10 Things you Didn’t Know About the Seuic AUTOID9 Android Handheld
Seuic AUTOID9 Android Handheld Terminal is a classic high performance in premise Android PDA that is used in various industries. The design is based on backlit physical keys and a touch screen which is practical comfortable and easy to operate. AUTOID9 can fully meet the requirements of industrial and warehousing installations for stability and durability.
Advancing technology and a shift in work habits have seen more employees working out of the office by leveraging the use of mobile devices and cloud based services to improve business tasks.
Creating solutions that map processes and increase productivity is a moving target. So what do we think will be the seven key enterprise mobility IT trends for 2016 ?
As the number of mobile users increases so does the risk of a security threat. A mobile device with access to company resources can be a key target for theft as well as cyber attacks.
If a device is lost or stolen what happens to the data stored on the device, or applications with access to company data? If that data is stolen or lost what would be the impact on the company’s reputation and how would it continue to operate?
Two years ago Gartner estimated that more than 75% of mobile applications would will fail basic security tests, there is no reason to believe that has changed
Data theft digitally can cause many problems. How are mobile users accessing data? Where is the data stored? Where are the devices used? Controlling the environment the devices can connect to and securing the channel of communication has become equally as important and securing the physical device themselves. Frost and Sullivan believes that security will be the biggest issue in the IT industry driven by rapid adoption of Cloud, Mobility and the Internet of Things.
Expect a more heightened emphasis on data protection of enterprise mobile data on devices in 2016 and beyond.
2. R.I.P. Android in the Enterprise… well not quite..
If the future of Enterprise Mobility is tablet shaped then the resurgence of Microsoft Windows may give many cause to pause as they specify Android or iOS as platforms.
We have seen Windows Phone take a real beating in the smartphone space, IDC believe that by the end of 2015 world wide share will be no more than 10.2%. Part of this is put down to the “app gap” a phenomenon where not enough apps are being developed – resulting in less take up for the OS.
Apps in the “rugged” or Enterprise area often are highly customised or built to map a specific, often still paper based process so the appeal of Microsoft as a corporate platform is still attractive. According to Strategy Analytics Windows Tablet shipments are projected to hit 49 million units in 2019, a 120 percent increase from 2015 levels.
So whilst Microsoft gets Windows 10 Mobile ready to fight Android and iOS more Enterprise clients will specify Windows 10 on an ever increasingly array of tablet devices as a preferred enterprise grade platform.
3. Line of Business Devices Still Relevant
World wide IDC believes that smartphone consumption will see it’s first “single digit” growth year in 2015.
Those of us in the enterprise space recognise that generic smartphones can offer great value for money for some projects. But it is often discovered that each organization has unique mobile worker requirements making a one sized fits all phone a tough deployment and support proposition.
LoB (Line of Business) rugged devices were in the past almost exclusively based on Windows Mobile 6.5 although now there are many Android devices available. They have been perceived as lacking in innovation, not surprising when compared to new shiney smartphones. However they can often have specific and high performance attributes built in that in the long run will enhance TCO. Features such as desk and vehicle docks, IP67 sealing, integral scanning and more robust construction plugs and sockets.
Whilst the value proposition of consumer grade devices on any OS has been enhanced by device management solutions if the unit was never designed to be used in a line of business environment in the first place it can give rise to large failure rates. Up to 50% in some studies.
LoB devices have not gone away they have just got a whole lot more relevant and less costly. Products like the new Aegex Windows Tablet aimed at the ATEX market is a case in point.
4. Enterprise Mobility Servitization
Incorporating all the elements needed for an enterprise mobility solution in one offering funding and support wrapper is not new. Servitization challenges existing thinking so that the solution is configured more around the delivery of the clients service to “its” customer.
Aston University Business School in Birmingham England think so much of this that they started a whole department built around the concept. The road to transform a business from a “manufacturer” to becoming the provider of a “service” is well explained in this video.
This approach is the norm in some industries. It is likely that that train or plane you traveled on last was not ticketed owned serviced or staffed by the brand on the outside. More likely by a facilitating organisation that focuses on the delivery of some or all of the elements to you the end user.
Cloud based apps, more flexible devices and MDM are some of the reasons we can expect mobility to be the glue that makes this initiative a reality. Look out of examples especially in scenarios where the client has high touch field based activities such as managing multiple contracts delivering field service or multi site FM.
5. Data data and even more data….
Citrix estimate that the number of mobile devices managed in the enterprise increased by 72% from 2014 to 2015 – most of them mobile
According to Gartner, by 2020, 25 billion devices will be generating data about almost every topic imaginable.
