Understanding Your Fleet Telematics System: What Are Your Vehicles Telling You?

Managing and maintaining a large fleet of profitable vehicles is no easy task. As a vehicle fleet manager, you’re on a perpetual quest to simultaneously maximise productivity and reduce expenditure.

Therefore, to create a more cost-efficient, reliable and safe fleet operation that outperforms rival companies – a deep understanding of how your fleet is functioning is crucial.

In fact, the intelligent use of tangible information about your company vehicles will inform and clarify business decisions that help generate better returns.

FLEET TELEMATICS SYSTEM FOR INTELLIGENT INSIGHTS

Fortunately, modern fleet telematics solutions unlock new revenue streams by using accurate real-time data to improve productivity.

Investing in a cutting-edge fleet telematics system will likely pay for itself when the data gathered is applied effectively and proactively to solve problems and streamline operations.

With a fleet telematics system device in every vehicle, sending real-time data to a secure cloud-based management system – that generates relevant reports, automated alerts and key performance metrics about fuel, repairs, usage and operation – you’ll feel ‘in touch’ with your entire fleet.

In essence, your vehicles are communicating real sure-fire ways to optimise efficiencies and save money; your fleet telematics system simply provides the means to help you listen.

So, what are your fleet vehicles telling you?

Here are several key responses to know and act on:

1. WE NEED TO USE FUEL EFFICIENTLY

Fuel economy is a major, if not the most important, factor for companies to manage and control when running a profitable fleet of vehicles. The cost of fuel is high and fluctuates unpredictably, therefore every effort to save fuel will help boost profits.

On-board fleet telematics GPS vehicle tracking, when integrated with map navigation systems, offer powerful ways to enhance fuel efficiencies such as:

  • Optimised routing and navigation planning substantially reduces travel distances and fuel use
  • Re-routing trips in light of traffic data avoids congested roads and reduces the likelihood of being stuck in traffic idling, thus saving time and fuel
  • Smart route planning for delivery vehicles arranges drop-off locations in the most energy- and time-efficient order
  • Intelligent dispatching using vehicle GPS data matches the closest operators to each job location in real time, reducing the distance to jobs, saving time and delighting customers through responsive service delivery.

Furthermore, because fleet telematics systems calculate individual vehicle fuel consumption with great accuracy, and can sync with company fuel accounts and on-board payment cards – fuel theft can be detected and, better still, prevented.

Likewise, data relating to fuel slippage and other fuel performance factors is valuable for informing decisions on better vehicle use and minimising fuel costs.

2. WE NEED ENGINES THAT RUN WELL

Indeed, maximising engine efficiencies saves on fuel costs, yet well-running vehicles offer additional cost-saving benefits.

In short, an efficient, healthy and well-monitored engine spends more time on the road, and is less likely to breakdown and become sidelined for unexpected repairs.

Vehicle telematics systems help fleet managers keep engines in top working order and increase savings by:

  • Issuing service reminders at designated engine hours used, kilometres travelled and/or days since last service
  • Creating engine diagnostic, odometer, delivery and driving reports – to improve servicing decisions and ensure that only necessary or worthwhile ‘extra’ repairs are done
  • Detecting changes or abnormalities in specific engine metrics that may flag a problem, allowing it to be promptly fixed before becoming a bigger problem
  • Repairing engines for more efficient fuel use. 

Understanding the current engine status of fleet vehicles makes co-ordinating what vehicles to service when, versus what to keep on the road, easier. Proactive preventive engine maintenance via intelligent scheduling reduces the likelihood of inconvenient and costly breakdowns.

Additionally, the rich detail of engine data collected by the fleet telematics system, aside from enabling better servicing, helps optimise spare parts inventories – so everyday items such as replacement fluids, filters, belts, hoses and so on are on-hand ready for timely repairs.

3. WE NEED TO BE FULLY UTILISED

As a capital expense and depreciating asset, productive use of every vehicle in your fleet is essential.

To do this effectively, fleet managers need accurate up-to-date information to support decisions such as:

  • What vehicles are doing the most, and least, work?
  • How can we optimise vehicle use accordingly?
  • Which vehicle assets have expended their working life?
  • When should they be traded in?
  • What type of new vehicles will be best to replace old vehicles and add the most value to our operations?

A better understanding of vehicle and equipment asset usage via a fleet telematics system leads to:

  • Selling off what you aren’t using
  • Reducing and optimising daily running and maintenance costs
  • Reducing insurance and registration costs on idle or under-used vehicles
  • Identifying new ways to maximise fleet efficiencies.

Occasionally, some businesses lose track of what they own. Then – in order to fulfil their services uninterrupted – they pay to hire an equivalent asset, effectively spending double and sabotaging profits. Thus, clarity on held assets saves unnecessary rental expenses and improves business revenue.

Day to day, the GPS vehicle tracking from a fleet telematics system pinpoints all vehicle asset locations on a map in real time. This enables:

  • Vehicle assets and drivers to be monitored, and jobs to be assigned appropriately
  • Dangerous or unsafe roads or territories to be avoided; for instance, due to bad weather, road works, traffic accidents or other avoidable delays
  • Co-ordinated and rapid on-the-ground responses to arising issues based on mission-critical intelligence.

Plus, if a vehicle gets stolen, your fleet telematics system will instantly show you where it is, minimising recovery costs, recovery time, insurance claims and downtime losses.

4. WE NEED TO BE DRIVEN SAFELY & EFFICIENTLY

The final factor influencing your vehicle fleet’s performance and your bottom line is how your drivers operate your vehicles. Fleet telematics systems can be used to alter individual driver behaviour, enhance driver productivity and optimise whole-of-fleet efficiencies.

