7 ways Push-To-Talk technology is replacing old-school radio comms to improve operational safety and performance

Smartphones. They’re an everyday fixture in our work and personal lives.

Yet many hazardous work operations need safe instant communications between staff, that typical touchscreen devices can’t provide, such as rapid voice broadcasts. Immediate voice transmissions cannot be received if you don’t have hands free to work the device or you’re in an environment where this action is impossible.

Therefore, many companies – for instance, logistics fleets, construction firms, field service teams and mining enterprises – are advancing operations by harnessing the speed, efficiency and agility that fast push-to-talk (PTT) communications achieve.

Here are seven ways implementing PTT technology, or replacing old radio communications with a digital PTT solution, could enhance your operational performance.

1. PUSH TO TALK & TRANSMIT

In short, digital PTT systems operate like two-way ‘walkie-talkie’ radio communication. A single push of a button allows a person to speak and transmit an instant verbal message to be received; by one other person, a group of people, or everyone on the closed channel. Not just live voice messages, next-generation digital PTT systems also transmit voice recordings, still images, video recordings and SMS-style text communications. PTT is used by dispatchers, team leaders and supervisors to communicate to their remote team, i.e. drivers, service technicians, sales assistants and warehouse staff on the floor.

PTT is used by dispatchers, team leaders and supervisors to communicate to their remote team, i.e. drivers, service technicians, sales assistants and warehouse staff on the floor. The turn-based single duplex method of verbal conversation, where only one person can speak at a time, manually controls the flow of information. This effectively prevents overlapping conversations and eliminates the misinterpretation of information.

In the past, traditional PTT systems used analogue radio systems on private licenced channels. But now that the number of available channels are declining, while the ongoing costs are increasing, analogue systems are almost unusable and soon-to-be obsolete. Legacy systems must upgrade to digital PTT systems to retain this vital communication service for managing operations.

2. PTT VIA DATA NETWORKS

Presently, PTT services are delivered via the digital/cellular mobile data network. This outperforms the analogue system by having an unlimited geographic range. This means it’s possible to talk, without interference or lag, from one side of Australia to the other, without the need for repeaters because cellular data or a Wi-Fi connection are used.
In fact, this type of coverage and the right network infrastructure makes digital PTT effective for operational teams to communicate with remote managers across the globe, at the touch of a button.

Digital PTT functionality can be added to smartphones and specialised mobile handsets, handheld devices, headsets, tablets, rugged water and drop-resistant handsets, and more. Additionally, numerous PTT services work on laptop, desktop and tablet computers via web-based portals.

3. CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS

You may be considering adding PPT technologies to your enterprise mobility system, as you move from retired radio networks to cellular networks, or as a new way to communicate with your mobile workforce.

Whether it’s instant instructions to your floor staff or in-cabin announcements to your vehicle fleet drivers, the principal advantage of PTT over making phone calls is rapid direct communication of critical information.

In addition, PTT features, such as voice-activated communication and Bluetooth connectivity, help to create a hands-free and tangle-free experience for the user.

4. DRIVER SAFETY

In Australia and other countries, using a mobile phone or hand-held smart device while driving is illegal. The laws may vary slightly from state to state and from country to country, but essentially touching the device while driving is prohibited, resulting in hefty fines and demerit points. From a safety perspective, driving while operating a mobile device is as dangerous as driving intoxicated; smart devices are a major contributor to injurious and fatal vehicle collisions.

Taking the same view of a worksite that operates machinery, forklifts and other vehicles, the distraction of a mobile device could reduce an operator’s concentration, resulting in workplace errors or accidents.

The good news is that PTT communication systems offer an excellent way for companies to reduce crash risks, comply with on-road communication standards and abide by road laws regarding mobile device use.

Importantly, when enabled by a PTT application on a device receiving incoming audible voice messages, a driver can hear an important message without removing his gaze from the road or taking his hands off the steering wheel to touch the device.

5. PLANT PROTECTION

In some workplaces, such as manufacturing plants, factory floors and retail departments, PTT technology allows a clear message to be delivered and for the receiver to acknowledge, in return, that they’ve understood the message. The digital conversion of a voice signal effectively filters out background noise, making it easier for the receiver to hear the message. Such clarity of information transmission prevents confusion, leading to error-free streamlined operations.