In the enterprise this sets all companies up for a significant challenge in 2016 and beyond: “How do we manage and make use of all this data coming in from location services, IoT integration with host systems etc in such a way as to convert it into a demonstrable competitive advantage”
6. Cloud Based Apps on the Device on your Choice.
What if your SME enterprise does not have access to in house IT or the budget to fund a traditional build from scratch enterprise mobility project ?
The good news for 2016 and beyond is that many businesses already have competent devices in the form of SmartPhones or Tablets. Plus more line of business apps are deliverable via the cloud on a subscription basis. This will allow businesses to run a project with reduced up front and ongoing costs that address mobile and back office productivity and deploy it with an excellent ROI.
7. Internet of Things IoT
We have heard lots about the adoption of the IoT but like RFID a few years ago can it break into the mainstream enterprise mobility sector. In 2016 the answer is…probably not.
Gartner believes that the providers of Internet of Things platforms are currently fragmented and would benefit greatly from cobbling together a better ecosystem where data is shared more broadly. 451 Research believe that at the moment a relatively small number – Nineteen percent of companies are using, planning to use or will be evaluating the use of IoT in their organisations.
A more immediate solution may well turn out to Near Field Communication (NFC) as a way of adding value in key deployment scenarios.
What sets NFC apart from typical RFID is the nature of its peer-to-peer communication feature making it able to act both as a reader and as a tag. NFC has a become more available on all manner of consumer and LoB grade devices like the T1500 making it a popular choice for contactless payment.
Have a great 2016, get in touch to arrange a webinar or meeting about your enterprise mobility project.
MobileWorxs will soon be announcing the UK release of MobileFrame version 6.0, the class leading write once deploy anywhere enterprise grade mobility app development environment.
This new version allows users to create, deploy, and manage sophisticated enterprise grade apps across iOS, Android and Windows devices as native, web or hybrid applications.
This platform includes all the tools for a successful fully-integrated mobile deployment such as, application development, device management, data management, robust synchronisation, a fully native client so your users can work even in areas with poor network coverage, GPS tracking, project admin tools, security, an integration wizard, scalable server options and on or off premise hosting.
Andrew Cahill, MobileWorxs MD, said “This new release of MobileFrame provides all the tools to allow robust enterprise grade solutions for a market steadily moving focus from the traditional Windows Mobile to iOS and Android”
Powered by the patented, code- free “write once deploy anywhere” mobile ERP platform approach, enterprises can design, build, configure test and manage custom apps across the enterprise from a single platform with no coding required.
The scope for apps to automate field based processes is vast both on and off premise and commonly includes field service, delivery, merchandising, inspections, van sales, vehicle inspection and inventory management. But remember! a great enterprise mobility deployment starts with a good management mind set and project plan.
We can help you come up with an approach to enterprise mobility apps that is well thought through simple to use and has a positive impact on your business.
Get in touch to book a meeting or webinar to learn more about “write once deploy anywhere” enterprise grade apps.
IT and App Developers Out of Sync on Enterprise Mobile
We came across this article by Frank Donovan at Fierce IT about how IT and development teams view enterprise mobility differently.
Referencing one study he noted that “two-thirds of IT decision makers say that IT is the primary driver in setting the enterprise’s mobile agenda and 30.6 percent say lines of business set the agenda. This contrasts with mobile app developers, half of whom say it is the lines of business that are setting the agenda” Read the entire piece.
What is your experience?
Get in touch to book a meeting or webinar to discuss this or any other topic around your enterprise mobility deployment.
You now have the perfect rugged handheld or rugged tablet pc and a great app from MobileWorxs and you venture off into the field. But how long will the battery last and how can you ensure it will stay charged? Charging your Rugged Handheld or Rugged Tablet PC is a real consideration for an enterprise mobile deployment.
Not surprisingly battery life of any unit varies depending how long the device is used for in total. If a device has no rest period and is in constant use with scanning 3G or Wi-Fi then expect the battery life to be limited. Compared to a user who uses a device for 20 minutes at a time on site and places the device on standby during travelling, his device would last all day. Lithium Ion batteries power most rugged handheld and tablet PC devices, and yes they do wear out so budget for new ones after about 2 years.
If device usage is going to be high the first consideration is to opt for high capacity batteries which are not hugely expensive. This can add half again to standard battery life. The next pointer does the unit accept dual batteries? This means a device has 2 batteries which can be separately changed while the device is turned on. When one battery is low the other is in use. It also means your unsaved work isn’t lost as with a hot swap feature there is no need to power down to swap a battery.
Be assured that even units with a single battery do have small internal backup batteries for saving apps and system settings just like a phone.
Charging Options – On Desk
Most rugged devices have accessories for office charging. These can be:
Docks/cradles which may have extra slots to charge spare batteries as well as ports for connecting USB serial devices and external screens.
