Cloud Solution Vs Thick Client – Devices
When looking to move away from outdated paper forms to a mobile application businesses have two options; choose a cloud solution Vs thick client based solution. Choosing the device should be the easier part !
Many people new to mobile applications often consider using the latest iOS Smartphone or Android tablet as they look stylish, the workforce wants a new phone and they are cheap when compared to other devices. Taken in isolation 9 times out of 10 this has been proven to be a costly error, why? because the mobile application development should fit the business need before selecting the device. Choosing the wrong device is expensive creates issues for the users and does not leverage the investment made against the application. It can also make a nonsense of any total cost of ownership projections.
The application needs to be defined –What data needs to be captured i.e. scan barcodes, RFID, capture GPS, capture signature, how much text? How long will the application be in use for each day? What environment is the device used in? How big will these screens be? How many pages will the application span over? Will other software be required to run?
If a signature is required the device criteria is quickly narrowed down removing a vast percentage of Smartphone devices that are touch only screens. Adding barcode scanning and/or RFID can be done with Smartphone devices and a handheld scanner, but for ease of use a rugged handheld would be the recommended option with a scanner built in. If the application is used throughout the day power consumption will be high so you may need extended batteries and a stable method of charging the device when on the move.
The environment needs to be factored in if the device should be rugged to avoid damage when knocked or dropped? Does it need to be protected from heavy rain showers or continuous bright sunlight? Could the user be wearing gloves or have dirty hands needing a stylus or keyboard? And is the device used indoors or outdoors? Screen brightness for good readability changes from device to device.
Another high priority is the screen size. Larger screens means less pages, quicker form completion and increased application overview. The trade off is size Vs ease of use.
Other factors are what other applications need to run on the device and the level of warranty required. If users need desktop software in the field the quick solution would be to look at Windows 7 Rugged Tablets. A one year limited warranty on a smartphones Vs a 3 year fully inclusive maintenance agreement on a Rugged Tablet PC could mean that in a typical deployment a project could be acquiring Smartphones 2 or 3 times over.
When considering a Cloud Solution Vs Thick Client – Devices. The key question is: If a device doesn’t have the correct features to fit the business needs then why consider it for short-term savings? Buy the correct device once or buy the wrong device several times over?