Aside from less engine wear and tear, less maintenance costs, less traffic fines and lower insurance premiums when your vehicles have good safe drivers, a fleet telematics system can further improve driving behaviour and unlock extra revenue.

Strict rules can be implemented to change driving behaviour for better fuel consumption and, more importantly, for safer driving to minimise accidents and the associated expense of repairs, downtime, injuries, increased insurance costs and so on.

A fleet telematics system can detect individual driver and vhicle data such as:

  • Speeding and harsh braking of potentially dangerous and costly driving, to highlight where driver improvement is needed, plus monitor and reward good driving habits
  • Unnecessary periods of engine idling and wasting fuel, to determine how to improve the way vehicles are used and, thus, adapt operations to ensure less idling occurs
  • Identifying vehicle faults via compulsory pre-trip inspection reports, to ensure that potential mechanical hazards are repaired and OHS compliance requirements are met before the vehicle is driven

Furthermore, a vehicle fleet telematics system designed to enhance driver safety and vehicle efficiencies provides:

  • Optimised routes and workflow predictions that support staff to work effectively, reduce overtime, reduce driving times and improve fuel efficiency 
  • Real-time in-cabin alerts that notify drivers of unsafe and/or inefficient driving so they can make prompt corrections and improve their driving
  • Vehicle re-fuelling data that is monitored, recorded and authorised to keep banking and personal information secure, plus minimise fuel losses from theft
  • Automated up-to-the-minute reports and monitoring to support drivers to comply with EWD fatigue management and other vehicle inspection laws, for peace of mind and better performance.

In summary, fleet telematics systems offer comprehensive fleet management control – to ensure better use of vehicle assets your company owns; continually unlocking extra revenue and optimising your fleet operations. Talk to Leopard Systems today  about implementing a scalable fleet telematics system that will enhance your business operations.

Leopard Systems Win Dual Asia-Pacific Awards For Top Performance

Leopard Systems, Australia’s leading enterprise mobility solution provider, received not one, but two esteemed awards at Zebra Technologies Corporation’s annual Channel Partner Summit held in China in May.

Leading a field of over 150 major Asia-Pacific APAC resellers and partners, Leopard Systems was recognised as Zebra’s highest performing APAC Partner Of The Year and APAC Service Partner Of The Year.

Ryan Goh, Vice President and General Manager of Sales at Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific, and Joe White, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Enterprise Mobile Computing at Zebra Technologies Inc presented the awards to co-Managing Director of Leopard Systems, Robin Fowler, at a special ceremony at Guilin’s Shangri-La Hotel.

The accolades honoured Leopard’s success in attaining major contracts within the APAC region, and providing superior service support to their Zebra hardware customers. 

“This year everything aligned for us. We were fortunate to secure multiple 1000+ Zebra device contracts with several major Australian and New Zealand customers that added up to around 14,000 units sold, helping put Leopard Systems well ahead in the regional channel,” said Robin.
The coveted awards mark a prized achievement for Leopard Systems since revolutionising their support services in hardware fleet management and supply chain mobility over recent years.

“We’ve really concentrated on better serving our large corporate customers. Supporting and cultivating these partnerships has resulted in a significant number of new contracts providing Zebra devices, as well as accompanying service warranties, being purchased,” said Robin.

Further, recent changes to expand the Australia/New Zealand awards to include Asia and Pacific countries has substantially raised the bar for achieving industry recognition. Hence, receiving the APAC awards cements Leopard Systems’ strength and continuing focus to provide world-class end-to-end solutions.

At the Summit, Zebra Technologies announced a future priority to build cloud data services that greatly enhance the ‘supportability’ and functionality of their mobile computing, printing and scanning devices.

“It’s exciting to partner with a global leader such as Zebra Technologies because their innovations directly improve business for our customers. With better cloud data services, we’ll be able to manage and monitor device fleets in even more detail, with enhanced control, leading to greater business visibility, improved efficiencies and more opportunities for our customers,” Robin commented.

Leopard Systems offer innovative mobile device management services and sophisticated mobility solutions for largescale enterprises requiring high-level hardware, software, technical and professional support. 

Leopard Systems Awarded:
APAC Partner of the Year – 2019

From Left to Right: Joe White – Senior Vice President & General Manager Enterprise Mobile Computing, Zebra Technologies;  Robin Fowler – Managing Director, Leopard Systems;  Ryan Goh – Vice President & General Manager, Zebra Technologies APAC

Leopard Systems Awarded:
APAC Service Partner of the Year – 2019

From Left to Right: Bill Burns – Chief Product & Solutions Officer Global, Zebra Technologies; Robin Fowler – Managing Director, Leopard Systems; Ryan Goh – Vice President & General Manager, Zebra Technologies APAC

 

Enterprise Mobility Best Practice For A Major Australian Department Store Retailer

Enterprise mobility best practices for retail mobile devices

How To Securely Deploy & Manage 2000+ Mobile Devices Across Multiple Territories

Chosen as the trusted partner, Leopard Systems have been instrumental in delivering new handheld Android mobile devices, along with a mobile device management (MDM) and ongoing MDM monitoring solution, to one of Australia’s largest department store retailers.

With expanding operations in new locations and a growing need to enhance their enterprise mobility ‘best practice’ efforts including secure digital communications, rapid data access and reliable functionality, a robust and flexible mobility management solution was required.

Aside from a great saving on capital infrastructure costs through LeopardCare Monitoring, the retailer also achieved full visibility of their 2000+ mobile assets, actionable insights to fix issues quickly, and a seamless system for future device and software updates.
Consequently, Leopard Systems implemented their secure MDM solution, LeopardCare Monitoring, for the large fleet of handheld enterprise-grade mobile devices used across the retailer’s Australian and New Zealand operations. These mobile computers are primarily utilised by retail store and warehouse staff to deliver efficient product stocktaking and inventory management capabilities.