Or just plain battery chargers. Depending how many devices and therefore batteries you intend to deploy a multi battery charger may be an option worth investigating. Also be sure to figure out where these desk docks or chargers are going to go. Space can be tight in many back of store retail or depot offices so putting up some dedicated racking and installing power sockets will help keep the whole thing looking like some thought has gone into the deployment.
Charging Options – In Vehicle
Vehicle chargers, have the ability to charge a unit in a vehicle on the move. The power source can generally be wired into the vehicle mains or through a cigarette lighter adaptor. There are a number of varying ruggedized vehicle docks, which some can cope with many more device cycles. Again these docks have additional ports allowing for a GPS unit for tracking, or connecting to a external WWAN stick.
If a device is operating apps such as Sat Nav then charging is a must. It is also a requirement in most countries to have the device permanently fixed whilst the vehicle is in motion.
The cost of a vehicle dock can sometimes seem expensive, but no where near as much as a new unit, or repair especially if the device ends up being thrown in the foot well after each use !
Otherwise is in vehicle charging required? Just carry a spare battery? This is a cheaper option if your charging dock has a space for a spare battery to be charged simultaneously.
Charging your Rugged Handheld or Rugged Tablet PC – Key Points
If your device will see 6-8+ hours constant use then additional battery capacity should be a high consideration.
Bear in mind that in many cases chargers docks and cradles are often not compatible across products – even from the same manufacturer. Strange but true !
We can help you navigate your way through this and many other snags that may arise during your enterprise mobility project.
The most common and sometimes most complex issue overlooked in a mobile project is how to connect to data in a host system often referred to as “back-end” data. With the vast array of ERP and business administration systems around integration for enterprise mobile applications can be a long process.
It is quite rare nowadays to find a company with no IT system in the back office. Usually it is the paper based system of the mobile workers that are the issue, with businesses focusing on mobile application features, rather than how to get data in and out from their existing systems. Commonly we see backend systems starting at the basic level of Excel and MS Access right up to complex systems such as SAP, MS Dynamics etc running on SQL or Oracle. With large companies running multiple systems.
Different development approaches will provide different integration paths. If coding using a platform there will be a number of integration options out of the box, if traditional coding it very much depends on the developers experience.
Integrating to systems is performed in two stages; one is pulling the data out of the host database of to use on the mobile devices, the second is to update or insert backend system records with results from the mobile device. Both can be performed via a number of simple routes, such as SQL queries, web service calls, import and exporting CSV/XML or similar files and finally moving towards the complex end by using API’s (Application Programming Interface).
SQL queries can extract large amounts of data from specific tables or connect to a view (pre-configured table that’s results matches specific criteria) if one has already been setup. Some logic is probably required here to make sure records are not overwritten. Inserting/Updating back to an SQL database is usually performed per results set.
Web service calls provide real time access, which can also be called in the field over 3G. This method is OK where result sets are small. Some time can be saved as the web service will have already been provided by the host software company. As above some logic is probably required here to make sure records are not overwritten.
Importing/Exporting CSV, XML files can be easily done on a batch process and avoids the complexities of coding the API. We tend to find this is used an interim/testing process, but can also reliable when live. The issue is it does tend to add another failure point. Once again some logic is probably required here to make sure records are not overwritten.
Using an API means the solution can be coded to call specific function and parse the given data. The API essentially handles all the data and updates the correct areas of the back-end system. An API integration can be a seamless full integration, but is also the most time consuming and requires knowledge of both the mobile and back-end systems. It can also mean continual high development costs if the complete solution is ever changing.
There are numerous other options and varieties of the above. The choice made is very much dependent on questions about the integration options the backend system can provide and accomodate.
Key Integration Questions
How many users need to access the data.
How many need to access it at any one time.
How many results and results sets there are.
Are results sent one at a time or in batch.
How are the mobile devices updated.
Does data reside on the mobile devices.
How do devices receive new data
Is the data all stored in one location.
What is hte nature of the in house systems architecture.
how many systems require updating.
What are the redundancy and failover setups……the list can go on !
In the first phase of testing the integration is usually the major testing piece as if data doesn’t flow correctly the solution is somewhat useless. No matter what backend system is being integrated to as long as a detailed testing plan is drawn up and completed there is much greater chance of project success. A key factor in your long term return on investment.
Not discussed in this blog is how integration for enterprise mobile applications can differ from consumer to enterprise applications. Well…. An enterprise application should be a complete solution capable of seamlessly integrating into in house backend system literally a modern day lynchpin. A consumer application downloaded from an Application Store connects to the developers hub and if possible may connect to in house data. Generally this is not the case and they operate standalone or semi-standalone.
