Spirit Data Capture

Spirit News – April / May 2014

Welcome to the spring edition of Spirit Data Capture’s newsletter for customers who are interested in information and news relating to Enterprise Mobility Solutions.

In this issue, the articles include:

We hope you enjoy reading this newsletter. If you would like more information on any of the items below, please call us on 01928 718800 or send an email to: helen.jones@spiritdatacapture.co.uk.

Operating systems

Windows 6.5Changes in customer behaviour are affecting the choice of operating systems used on mobile devices. An increasing number of users are moving towards open source licences instead of buying a Microsoft operating system licence or a Microsoft Office licence. Google Docs and other cloud-based open source applications are strengthening their hold on the market.

Meanwhile, in-premise installs are becoming less common. Microsoft is suffering because MS Windows Mobile 6.5 is now regarded as being outdated but new versions from the company have been delayed. Things change rapidly in the world of technology - Windows Mobile used to dominate the market but has been badly hit by the success of iOS and Android. Android (Google’s open source operating system) has been particularly successful and is starting to prevail over MS Windows.

Price and convenience are key factors - open source operating systems are often free or low-cost, and the software can be installed on as many machines as required. They are also versatile and customisable. On the other hand, Microsoft systems are feature-rich, easy to use and come with extensive and experienced support.

If you’re still confused, Spirit can help. We offer a range of options, including Microsoft operating systems, cloud-based systems (including SaaS) and hosted systems. We’ll guide you through the maze so that you can find the system that is best for you.

A touching difference

You might not have realised, but there are two main types of touchscreens used on mobiles and tablets. The first is a resistive touchscreen, with layers of glass and plastic coated with a conductive material. Pressure on the screen creates an electrical resistance. This type is less costly and is very resistant to dust and water. However, it is the less sensitive of the two as it relies on pressure, and the layers used reduce the contrast of the screen. Another disadvantage is that it can’t be used as a multi-touch screen.

The second type is a capacitive touchscreen. This has two layers of glass, coated with a conductor. The touch of a finger changes the electrostatic field on that part of the screen. This system is much more sensitive (but also more robust) and the screen is bright with a high level of contrast. Capacitive touchscreens have the added advantage that they can be used for multi-touch applications. However, this solution is more expensive than a resistive touchscreen.

Please contact us if you would like to know more about which device models use which type of touchscreen.

Intermec explores the true cost of BYOD

BYODThe trend of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) tends to focus mostly on management and sales professionals who use their mobile computers for messaging and for accessing spreadsheets, documents and other mainstream applications. However, the considerations are very different for workers who depend heavily on their devices for job-specific tasks and workflows, such as field service, inspection, delivery and other potentially remote activities.  Enterprises need to be able to assess the true costs and strategic value of BYOD in these environments. A recent White Paper from Intermec (‘The XYZ’s of BYOD’) looks at some of the details involved.

The paper concludes that enterprises increasingly need to make the decision of giving mobile workers what they want, or giving them what they need. The BYOD value proposition for special mobile environments isn’t clear-cut because downtime, service and software development costs can all be higher when compared with more general environments where workers run common business applications and can continue working if their mobile devices are unavailable.

A BYOD cost-benefit analysis must look at factors other than hardware savings and should also address software and support considerations. However, the actual costs and value of specific devices can still be hard to measure. Mobile devices are often essential enabling tools for optimised work processes, so failing to take full advantage of their specialised features and capabilities undermines the true value of mobile automation.

Working hard? Take a tablet!

Xplore tabletIndustrial workers need mobile devices that are sufficiently robust to withstand the rigours of harsh environments and rough handling. These devices include rugged tablets – a rapidly growing market. NDP Display Search's Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report estimates that almost 75% of PCs shipped by 2017 will be tablets (equivalent to 455 million tablets!).

However, Xplore reports that some companies are still uncertain whether to buy consumer or rugged tablets. The company comments that cheaper tablets usually mean a less durable framework and internal processors; and a single drop in an industrial environment could shatter a consumer tablet. In contrast, rugged tablets are built to withstand heavy shock, vibrations or drops and are also resistant to water and dust. They soon repay the extra investment through savings on repair costs and computer downtime.