The challenge: Letting go of legacy

Building on the previous year’s procurement and roll-out of 2000+ rugged Zebra TC70 mobile devices, running the Android operating system, the challenge for the retailer was how to successfully transition away from an archaic, increasingly cumbersome mobile device management (MDM) platform, that had become historically entwined in the organisation due to the company’s old legacy Windows Mobile devices.

This ageing MDM application was severely impairing operations.  After persisting with the legacy platform for 12 months, the retailer consulted Leopard’s MDM specialists for advice and a strategy for the future. Unfortunately, the legacy MDM platform was limited in its functions and extremely vulnerable to security breaches.

Leopard Systems advised that the old mobility management application would not provide the best business outcomes for the retailer’s new Android devices.

Android is now the preferred platform for enterprise scale mobile fleets
Additionally, the excessive cost and capital expenditure to run dedicated servers for the old mobility platform was becoming a financial burden to the retailer. The costs associated with hosting, licensing and maintaining the servers, training and hiring staff to adequately monitor the entire system, forced the retailer to re-assess how MDM management could be better managed and funded in the future. 

To retain a competitive edge in the retail market, plus harness the speed and efficiencies of new technologies, the retailer decided to update and migrate their mobility management to LeopardCare Monitoring – to optimise their investment in new Android hardware.

Navigating the Next Generation

By choosing to upgrade to Android, it was Leopard’s role to help the retailer navigate the next-generation of enterprise mobility best practice, and transition the new Android devices to a robust and secure MDM mobility management solution in readiness for years of efficient operation and business growth.

Compared to the previous system, the new Android devices can be updated remotely in a seamless and systematic way, thus keeping a large fleet of mobile computers connected operationally, up to date with security patches, firmware releases and new features. Remotely updating many devices simultaneously was impossible on the retailer’s old system.

Likewise, Android continuously updates every quarter, so ensuring these updates are correctly installed on every device is important to achieve the best mobility results.

The ‘enterprise mobility best practice’ solution

To deliver enterprise mobility best practice for the retailer, Leopard Systems sought to future-proof their MDM management within a flexible, robust and effective system, implemented in four weeks.

Dedicated Leopard Systems personnel and our comprehensive LeopardCare Monitoring service unite to deliver the latest enterprise mobility best practice. 

The retailer’s mobile device fleet was kept secure and fully operational via a hosted ‘paid connected device’ model, offsetting prohibitive licensing, server and human resources costs.

“Our technicians monitor the entire system 24/7 via incoming alerts and notifications to our Technical Services headquarters. We continuously detect the health of all the devices in our care. Our technical mobility management team then take proactive steps to rectify any issues arising before they cause user problems and/or business disruptions”, said Chris DeLeon, Systems Engineering Manager for Leopard Systems.
In the case of this major Australian department store retailer, Leopard Systems incorporated the following enterprise mobility best practices into their MDM solution:

  • Mobile security to keep company information secure and private by implementing correct measures for controlling access credentials, applying policies, preventing data leakage and eliminating virus attacks on networks, devices and apps. 
  • Cloud computing to affordably and rapidly store and retrieve company information, via various networked platforms and devices, from any Internet-enabled location for remote users.
  • Monitored infrastructure to adjust for real-time network bandwidth consumption and prioritise network traffic, across different locations and multiple devices.
  • Monitored fleet network to rapidly and effectively diagnose complex problems via remote real-time communications, and also to manage the mobility network effectively for superior coverage, up-time and visibility.
  • Mobility management interface to connect services and manage devices easily; linking databases, transactions, deliveries, inventory and other business systems for enterprise mobility best practice compliance, compatibility and administration.
  • Data analytics and reporting to understand and monitor device use in real time, as well as update and improve infrastructure and systems according to user experiences.

In essence, by setting up LeopardCare Monitoring for the retailer’s entire device fleet we achieved enterprise mobility best practices via a streamlined, fully monitored, cloud-based MDM solution.

LeopardCare Monitoring is a professionally managed service, powered by SOTI MobiControl, that delivers a robust enterprise mobility best practise tool for our clients.

SOTI MobiControl’s ‘single pane of glass’ management dashboard is designed to streamline our technicians’ capabilities and improve MDM troubleshooting of diverse mobile device types and operating systems in difficult environments (e.g. mobile label printers).

For example, we can detect how many devices have been offline, how many are in use, what’s their battery status, is a battery expiring due to age, etc, then take proactive steps if we identify an issue, such as sending out a ready-to-work replacement device, loaded with the latest company solution, ready to replace a failing device.

The convenience of being able to manage stock from the floor in a large department store
Often, we find problems before the customer is even aware of them, saving time that would be otherwise wasted fault finding and, therefore, keeping operations running smoothly.

Achieving best practice mobility results

With 1700 mobile devices currently up and running, and 300+ devices to connect in the next month or so, the retailer’s new mobile security and mobility management solution will support more than 50 retail stores and numerous distribution warehouses across Australia and New Zealand.

Compared to previously not knowing what type or how many devices were in each store, now the retailer has complete visibility of all device assets and insights on how well they are operating.

Importantly, new rugged Android devices with professional mobility management provides a future-proof mechanism for seamlessly updating devices in the field.

For example, the retailer can now easily and automatically upgrade each device to the latest operating system, because the network is well-equipped to handle the heavy load – i.e. a 1.5 GB file per device for up to 2000 devices simultaneously. This processing was out of the question on the former mobility management platform.

