The longer your mobile terminals stay in service, the lower their overall total cost of ownership (TCO) over time. Most rugged mobile computers are designed to stay in use for up to five years. In many applications, they wind up being used even longer than that. To ensure the devices last through their standard refresh cycle, companies should select devices that are rugged enough for their environment, and that come with warranty and service options that can help keep them up and running.
At Imprint Enterprises, we help guide our clients through device selection to ensure they match the mobile terminal to the application. We also provide access to manufacturer service plans like Zebra OneCare to provide ongoing maintenance and upgrades.
To extend the lifespan of your mobile terminals, follow these basic guidelines:
- Buy the right type of device for your application. Some field sales and service apps are served well using consumer-grade hardware with a protective casing. In most other scenarios, however, these devices will quickly be damaged or destroyed. Mobile terminals come with a range of ruggedization options, and in varying price points. Determine if you need a semi-rugged, rugged, or extremely rugged mobile device before you approach a supplier.
- Find a flexible, future-proof mobile computing platform. The mobility landscape changes rapidly. If you are going to have a mobile device in service for three to five years, make sure it is designed to support future technology options, can be easily upgraded as operating systems are refreshed, and supports open standards.
- Invest in a service plan for your mobile terminals. VARs and hardware suppliers offer a variety of different types of support plans that can help keep the devices updated and address repair and replacement needs as they arise.
In the case of Zebra OneCare, there are two primary service levels to provide fast repair/replacement, along with help desk support and other features.
- Zebra OneCare Essential offers software updates and upgrades, comprehensive warranty coverage, help desk support, and three-day repair turnaround time. For deployment in which the mobile terminals are not necessarily mission-critical, this type of basic service plan keeps the hardware updated and provides device repair services at a reasonable price.
- Other deployments may require more rapid repair times and extended support. Zebra OneCare Select, for example, provides a 24/7 help desk, advanced replacement for faster device repairs, online service dashboards to track device status during the repair process, mobile terminal diagnostic tools, online user assessments, and a cloud-based Operational Visibility Service (OVS) for asset visibility and control.
Deploy mobile device management (MDM) and/or mobile application management (MAM) software
For widely dispersed mobile hardware solutions, keeping tabs on device performance, application profiles, and wireless network connectivity is essential to ensuring the health of the mobile environment. MDM/MAM solutions not only help you quickly deploy new software/firmware updates and applications, but can also provide an early warning if devices are not performing as expected. Employees can also more easily reach out for remote support.
By selecting the right device, and then protecting your mobile terminal investment with MDM software and a robust service plan, you can keep your mobile solution running smoothly for years. Doing so helps avoid costly downtime and maximizes your return on investment by spreading out the cost of the devices over a longer period of time.