One of the most important operating systems that was at one time underpinned many enterprise mobility deployments is about to enter the last 2 years of life. Microsoft Windows CE OS End of Life
Long before iOS and Android Microsoft announced Windows CE in 1996. The OS was designed to operate satisfactorily on the small memory capacities of palm sized devices at the time. Although recognised by many as targeted at hand held computers many platforms ended up using derivatives of CE.
In the enterprise mobility market Windows CE, Windows Mobile, and Pocket PC are often used interchangeably this is in no doubt in part due to their common origin. This practice is not entirely accurate. You can read more about the history of Windows “CE” here. and Windows “Mobile” here.
A roll call of key Windows CE based devices used in the enterprise would generate a blog post of epic length, These are three of our favourite devices that were sold in large quantities all across the world into a variety of application areas including Manufacturing T&L and Retail,
A faltering mobile OS business hurt Microsoft for many years, although popular in the enterprise due to high adoption market appropriate hardware and plentiful development tools. Versions of the OS for phones had been losing market share since 2007.
End of an Era Key Dates
These EoL dates have been trailed by Microsoft for some time.
June 2018 – Windows Embedded CE 6.0
June 2019 – Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld
January 2020 – Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5
So What Comes Next
For many users this will be something to discuss with their software vendor. The coming Microsoft Windows CE OS end of life may make little difference if the devices are working and no major system upgrades are planned. However as hardware itself becomes EoL and developer resource dries up it will be time to move on to something else. What that is very much depends on your circumstances, there is no one sized fits all approach. In a straight swap the top two options for many sites are clearly Android and Windows 10 but some may consider iOS.
Don’t let the Microsoft Windows CE OS End of Life get the better of your operation. Call us to disucss how we can help you weigh up the options and plan for the future.
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.
MobileWorxs are delighted to announce the availability of two new windows tablet devices joining the MobileDemand line up.
The 10.1″ xTablet T1500 and the 8″ xTablet T8500 are aimed at users looking for a high performance yet economic windows based rugged device to help improve mobile worker productivity.
xTablet T8500 and xTablet T1500 ship with Windows 10 Professional. Breadth of functionality excellent security ease of navigation and seamless integration with corporate systems make this OS increasingly the standard when it comes to enterprise grade tablet devices.
Research firm Gartner predicts that Windows 10 will become the most widely installed version of Windows ever. Predicting that half of enterprises will have started Windows 10 deployments by January 2017
Both the devices use the excellent Intel Quad Core Z3735F processor operating at 1.33GHz with 1.83GHz burst frequency. Standard Wi-Fi & Bluetooth optional 3G WWAN.
Rugged & sealed, we have you covered…
Applications that take place in rough and tumble environments require devices engineered to work and keep working.
These new devices come with a 36 month warranty and deliver excellent multi year total cost of ownership combined with outstanding durability Vs similar priced devices. Airborne dust and water sealing rating for the xTablet T1500 is IP65 and IP67 for the xTablet T8500. Both handle 4-foot drops to concrete and come standard with hand strap, carry handle rubber bumpers and screen protector for added protection.
Different applications and jobs require different functionality and accessories. Add a barcode scanner for inventory tracking or point-of-sale, deploy tablet mounts for a space-saving work station or utilize the GPS function for field based surveying.
xTablet 8500 and xTablet 1500 will be available mid February. Get in touch to book a meeting.
How Windows 10 Home is Different to Windows 10 Pro
Unless you have been living under a rock, or on holiday you could not have failed to notice the launch of Microsoft Windows 10 earlier this month. The objective is to have the same OS across a myriad of devices and finally have something to compete with and beat Android. At a practical level it’s worth pondering how Windows 10 home is different to Windows 10 pro. This is a key question for enterprise mobility projects with a preference for Windows considering a BYOD deployment.
What version of Windows 10 you are looking at will be optimised for smaller screen sizes allowing apps to look the same and sync across mobile and desktop devices instantly.
In the enterprise this effectively means the end of the .NET based Windows Mobile 6.5 which has for many years been the stalwart line of business OS for the PDA format. Windows 10 mobile is due to be made available at the end of 2015 and will have all the new ingredients of Windows 10 including the Edge browser but not IE. Given the right device hardware you will be able to plug into a display and utilise the Continuum interface.
