For the past couple of years, the consumer mobile device industry has had their scopes keenly focused on the arms race between Apple and Android. These two mobile giants have been battling it out for years on Best Buy show floors everywhere, each trying to entice fashionable and casual techies over to their side.Then, Microsoft made a splash with their debut of the Windows 8 operating system. Tech enthusiasts were impressed with the new line of powerful, integrated ultra-books, tablets and smartphones that came out on the new platform.Now, all three brands have their hands dipped in the mobile cookie jar, and are fighting their way into the business technology arena as well. This is especially true in the mobile field service industry. And even though Apple and Android have owned the mobile game in the past, Windows 8 still has some clear advantages for field service organizations.
1. Tablet, Computer or Both
With the unveiling of Windows 8, we were introduced to a series of laptops that double as tablets (called convertibles) and tablets that double as laptops (the Surface). These technological fusions are powerful devices that feature both convenient mobility and high functionality.In mobile field service, having a relevantly mobile device that runs on a full operating system is tough to beat in terms of efficiency. This is even truer when technicians must record large volumes of data on service calls or if they need access to complex computer applications in the field.Additionally, these devices are just as useful in the office as they are in a service van. With full access to programs like Microsoft Office and other various application suites, technicians can become more powerful contributors to the service process even after their repair has been completed.
2. High Familiarity
Apple and Android might be dominating the consumer devices market, but Microsoft and Windows have always had a firm grasp on the business and productivity side things. Outside of creative agencies, you’d be hard pressed to find an office system that doesn’t run on some version of Windows. The same goes for field service.Many diagnostic applications utilized in field repairs were built on the Windows operating system long before Apple and Android became national players. That’s why many rugged and work-specialized devices run on Windows. Adapting these applications to Windows 8 is much easier than creating entirely new apps to run on IOS or Android.Furthermore, Microsoft’s software programs like Office and Office 360 are commonplace collaborative tools in the service industry. Just consider how much most companies rely on programs like Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook to handle day-to-day routines. Choosing devices that don’t support these tools is at best a sacrifice for mobile field service operations.
3. Match Your Organizational Infrastructure
Touching back on the last point, Windows has long dominated the office environment. By utilizing Windows devices rather than Android or IOS, a company’s mobile OS and office OS can match. Administrators and technicians will be more comfortable with keeping the operating system uniform rather than having to work across multiple platforms.Using Windows also means your IT department can rest easier since they’ll only have to worry about working on that one platform. And with so many different mobile devices available on Windows, IT can take system uniformity one step further. They can suggest adoption of a mobile device made by the same manufacturer as their office hardware, making equipment ordering and repairs a bit simpler.
Let’s Hear From You
Has your organization stuck with Windows for their mobile field service devices or have they chosen a different OS? What are some of the difficulties you’ve seen brought on by mobile devices in field service? Comment below!