Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke with Mary Anne Gunn, senior marketing manager, Motion Computing, about the benefits of tablet PCs and the companys close relationship in the UK with distributor Box Technologies.
Today, handheld mobile terminals and PDAs are a well established means of accessing and collecting data in a wide range of industry verticals. However, the tablet PC can be an effective complementary or alternative means of sourcing and capturing information. Table PCs are replacing handheld devices or PDAs within a number of companies for a variety of reasons, said Motion Computings Mary Anne Gunn. For example, some organisations find that PDAs are often not powerful enough to run multiple applications at the same time on the same device. Also, if users need to get all the way through a process or document in the field it can take them seven or eight screens on a handheld and this can become too cumbersome.
Gunn also pointed out that Motion Computings tablet PCs often replace companies laptop computers. Some users have tried to deploy laptop computers in the field but have found them to be too bulky, too heavy or generally to inconvenient to carry around while theyre doing their job. For instance, they cant write an email with it with one hand, hold it with the other and do their jobs at the same time.
Vertical sector uptake
In terms of vertical sector uptake for table PCs, Gunn points out that, for Motion Computing, healthcare has been one of the largest markets particularly in the both Europe and the US since the inception of the company in 2001. Were also seeing a lot of traction in general field sales automation and field service within the utilities sector, plus construction and government applications such as building and sectioning repair, water conservation & inspection, food service inspections etc., she added.
In terms of technology and functionality differentiators, Gunn states that since the beginning Motion Computing has looked to establish a strong network of ISV service provider partners to ensure the companys tablet PCs are feature rich and state of the art with a number of integrated features. We are fortunate in that there are a lot of software applications out there that are tablet optimised, and these apps really do help improve productivity for users of our tablet PCs. A lot of our customers take advantage of the integrated barcode reader, RFID reader and digital camera. One of the main benefits here is if users have a document open or have accessed a form that they need to fill out or complete, they dont have to take a picture separately with a digital camera. A photo can be taken without a series of numbers that are associated with the image on a digital camera. On our tablet PCs the photo is automatically associated with the document in question, which saves users having to import the picture at a later date which can take up unnecessary time.
According to Gunn, another differentiator for Motion Computing is the physical design of its range of tablet PCs. In the case of all of tablet PCs from the J3400 to the C5 or the F5 we have built ruggedness and durability into our devices without compromising their weight, she said. Many traditional fully rugged note books have the durability built around the outside, which means they are heavier and thicker than our solutions. We focus on creating the rigidity and durability on the inside. This means our tablet PCs can still be ergonomically balanced and lightweight; making them easier to carry all day.