Mobile computing has been around since the 1980s. Since then, mobile computers have taken over the wireless industry. Today, they are all around us in the world, enabling access to digital content anytime, anyplace, anywhere. A mobile computer is a computing device that is physically not constrained in its location to a desktop or data centre and allows users to access data and information from wherever they are. This means they allow transmission of data, voice and video via a computer or any other wireless enabled device without having to be connected to a fixed physical place. These devices are designed to be extremely portable and they are small enough to fit in your hand. They are powerful enough to do many things you can do with your computer or laptop and many of the mobile computers have barcode scanning functionality to for users to instantly capture the barcode and view or edit information as required.
Mobile solutions play an important role towards the growth of today’s business and connectivity has never been so easy. Many vendors have pre-packaged mobile apps to enable users to quickly access the information and make decisions no matter where they are. Such as to view upcoming tasks, get alerts on specific events, view and complete approval requests, access real time operational reports, monitor inventory levels etc.
Mobile computers can also be used for a variety of applications such as;
- Inventory management
- Monitor deliveries
- Asset tracking
- Field services
- Inventory counting
- Attendance tracking
- Healthcare and much more
Getting the right type of mobile computer that best suits your needs can improve the workplace productivity by drastically increasing the speed, accuracy and number of tasks mobile workers can complete on a day. With so many different types of mobile computers available today, it is a challenging task to find the mobile computer that is a perfect fit for your needs.
Following are some factors to consider before buying a mobile computer.
- What business processes or employee functions will benefit from mobile computers?
- What applications are needed to support the business process or the employees using it?
- Does it need to have the barcode scanning functionality?
- Will it be exposed to harsh environment, dust, moisture, drops etc.?
- What connectivity options are needed?
- What’s the desired operating system?
Depending on user needs they are different types of mobile computers in the market. Some of them are gun grip, phone-size, full size, wearable, vehicle mount, RFID which will be further explained in a separate post.
Similar to how a computer operates, mobile computers run on familiar interfaces such as windows, android, iOS, Linux etc. depending on the operating system the functionality and applications will vary. Even though mobile computers can store data in their memory, users can also make use of their wireless connectivity and collect, review and update information as they wish. There are a few ways mobile computers can communicate wirelessly.
- Securely access programs or databases stored in the cloud or your office using the latest Wi-Fi technologies such as 802.11 a/b/g/n
- Take advantage of high-speed WLAN or WWAN networks, such as the 4G HSPA+ worldwide network or the 3.5G EVDO/CDMA network
- Accurately pinpoint the locations of employees, assets, and businesses with optional GPS capabilities
- Easily sync with modems, printers, and headsets using Bluetooth wireless connectivity
- Always stay connected via phone using integrated cellular service
- Add additional memory using expandable card slots
Some of the main advantages of mobile computing are;
Location flexibility - Users can work from anywhere and doesn’t
limit them to a fixed position as long as the connection has been
Saves time - Because of the location flexibility, the time wasted while travelling from different locations has been decreased. It has also reduced unnecessary incurred expenses.
Enhanced productivity - Users can work efficiently and effectively from any location reducing time and cost which enhances their productivity. Also by providing easy access to real time data, executives can make more informed decisions in a shorter period of time.
Ease of research - Normally users would have to go to the field and search for data and information and feed it back into system. With mobile computers research can collect data and feed it to the system real time without having to make trips back and forth from the field to the office.
Streamline of business processes – Adequate measures have been put in place to ensure authentication and authorization of the user accessing the services. Business functions can be run over secure links and sharing of information between business partners can also take place.
In summary, people can work from the comfort of any location as long as the connection is a secure connection. With more mobile computers and more applications coming into the market, mobile computers will keep growing and will be a key role in a business. Mobile computers allow you to capture and exchange business critical information according to your specific enterprise demands. It is important to understand the basic features of a mobile computer to find the best suitable mobile computer to fulfil your requirements. Choosing the right mobile computer can improve workplace efficiency and productivity immensely. They will help improve workplace speed and accuracy drastically and also a lot of tasks can be done during the day. If you take a sensible business-improvement based approach, you will quickly be riding the mobile-computing wave and enjoying the benefits of mobile technology in your business.