When quick messages need to be sent, for instance, to notify employees of a work hazard or an emergency situation, PTT achieves instant connectivity to staff. Compared to mobile phone systems, that take seconds to connect to the network and more time to establish a connection to another user; PTT is far superior when every second counts.

Also, a professional level PTT system allows a ‘group conversation’, where one user can connect to many colleagues at the same time, to work together more effectively. Plus, implement a chain-of-command group hierarchy that separates those who need to know one stream of information from those who don’t need to know and would otherwise find it distracting.
PTT applications are compatible with iOS and Android devices, including rugged devices, for when reliability and durability in extreme environments or remote regions is important depending on the type of work done.

6. ENHANCED EFFICIENCIES

Dispatchers communicating from internet-connected computers via a PTT application like Leopard Voice™,  receive rapid real-time location and status updates from field devices. This allows better visibility of ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘where’ in order to enhance operations management and customer service.

Leopard Voice™  flags which members of your team are available to talk, helping supervisors and workers identify who to communicate to, based on the situation. Plus, in a retail environment, PTT conveniently replaces annoying and disruptive voice announcements over public address systems, thus improving the customer’s experience of your business.  Leopard Voice™  flags which members of your team are available to talk, helping supervisors and workers identify who to communicate to, based on the situation. Plus, in a retail environment, PTT conveniently replaces annoying and disruptive voice announcements over public address systems, thus improving the customer’s experience of your business.

PTT securely connects your head office to job sites and fleet locations and allows tasks to be co-ordinated and situations to be responded to, in real time. This up-to-the-minute knowledge and connectivity enables faster decisions to be made, thus enhancing productivity across the board.

7. SYSTEM SAVINGS

In addition to the aforementioned benefits, adding PTT technology to your enterprise mobility solution will help your organisation save money in further ways;

  • No more fines for your drivers who’ve been caught illegally using a mobile device while operating a vehicle on Australian roads.
  • No need to pay for proprietary radio communications.
  • Stop paying for a separate phone SMS text messaging or calling service when you can use PTT to send the same information.
  • Better work processes reduce staff turnover costs.
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction for increased profits.

As PTT improves operational efficiencies, more savings are achievable. For example, your head office can instantly contact a subset of employees with an urgent change that may reduce fuel, or stop a mistake from happening, which in turn saves additional rework to fix the problem.

In closing, PTT systems range from simple to multifaceted. They can be added to your existing fleet of mobile computers, in transport and logistics as well as retail operations, to provide additional functionality and, more importantly, improve business returns without a major investment to implement.

If your enterprise has specific operational needs, that require hands-free instant secure communications, talk to Leopard to find a PTT solution, such as Leopard Voice™  that can be configured to deliver this useful technology for your business and safety requirements. Alternatively, add cost-effective PTT technology to the enterprise mobility solution your team is already using.

 

To find out more, and discuss your software, hardware requirements and mobility strategy, contact Leopard Systems today.

Upgrading to Android: How to navigate the next-generation enterprise mobility landscape

Innovative companies seeking strong business outcomes in 2018 and beyond are strategically upgrading their enterprise mobility systems to the world-leading mobile device operating system, Android.

Why? Because over the course of the next two years Microsoft will phase out all support for Windows Embedded Operating Systems leaving many businesses without a choice.

Unfortunately, if your organisation operates any consumer-grade or rugged handheld devices running Windows applications, Microsoft will not be releasing any more system updates, security patches or bug fixes; and specialist support for these applications will no longer be available when things go wrong.

In fact, ‘End of Life’ dates for Windows Embedded CE, Windows Embedded Handheld 8.1 and Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 are 10 April 2018 (already passed), 9 July 2019 and 14 January 2020, respectively.

Importantly, there’s still time to start planning in order to make smart decisions about what your company needs to do to get your future-ready mobility system in place—whether that’s changing how you do business, upgrading old devices to  ensure Android-compatible devices and software are used.

For warehousing, manufacturing, transport and logistics, retail and field service companies with thousands of employees in Australia using mobile computers and handheld devices to streamline operations and service their customers; it’s an inevitable and considerable project to manage. But now’s the time to safeguard against becoming vulnerable or exposed by security breaches and viruses, struggling to fix software bugs while adding new applications and software capabilities.

