile devices through a combination of reducing time spent in acquiring information needed on-the-job, and increasing their time supporting customers.

IT Cost

IT operations cost reductions can account for up to 20% of the total savings gained by moving to mobile solutions. Changing the way mobile workers use IT can also greatly reduce the requirements for older IT infrastructure

Business Operations Cost

Enterprises are focused on automating business processes and increasing information distribution and flow – two improvements that mobile solutions help achieve

IT staff productivity

Consolidating mobile apps and communications onto one platform, reducing the number of devices used by employees, and infrastructure enhancements brought by mobile solutions provides more time for IT staff to support other business activities.

Every day, the need for mobility is spreading through the enterprise into more business functions and workgroups and mobility enables the upmost in efficiency, accuracy and accountability with real-time voice and data access delivered right at the point of business activity. Through the power of mobility, enterprises can put the tools of the desktop in the hands of mobile workers everywhere whether workers are inside the four walls or out in the field. Mobility will enable the completion of virtually any task right on the spot.

Efficiency and accuracy are maximized through real-time secured access to virtually any application, intranet and internet sites as well as real-time voice, up to the minute data can flow easily through the enterprise in real-time, ultimately providing the information needed to ensure the right action is taken at the right time, every time.

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