“Leopard’s core strength with LeopardCare Monitoring is our attention to detail during the Design and Implementation phases of delivering a solution. Understanding all the technical, business and operational factors allows us to prepare a seamless and robust integration with no impact on day-to-day operations and, ultimately, with the goal to provide an excellent customer experience,” said Mr DeLeon.

Furthermore, the consistent ‘managed service’ costs of LeopardCare Monitoring becomes an operating expense and helps with cashflow forecasting. By removing the expense of buying and running servers, purchasing licences for servers and no longer paying a full-time engineer’s salary to manage and maintain the system and infrastructure, offers major cost benefits. Before this, the retailer was paying these costs but not receiving the full benefit, nor the best solution outcome for their requirements.

Lastly, the peace of mind and confidence that every device in the retailer’s fleet is connected and being monitored 24/7 cannot be underestimated. Circumventing a device issue quickly and effectively is vital to achieve efficient warehouse and store operations for optimal stock inventory management.

For more information about mobile security and MDM monitoring for your Android devices, particularly if you operate in a retail environment, talk to Leopard Systems today.

Mobility Management: Powering MDM Monitoring with SOTI MobiControl

Enterprise Mobile Device Management gives a company transparency over the operation of their mobile fleet

Take meaningful action, with enterprise mobility management and mobile device management (MDM) insights, to safeguard capex investment, increase efficiencies, and improve team collaboration and customer satisfaction for your business.

Developing or expanding your digital mobility strategy to include an MDM solution is paramount to helping your company remain competitive and drive business growth.

What is Enterprise Mobility Management?

Broadly speaking, mobility management is a strategic whole-of-enterprise productivity solution for efficiently managing your mobile device fleet and users.

This includes the correct management and security of your mobility best-fit mobile devices, software applications, business functions and processes. Enterprise mobility management enables uninterrupted communications, information access and efficient transactions for your workers and customers.

MDM vendors for full-service mobility management

Leopard Systems’ LeopardCare Monitoring is a tried and tested professional MDM monitoring managed service, supported by a pro-active team of mobility management specialists.

With LeopardCare Monitoring all the hard work is taken care of; providing a preconfigured mobility management and support program to continually monitor your critical mobile assets, over their entire lifecycle, for function, security, stability and connectivity.

When a problem is detected, via automated alerts or real-time monitoring, our specialists act fast to fix the issue and minimise downtime. Likewise, tactical mobile device management prevents issues arising in the first place, thus delivering a positive return on capital investment and optimising productivity. LeopardCare Monitoring business advantages also include:

  • streamlining deployment, roll out and ongoing asset management
  • configuring all your devices for greater control, safety and compliance
  • deploying and managing apps on devices for business function and continuity
  • managing content on all your devices including software version control and patches
  • securing your devices and securing access to critical data
  • supporting your device users when needed to increase uptime and productivity
  • dedicated device lifecycle management to maximise ROI and efficiencies
  • seamless integration with enterprise business systems
  • data and reporting for enhanced intelligence, visibility and optimisation.

A cost-effective and dynamic subscription service, LeopardCare Monitoring bypasses the financial burden of purchasing licenses and installing your own infrastructure.

Instead, LeopardCare Monitoring is a pay-per-user cloud service with direct access to a full mobility management platform and dedicated MDM support scalable for any size business. See our available service plans, here.

SOTI MobiControl is the preferred MDM tool

For exceptional mobility management, Leopard Systems are proud to partner with SOTI; a proven innovator and industry leader for mobility and ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) management.

SOTI MobiControl and associated SOTI products are implemented within our LeopardCare Monitoring managed service to deliver a robust enterprise mobility management tool for our clients.

Why SOTI? SOTI MobiControl supports hybrid mobility fleets including intelligent IoT devices from over 170 manufacturers, including enterprise and consumer-grade devices running Android, iOS, macOS, Windows Mobile and, notably, Linux – a leading OS choice for IoT internet-enabled devices.

Importantly, SOTI MobiControl is ‘Android Enterprise Recommended’ for enterprise mobility management, which means it’s easier to deploy, manage and secure Android devices regardless of device make, model or operating system.

SOTI MobiControl also offers comprehensive Windows capabilities encompassing legacy Windows mobile devices through to desktop operating systems.

Co-Managing Director of Leopard Systems, Robin Fowler, explains, “We selected the SOTI MobiControl tool to underpin our LeopardCare Monitoring service based on its feature-rich structure. SOTI MobiControl has more mobility management features than many other systems.” 

“In enterprise mobility management some MDM vendor products excel in specific areas.  Therefore, you may choose a specialised product for one particular feature. However, when you line up all the MDM device management products available, SOTI MobiControl has all the industry-standard features you need and does them as well or better than any of their competitors. This is why we’ve chosen SOTI MobiControl as the best tool to power our LeopardCare Monitoring service offering.”

Flexible Mobile Device Management via SOTI MobiControl

Combining hybrid mobile device fleets of varying ages, hardware brands, operating systems and endpoint functions can become a difficult undertaking.

Such a project, fraught with technical incompatibilities, could lead to rollout delays and subsequent financial losses.

Yet, as industries and technologies advance, the unifying MDM solution, SOTI MobiControl, offers the power and flexibility to connect, support and manage diverse fleets within a hyper-secure environment.

Your mobility management system will be efficient to deploy and rollout thus reducing set up costs, and lowering staff training time since they’re familiar with operating mobile devices. This will lead to faster adoption of automated digital process across your workforce; accelerating operations and output.

Connect & Collaborate with Mobility Data Management

LeopardCare Monitoring, powered by SOTI MobiControl for enterprise mobility management and MDM, delivers efficient data collection and accurate data access. This supports real-time reporting and analytics, facilitating meaningful actions that boost operational speed and efficiencies.