Here, we outline what’s essential to consider when upgrading your company’s enterprise mobility system to the flexible, familiar and reliable Android platform.

 

MAKING THE SWITCH TO ANDROID

First and foremost, if you’re a large company running a big fleet of mobile computers and handheld devices you’re likely to have a sizeable cash investment in the software you’re using, therefore, when Windows-based operating systems becoming obsolete, your software will need attention.

  • If your mobility software has been developed in-house or developed by a small software company, then it will likely need to be reworked to run on the Android platform – which, understandably, will come at a cost.
  • If your software has been developed by a larger software provider, such as SAP, Salesforce, or even Leopard Systems, and your provider has kept pace with mobile technologies and developed an Android version, then the majority of  software development work has already been done, providing for simplified migration. That said, it’s still a substantial project for your company to smoothly replace and transition from Windows to Android and to navigate your way through the changes necessary and potential challenges with your software provider.

Secondly, a considerable hurdle for your company to address at some point, is how to cover the internal costs, the external costs of new software development, the operational downtime costs and the costs associated with mitigating all potential risks associated with a changeover.

Furthermore, it’s a question of deciding on the right time, in essence when the balance – between continuing to use old Windows devices without incurring the upgrade costs and having the funds to support your inevitable upgrade and investment to Android – is right. Choosing when to make the upgrade investment, balanced against the risk of using a system that won’t be supported or updated in the future, will be unique to your company and mobile enterprise operations.

Lastly, is to be aware of the amount of time left on the Windows mobile ‘support clock’. Two years is not a long lead time when typical software development cycles can be anything from 6 to 18 months to rewrite specific application components in preparation for an Android upgrade.

 

THE ANDROID ‘RUGGED VS CONSUMER’ DEVICE DEBATE

Although many companies consider implementing a mobility fleet of employee-owned consumer-grade devices via a BYOD approach, most organisations have discovered that the risks and associated costs with BYOD have proven unfavourable.

In many instances, employees may not own a suitable device, or their device may not run the specific software required, or using a personal device for work is just not practical.

Likewise, consumer BYOD devices don’t always suit business workflow and operations, and may end up costing more when the total cost of ownership over several years is factored in, accounting for increased repair and replacement costs and downtime losses.

In contrast, rugged company-owned mobile devices have proven a superior investment compared to consumer BYOD devices because they:

  • Always have removable batteries – so you can replace the batteries after a busy shift or coordinate to renew batteries when they’re worn out, without any work downtime or losses.
  • Are less likely to break – so less downtime and lower repair/replacement costs, thus saving money over the life of the device.
  • Can have a comprehensive repair contract attached to them – providing a fixed cost of repair for the full lifecycle of each device, therefore supporting your hardware management costs and efforts.
  • Have model longevity – you can continue to buy the same rugged devices for 3-5 years, and not need a new model every 6-12 months, so staff remain familiar with the device model and the software configuration on it, to help maintain and maximise work productivity.
  • Have support longevity – you can access device repair and support for 3-5 years after the model is no longer being sold.
  • Have a greater range of accessory options, for example, vehicle cradles, battery chargers, multi cradles, printers and so on.
  • Are less likely to be stolen or lost because they are undesirable to the public as a personal item.
  • Have in-country enterprise-ready support mechanisms in place.

 

NAVIGATING THE ANDROID LANDSCAPE

If you’re running a Windows-based mobile fleet system with a software vendor who;

(1) may no longer be in business,

(2) may no longer offer support, or

(3) may have no intention of upgrading their software to Android,

then, first and foremost, it’s a matter of selecting an alternative software provider/system and plan transition to a completely new system.

Justifiably, there are a few directions a company may decide to pursue as they navigate the move from Windows to Android. Rugged Android devices have been available to purchase for some time, however what steps do YOU need to take to optimise your investment and transition to Android?

Initially, determine if your current enterprise mobility software vendor has kept pace with emerging technologies and already provide for Android capability within their current software.

For example, if you use a proprietary mobile retail or transport software, has that software vendor kept up and purposefully developed for Android, as well as offering Android support?

If ‘yes’, and you’re satisfied with what that vendor provides, then this will be the most cost-efficient and beneficial path to take. A straightforward version upgrade for the mobile software on your handheld devices, that automatically works with your backend system, is ideal. Plus, with no major integration costs, work or downtime, you’ll simply continue business operations following an upgrade to new software on Android devices.