If you are already on a previous Windows version and upgrade those running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 will move to Windows 10 Home Edition. Windows 10 Pro replaces Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8.1 Pro. Even Home Edition gets the Edge browser Cortana voice controlled assistant and biometric login.
Windows 10 Pro will be the OS of choice for those businesses looking for more compatibility and security. Home Edition will be just fine for those looking to leverage the Edge browser managing media and doing rudimentary Office functions.
If you are unsure that your machine is up to it get some advice, read this first or buy a book
Key Features of Windows 10 Home Edition
Focus on the consumer – Lower price to compete with Android Chrome and iOS.
Cortana virtual assistant.
Continuum the tablet mode makes the taskbar and the Start menu way simpler than with Windows 8.1.
Apps from the App store will run on any Windows 10 device.
Why will some Enterprise Mobility Users adopt Windows 10 Professional Instead.
Ability to join a Windows domain.
Azure Active Directory for single sign on to cloud services.
Hyper-V for virtualisation
Enterprise mode Internet Explorer.
A version of the Windows Store for your own business.
Enterprise Data Protection containers – coming at the end of 2015.
Security and Management.
Bitlocker and EFS for file encryption and protection.
If you need to re-install Windows 8.1 you will soon find that unlike the good old days your Windows 8.1 product key is not likely to be found printed on a Certificate of Authenticity (CoA) label on the back of the unit.
So how do you find this 25 digit gold dust? This is not an exhaustive list of methods, if in doubt consult your systems admin. The key is stored in the Windows registry but in a binary form that is not human readable.
Was it on an Email confirmation when you bought the OS?
Ask the manufacturer of the unit as they will have the product key and product serial number on file. Serial numbers can be anywhere but often on a rating label or in the battery bay on more rugged units.
Is it printed on documents that were in that box you carefully saved (!) when the device arrived?
Top 3 Reasons to Upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 8 Pro
Guest Blog by Derek Oja Marketing Manager at MobileDemand
As a small, mid-size or even large business, your tablets and PCs are essential tools that affect everything you do. These Top 3 Reasons to Upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 8 Pro describe an opportunity to get a radically improved set of tools and reduce costs and security risks at the same time. Can one simple choice help you increase efficiency and respond better to customers and opportunities? Absolutely, when it gives you new ways of working and fully leverages your existing IT infrastructure.
1. Get 3x more business done.
Get more work done and serve customers faster from more locations. Everyday computing is more than 3x faster than on a four-year-old system, with responsive performance and true multitasking. New mobile form factors such as thin, rugged tablets let you respond to opportunities from virtually anywhere and instant-on technology wakes the system in less than 7 seconds.
2. Better security for you and your customers.
New business PCs and tablets with Windows 8 Pro like the xTablet T1600 are built for business and engineered for advanced security—so your critical business data is protected by the very latest security technologies such as Intel® Identity Protection Technology. Combined with Windows 8 Pro and Office security capabilities, they deliver unprecedented embedded protection for your business.
3. New ways to get business done.
Windows 8 Pro was built to work great on touch systems. You can take full advantage of everything Windows 8 has to offer with a mouse and keyboard or touch. Plus you will experience faster boot times, longer battery life, less memory usage and access to thousands of new apps from the Windows Store. You don’t have to choose between an advanced touch device and a hardworking PC, because you can get both.
Upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 8 Pro. Get in touch to find out how to benefit.
xTablet T1600 weighs in at 1.23 kg and is part of a new breed of of large screen road warrior rugged tablet designs that are fashionably thin and light, run Windows 8.1, use capacitive multi touch and offer adequate on-board I/O. But are are much tougher and better suited for harsh business operational environments than the generally fragile thin consumer tablets. At last the blue collar rugged tablet to replace your laptop .. really !
Intel Haswell Processor Power
The Large Screen Road Warrior Rugged Tablet T1600 employs an ultra-low voltage U-Series “Haswell” Intel 4th generation i5 processor. The dual-core i5-4200U runs at a base speed of 1.6GHz, with turbo boost speeds up to 2.6GHz. That appears to be a good match to the 45.8 watt-hour battery for a 7 hour estimated battery life.
