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Mobile Computers for Efficient Data Collection

   October 6, 2022

Mobile computers are rugged and enterprise-class devices with extensive wireless communications options and advanced data capture capabilities that allow on-the-go workers to exchange real-time, business-critical information whenever and wherever needed. These devices are built to streamline real-time data collection processes in the most challenging environments and to withstand extreme environmental conditions. Rugged mobile computers are available in various form factors and configurations and come standard with advanced scanning technology, built-in software intelligence, integrated voice and data technology, rugged durability, superior ergonomics, and a full range of communication options. Rugged mobile computers are constructed to withstand years of the toughest conditions. With a lightweight and compact design, these durable devices are suitable for a range of demanding applications and usage environments, thus, making them an ideal solution for warehouse management, transportation, field mobility, retail, logistics, manufacturing, e-commerce, and healthcare applications.

Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) is a broad category of technologies used to collect information from individuals, objects, images, or sounds without manual data entry. Mobile computers help manage inventory, delivery, assets, security, and documents. Data is vital for any modern organization as it enables strategic decision-making. According to an article published by Experian plc, 83% of businesses perceived data to be integral in formulating successful business strategies. Any errors in data capture & entry can lead to poor decision-making, causing additional errors and a surge in expenditure. Mobile computers with AIDC technologies have emerged as a reliable means to identify and track items. Mobile computers can encode various types of information (from basic item/personal identification to comprehensive details about items or persons).

AIDC includes several technologies that provide diverse solutions to data collection problems. Each AIDC technology has its specific advantages and features. AIDC technology-based mobile computers eliminate manual data collection & data entry, two of the most error-prone and time-consuming activities for any organization. Mobile computers bypass these two steps, providing a quick, accurate, and cost-effective way to collect and enter data. Mobile computers improve visibility into operations, reduce errors, and speed up processes and delivery times, reducing costs throughout the supply chain. Manual data capture and associated errors resulting in significant time & capital losses were a major concern in the past. Traditional data capture & entry methods have error rates as high as 4%. According to the report ‘The Challenge of Turning Data into Action,’ 37% of the 500 mid-level manufacturing organizations denied making any strategic decisions due to a lack of trust in manual data capture and entries. This need for data-driven strategic decision-making has encouraged organizations to shift from conventional data capture & entry methods to automation.

Following are the key market trends observed in the global mobile computers market:

  • End-use industries such as healthcare, retail, logistics, e-commerce, warehousing, and manufacturing are increasingly adopting rugged mobile computers to improve work efficiency due to their benefits such as high durability, portability, battery life, performance, flexibility, touch capabilities, customization, cost, productivity, and operating systems.
  • Rugged tablets can also withstand heavy use and potential damage that may be taken during use in bucket trucks while servicing power lines, in remote areas while inspecting pipelines, during aircraft assembly, or even when setting up seasonal displays in retail stores. The damage includes accidental drops onto concrete and repeated exposure to dust, dirt, vibration, and water. Also, several accessories that make it easy to carry enterprise-grade tablets, including hand and shoulder straps, are available on the market.
  • Large enterprises and corporations in the retail industry have transformed how they utilize mobile technology to better suit their employees' and customers' demands and needs. As the world evolves into a more digitized society, retailers are adopting rugged Android devices to improve the efficiency of shop floor and other store operations. Rugged mobile computing devices are efficient in employee communication and inventory management. These devices also ensure better information sharing along the different supply chain stages.

Following are the key technology trends observed in the global mobile computers market:

  • Advancements in communication technology have substantially improved mobile computing devices. IoT-based mobile computers are the new trend in the global mobile computers market. In July 2021, Honeywell International Inc. (U.S.) utilized Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.’s (U.S.) IoT solutions to design its mobile computer for warehouse automation. Honeywell’s CT45/CT45 XP are enterprise handheld computers that help engineers in warehousing and logistics applications. Engineers responsible for controlling robots that pick, pack, sort, and deliver e-commerce orders face challenges with connectivity. Honeywell seeks to minimize these issues through its CT45/CT45 XP handheld edge computers. Honeywell has worked with Qualcomm IoT mobile solutions to add more connectivity features to these new handheld computers.
  • Furthermore, in October 2020, GETAC (Taiwan) announced bringing integrated LiFi technology powered by pureLiFi to the rugged market for the first time, offering improved privacy & security, superior connection quality, and extremely low latency. Moreover, the combination of rugged reliability and LiFi connectivity unlocks a series of powerful new applications across a wide range of sectors, including:
  • Defense: Inherently secure, fully rugged communications solutions that can be rapidly deployed in the field due to minimal cabling requirements.
  • Public Safety: Lightning-fast on-scene data collection and transmission in emergency response scenarios, aided by high quality, low-latency LiFi connectivity.
  • Automotive: Fast, uninterrupted data downloads for upgrading vehicle firmware in highly physical factory/workshop environments.
  • Manufacturing and Energy: LiFi can help turn old infrastructure into IoT, aiding digital transformation in areas with concerns over RF-based equipment interfering with safety-critical operations.

The growing adoption of mobile computers across the end-use industries is encouraging the growth of this market.

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