If your current software vendor does NOT support Android, then you’ll need to evaluate alternate software vendors that do, and you’re confident in partnering with for the next five to ten years.

This then becomes a larger decision and implementation project depending on how your mobile software needs to be developed to integrate with your backend business system. If you decide to move to new mobility software, then you’ll need to invest in suitable integration work in order to insert all the data into the correct identical places that your previous system did, to keep your business operations working smoothly and on track.

In contrast, if your mobility software was developed in-house, as a number of smaller retail, field service and transport companies have done, it’s highly likely that your system won’t have Android capability or support.

In this case, you’ll need to assess whether to manage your Android upgrade internally, which could be costly in development, or investigate alternative external software vendors who offer a ready-made solution, or have a roadmap and development cycle, that fits your requirements for Android, then manage the integration project.

 

OPTIMISATION THROUGH MOBILE DEVICE MANAGEMENT (MDM)

In conjunction with moving your mobility solution to Android, now’s the perfect time to conduct a full assessment of emerging technologies and specialty services that your company may wish to harness in the future for system optimisation.

With the rapid pace of smart internet-connected devices – with sensors, cameras, trackers and more – creating exciting opportunities within the mobility-IoT ecosystem, it’s wise to make decisions that don’t exclude technology options for the future.

A future-proofed mobility strategy should encompass remote hardware access and management. Android is evolving and updating far more rapidly than any other mobile operating system previously. Therefore, the need to provide system upgrades and security patches on Android devices efficiently is vital.

Android rugged devices require weekly and quarterly updates for security, preventing important data from being stolen or the disruption of your service to your customers. In short, they need to be updated at least quarterly and much more frequently than Windows devices.

Therefore, you can’t go more than three months without some sort of Android device update. This equates to quarterly updates for the next five years, making MDM services a key consideration for any Android upgrade and part of an overall mobility strategy review.

 

WHAT’S YOUR ANDROID STRATEGY?

As the next five to ten years will give rise to new advances in mobility technologies, while concurrently establishing a universal system for integrating such technologies, balancing future opportunities against unknown risks is essential.

Partnering with an enterprise mobility solution provider who understands and is at the forefront of driving innovation in this field will ensure the best outcome for your solution and give your company a competitive edge.

Leopard Systems are proud leaders in the provision of multi-platform subscription based mobility software solutions, hardware supply, device fleet management, rollout and support.

We’re skilled at implementing and deploying new hardware for large-scale fleets using your software solution of choice or our proprietary solutions best suited for your business needs.

To discuss your software, hardware requirements and mobility strategy, contact Leopard Systems today.

 

Already negotiating the transition? We also offer interim rugged devices for organisations to rent Windows devices while developing their Android mobility strategy. Rather than purchasing a new fleet of soon-to-be-obsolete Windows devices, rent these serviced and operational devices from Leopard Systems for a fraction of the cost. Don’t invest in a product that will shortly need to be replaced! Contact Leopard for more information about our device rental service.

Vehicle telematics for your team: The hidden enterprise benefits of fleet and driver data

Unwatched, unmonitored vehicles could be wasting significant business resources.

However, with a smart solution in place, your vehicle fleet can become a source of business intelligence that boosts efficiencies across your entire enterprise.

That’s why more and more transport and logistics companies make clever use of vehicle ‘telematics’ systems.

Fleet telematics, in essence, is a real-time multi-vehicle tracking system. A telematics solution syncs vehicle computer systems with a centralised web-based interface to extract, store and receive high-value data about your vehicles and drivers.

Insights for all departments: What business problems can vehicle telematics solve?

For transport and supply chain companies with multiple vehicles, telematics could improve all areas of your business. But how?

In general, delivery fleet telematics systems improve business via;

  • Fuel savings
  • Increased productivity
  • Lower wages
  • Improved efficiency
  • Cost-effective communications.

From retrieving fuel usage, driving time, idling time, fault diagnostics, instrument readings and mechanical data from each vehicle, to sensing harsh braking, acceleration and cornering by drivers, plus real-time GPS location and rapid accident detection – a fleet telematics solution offers must-have insights that will improve your operations, enhance output, save money and reduce pollution.