The ease and convenience of mobile computers allows critical tasks to be performed from anywhere and at any time, enhancing productivity and staff engagement. By working in a systemised, streamlined and effective way, remote workers are happier and empowered.

In turn, customer service levels increase as access to relevant timely information can be used to inform a customer on the spot or streamline their experience with your business.

Effective enterprise mobility management connects operations and teams to facilitate better collaborations for service delivery, leading to increased productivity and minimal downtime.

Effective MDM Device Monitoring with SOTI MobiControl

LeopardCare Monitoring, powered by SOTI MobiControl’s location-based capabilities – including polygon-based (any shape) geofencing and notifications, speed lockdown and restriction of device functions when moving in a vehicle, and real-time location tracking of devices – supports asset management and staff safety measures.

Recording geo-specific data and monitoring locations can streamline processes through user-driven feedback on real-time problems or unexpected events. This achieves greater visibility and continual improvement gains.

For head office management and IT administrators, the intuitive SOTI MobiControl console helps you rapidly organise your mobility-managed device fleet.

Filtering by select parameters, such as location, business unit or IT function, you’ll quickly find out what’s happening or causing a problem. Segmenting and charting device data enables deeper analyses and business insights.

The easy-to-use console helps admin staff monitor and support remote workers to stay compliant with specific business requirements, all the while maintaining important data in a secure environment.

Mobility Management for Greater Business Growth

For the ultimate bird’s eye view of your enterprise mobility management and operations, LeopardCare Monitoring powered by SOTI MobiControl simplifies a complex set of business needs to reduce downtime and expenses.

You’ll see where your connected remote workers are, what tasks they’re doing, what real-time challenges they may be facing, all the while gathering up-to-the-minute data and valuable intelligence to safeguard your mobility investment, continually improve and scale your business.

In the face of new competition and the changing application of technology to business, an effective enterprise mobility management strategy investing in MDM monitoring will optimise operations and augment profitability. Ask us how today.

To learn more about LeopardCare Monitoring, visit this link or get in touch with our team today.

How To Guarantee A Better Mobility Rollout

Loading new hardware devices as part of a large mobility roll out for a mobile fleet

Because Mobility Partner Experience Counts

Fundamentally, a mobility technology partner brings together the necessary software, hardware, expertise, project management and support services to deploy an effective enterprise-wide mobility solution that aligns with your business goals, budget and timeframe.

Engaging a technology partner to roll out your enterprise mobility hardware update or new system offers practical benefits and cost savings that your company won’t accomplish in-house effectively.

Here we highlight five powerful reasons to partner with an experienced mobility solutions provider for your fleet hardware and system deployment.

Coordination

Coordinating your Android upgrade

Your mobility technology partner has knowledge of the latest hardware products to advise on best-fit devices for new and existing enterprise mobility systems. With strong ties to industry-leading hardware manufacturers and device management systems they will help you compare device offerings for many important parameters including competitive pricing on hardware and repair services.

As the world moves to the robust and reliable Android operating system, old Windows mobile devices are fast-becoming incompatible and obsolete.

Aside from co-ordinating your Android hardware upgrade, selection and ordering, your technology partner is well-informed to consult on any additional equipment your workers need, i.e. accessories, chargers, printers, attachments etc – to deliver a fit-for-purpose holistic solution.

Also, a rollout of new equipment can be coordinated to replace old equipment as each device eventually fails. Basically, the old ‘dead’ device is sent in and replaced with the fully-operational upgraded device. Your rollout will take longer, however your company will maximise the life of existing equipment and keep users supported, while purchasing new devices on demand.

Bringing important information together and liaising across all parties involved in your rollout, your technology partner coordinates a seamless deployment around your timeline and deployment schedule.

Learn the key essentials for upgrading your mobile computing fleet to Android.

Finance

Arranging a deal with no CapEx

Restricting sizeable capital expenditure (CapEx) is, understandably, becoming a priority for agile businesses seeking the flexibility and competitive edge to pursue emerging opportunities.

Reasons to reduce CapEx on mobility systems include:

  1. Fixed assets may not depreciate as expected; failing to meet the ‘useful long-term asset’ criteria for tax purposes
  2. Improved liquidity for funding shorter-term operational expenses (OpEx) and revenue-generating projects
  3. Leveraging a fast-tracked management approval process for OpEx spending
  4. Tax advantages in the current financial year for monthly or quarterly pay-as-you-go OpEx items
  5. Minimising the risk of unfulfilled ROI from aging CapEx purchases
  6. Avoiding CapEx losses due to inaccurate forecasting of the mobility system’s future capabilities.

A technology partner like Leopard Systems can help arrange finance contracts for your fleet of mobile devices, software expenses and supporting IT services.

> Lease contracts 

Similar to car finance, Leopard Systems can, on your behalf, arrange a lease contract, usually for three years, with monthly payments made by your company to the finance company.

Depending on how the lease is structured, at the end of the three years a residual payout figure may or may not need to be paid, and then your company will own the hardware assets outright. During the lease term, the monthly costs are treated as operating expenses (OpEx) for accounting purposes.

> Rental agreements

Alternatively, Leopard Systems can help arrange finance in the form of a rental agreement. In short, a rental fee is paid each month to a finance company who retain full ownership of the hardware. Because the rental items do not become a company-owned asset or liability, for accounting purposes your rental fees are ‘off-balance sheet’ payments, resulting in a cleaner balance sheet.

A rental agreement works well when, for instance, your company will be ready to refresh with new hardware in three years’ time, but needs interim hardware to operate now. You’ll likely get all new equipment for the same monthly cost as the old hardware.

When deploying a new or upgraded mobility system, a finance arrangement will save your company incurring operating costs until your devices are functioning in the field. For example, if there’s a rollout delay caused by a third party, i.e. a delay with your software vendor supplying your mobility software, then you won’t pay during this waiting period.

