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The First Questions Your Company Should Ask When Purchasing Mobile Computers and Scanners

In a recent Zebra poll, 73% of energy and utility workers agreed that their businesses are mobile-first. What does this mean? It means these businesses rely on mobile solutions to support their workflows. They use tablets and mobile scanners to collaborate between the field and the office, to share data, to track hours, and to tell field workers when and why they need to be somewhere.

Because these devices are so critical to day-to-day operations, you need to choose them carefully. If you’re thinking about purchasing a mobile scanner or computer, ask yourself the following questions.

Can Consumer-Grade Devices Stand Up in Your Environment?

A lot of field services applications work on consumer-grade devices, but these devices are simply not suitable for use in the field. They crack, break, and wear out easily.

In contrast, rugged tablets such as the Zebra L10, R12, and ET5X are designed specifically for harsh conditions and constant use. These mobile computers can withstand intense vibrations from heavy work trucks, and their rugged designs resist damage from falls as well as from exposure to weather, chemicals, and other threats.

Which Challenges Are You Facing?

You need hardware that supports your workflows, and to ensure you’re moving in the right direction, consider making a list of the challenges in your environment. This list looks different for everyone, but your challenges may include slow response times, interruptions from major weather events, maintaining safety in the field, or losing connections in remote areas.

Which Features Do You Need?

Then, use your challenges to guide you toward the functions you need with your mobile computer. For instance, if you have trouble staying connected in the field, you need a rugged tablet that can work in places where wireless signals are weak. Similarly, if your workers are always looking for shade to use their devices, you should select a mobile computer with a screen that is visible under direct sunlight.

To give you an idea of some of the possibilities, here are the features considered to be the most important for energy and utility workers:

  1. Mapping and navigation
  2. Ability to email
  3. Real-time access to data
  4. Supervisory controls
  5. Built-in geographic information systems (GIS)

Which Mobile Computer or Scanner Offers the Features You Need?

As you look at different mobile scanners, you’ll see a wide range of features. For instance, the Zebra TC57 boasts a 13 MP rear camera and a 5 MP front-facing camera, making it ideal for taking high-resolution photos or video calls. With the MC9300, you can scan barcodes as far as 70 feet away.

Worried about dropping your equipment? The TC8300 has you covered—it can survive a 6-foot drop onto concrete at any operating temperature and an 8-foot drop in the mid-range of its operating temperatures. To keep you connected anywhere, the TC72/77 offers simultaneous support for two carriers and is certified for use on public safety networks.

When Should You Invest in Mobile Solutions?

When efficiency and business outcomes depend on mobility, you need the right devices now. Keep in mind if a device fails, you don’t just incur the cost of replacement. You also face costs related to upset customers, delayed projects, idle workers, and IT provisioning. By investing in high-quality rugged tablets and scanners designed for your environment, you avoid these unnecessary expenses.

Ultimately, you need to choose hardware that meets the specific needs of your environment, and our team at Taylor Data Systems can help. To get help finding the right mobile solutions for your field services company, give us a call today at 877-331-7427.