Yet, even greater results are possible when your whole team take advantage of telematics information. Each department’s inefficiencies can be scrutinised, questioned and resolved via a whole-of-business approach.

 

Questions your various departments may ask:

MANAGEMENT:

Managers study telematics data to better understand where business losses are occurring.

  • How many accidents did we have last year and why? What preventive measures can we apply?
  • What’s causing excessive fuel use? How can we reduce our fleet’s total fuel consumption?
  • What returns could we expect from expanding into a new territory or introducing a new product?
  • How can we better anticipate our company needs and maximise new opportunities?

Managers leverage vehicle telematics intelligence to make high-level decisions based on real facts and figures to increase productivity, reduce costs and enhance customer service.

A well-designed vehicle telematics system will inherently improve driving standards and prevent accidents, which will reduce liabilities across a whole fleet for peace of mind.

FINANCE:

Financial Directors access telematics information to gain a clear picture of an organisation’s operations, to see where both saving and making money is possible.

  • What adjustments will make our fleet vehicles more efficient and reduce overtime costs?
  • How can we reduce our vehicle liabilities to save on insurance premiums?
  • What changes can we make to price our delivery tasks more competitively?
  • How can we better manage our capital investments and vehicle assets for greater returns?

Vehicle telematics systems accurately record and accumulate information about fuel use, vehicle maintenance, fleet productivity and safety reports.

Your finance department will find new ways to reduce costs, verify expenses, improve invoicing and increase efficiencies, such as optimising fuel use, reducing delivery times and eliminating unauthorised mileage.

SALES & MARKETING:

Sales & Marketing Directors increase company sales and grow business. With telematics data, they manage sales more effectively and instigate intelligent marketing strategies.

  • Which geographic territories are falling short of our sales targets, and why?
  • What type of driver is delivering most efficiently and effectively? How can we replicate this?
  • What can we learn from our current customers and deliveries to improve future sales results?
  • Are there reoccurring sales patterns or delivery results that reveal new markets?
  • Where should we put more salespeople?

With proof-of-service, business mileage and customer delivery reports, vehicle telematics helps increase sales and business growth, all while increasing customer confidence and satisfaction.

HUMAN RESOURCES:

Human Resources Managers use fleet telematics communications to enhance staff efficiencies, provide incentives for improved performance and motivate employees to work harder and smarter.

  • How can we provide a safer work environment while maintaining productivity?
  • What driver behaviours are impacting business operations? How can we improve our workforce?
  • Are our delivery drivers and vehicles OHS and regulation compliant? If not, why not?
  • What changes will enhance driver safety and vehicle efficiencies while minimising risks and saving fuel?

In-vehicle instructions, driver coaching, navigational assistance and safety awareness from the telematics device ensure new employees learn best-practice driving, while established drivers enhance their skills.

Further, telematics device systems offer accurate ‘hours of service’ tracking for payroll accounting, workplace compliance and staff management purposes. Plus, automated driver time-sheets reduce errors and save HR managers’ time.

FLEET OPERATIONS:

Fleet Managers demand comprehensive up-to-the-minute whole fleet, specific vehicle and individual driver information from fleet telematics systems.

  • What new strategies can we apply that will save more fuel and reduce maintenance costs?
  • How can we improve delivery response times and increase fleet utilisation?
  • What routing and scheduling adjustments can we make to improve efficiencies?
  • What type of driver is the safest and most productive? How can we increase this type of driver?
  • What vehicle maintenance and compliance measures can we perform without impacting operations?
  • How are we responding to vehicle breakdowns and security issues?

Vehicle telematics give fleet managers a wealth of accurate real-time vehicle information, such as how a vehicle is being operated, what engine care is needed, what delivery job is being executed and precisely where a vehicle is at any given moment.

Telematics unlocks extra revenue through complete fleet management control and continual optimisation of fleet operations.

CUSTOMER SERVICE:

Customer Service agents seek to provide accurate information to customers through a high level of support. Real-time vehicle telematics data, accessed via a web-based interface, clarifies customer queries relating to delivery arrival times, service schedules, demurrage events, proof of site visits, and so on.

  • Where is a customer’s delivery right now? When will the delivery arrive at the customer’s address?
  • Any mechanical alerts or vehicle problems responsible for a delivery delay?
  • What nearby fleet vehicle can cover deliveries for a vehicle breakdown or other disruption?
  • How can we improve response times and better serve our customers?

