From: Stewart Davison, Product launch manager, Capita Software Services
Sir – With the rise of the smartphone, the concept of mobile working has seen a significant uptake within housing organisations. Prior to this, PDAs were the height of mobile technology but with their limitations including a singular operating system, it meant they were kept mostly for routine jobs which didn’t require much information capture. However, the last year has seen the launch of a variety of devices which have introduced unrivalled flexibility and capability for a wide range of mobile working functions.
You may now be able to do a lot on a consumer tablet or smartphone but can it stand up to being used as a tool day in, day out?
Most of us would probably confess to being avid users of tablets and smartphones during the working day but are they ‘appropriate’ mobile devices? This term ‘appropriate’ is becoming increasingly important to customers as they are bombarded with messages about the power of consumer mobile devices.
The conversation around what type of device to buy and use within a housing organisation really centres around the staff groups using them. Providing a housing officer with a large tablet in a sturdy case seems sensible but would you give plumbers, electricians and carpenters a smaller, more delicate and sophisticated phone?
Mobile working is still predominately used by maintenance teams who use rugged PDAs and they will require rugged smartphones. However manufacturers are having to play catch-up in this market with a rugged Android smartphone not due on the market until later in 2013. Housing officers in housing management teams are slowly adopting mobile working and they would need a tablet-style device due to the varied work they carry out in the field.
Enterprise mobile devices are more expensive than their consumer counterparts, but they are designed specifically to put up with the rigours of the industry, they usually come with extensive support and back-up and will, on the whole, do what you need them to do.
So when looking to embrace the benefits of mobilisation to the whole organisation, really consider which device is the right one for the right member of staff as it may prevent problems further down the line.