Spirit Data Capture

Spirit News – November 2014

Welcome to the Autumn 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.

Key technology companies jockey for position

AndroidIn 2009 the Smartphone world was dominated by phones marketed by Blackberry and Apple and the OS was neither part of the branding or a particular feature of the phone. Apple and Blackberry had a combined market share of just under 50% and Android was just a new emerging OS technology. Today with 'Apps' being a critical marketing tool the choice of OS has become a marketing feature too as the Smartphone becomes more like a PC/Tablet with phone capability. Over 70% of Smartphones run Android and these are manufactured and marketed by a range of businesses with Samsung leading the way. The only other OS players in the game are Apple with IOS and Microsoft with WEH and given their history they are not going to give up without a fight.

Everything is changing - and at an increasingly rapid pace. No-one knows what will happen over the next five years. This makes it very difficult to decide which technology to invest in. However, as a business you need to future-proof your investments.

We recommend being device and operating system agnostic. Many manufacturers now have hardware which has dual operating systems, so a business can deploy on a legacy application and upgrade later. It’s also important to have software which is device and platform agnostic – such as Mobile Connect. This is Spirit’s highly scalable and feature-rich Mobility Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP). It’s designed to keep you in touch with your mobile workers whilst enabling them to access the data they need for their work.

Crucially, Mobile Connect is device-agnostic and supports both consumer and rugged units, including smartphones, android and IoS systems, WMS+ and above. It’s therefore ideal for Bring Your Own (BYO) situations. You can change devices whenever needed or use Mobile Connect™ with different devices in different parts of your business. Please contact us for more details.

Google GlassWhere to wear?

One of the most recent and dramatic technology trends has been the development of wearables. Perhaps the most well-known example is Google Glass. Some ‘wearables’ have already been seen in the home - for monitoring health, controlling heating etc.

This trend is also spreading to encompass data capture and the mobile workforce. The key form factor could be the wrist – we’ve just seen the launch of the Apple Watch and Honeywell and Motorola have both been developing developed wearable scanners (e.g. the Moto 360 smartwatch). Perhaps we will see these communicating with smartphones soon.

Another important form factor is the head. Novartis and Google have now joined forces to embed a wireless chip in a contact lens, with WiFi capabilities. A prototype will be produced next year. So, what was once science fiction is rapidly becoming reality...

All change!

Over the past 18 months, there have been various acquisitions and mergers in the industry, especially with a number of hardware companies buying software companies. Examples include Honeywell’s purchase of Intermec; and Mototrola buying Psion and then Motorola’s Enterprise business being bought by Zebra. Motorola was then itself bought by Google. Meanwhile, Oracle has acquired Micross.

This can all become very confusing for consumers, particularly as it makes investment decisions more challenging. Who knows what will happen next?

Prince2Agility with nobility

At Spirit, we combine Prince2 and Agile methodologies to deliver software projects. We then use ITIL principles to support the customer’s mobile solution after it goes live. Prince2 allows us to control the project design, milestones, risks, change control and timelines. Combining this with Agile at the solution implementation stage gives us the flexibility needed to manage multiple projects and changes within a short timeframe.

The two methodologies are highly compatible and the blend helps to create a healthier project environment along with stronger collaboration and communication throughout. Using and combining these common professional standards enables us to work smoothly and successfully with both small and large blue chip companies.

To discover more about the benefits of Prince2 and Agile, please contact us.

A bright idea

PDA in SunlightA major struggle faced by outdoor workers using mobile devices is the difficulty of reading the display when the sun is shining brightly. Screens on tablets can be almost impossible to read under bright sunlight or intense overhead indoor lighting. The two key factors that can make a screen more readable are the brightness and contrast of the display.

Contrast is measured as a ratio of the brightest colour compared to the darkest black. Many mobile devices have ratios of about 100:1. However, brightness-enhanced rugged tablets have a 600:1 contrast ratio - the brightest colour is 600 times brighter than the darkest black. This makes it much easier for workers to discern the colours in images such as bar graphs or mapping applications.