In-cabin speaker communication to drivers from customer service agents saves time, improves productivity and addresses customer queries quickly. Live vehicle tracking and customer exchange tracking provide transparency and build customer trust with your company.

By helping customers with the best, most accurate information available, excellent customer service is provided, customer satisfaction increases and your reputation is protected.

ON THE ROAD:

Delivery Drivers, Sales Personnel and Field Service agents, often in fleets of thousands, are at the coalface of vehicle telematics systems.

Their driving behaviours detected by vehicle sensors, and other pertinent engine parameters, plus route history and real-time GPS location, are continuously reported to the telematics data ‘ecosystem’. Typically, driver questions concern their day’s work;

  • What’s my optimised route and delivery order for today’s tasks?
  • Is this fleet vehicle compliant, serviced and safe for me to drive? Am I safe to drive it?
  • What’s my next delivery location? What’s the most efficient way to get there? How long will it take?
  • How can I adjust my driving to be more resourceful, save fuel and reduce vehicle wear?
  • Where is my vehicle located exactly? To notify a stolen vehicle to police or receive breakdown assistance.

Tracking of drivers and vehicles verifies ‘proof of delivery or service’ at the customer’s location, manages driver fatigue and simplifies ‘chain of responsibility’ tasks which, naturally, help drivers to perform well.

Vehicle telematics support drivers to lower costs, increase competitiveness and enhance service levels.

In turn, this creates a prosperous future for everyone connected to your company including employees, suppliers and customers.

Leopard Telematics for fleets of all sizes

Leopard Telematics, powered by Geotab, is an innovative fleet management technology that communicates vehicle data, including GPS tracking, driver behaviour and engine parameters, from an in-vehicle Geotab GO device to a secure web platform called MyGeotab Dashboard.

Easy and quick to set up, the Geotab vehicle tracking device simply plugs into the engine diagnostic OBDII port of your vehicle. No special tools or fitting expertise needed. An adapter or harness is available for when there’s no OBDII port, when the OBDII port must remain free for servicing requirements, or when the Geotab device must be secured out of reach.

Next, the device serial number, company name, asset number and odometer reading are entered into the Geotab web platform to complete the installation and connect all communications. That’s it, you’re done and ready to go.

With real-time vehicle locations on the map, safer driving environments and the undeniable cost savings of improved efficiencies, Leopard’s telematics solution offers a powerful productivity-boosting return on investment.

Affordable intelligence

Compared to traditional ‘black box’ engine recording devices, the Geotab device is a fraction of the size to install. And, for such a low-cost rapid installation, the Leopard Telematics system provides comprehensive intelligence to answer the important vehicle and driver questions asked by the largest of transport companies.

Furthermore, the Geotab device and similar OBDII plug-in devices can integrate data seamlessly from many vehicle systems, such as temperature sensors, low-resolution parking cameras, load detectors and more – making it an obvious and economical choice for delivery fleets.

In short, because knowing where your vehicles are, knowing your drivers are safe and knowing your resources are used wisely is important; the value of a vehicle telematics solution cannot be underestimated.

To find out more about Leopard Telematics, download our solution datasheet for details or contact us directly with any questions you may have. We look forward to helping you use telematics to unleash productivity and efficiency for your business.

Mobile Device Management: When to stop wasting resources & outsource to a cost-effective MDM monitoring service

With the end of financial year fast approaching, now’s the time for Australian enterprises to review their mobile device management (MDM) expenses, resources and capabilities.

Do you know your company’s total spend to manage your enterprise mobility fleet including hidden costs? Do you suffer a loss when it takes too long to resolve an MDM issue? Is your in-house IT or current MDM service adequately equipped – in skills, knowledge and processes – to handle your current MDM demands?

Depending on your MDM complexity, business goals and company resources consumed by MDM, there’ll be a tipping point when it makes more sense (and dollars!) to outsource to a cost-effective proactive MDM monitoring service.

COST vs VALUE

The main reason to use in-house IT for mobile device management is that your IT employment costs are known and steady. Adding MDM monitoring tasks to your IT team’s current workload may help to control costs; particularly if fleet device numbers are low, fleet work is non-critical, and your mobility system is straightforward to troubleshoot and fix issues.

