In the past few years, mobility has certainly become a popular buzzword in the world of software. To those of us in the auto ID industry, it feels a bit more like Mobile 2.0 — after all, distributing data collect and processing to mobile devices is something we’ve been doing for many years.
To appreciate the power of the technology, consider the ground-breaking work made by delivery services to track every movement of every package by repeatedly scanning bar codes. The marked improvements in costs, data integrity, and customer experience have completely transformed that industry. Fixed asset tracking applications have also embraced mobile data collection.
At Asset Systems, we introduced our original mobile product — using both WIFI and cellular data connections — well over a decade ago. While these solutions demonstrated the power of the technology, dedicated data collection devices was required at a significant cost. Consequently, it was apparent that only users with specific business needs could adopt this type of technology.
What's new for mobile devices?
Times have changed. Mobility is a very basic requirement with asset management software platforms.
Through the release of our AssetWIN 2015 we have fully integrated mobile functionality into the product to support any available device, operating system, and platform. Along with every other data capture program we have introduced, users can perform any type of transaction to any asset from the mobile device. Asset queries based on either the asset or serial numbers are also fully supported. We added improvements to our audit program for individual assets and a new audit for grouped assets. Users can seamlessly move to other parts of AssetWIN maintain tables, perform global updates and create and view reports.
In other words, gone are the days of limited functionality on the mobile device.
While any device can be used, tablets and laptops seem to be the products of choice for most users — particularly those performing any volume of transactions. The reason is simple: for most users, smartphones simply lack the screen real estate to easily display data. Even the larger format screens can test the patience of full-time users though they are perfect for the occasional query.
Real world proof
A great example of the power of the technology is a project — recently completed by our inventory services group — that required the auditing of original inventory and some classes of other assets. The client has about 100 offices throughout the US and needed a complete asset inventory. All data collection was performed using Asset System’s mobile technology capabilities and mobile hotspots to a centralized cloud-based server. Field error trapping allowed immediate and complete correction of data inconsistencies, and the pace of the inventory resulted in an estimated 30% reduction in time spent.
This meant better results with less cost.
The other aspect in developing a strong mobile platform is market acceptance. Clients who are shopping for fixed asset tracking software now have an expectation that mobile support is necessary for daily business functioning. In the past 18 months there has been a shift towards mobile for data collection hardware, and it’s a trend we certainly expect to continue.