The number of businesses and corporations employing mobile devices on a daily-basis for their activity and performance has grown dramatically increased in the last decade. The Enterprise Management Association estimated that mobile device users perform business tasks on mobile devices 56% of the time. Business professional are accessing company resources via their smartphones 23% on the time tablets 9% and PC’s 68% of the time. Clearly employees are boosting their job performance as a result of completing their job with the help of a mobile device of some sort. But with growth comes great responsibility, and this is exactly why a need for a more controlled and secure way to perform mobile device management.
MobileWorxs Partners with Aegex For Rugged Intrinsically Safe Tablet
MobileWorxs Appointed as Value-Add Partner for Aegex Intrinsically Safe Tablet.
UK-based enterprise mobility specialist MobileWorxs has formed a strategic partnership with US-based Aegex Technologies to supply its innovative range of enterprise tablets for the hazardous location market, including oil & gas, petrochemical, pharmaceutical manufacturing and other industries with combustible atmospheres.
Aegex provides the first Windows 10 tablet that is globally certified as intrinsically safe for use in the most hazardous, explosive operations worldwide.
Under the terms of the partnership, MobileWorxs will offer the full range of Aegex intrinsically safe devices and solutions to its clients across the UK and EMEA region.
Aegex Channel Manager Scott West commented, “Aegex allows enterprises worldwide to increase productivity and control in hazardous environments. Our strategic partnerships with MobileWorxs and other channel partners around the world will allow us to deliver better service and support to users of our products”
MobileWorxs’ Managing Director, Andrew Cahill, said, “We see huge market potential for the Aegex Intrinsically Safe Tablet in the UK and EMEA. Process automation using mobile computing with a tablet form factor is experiencing major growth, and we’re looking forward to leveraging this opportunity in conjunction with the well-known Aegex product range.”
MobileWorxs aims to help companies improve the productivity, efficiencies and responsiveness of workers through the use of application-specific rugged devices. The company focuses on solutions that are quick to deploy with minimal disruption to business and rapid return of investment.
Aegex Technologies is a premier engineering and design services firm that specialises in creating intrinsically safe mobile solutions for hazardous industries. Aegex globally certified intrinsically safe Windows 10 tablets provide cloud connectivity to personnel working in some of the world’s most volatile environments, including ATEX/IECEx Zone 1 and UL913 C I, II, III D1 hazardous locations in oil & gas, chemical, pharmaceutical, utilities, public safety, defense and other industries with potentially explosive atmospheres.
To learn more take a look at the specs or get in touch with us to arrange a webinar or meeting about the Aegex Intrinsically Safe Tablet.
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.
How Barcode Became First Stop To The Internet of Things
We see barcodes all over the place in retail to courier boxes from cereal boxes to prescription labels and from envelopes to electronics – it seems like barcodes are everywhere.
When Alan Haberman pioneered the use of a UPC barcode in his grocery business he kicked off not only a revolution in inventory management and the supply chain but also made a step towards the metadata overlays of physical items and information we now call the internet of things.
But what do those black lines and dots mean? Much like the URL of a web site Barcodes themselves do not contain descriptive information but a number plate that links to a reference which is looked up in a database that then contains the data required.
There are two major barcode types one and two dimensional. One dimensional (1D) originated from the original barcode concept and are even today are the most commonly used. Codes are made of a series of vertical lines/bars and spaces of varying widths. The X dimension being the width of the narrowest element. These bar and space combinations are strung together to represent different characters.
Two dimensional codes use a series of dots, blocks and other geometric shapes into a square or rectangular pattern. 2D barcodes are generally able to contain much more information than 1D. Where a 1D barcode code contains a small number of alpha numeric characters digits, a 2D barcode such as a QR code may contain thousands of alpha-numeric characters.
In each category there are many different designs that have been designed over the years for various applications. The seminal read in this area is The Bar Code Book by Roger Palmer. It was last revised in 2007 before Rogers retirement but is still an excellent read. There are also many sites on the internet to barcode and its uses.