If fleet management distracts your IT team from core business responsibilities, then employing additional staff for MDM may suit.

From a cost versus value perspective, applying in-house resources to MDM raises several matters. Will your IT staff feel under pressure addressing MDM problems they don’t fully understand? Will your IT team fix the problem correctly or use a ‘Band-Aid’ solution with negative flow-on effects? How much did it really cost in lost time, lost data, lost revenue, as well as staff stress and frustration?

The value of outsourcing MDM is in enhancing efficiencies and creating more business, not cutting costs. MDM outsourcing becomes valuable when it reduces your spending on staff recruiting, training, salaries, employee benefits and other hidden costs of staffing.

Plus, an outsourced MDM monitoring service accurately assesses the health of your fleet remotely; with effective 24/7 surveillance detecting issues before they. become larger costly problems.

Outsourcing MDM monitoring is valued when it improves mobility device productivity and increases your service uptime and reliability for improved customer engagement, which in turn, secures your supply-demand with greater recurring revenue.

TIME vs RESPONSIVENESS

Who’ll respond fastest when you need it most? An IT staff member who may know how to solve your MDM issue, but who’s away for the next week? Or a 24/7 contracted MDM monitoring service, available to respond on demand to address your emergency issues?

If your mobility fleet tasks are non-critical and time is not a factor, then in-house IT support or accepting a slower MDM monitoring service may be adequate.

Responsive MDM monitoring service providers will rapidly escalate problem resolution. They’ll offer different levels of technical support based on your budget. On-demand proactive MDM services conduct remote troubleshooting, plus ongoing background monitoring to circumvent potential issues.

With dedicated staff and efficient systems – developed exclusively for fixing MDM issues, performing updates and monitoring the health of your entire fleet – an MDM monitoring service provider is well geared to respond in real time and fast. Thus, saving you time otherwise wasted on; identifying the problem, troubleshooting a solution, and, eventually, fixing the problem.

GENERALIST vs SPECIALIST

Certainly, your in-house IT team have direct access to domestic business intelligence. They have intimate knowledge of your brand, mission and company culture. In-house IT will know your mobility fleet from an insider’s perspective; ideal for mobility systems with a specific company focus on internal workflows and processes.

Yet, as a generalist in IT infrastructure and technical support, is your in-house IT capable of fixing a complex ‘in-field’ mishap, remotely? Even if you train them in specific MDM monitoring skills, will they stay up to date as mobility systems evolve, and remain with your company? Or take the knowledge when they leave?

In comparison, a pay-as-you-go MDM monitoring service has a dedicated specialist team. They support many mobility fleets simultaneously, with similar and contrasting requirements to yours. They have professional MDM hardware and programming experts who know, up to the minute, what’s best for field service delivery and fleet management.

They know exactly what your device reports indicate. They know exactly how to address your alert notifications. In fact, a reliable MDM monitoring service provider may solve and fix your issue, having seen it for another client, before you even know about it.

A flexible technology-driven MDM monitoring service provider draws on the latest technology trends to innovate robust systems that actively maintain a high level of uptime and customer service for clients, and to help develop your ongoing enterprise mobility strategy.

Further, specialist MDM providers have well-established relationships with vendor mobility software developers and third-party device manufacturers. If a complex issue arises it’s far more efficient for the MDM monitoring service to query and troubleshoot the issue alongside the device or application creators.

FIXED vs FLEXIBLE

A dedicated company server is an expensive fixed capital investment for running fleet mobility systems and storing mobility data securely. Yet, mandatory in-house security and control – such as strict protection from third party access, physical in-house location of critical data or internal control of company servers – may warrant this set up. Further, in-house fleet management may offer better insight for how and when a mobility issue will be resolved.

In contrast, outsourcing to an MDM monitoring service typically leverages cloud servers that offer real-time flexibility in multiple ways. Rapid updates can be sent remotely to thousands of devices in the field. Off-site and reciprocal cloud servers back up field data securely and restore systems quickly when something goes amiss, reducing downtime and minimising data losses. MDM monitoring service providers ensure properly configured cybersecurity settings for cloud-based data storage and systems are in place.

With automated device alerts, daily health checks, proactive monitoring and continuous reporting – all enabled by the cloud – MDM monitoring experts are constantly watching to ensure your business data is protected, accessible and safe, and your business operations remain reliable and active for your customers.

