22 April 2024

Rugged mobile computer deployments

What makes a successful deployment of rugged mobile computers?

Deploying rugged mobile computers across challenging environments is crucial for industries such as logistics, manufacturing and field services. The success of deployments hinges on meticulous planning and execution. In this blog we outline the best practices for a seamless integration of rugged mobile computers into your operations, ensuring they contribute effectively to your business goals.

1.     Site survey: Setting the stage

A thorough site survey is the foundation of a successful deployment. This step involves:

  • Defining objectives and project scope: Clearly define what you aim to achieve with the rugged mobile computers. Are you looking to improve accuracy, increase worker productivity, get real time stock visibility or ensure direct integration with existing core systems for greater data clarity? Setting clear objectives will guide the entire deployment process.
  • Review of network coverage: It is important to evaluate the strength and reliability of existing network coverage in all operational areas to ensure uninterrupted service. Particularly if your rugged mobile computers are to be deployed in remote or challenging environments where connectivity can be inconsistent.
  • User considerations: Think about your workers and how they perform their daily tasks, ask for their experience with using their existing tools. Their feedback can provide invaluable insights into the practical aspects of using a device in daily operations. Factors such as device weight, battery life, screen size and ease of use can significantly impact productivity, efficiency and user acceptance.
  • Type of operation: Analyse the specific environments and conditions the rugged devices will be exposed to. Consider factors such as temperature (cold, heat, humidity and moisture), potential for physical impacts, drops or vibrations, exposure to dust or chemicals and any other operational hazards.

2.    Device selection: Choosing the right tools for the job

To meet the specific needs of your business operations it’s important to select the most appropriate handheld mobile computer. Consider the following:

  • Product needs and functionality: Identify the key functionalities your devices must have. This could include high-resolution laser scanning, high-definition display, real-time communication, GPS tracking, etc.
  • System integration: Ensure the devices are compatible with your existing IT infrastructure. Seamless integration with your backend systems and software is vital for smooth operations.
  • Operating systems: The choice of an operating system can affect the longevity, security and compatibility of applications. Ensure you choose an OS that supports your core applications and offers you long-term support.
  • Screen sizes and form factor: The size and form factor of the device should suit the nature of your work. Devices that are too bulky might hinder mobility, whereas smaller devices might be less user-friendly under certain conditions.

3.    Testing: Ensuring reliability

Before full-scale deployment of the rugged mobile computers, it's important to first conduct a compatibility test from an IT development perspective. This includes checking integration and compatibility with existing software, ensuring applications display correctly on the screen, and verifying that the hardware integrates well with your software. Once compatibility is confirmed, you should also consider the following:

  • Pilot testing: Put in place a pilot phase where a select group of workers uses the devices under real working conditions. This can help identify any practical issues with the hardware or software integration.
  • Stress testing: Subject the devices to the extremes of what they might encounter in daily use. Include tests for common occurrences such as drops, as well as extreme temperature changes, water resistance and dust.
  • Feedback collection: Collect and analyse user feedback in case you need to make necessary adjustments before broader deployment.

4.    Installation: Streamlining implementation

The final step is the installation of the rugged mobile computers into your business operations:

  • Plan for minimal downtime: Schedule the installation during off-peak hours if possible. Prepare for quick replacement of old devices and ensure all data migration is planned and tested beforehand.
  • Training and support: Provide comprehensive training for your workers on how to effectively use the new devices. Some workers will be more comfortable with new technology than others so ensure ongoing support is available to address any issues quickly.
  • Continuous monitoring: Once deployed, continuously monitor the performance and usage of the rugged devices to ensure they are meeting the intended goals. Be prepared to make some modifications based on real-world usage.

Empower your workforce with better-deployed devices

Deploying rugged mobile computers is a complex process that requires careful planning and consideration. At TouchStar, selling technology is not our goal – improving the efficiency and productivity of your business operations is. That’s why we focus on thorough site surveys, careful device selection and planned installation to ensure that your deployment enhances your operational efficiency and resilience. However, our commitment to our customers doesn’t end at the point of sale. We offer comprehensive support through our dedicated and responsive 24/7 UK-based support team. This includes hot swap next-day delivery and collection of damaged rugged handheld computers as part of our standard support package.

Don’t fall prey to these common mistakes when selecting your next rugged mobile computer. Contact the TouchStar team and let us be your guide on the road to rugged mobile computer success. 

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