Why you should consider Android deployment for mobile field service and how to arm your Android devices with the best mobile service application features.
While Android has been a mobile operating system (OS) giant in the consumer realm, the idea of using Android for enterprise use is relatively new. Windows used to be the king of enterprise software, and companies often looked to the iPad to meet their mobile or tablet business needs. Recently, however, Android has been making huge strides in appealing to the enterprise world, including responding to the call for an Android mobile enterprise solution.
Here we go through the benefits of Android for mobile enterprise use and how you can get the most out of your Android-based solution with a mobile app for field service.
Benefits of Using Android for Mobile Enterprise Deployment
1. Free Operating System
It’s virtually free to run Android, even for business needs. Android’s free and open model even forced Microsoft to reconsider its subscription business model because it couldn’t compete. With a free OS, I’d question why you wouldn’t at least consider Android for your business?
2. Rugged Features Without the Rugged Price-Tag
Your techs work in rough conditions. Your options used to be: 1) invest thousands of dollars per device in rugged devices, or 2) risk damaging-consumer grade devices because of rough jobsite conditions. Now, many Android consumer electronics are equipped with rugged features. For example, the Galaxy S5 is IP67 like fully rugged devices, which you can further protect with a rugged case.
3. BUT if you DO want to go rugged, many rugged devices run on Android
Some companies just want the security of having a rugged phone from a device manufacturer who understands their industry and challenges, and we get that. If you choose to invest in rugged mobile devices, Android has options for you too, like the Bullitt Mobile line of CAT rugged phones.
4. Open Source Operating System
An open operating system like Android is great because there are less restrictions and hurdles in place allowing for a quicker implementation path. A software company can work directly with their customer to push software to the tech’s devices with tools like, MDM, Dropbox, email, 3rd party app stores, and of course the Google Play store. This benefits out-of-the-box implementations but is multiplied on more complex implementations. Since with some customers there are enhancements required, this flexibility means proof of concept and beta phases of the software can be shared directly with the customer without lengthy processes or delays caused by outside factors. So with an Android-run solution this means providing quick turnaround including same-day changes if warranted.
5. Popular in Consumer Realm
Because Android has such popular consumer devices, many technicians will already be familiar with them so they only need to learn the field service software you install. Whether you choose to implement a BYOD policy or deploy all Android, you’ll have less training to worry about by running your software on consumer Android devices.
6. Runs on Multiple Devices and Manufacturers
Android runs on so many devices and works with so many manufacturers, companies are sure to find something that fits their needs and budget. Android’s wide, but strong selection is great for businesses because they’re not locked into any one device or carrier, but there are clear front runners (e.g. Samsung) which allow for enterprise deployments using the same device even with different phone companies.
7. MDM Software
Android has a benefit over iOS because it’s easier to work with MDM software. MDM software is great for enterprise mobile solutions because it pushes out notifications and updates to all devices and apps keeping everyone in the loop. MDM software can be especially useful for field service organizations because MDM support software exists that supports devices in the field, including remote view and remote control of all devices from the office, so support staff can see what the tech sees.
How Mobile Field Service Apps Equip Android for Mobile Field Work
Regardless of whether you choose a consumer-grade or ruggedized Android device for your field workforce, it’s important to equip the device with a service management application to run your mobile field service business operations. With the right mobile app, your Android devices will be able to:
- Automatically connect technicians to centralized field service scheduling—Gain access into technician status, location, inventory, skills sets, and more. Techs receive alerts when changes are made to their schedule and their status is instantly synced with the back office as soon as they update it.
- Create free form notes in the field—Take notes in the field using voice-recognition, picture, and signature to collect and store customer information and history.
- Track spare parts—Help field service technicians and inventory workers track what parts were used on the work order and how many.
- Replace paper forms with mobile inspection forms—Eliminate paper in the field by moving paper forms, such as safety inspections, time-sheets, checklists, QC inspections or audits to the Android device.
- Manage assets for customer equipment—Keep detailed data on every customer asset in the field and that data constantly available to both technicians and administrators. Give your team access to when a specific asset was installed, the customer name and location, serial number, components, service history (and parts used), warranty coverage, meter readings and any other information related to their service offerings.
The Future of Android for Enterprise Use
As more features are released that further mobility in the workplace, we’ll start to see more organizations of various sizes and industries deploying an Android mobile strategy. And with wearables, like Google Glass and Android wear, making their debut, there’s no telling what the Android ecosystem might come up with to meet the demand for more mobile and connected enterprise technology.
A Buyer’s Guide to Mobile Field Service Software: 9 Tips for Choosing a Mobile Solution
In the market for a cross-platform or cloud-based mobile app for your field service organization? Learn important tips, guiding questions, and to-do’s in our free, educational whitepaper: “A Buyer’s Guide to Mobile Field Service Software.”