11.6 Inch Giant Screen
With a diagonal screen size of 11.6 inches, the xTablet T1600 offers more display real estate than any other we have seen at this price point. In terms of usable area that’s almost a third more than that of an iPad Air, and 2.7 times as much as a typical 7-inch tablet. For a Windows based tablet that can make all the difference especially when wearing gloves on or when using the classic Windows desktop and software with all its small controls, checkboxes pulldowns and sliders.
The 1366 x 768 pixel resolution is a good match for this size display. The T1600 has 10-point capacitive multi-touch that MobileDemand claim can handle rain drops and use with gloves. Alternatively use the metal mesh tip stylus.
The T1600’s display offers 400 nits brightness which is about twice that of your average laptop, making it very vibrant indoors and likely adequate for outdoor use as well. Since brighter backlights draw more power, the T1600 uses its light sensor to automatically adjust screen brightness, with settings configurable via a special brightness level setup panel. A 800 nit Hi-Brite version is also available.
Connectivity & Scanning
For wired connectivity, the T1600 offers two native high-speed full-size USB 3.0 ports, a combo in/out audio jack, and a docking connector, with RS232 and USB available via the optional dock. T1600 also has an expansion connector that can accommodate various modules.
For wireless dual-band 802.11ac WiFi via an Intel Wireless AC7260 module that also provides Class 1 Bluetooth version 4. Optional 4G LTE WWAN.
Large Screen Road Warrior Rugged Tablet includes options such as GPS and either an HF RFID reader or a 1D/2D scanner. There’s a 5mp rear-facing auto-focus camera in addition to the standard 2.0mp front-facing webcam. Along with ambient light, the tablet has a G-sensor as well as a gyroscope and e-compass.
Vehicle and office docks are available. The vehicle dock has a lock option, 75mm and 100mm VESA pattern for mounting, optional keyboard mounting with an AMPS pattern, and provides Ethernet, two USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports each, HDMI, RS232 serial, and SMA connectors for external WWAN and GPS antenna. The office dock has the same connectivity minus the SMA connectors.
While the xTablet T1600 is around 2 cm thick ruggedness is impressive. The tablet can survive 3-foot drops, sealing is to IP65 although with the standard back-strap it is easy to carry. Find out how the Large Screen Road Warrior Rugged Tablet T1600 can be the rugged Windows tablet to replace your laptop.
Enterprise Mobility is all about increasing productivity and generating a return on investment Vs other demands in the business. Keeping on top of whats hot in the sector can make a huge difference to project performance and longevity. So what do we think will be the seven key enterprise mobility IT trends for 2015 ?
1.Tablets take on Laptops
As users started to use their “entertainment” tablet for work use some thought that Laptops would simply get wiped out and Tablet sales would continue to rise. IDC commented that 2014 saw Tablet sales growth slow year on year to 7.2% from 52.5% in the previous year. It looks like the Tablet replacement cycle may be as long as Laptops – or even longer. The rationale seems to be that once a tablet is found to be good at doing whatever it is doing there is no need to replace it. Although slowing it is expected that Tablet adoption will overtake PC’s in 2015 according to Gartner.
We doubt that laptops are going the way of LaserDisc or fax machine anytime soon. In the enterprise this means more possibilities for remote users to blur the lines between having a rugged PDA for line of business apps Vs a keyboard based device for more white collar productivity tasks. Although not suitable in every scenario we see more people using Tablets or Hybrid devices to replace the main computer in their lives.
2. R.I.P. Windows Embedded 6.5 … again
It has been coming for some time and without question a large number of enterprise mobility deployments ran on Android rather than Windows Embedded 6.5 in 2014. When Motorola Solutions the Gorilla in the sector gets acquired by Zebra it is a good sign that things have changed forever.
There are large numbers of users on this platform especially in the retail supply chain and T&L markets. So plenty of incentive in 2015 if you are a vendor coming from a different part of the market and a real headache for legacy manufacturers defending these accounts. Expect to see heavyweights like Panasonic in more traditionally “hand held” scenarios following the launch of their FZ-E1 and FZ-X1 devices.
3. Android Battles
Gartner says sales of smartphones grew 20 percent in the third quarter of 2014 in emerging markets were flat in Europe and up in the US. Growth is characterised by the continuing rise of Chinese Android brands and the narrowing of the difference in cost between feature phones and low cost smartphones. Gartner expects sales of smartphones to reach @1.9 billion devices world wide in 2014.
