VDC Research Group has identified key trends among the hardware, software, and wireless arenas that establish the foundation for the development of new solutions to serve the field service mobility market.
This market is moving towards fully ruggedized hardware devices with a larger form factor and a larger screen size than PDAs, to support the increasing needs for more complex uses in the field. The growing adoption of cloud-based applications and software by field workers means that mobile computers must be equipped to handle greater processing requirements and enhanced graphics. While PDAs are sufficient for many field applications, the sacrifices in screen size and processor speed in a PDA have led those organizations searching for every ounce of productivity from their mobile workers to seek an improved solution. While some other enterprises have chosen laptops, VDC projects their utilization by field workers to decline in the years ahead, as more workers require a solution that can easily leave the vehicle on each and every call.
That on-call data accessibility must be married with ever-improving levels of connectivity. When it comes to wireless needs, 3G connectivity is no longer a premium option, it’s a must. VDC estimates that 40% of all mobile solutions shipping in 2010 have embedded 3G capabilities. But enterprises are also looking for flexibility in combination with their speed, and are combining carriers in different locations to get the best coverage on a per-worker basis.
Given these realities, it’s not surprising to see the benefits that companies adopting these new devices expect to get: increased worker productivity, increased SLA compliance, and reduced operating costs, which all translate to increased sales and revenue numbers.