It’s something we talk to Insight Works customers about all
the time: Can a consumer grade phone be used as a mobile computer
in a warehouse environment? Essentially, it comes down to a
question of whether a company needs ruggedly-made devices or more
garden variety types, based on the kind of work environment being
taken into consideration. This consumer-versus-enterprise argument
has endured for years but hasn’t been conclusively resolved, and
there are two reasons for this – first, the line between consumer
and more industrial grade devices has blurred, and, perhaps more
importantly, the right choice depends heavily on each
organization’s specific work processes, the aforementioned usage
environment, preferences and budget.
If you work in a warehouse environment or represent an
organization in this sector, the most important factors you should
take into consideration here include:
- The environment(s) the devices will be used in
- The processes they will be used for
- The length of time they will remain in service
- How much maintenance and downtime are deemed acceptable
- How much mobile workers depend on their devices to do their
The bottom line? You can make the right choice by deciding which
differences between enterprise and consumer devices are most
important in your particular work environment.
Can You Use Your Consumer Grade Phone as a Mobile Computer?
In touching on something we brought up in the beginning of this
post, you must first ask yourself…do I constantly drop my phone?
Drops are the leading cause of damage to mobile computers in
general, resulting in downtime and lost productivity; when
considering your work environment, you’ll get a greater sense of
the devices’ exposure to risk.
Putting it in a simpler context, a handheld device – such as a
mobile phone – that will land on a nice carpeted floor of an
office when dropped doesn’t need to be quite as rugged as one
that will land on concrete. Similarly, if devices will be used
outdoors, the screen should remain visible in bright sunlight; to
this end, environmental resistance and ratings are also important
considerations if the devices will be exposed to rain, snow, dirt,
dust, chemicals or other hazards in the field.
The other “frustrating” issue comes into play when using a
mobile phone’s camera as a barcode scanner. The scanning device
on a purpose made scanner uses a scan engine, not a camera. This
means scanning speeds can be much quicker and accurate. Scanning
can also often be done off-axis. Depending on the device, scanning
distances can range from a few inches to over 70 feet. Scanning
with a mobile phone compared to a purpose-made device is like
accessing the internet with a dial-up 14.4 baud modem vs fiber
Insight Works Pro Tip:It is worth noting that
just because a device may be âIP
ratedâ and supposedly able to withstand the aforementioned
elements affecting its operation, it is not necessarily
ârugged.â Whatâs more, a non-rugged device is unlikely to
preserve its IP rating if dropped.
The way we see it, deploying consumer grade devices in the
warehouse will ultimately result in much higher replacement costs
in addition to extensive downtime and lost productivity, while
using âruggedizedâ enterprise level devices will provide a
lower TCO and higher ROI (return on investment).
Beyond the durability factor, the following should be taken into
Device Management â While some consumer
devices support solutions such as robust mobile device management
(MDM), many phones and tablets do not, or they include security
features that make it difficult to centrally provision certain
applications; enterprise level devices encompass support for most
MDM solutions and traditional IT provisioning/management
Enterprise Application Requirements â Most
consumer devices like phones canât handle the requirements of
high-volume, enterprise grade warehouse applications, while more
rugged devices have faster, more accurate barcode scanners, longer
battery life and more.
Security â More rugged devices provide
enhanced security features to allow lockdown of applications so
users only access what they need to.
Safety â Consumer grade devices are often
not permitted anywhere near hazardous areas, such as those dealing
with volatile chemicals.
Consistency â It is challenging to provide a
consistent set of hardware and software across all devices in an
environment for extended periods of time, what with new versions of
consumer phones and operating system updates occurring
Total Cost of Ownership â Consumer devices
may require separate peripherals for barcode scanning or protective
cases to improve durability, adding to the overall TCO.
As leaders in taking warehouse operations to the next level
through cutting-edge products and apps, Insight Works can answer any
questions you may have about rugged-versus-consumer devices.
Consumer Grade vs. Enterprise Class Devices in the Warehouse
appeared first on ERP