Low cost offerings like the Tesco Hudl and a slew of no-name rugged brands come with little or no real “enterprise grade” operational or break fix support. We believe organisations with more users will deploy solutions from major vendors such Samsung who recently launched the Tab Active an IP67 Android based inexpensive rugged tablet.
4. Windows Tablet
What about Microsoft…? Being late has characterised Microsoft in recent years. In the rugged space OEM’s using the embedded 6.5 and desktop Windows OS have taken a beating as many users moved to less costly devices that did not run a Microsoft OS. It finally got its act together with Windows 8.1. We predict more innovative and lower cost designs like the xTablet Flex 8 to beat off the opposition – but it will be tough.
5. Enterprise Mobility Management EMM – Fact or Fiction ?
Without doubt Fact ! In many organisations BYOD has been characterised by not being embraced by IT as fast as it is by employees wanting to access corporate data with their own devices. Turning the provision of mobility to white and blue collar workers into a competitive asset means aligning what may be formal and informal BYOD arrangements. Using device management as a method in security, application and financial management mobility scenarios is really the only way we see this happening
Carl Rodrigues CEO of SOTI commented“As global businesses establish and scale their mobility strategies, they can rely on our solution to manage smartphones, tablets and purpose-built mobile devices in addition to PCs, laptops and peripherals, from a singlepane of glass, no matter the operating system”
6. Apps Devices And The Long Tail
What if your SME enterprise does not have access to in house IT or the budget to fund a traditional enterprise mobility project ?
The good news 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 little up front cost that addresses how to increase internal productivity and deploy it with an excellent ROI.
7. Barcode Scanning Goes Mainstream
Barcode Scanning has been around for decades and is considered to be the founding element of the Internet of Things. There are plenty of Android and iOS apps to allow your SmartPhone to scan using its camera. This is ok for ad hoc use but when higher frequency scanning is required a sled like the Honeywell Captuvo or separate Bluetooth scanner such as models form Socket are much more ergonomic to use. With the adoption of more SmartPhones and Tablets in the enterprise without integral scanning we anticipate seeing more of these in use next year.
If you supply the coffee we can bring our crystal ball to your office to discuss the seven key enterprise mobility IT trends for 2015 that may impact your project.
How Windows 8.1 with Bing is Different from Windows 8.1 Professional
Microsoft announced in May 2014 that it would launch a version of Windows 8.1 with a reduced set of features and capabilities. Clearly they are looking to allows OEM’s to compete with the open source OS’s especially Android.
No doubt they would like to emulate the reasons Android has remained dominant in the recent past especially in tablets:
Lots of hardware buy in from OEM’s.
Access to plenty of Apps.
Having something more attractive price wise than an iPad.
I am sure Microsoft will be happy if this expands their reach especially in areas where they have been hammered in recent years by iOS and Android. Even if it does imply another nail in the coffin of RT. Products are shipping already including our own rugged tablets the xTablet Flex 10 and xTablet Flex 8
Is it much different to the Windows 8.1 that you are already used to? No.
Key Features of Windows 8.1 with Bing
Lower price to compete with open source OS’s such as Android Chrome and Linux.
Internet Explorer and Bing search are the default browser and search location. Whilst the manufacturer cannot mess with them as defaults users can swap to others.
Users can load apps via the app store or load canned or custom desktop software as normal.
Want another browser – up to the user to download and install.
No “Side Load”. This refers to loading “app store” specifically “Start Screen apps” via non-store loading.
Cannot upgrade to 8.1 Pro or Enterprise.
Some commercial devices may be bundled with Microsoft Office or a one year subscription to Office 365.
Why do some Enterprise Mobility Users adopt Windows 8.1 Professional Instead.
Security and Management.
Bitlocker and EFS for file encryption and protection.
Custom applications loading and management.
Group policy – manage apps and rights by group.
Allow use of Hyper V a way of running Windows 7 apps.
Latest version of IE.
Windows 8.1 with Bing is similar to a tactic Microsoft used in the past to get users to adopt Windows Vista and Windows 7. Whilst these OS’s were crippled in some way 8.1 with Bing is a full install – hoorah!
Get in touch to chat about the various OS options to consider during your enterprise mobility project.