A bright display starts with the NIT level. NITs are the basic units of luminance used to measure brightness. The higher the NIT count, the brighter the display. However, there's a sweet spot of NITs or sunlight-readable displays. For instance, tablets with 1,300 NITs provide the optimal level of display brightness when used in direct sunlight. This level of brightness is made possible by a powerful backlight.

However, as the NIT count grows, more energy is needed to power the backlight. Therefore, to ensure optimum brightness and proper energy management and efficiency, LEDs are often used as the lighting source, as they can produce the level of light needed without consuming excess energy. They are also longer lasting, more reliable and less costly than conventional lighting sources and are therefore the best choice for rugged tablets.

Safer than houses

Spirit now offers the full range of Ecom's ATEX-certified hazardous area mobility equipment. Ecom is the leading manufacturer of devices that can be used in hazardous areas where there is a risk of explosion due to gas, chemicals or dust. The company’s current range of intrinsically safe mobile computing equipment includes tablets, smartphones and handheld computers, which can be used in Zone 1 and Zone 2 hazardous areas. For more information, please contact us.

Superior WiFi

Motorola 7502Motorola is introducing the AP 7502, a pocket-sized 802.11ac access point that’s purpose-built for small public environments such as hotel and patient rooms, assisted living facilities, dormitory housing, apartments etc. The tiny access point provides a cost-effective way of providing the dependable, blazingly fast wireless speeds that today’s users expect (no matter how many devices there are or how much bandwidth the apps require!).

The AP 7502’s size makes it easy to install anywhere, while the understated design makes it very discreet and unobtrusive. The access point can be installed in just a few minutes, with zero-touch auto configuration. It offers comprehensive mobile device support (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) and its advanced features deliver superior Wi-Fi performance. It has a tamper-proof design and incorporates advanced location services and flexible management options.

Contact us for more details.

Coping with big data

Businesses are having to handle increasing amounts of data. For example, Walmark handles a million transactions an hour and Ebay uses two data warehouse for 7.5 million petabytes of data. Retail businesses in particular need to deal with huge amounts of data. As a result, we expect to see an increasing use of 2D scanners in the future, as these can store more data.

For more information on the models of 2D scanners available, please contact us.

ToughPadHardware update

Although consumer smartphones might be superficially attractive, they can be susceptible to failure. VDC research has shown that each percentage point rise in device failures leads to a 5% increase in the cost of ownership. If you need a non-rugged or semi-rugged device, there are several available with an IP rating of 1, including Toughshield T750, Kestronics, and Honeywell’s Captiva range for IPad users, which offers scanning, additional battery life and a rugged case.

Other new products that have been launched recently include the Panasonic FZ-X1 and FZ-E1 Toughpads (fully rugged tablets); and the Xplore Bobcat tablet.

For further information on any of these devices, please contact Spirit. For details of other products, visit the e-shop on our website - www.spiritdatacapture.co.uk

Managed Services

Managed servicesSpirit has introduced a new range of Managed Services packages that provide further support for our customers’ mobile computing projects. Our end-to-end support packages include access to highly trained mobility experts. We provide a highly personalised and unique service offering with strict SLAs. It includes full visibility of all issues and feature-rich, automated reporting capabilities, as well as quarterly reviews and complete management of third parties and manufacturers.

Ultimately, this provides you with a one-stop-shop for all user queries. You only have one company to contact - and Spirit does all of the management for you, from initial logging through to resolution. Our Managed Services packages are designed to give you complete peace of mind as well as an improved RoI. Comprehensive training courses are available as part of the offering.

There are four standard but customisable packages available:

Platinum: A fully managed Service Support Contract.
Gold: A partially managed Service Support Contract.
Silver: A standard Service Support Contract.
Bronze: A package for customers that have Device Management only.

Contact us now for more details!

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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