Protection

Secure warehousing to protect equipment

A technology partner such as Leopard Systems has the warehousing infrastructure and security to store your mobility system hardware investment during the setup and deployment phases.

Providing a clean, dry, fully insured and security monitored warehouse, your fleet of mobility devices are safely housed and, where necessary, staged ready for dispatch when appropriate.

Under the protection of your technology partner, your hardware can be tagged with an ID code for asset tracking and management.

In addition, warehousing with your technology partner allows your hardware stock to be procured and prepared ensuring no hardware delays affecting the rollout.

Shipping

Seamless shipping your fleet of devices

A reputable technology partner will handle all aspects of shipping out your devices so they successfully arrive at their destinations on time and fully operational.

All hardware bought into Leopard System’s secure warehouse undergoes a stringent process of asset labelling each device and recording device details into Leopard’s asset tracking system.

Leopard Systems is a trusted partner to many large mobile fleet supplying hardware and systems
Next, the rollout project is professionally managed to coordinate the delivery of hardware with your company’s requirements, such as timing with your in-house installation team, running training sessions and meeting your ‘go live’ dates.

Before shipping, each device in your fleet is fully configured and loaded with your mobility software, ready for immediate field operation when received.

Upon shipping to your required locations, your mobility devices are tracked and successful ‘proof of delivery’ is reported.

Discover what goes on behind the scenes of a successful mobile device deployment.

Support

Ongoing device fleet monitoring and maintenance

With in-depth knowledge of your company’s operations and business goals, an experienced mobility technology partner, such as Leopard Systems, is well positioned to provide various levels of device support and monitoring services.

From hardware repairs, reloading operational settings & applications onto devices, and asset tracking, to 24/7 mobile device monitoring and helpdesk technical support, your technology partner offers a single point of expertise to resolve device issues at the start of your deployment and beyond.

Available as professional support plans tailored to the size of your enterprise, or as standalone support services, your company will minimise business disruptions and maximise your ROI over the life of your new hardware.

Follow the links for more information about LeopardCare Monitoring and LeopardCare Support.

Partnering with a mobility technology solutions provider, such as Leopard Systems, to deploy your mobility fleet of devices enables your company to make the most of technical expertise, up-to-date hardware advice and managed warehousing for dispatch; generally not available within most organisations. Enterprise mobility deployment experience is paramount in successfully negotiating rollout challenges.

Contact Leopard today for more information.

Hazard Holiday: Why More Fleet Managers Should Use Telematics To Safeguard Drivers

Telematics helps to keep your fleet safe with data on the vehicle, the driving and routes

Holidays, more often than not, can be dangerous. In the lead up to the busy holiday period, when Australian roads become deadlier, fleet managers are being urged to take advantage of fleet telematics systems to help save lives.

Most Australian states and territories follow a ‘Towards Zero’ road safety strategy, similar to the ‘Vision Zero’ principle adopted by many overseas countries and US cities.

Simply put, the Vision Zero goal is to achieve zero road fatalities; because one road fatality is one too many. The Towards Zero campaign aims to ensure no-one is seriously injured on our roads.

Companies striving to operate safe vehicle fleets naturally align with Towards Zero’s key aims – to improve the safety of:

1) road users

2) road speed limits, and

3) road vehicles.

The fourth aim, to improve road and roadside infrastructure, falls outside the direct influence of supply chain operators.

Supporting Fleet Managers To Save Lives & Use Vehicle Telematics

While road safety education and action are helping to lower road fatalities, as it stands, over 1000 people lose their lives on Australian roads each year. And thousands of more road users suffer life-affecting injuries.

Importantly, vehicle telematics systems that monitor vehicles and support drivers have a clear role to play in curbing the future road toll even further.

For fleet managers — with a duty of care to your employed and contracted drivers, and a legal responsibility to ensure safe road activities within your entire supply chain — the operational visibility and data insights offered by a fleet telematics system can’t be ignored.

Vehicle fleet telematics systems provide numerous business gains, such as:

  • optimised routes and deliveries
  • better dispatching and customer service
  • greater efficiencies and productivity, and more…

But when it comes to protecting lives, how will a fleet telematics system make your drivers safer on the road?

What’s crucial for a fleet manager to know?

1. You’ll know where they are

Real-time GPS tracking of your moving vehicles using a fleet telematics system will give you a birds-eye view of the locations of your company’s vehicles and drivers.

Knowing where your drivers are is the first critical piece of information you’ll need to quickly help them if there’s an emergency.

Plus, if a vehicle ever leaves a designated ‘geofenced’ work area, the onboard telematics system can trigger an alert, to let you know when a vehicle may be stolen and driven to a non-designated area.

Telematics fleet management systems can also collect data from various vehicle systems, to indicate out-of-the-ordinary activities, for example, longer than normal idling, stationary positions or unusual speed readings – with an alert sent to notify head office.

If route changes occur due to unforeseen hazards, fleet managers will have this information automatically on hand to make timely decisions.

2. You’ll know how they drive

Fleet telematics systems can monitor driver behaviours and critical vehicle checkpoints such as speeding, seatbelt use, driving time for fatigue management, harsh braking, excessive acceleration and so on.

When compliance to meet safety and legal regulations is vital, what you measure about your drivers via vehicle telematics, you can then manage more effectively.

Road safety for mobile fleets is all about keep your fleet in good condition and being proactive
As your ‘chain of responsibility’ for on-road safety comes under pressure during holiday periods, fleet telematics systems help you set achievable safety and efficiency goals for your drivers. Think about instigating rewardable targets that engage your personnel to become consistently better drivers, for example, with behaviours that;

  • improve fuel economy
  • eliminate speeding
  • delay vehicle wear via less harsh braking and accelerating.
What’s more, telematics fleet management systems can be tailored to deliver automatic in-vehicle instructions and performance coaching to your drivers – to proactively train better, safer drivers of your road vehicles.