Barcodes have become so widespread that for many users their use has become a compliance issue. GS1 develops and maintains standards for supply and demand chains across multiple sectors. They are also good at explaining the impact of barcodes.
In either case codes need to be machine read by something. Traditionally this was through a laser based scanner. Shipments of this sort of scanner have declined in recent years as imaging based technologies have grown more popular.
For ad hoc use you can download an app for your smartphone that will read both 1D and 2D barcodes through the camera. If your application is such that you need to scan barcodes in volume a device with a specific barcode scanner/imager and perhaps with a trigger handle will be more ergonomic for the user.
Back To Basics – Popular Barcode Types
EAN 13 similar to but not quite the same as Universal Product Code (UPC) which are both standardised for retail and food sales. It is the code seen on virtually every product you buy in the retail supply chain. It uses 12 digits numeric only sequence represented by bars and spaces of four different widths. UPC is a subset of the International Article Number system which includes an additional check digit.
Code 39 was invented by Intermec Technoloies in 1966 and is still used primarily forinventory and manufacturing applications. Each character comprises nine bars and spaces, of which three bars or spaces are wide and the remaining nine are narrow. Code 39 supports 43 characters: 0-9 A-Z and several special characters. There is no predefined limit to the length of code 39 barcodes which may make it unsuitable for some applications where the code length would be too long.
Code 128 is often used in shipping and parcel delivery applications. Code 128 is more compact that Code 39 and uses all 128 ASCII characters and includes a check digit.
The QR code was invented by Toyota for the automotive parts industry. They can be seen in use extensively in advertising entertainment and promotional applications. Helped in great part by Smartphones with built in cameras. QR codes can contain alphanumeric and bit/binary as well as Kanji.
Decades on from Alan Haberman the scanning of barcodes at a supermarket has become commonplace. The legacy of that first depolyment is in having more scannable items in the Internet of Things Ecosystem. Recognising the different types and uses of these barcodes will help you in identifying not only which style will work for your project but also which method of scanning will be most suited to support them.
Whats next for barcode? maybe the future is a scanner on everyone’s Google glass ?
This is the first in a series of blogs on Enterprise Mobility and the Internet of Things where we aim to describe what it is where it came from and how it will impact and be molded by mobility.
The phrase “Internet of Things” has been around for a while and was pioneered by Kevin Ashtonat the Auto-ID Centre at MIT. The premise was that embedding tiny transmitters and sensors could revolutionise the interaction of people and objects. The concept leaned heavily on tagging using such technologies as RFID NFC and QR codes.
Latterly the scope has become wider to include sensors and other devices such as GPS. Industry body the IoT Consortium describes it:
“internet enabled devices and related software services that directly touch consumers in the form of home automation, entertainment, and productivity”
IDC believe the IoT will have an installed base of 212 billion “things” globally by the end of 2020
Kevin Morley describes IoT having a huge impact particularity around:
Ongoing development of smart cities cars and houses.
Enhanced IT connectivity infrastructure.
An increasingly connected culture where everyone wants to be connected to the internet at home, at work or in the car
Commentators agree that a smart phone/tablet/device will become the centre of this whole area and provide real-time access to all sorts of information including places people content and access to connected devices. In terms of enterprise mobility this is an important development especially in the supply chain and field service sectors revolutionising the areas of visibility replenishment and maintenance.
We will come back to this topic from time to time with new IoT articles concepts and products we come across.
There are many IoT products currently in the marketplace many aimed at home automation such as the Nest thermostat or measuring fitness like the Nike FuelBand.
Lets think more enterprise, I like BigBelly Solar’s smart trash which can help streamline a currently inefficient activity – refuse collections.
Happy to come and visit to discuss how enterprise mobility and the internet of things can help your project.
Charles Henry House 130 Worcester Road Droitwich Spa Worcestershire WR9 8AN United Kingdom