The Xplore Rugged Computing Blog concludes: “Companies should look toward rugged tablets and see how their TCO could benefit in the long run by using heavy-duty industrial tablets.”

The grass is greener for Zebra

ZebraZebra Technologies has announced that it is acquiring the Enterprise business of Motorola. The agreement will enable Zebra to offer the two companies’ sets of complementary solutions. Motorola’s mobile platform captures real-time data on physical assets, people, and transactions across an enterprise. Zebra’s enabling technologies provide visibility into business operations for deeper insights and smarter decision-making.

The two companies’ shared commitment to innovation will enable customers to benefit from the latest technology trends through a range of powerful solutions that are easy to integrate and manage. 

Mobile device management (MDM)

Mobile device management is a area that continues to attract a lot of interest, although there are already perhaps too many different vendors involved. One recent development has been that VMware, a company that produces virtualisation software, has acquired AirWatch, the mobile device management firm. Another interesting trend is the growth of Application Enablement Platforms (AEPs). These facilitate data extraction and can also be useful in mobile device management.

With so many choices of MDM, how can you make an informed decision about which one to use? The answer is to contact us, we offer a range of options and can advise you on the most suitable one for your mobile enterprise.

SaaS support

In terms of mobile device management, one of Spirit’s key solutions is MobiControl SaaS (Software as a Service). SaaS enables you to use sophisticated software directly from the Internet. It gives you all of the benefits of device management without the need for dedicated resources or infrastructure. Using the cloud for device management increases flexibility, reduces the TCO and boosts productivity.

If you’re choosing a partner for (SaaS), you’ll find that a small independent company like Spirit can often provide a more personal service and stronger support than a large corporation – and at an affordable price. This personal touch is essential for long-term growth. You also need a company that can offer you professional, experienced and up-to-date technical support.

Spirit’s cloud services can be accessed directly or via our web portal in a secure hosted environment. There is no need to pre-install any software or hardware.

Navigating with CoPilot Professional

CoPilotCoPilot® Professional from ALK Technologies is GPS navigation software that integrates with field worker applications on a handheld device, tablet or laptop as part of a total mobile worker solution. It’s an offline solution that stores both the application and mapping data on the device, using the GPS chip set to provide driver navigation.

Unlike alternative ‘off-board’ navigation applications, it’s highly reliable even in remote locations, as it doesn’t rely on continuous mobile data downloads. A comprehensive software development kit enables CoPilot Professional to be customised to meet specific organisational needs and makes it easy to integrate with third party applications on the device.

For example, when embedded within field service software, it can provide ‘single touch’ navigation between appointments, based on address data sent directly to the host application. Real-time information such as current driver location, ETA and an itinerary list can also be reviewed and updated remotely. The software also offers advanced routing options for optimised driving routes.

CoPilot Professional is validated for the latest Android devices from Motorola, including the TC55 and MC67, as well as Intermec’s CN51 and Honeywell’s Dolphin Black. It’s also compatible with devices based on Windows Mobile 6.5, Windows Embedded Handheld, Windows 8 and Windows CE. For further information, please contact Spirit.

New products

Some notable new products available from Spirit that are worth exploring include:

  • Rugged tablets: Getac F110 and V110; Motion R12; Xplore RangerX
  • Rugged PDAs: Psion Workabout Pro4; Motorola MC67 (with Android as well as Windows)
  • A4 mobile printer: Brother A4 series (the only compact A4 mobile printer)

Please visit our e-shop or our website www.spiritdatacapture.co.uk for more details.

Forthcoming events

If you get the chance, please pop in and see us at one of these forthcoming events:

  • May 19-20: The Total Supply Chain Summit at Heythrop Park Resort, Oxfordshire.
  • May 20: BEC Technology Day at the Land Rover Experience Centre in Solihull.
  • June 17-19: Service Management Expo with Motion Computing at the London ExCel.

Please feel free to pass this newsletter on to your colleagues. If you would like more information on any of the items, please call us on 01928 718800 or send an email to: helen.jones@spiritdatacapture.co.uk.

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