3. You’ll know the condition of your vehicles

Real-time data from your fleet telematics system provides pertinent details about the mechanical state of your vehicles. Vehicle fault diagnostics, engine hours, fuel consumption, instrument readings and sub-system data from each vehicle, plus pre-trip checks (e.g. for loads, load restraints, dangerous goods) and maintenance scheduling, offer valuable insights to improve fleet safety and productivity, as well as support management of your supply chain responsibilities.

4. You’ll know when something happens, or prevent it 

Although we strive for a safe road transport system that protects us from our own and others’ mistakes, unforeseen events and accidents still happen. Telematics can help to identify and monitor drivers who are tired and distracted and to assess unsafe road and weather conditions. Logging of work and rest times for heavy vehicle fatigue management and Electronic Work Diaries requirements can be extracted from vehicle telematics data. Add-on capabilities, available with Leopard Delivery and Leopard Telematics, such as in-cab cameras to view drivers and roads, means vehicle telematics systems may be effectively used to reduce fatigue- and/or weather-related incidents. Monitoring of heavy vehicle stability systems help to detect a vehicle approaching its handling limits. GPS tracking combined with collision detection sensors in the vehicle can be set to trigger an automatic accident notification with location data to emergency services and your head office. Furthermore, forensic acquisition of vehicle data could be helpful for understanding any potential losses and managing the subsequent investigation. Lastly, vehicle telematics systems can detect when a service is due or when a battery is close to the end of its service life, allowing appropriate tasks can be actioned to prevent your driver from being stranded due to engine problems. A well-designed vehicle telematics system will help improve driving and prevent accidents. Subsequently, this will enhance road transport safety, as a whole, and reduce safety risks across your entire fleet, for greater peace of mind.

Geotab & Leopard

Partnering with Geotab to deliver integrated fleet telematics solutions, Leopard Systems are proud to support the work of Vision Zero into Australia, alongside the Towards Zero road safety campaign.

Leopard Telematics™ provides a simple-to-use platform interface that delivers rapid alerts, for fleet managers to act on mission-critical events as soon as they occur. Integrating relevant telematics data with business systems offers fleet managers operational visibility for better decision-making. Driver scorecard reports from Leopard Telematics™ data helps fleet managers coach and incentivise for improved driving behaviours. Plus, provides customisable reports, to help you visualise specific information relevant to your unique operation. Contact Leopard Systems today to find out more about Leopard Telematics™ for your fleet.

How to develop an EWD solution that achieves your Fatigue Management responsibilities

An EWD can be an asset to managing your mobile fleet

Under the HVNL, written work diaries (WWD) and approved electronic work diaries (EWD) are required for fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle operators. How can you best develop an EWD for your fleet?

A technology provider’s view on addressing Australia’s heavy vehicle regulations within your enterprise mobility solution

Globally and in Australia, fatigued and drowsy heavy vehicle drivers are a recognised safety hazard and a major concern for the road transport industry.

Insufficient sleep, night driving and long work periods are all known causes of driver fatigue.

Combating fatigue and reducing fatal road accidents involving heavy vehicles is enforced under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL); passed in most Australian states and territories in 2014. The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is responsible for administering the HVNL in accordance with the Heavy Vehicle National Law Act 2012.

DID YOU KNOW?

In 2004, the Adelaide Centre for Sleep Research found that a person who’s been awake for 17 hours has the same driving crash risk as a person with a blood alcohol level of 0.05 (g/100mL); both are twice as likely to have an accident as a well-rested person with no alcohol in their blood. Worse, a driver awake for 24 hours straight has the equivalent driving crash risk as a person with a blood alcohol level of 0.10 (g/100mL), and is seven times more likely to have a crash.

Electronic Work Diaries

Under the HVNL, fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle operators, their employers and any party in the supply chain must ensure safe transport activities.

As part of that, fatigue management, including driver compliance with specified maximum work and minimum rest limits, is enforced by the NHVR’s legal requirement of written work diaries (WWD) and approved electronic work diaries (EWD).

Work diaries create an accurate daily record of an individual driver’s time spent working, driving and resting, including vehicle types, locations and distances covered, as evidence to obey the HVNL.

Approved EWD Systems

As the approving authority for Electronic Work Diary systems that meet the requirements of the EWD Standards, the NHVR, as of 29 November 2018, are yet to approve any independent enterprise mobility systems, integrated vehicle telematics systems or electronic recording devices as EWD tools.

This means a WWD, as the primary record-keeping method, must accompany any data and calculations generated from a non-approved electronic recording device or digital system, until EWD systems are approved by the NHVR as an alternative. The submission and approval process for electronic work diary systems is underway…

Road Safety Management

Since 1st October 2018, all parties involved in transport tasks are now legally liable for heavy vehicle road law breaches, even if you or your company are not directly responsible for driving a heavy vehicle.

Accordingly, consignors, consignees, packers, loaders, receivers, schedulers, as well as managers, directors, executive officers and corporate entities responsible for employees—all form an important ‘chain of responsibility’ (CoR) to ensure safe management of fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle operations.

Thus, when approved by the NHVR, electronic work diaries will improve safety, enhance work planning and reduce lengthy paper administration tasks.

Importantly, approved EWDs will provide a simple, secure and automated way to record work and rest hours for heavy vehicle drivers, as a legal requirement, and could provide access to more business intelligence data, therefore, becoming a real-time fleet safety, compliance and performance management tool.