How can we help you with Integration for Enterprise Mobile Applications ? Learn More
So really how long to build an enterprise mobile app ? The short answer is hours or days depending on the complexity of the process. Find out how long…
The longer answer is that this question usually follows a realisation that a mobile worker based process in your business is not as it should be. Part of how to address this is how long will it take to build an app. The question is always sure to generate lots of discussion and opinions about approaches to development and mobile device platforms and OS’s. Often you end up with all the ingredients for enterprise mobility but no recipe!
Mobile Application Development
Mobile application development can take many forms including cutting code from scratch or using an off the shelf canned module that came with your ERP or decision management system. In the smart phone era this Time-Money-Quality equation is becoming more significant as Andrew Till discusses in a recent Forbes article.
In our world mobile application development needs to be tailored to the process of the business and must directly address the issues that have been identified. Our approach uses a methodology that involves techniques like iterative development and software prototyping. Using the MobileFrame v5.1 mobile development platform it is a style that favors incremental development with constant feedback and involvement from the end user. This process can be repeated until the application has been perfected and meets the needs of the user.
All of this can happen very quickly allowing you to get an app deployed far quicker than through traditional methods. And the quicker the app gets deployed the faster your process deficiency can be corrected and your return on investment can begin.
10 Mobile Development Platform Features
Drag and Drop Screen Design – Design your mobile application logic once and deploy to multiple different operating systems including .NET Android or iOS.
Drag and Drop Print Designer – Create mobile label and reciept print layouts in minutes and not weeks.
Printer Driver Bundling – Printer Drivers are bundled in no need to pick a specific printer.
Device Driver Auto Recognition – We are plug and play across a wide variety of different devices, and can support mixed device deployments.
User Administration – Users can authenticate against their current usernames / passwords and IT can lock down the device to keep the network safe.
Peripheral Integration – We Support RFID, GPS, 1D and 2D Barcode Magnetic Stripe Scanning, Photo Capture, Photo Annotation, Drawing, Speech to Text, Digital Signature Capture, Printing Barcode Printing and RFID.
Backend System Integration – Out of the box integration into any ODBC or OLEDB compliant data source including.
Synchronization Management – Fail proof sync engine prioritize which networks you would like to sync over first.
Mobile Device Management – Remote Device Management out in the field with the ability to take administrative control.
Enterprise Application Management – Update Applications Client Software and third party applications over the air no need to collect the device from the field.
From our experience with these MobileFrame features we can create an app often in hours and in many cases go from Design/Scope to deployment is 3-4 weeks. This includes integration with different back-end systems. With this kind of turnaround many of our customers end up adding further applications to address other requirements far quicker than they had originally envisaged.
Key point; when looking at a mobile worker project and the inevitable question of how long to build an enterprise mobile app consider your options carefully. Think about how your approach should enable you to really involve your own staff in the design process and be able to add functionality in the future.
Learn more about mobile application development phase of your enterprise mobility project contact us today.
Andrew Cahill MobileWorxs MD has 20 years of experience in the use of enterprise mobility solutions and applications to improve the performance of real life business processes.
Andrew has worked on some of the largest Enterprise Mobility projects in the UK Eastern Europe the Middle East and Africa. He has user and project experience in helping companies think through and develop mobile strategies to get the most out of a deployment. He also likes old cars preferably with lots of chrome!
iPhone Screen Rendering for Enterprise Mobile Apps
Wondering about iPhone screen rendering for enterprise mobile apps ? Or if you have created apps for iPhone you are likely aware that the iPhone 5 has introduced some radical changes to the screen. Leaving most developers scrambling to update their apps.
With MobileFrame v5.1 Intelligent Rendering means your apps will re-size to properly fit the iPhone 5 screen without requiring any work on your part. Ensuring your apps work flawlessly whether on a iPhone 5, 4/4S Android or .NET device of any screen dimensions is as simple as setting up anchoring and letting our intelligent rendering handle the rest. Write once, deploy anywhere…
To view a demo book a consultation or a visit get in touch.
How can we do this? think of our platform like PowerPoint; You buy PowerPoint once and you create as many presentations as you like. Our solution is the same. Buy once and create as many flexible mobile applications as required a great total cost of ownership model for your business:
Build flexible applications that exactly match your business needs.
Enterprise grade work flows rules and processes without coding.
Code-free seamless integration with back-end systems.
Build applications in days rather than months.
Change applications instantly in real-time.
For more information on anchoring and intelligent screen rendering click here.
We have known the Mobile VPN guys at NetMotion for some years. Their software aims to make mobile workers more productive because their work is not interrupted by lost connections or by moving from one network to another. With Mobility XE workers do not have to continually stop what they’re doing, reconnect with their VPN and re-start their applications allowing them to focus on their jobs – not the wireless technology. So how does Mobility XE Mobile VPN software work?
Traditionally describing this can get a bit tedious…
…so they came up with this great cartoon as way of explaining what a Mobile VPN can do for your enterprise mobile project. Bravo guys!