 

Ready to move to a pay-as-you-go MDM provider for your fleet?

Compared to a traditional licence-driven MDM service model, there are clear scalability benefits for engaging a pay-as-you-go MDM service offered as a ‘paid connected device’ model.

The flexible payment plan allows you to easily add more devices as your fleet grows, adjust your level of technical service support as your business needs change, and alter your level of performance monitoring and device reporting as your operations require. With minimal start-up costs, the barrier to entry is low, for a feature-rich cost-effective mobile device monitoring service.

Pay-as-you-go MDM services deliver expert professional management and real-time monitoring of thousands of mobile devices simultaneously, so your entire enterprise mobility fleet will be secure, visible and effective at all times and at a fraction of the cost of a licence model service.

Find out more about Leopard Systems’ MDM service offering: LeopardCare Monitoring – a comprehensive, low-cost, feature-rich mobile device managed service with MDM experts monitoring your enterprise mobility fleet while you sleep.

 

Speak to Leopard today about tailoring an MDM monitoring service package to your present and future business needs.

Robin’s Zebra Conference Report:  2017 Zebra Technologies APAC Channel Partner Summit

Robin’s Zebra Conference Report: 2017 Zebra Technologies APAC Channel Partner Summit

Leopard Systems Managing Director, Robin  Fowler, jetted off to Japan last month for the Zebra Conference (APAC Channel Partner Summit) to find out what’s new and on the horizon for rugged mobile computer solutions, rugged mobile devices and fleet management.

 Here’s what caught Robin’s attention at the Tokyo Zebra Conference meeting:

Rugged Mobile & Reasonable Entry Point

A game changer in the enterprise mobility space, there are exciting times ahead for companies seeking a cost-effective entry point for their rugged mobile computer fleets. Zebra Technologies have ‘in development’ a compact rugged mobile device that provides all the features and benefits you’d expect from an enterprise-grade rugged mobile device — hard-wearing, beneficial accessories, 3+ years Android security support, integrated barcode scanner and more—but at a fraction of the cost of a typical enterprise-level rugged mobile device.

Taking smartphone consumer-grade devices head-on, or sitting somewhere between traditional BYOD and enterprise-grade mobility hardware, Zebra’s new and robust rugged mobile offering, when released, will create real opportunities for mid-tier tech-savvy companies seeking a low-cost entry point for their rugged mobile investment.

Additionally, larger organisations with an otherwise small rugged mobile resource pool may find this new low-cost alternative – announced at the Zebra conference – a quick and smart return for their capital investment.

For more info on Zebra’s new low-cost rugged mobile computers, get in touch with Leopard today. 

Link-OS Barcode Printers

Zebra’s Link Operating System (Link-OS) delivers an innovative software environment to intelligently power Zebra barcode printers and other Zebra smart rugged mobile devices, with connectivity to the cloud.

This year, at the Zebra conference, the company’s innovators have developed a new version of Link-OS to enable a corresponding new range of barcode printers seamless communication with the cloud and cloud-based applications. Importantly, this solves the pervasive challenge of rugged mobile printer device management faced by many organisations that rely on any sizeable fleet of barcode label printers.

Now, via cloud communication channels, Zebra’s Link-OS barcode printers will be easily updated for software applications, accessed for rugged mobile device management, tracked for asset management purposes, as well as perform logic processing directly from individual printers.

Contact us for further details on Zebra’s Link-OS barcode printers.

Zebra Partner Cloud

Lastly, at this recent Zebra conference, it was revealed that Zebra Technologies is now offering a hosted cloud environment, with all the usual benefits of ‘cloud computing’ systems, but specifically for users of their applications and members of their partner community.

This will provide cloud capabilities for those who haven’t yet moved to similar cloud environments, and who use Zebra systems and support, such as the Link-OS devices mentioned above.

Finding Best-fit Mobility Hardware

Leopard Systems have a long-standing association with Zebra Technologies for hardware and mobile device management systems. The Zebra Conference Partner Summit is a highlight on the Leopard calendar.

Our market-competitive approach to your enterprise mobility hardware procurement and rugged mobile device management will help you make an informed choice on the best-fit, best-priced rugged mobile hardware for your next enterprise mobility project.

Get in touch today to discuss your enterprise mobility needs…