EWD System Development

As a modern transport operator, integrating EWD functionality into your current enterprise mobility system or adopting an out-of-the-box approved EWD solution, will ensure you’re ready to meet your CoR fatigue management obligations.

Such an EWD system must be built to Electronic Work Diary Standards as set out by the NHVR.

Therefore, it may help to select an EWD-knowledgeable technology partner to develop a solution tailored to your needs and submit your candidate EWD system to the NHVR for approval.

 

Telematics & Mobility

Installed telematics solutions, such as Geotab, extract vehicle usage, performance metrics and GPS tracking data via a device plugged into the computer system of a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle.

Such digital telematics solutions offer a convenient and automated way for the heavy vehicle driver to meet EWD requirements by collecting and recording accurate hours of driving, location and distance information when operating that specific vehicle. 

EWD can be an asset to your large mobile fleet

If the same driver is subsequently required to drive a heavy vehicle without telematics fitted, then a delivery tracking and fleet management solution, such as Leopard Delivery Cloud, operating via the driver’s smartphone and independent of the vehicle, could be used. This heavy vehicle driver tracking solution would log critical electronic work diary information for compliance, plus manage freight records and other logistics at the same time.

For drivers without access to vehicle telematics systems, the Leopard Delivery App may offer an easy way to collect accurate EWD information.

Sophisticated operations running complex vehicle fleets may well combine vehicle telematics and delivery mobility information to enable collection of EWD information in a consolidated and efficient way.

EWD System Technology Partners

In addition to productivity gains, Leopard Delivery has the capacity to intelligently extract, organise and manage EWD information from telematics sources and handheld equipment in compliance with NHVR’s EWD Standards.

Leopard Systems technology providers are available to partner with your organisation and help design or update your digital record-keeping solutions to meet EWD requirements. For peace of mind that your drivers will comply with EWD legal requirements, and that your organisation’s CoR obligations to your supply chain are met – talk to Leopard Systems today.

Find out what your organisation may need and speak with our specialists about implementing Leopard Telematics and Leopard Delivery for your heavy vehicle operations.

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

PTT provides multiple benefits for your fleet - from safety to convenience and management efficiency

Using Push to talk (PTT) technology instead of old radio communications, and replacing it with a digital PTT solution, could enhance your mobile fleet and logistical 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 devices are small and convenient to use

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.

PTT provides driver safety as they can easily communicate without having to use their smart phone device

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.

PTT connects up operation management with your team on the ground

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.

Leopard Systems on fleet management, mobile computing, real time data analytics

Leopard Systems’ Alex Koumaras recently sat down with Andrew Sill from Zebra Technologies to talk considerations for mobile fleets in this digital age. 

 

Video transcript – hear Alex talk fleet management and how data can make all the difference 

Andrew:

I’m here with Alex Koumaras from Leopard Systems and we’re taking a closer look at what we
need to consider in this new digital age when it comes to mobile computing. Alex thanks for
joining me.

Alex Koumaras:       

Thanks for having me, Andrew.

Andrew: 

That was the question Alex. What do we need to be considering?

Alex Koumaras:

Well, really, it’s about real-time data these days. That’s what we’re finding. So everything that
allows for the data that’s captured out in the field to be instantly up in the cloud, and to be
available for the business to analyse, is what it’s all about. And ultimately customer service is
what we’re all here for.

Andrew:

So what about machine-to-machine connectivity and the need to capture data and analyse data
and share data?

Alex Koumaras:

Yeah, absolutely. So some elements of data capture are user-driven and others are literally
captured automatically by the machines, out in the field. And that’s what we’re
experiencing at the moment, like an influx of data that’s being captured ongoing and synced up
into the cloud.

Andrew:

So let’s just focus on the work connectivity. What does that mean when we look at mobile
computing?

Alex Koumaras: 

Look, it’s to utilise whatever connections are possible within the device that you’ve selected. So
everything from cellular to WiFi, to Bluetooth, near field communication; being able to send that
information that you’ve either captured or are processing back to head office and then straight
back again, with an update or some other kind of workflow change that you require.

Andrew: 

When it comes to mobile computing devices nowadays, and taking into consideration the new
era that we’re in, what should businesses be looking for, from a functionality perspective?

Alex Koumaras:  

Look, categorically, they should be looking for something that doesn’t limit them in the future. So
when you think about the lifespan of these implementations, three to five years, I think you need
to have all of the options; cellular coms, WiFi, near-field communications, Bluetooth. These will
enable you to not only address your immediate needs, but also the future ones.

Andrew:

You have deployed thousands of mobile devices out there in the marketplace. What are the
general benefits that your customers are experiencing?

Alex Koumaras:  

Look, one of the major ones, it’s effectively an area that they don’t have to worry about all of a
sudden. So what we’re doing is taking the guesswork out of such a large fleet that can range into
the tens of thousands sometimes. So knowing full well that you’ve got a common image across
all of those (devices) and a version of hardware and whatever else, is definitely something that
customers benefit from and are able to actually see out a three to five year period.

Andrew: 

Tell me a bit about Leopard Systems.

Alex Koumaras:

We’re an enterprise mobility solution provider servicing the transport logistics, retail
and field service industries.

Andrew: 

Well, thanks Alex. You can find out more about Leopard Systems. Just visit them online at
www.leopardsystems.com.au. Thanks Alex.

Alex Koumaras:   

Thank you.

 

If you would like learn more about best practice enterprise mobility solutions for the transport and logistics industry, download our Transport Strategy Kit.

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

Android enterprise device management systems are far more reliable than the microsoft alternatives

Key considerations when upgrading to android enterprise device management

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.

The Android 'Rugged Vs Consumer' Device Debate

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.

Considerations when considering android enterprise device management

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.