As rugged devices gain popularity across the globe owing to their endurable characteristics, the number of potential use-cases in the business spectrum is deciphering rapidly. Various mobile industries such as construction, mines, oil and gas fields, and warehouses heavily rely on rugged devices for mission-centric operations wherein the utilization of consumer-based mobile devices is void.
In most instances, on-field workforces’ performance is directly correlated with the uptime and performance of the deployed rugged devices by the organization, thus making rugged devices an essential component of their productivity. The ability to withstand extreme environmental conditions such as rain, settling dust, blowing dust, snow, humidity, etc., without directly affecting the performance of the devices makes rugged devices an ideal choice for such aforesaid industries.
It is evident that rugged devices will significantly gain prominence in the foreseeable future since the development of functionalities and mission-centric features would embed major organization’s core business processes as they will become more dependent on rugged devices.
Businesses should remain alert to four key trends poised to shape the future of rugged device management if you manage rugged devices or are considering implementing them for your IT organization and mobility infrastructure.
Trend #1 Rugged devices will be driven by consumerization
Traditionally, rugged devices were mostly powered by Windows Embedded operating systems. This trend incorporated devices with limited usability and functionality for the majority of businesses such as a limited set of applications and moderate-high price. However, as the Windows OS has fared with the growth of Android and iOS platforms, consequently, it is expected to bring significant evolutionary changes.
The following characteristics are expected of modern rugged devices:
Standardized management capabilities for devices from diverse manufacturers
Enhancements to security measures, such as prevention of data leakage and enforcing compliance
Easy-to-understand interface for end-users
As rugged devices are evolving towards a future-ready transition, their designs are becoming lighter and slimmer, similar to consumer-grade devices. Moreover, these devices will also hold the ability to offer an array of smart features, like powerful cameras, secured Wi-Fi connectivity, and wireless connections such as Bluetooth to the end-consumers. To accelerate the rapid consumer adoption of rugged devices, It is expected that manufacturers and resellers will continue to add consumer-specific features to rugged devices in the future.
Additionally, in order to market these consumer-centric rugged devices, manufacturers and sellers might cater to demonstrate real-life use-cases of device usage such as trekking or hiking, which requires people to survive in tough conditions, making rugged devices an ideal choice to be ticked.
Trend #2 Android Enterprise will gain greater prominence in the near future
Owing to their extensive device assortment and robust software development environment, Microsoft’s Embedded Handheld (WEH) and Windows CE operating systems have been the most popular choices for rugged devices during the past decade.
The situation is changing; due to the phasing out of support for WEH in 2018 by Microsoft, organizations have been left with no choice rather than upgrading the OS of the rugged device to Windows 10 or to migrate to iOS or Android.
For organizations that have chosen to migrate, Android Enterprise provides many advantages. It holds the ability to offer comprehensive support such as integration of native APIs and Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions for mission-critical endpoints. Also, it is poised to be the leading platform for rugged devices in the future owing to its rapid migration after Windows OS.
Android offers a management interface that:
Secures and manages all devices standardized, eliminating fragmentation.
Regardless of the device manufacturer, the end-user is guaranteed the same native experience.
Provides a comprehensive set of management APIs to ensure compliance and prevent data leakage.
Designed with the capability of supporting multiple work profiles and managed devices.
Migration from a legacy OS can compose complicated steps for businesses. It becomes imperative to devise a comprehensive migration strategy in order to migrate from Windows to Android. As a part of an integrated migration strategy, the plan of action must consider both hardware and software requirements, as well as the need to implement an app strategy and unified endpoint management (UEM) solution that is compatible with Android-based management.
The management approach mentioned above leverages Android’s modern capabilities and allows businesses to maintain productivity to an unimaginable extent. Moreover, various rugged device manufacturers are also considering incorporating emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. Consumer-specific features will play a big role in determining how rugged devices based on Android OS will develop in the future.
Trend #3 The Demand For Enhanced Rugged Device Management Capabilities will marginally increase
Since various organizations deploy numerous rugged devices among the on-field workforces dispersed across geographies for mission-centric purposes, it becomes a mandate for IT admins to adopt a solution that can empower them to manage and monitor those deployed devices around the clock. A solution that will assist the IT admins to manage, maintain, support, and troubleshoot rugged devices – even from a remote location.
Organizations are rethinking the traditional bifurcated, device-and-PC management approach, and are gradually transitioning with an expectation of an agnostic unified management process and tool with advanced management capabilities in the future owing to the proliferation of various endpoints in the enterprise.
Enhanced management capabilities include:
1. Rapid, streamlined enrollment:
The majority of rugged devices are used by on-field employees across the globe often in remote locations, or in contexts where IT admins are readily unavailable to deploy mission-centric configurations or applications on demand. Relying on a solution that offers out-of-the-box configurations of Rugged devices prevents the IT admins from having to intervene or hire additional help whatsoever since all the applications and settings will be pre-configured and deployed with ease.
2. Simple profile switching:
In order to accomplish their operational tasks efficiently, it is important for businesses to deploy the on-field workforce with line-of-business applications as and when required without compromising the security of critical and sensitive business data. However, operational tasks are dissimilar to different employees as well as their requirements for applications and tools. When the same rugged device is used by different employees across different work shifts, businesses need a solution wherein they can create distinguished employee profiles with pre-determined mission-centric applications and settings configured without hampering the data and credentials of any profiles.
3. Tools for automated actions:
IT admins also need an automated action solution wherein they can run specific action commands on managed rugged devices only when certain conditions occur by creating “Event Actions or Remote Commands.” They can, for example, turn off the functioning of non-essential apps when the battery life drops below a certain threshold, or schedule actions based on the battery power levels.
Trend #4 Analytics for both devices and apps will deliver operational results at speed and scale
The reliability of rugged devices is essential to on-field workforces’ productivity, and if the devices encounter a technical issue, productivity suffers. This makes device analytics more crucial to the IT admins for rugged deployments. Analytical insight empowers the IT admins to achieve proactive monitoring and maintenance of devices’ uptime.
Mission-critical apps running on rugged devices are just as important. Typically, these apps are complex, customized, and expensive if created natively within an organization. Application analytics are essential for optimizing app performance, resolving issues/bugs rapidly, reducing escalations, and enhancing the user experience.
With advanced analytics for apps and rugged devices in the future, businesses can adopt and amalgamate emerging trends such as Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality to automate manual tasks such as running remote commands and simplify advanced decision-making processes in the business process. Moreover, businesses can anticipate and take necessary precautions even before they tend to take place with robust analytics for rugged devices and applications, providing the end-users with the trust they deserve on their devices when they need it the most.
Among the essential features of app analytics are the following:
The application being used by the on-field employees should tick parameters for IT admins, including application usage on the field across managed devices, networks, operating systems, geolocation, and app versions, along with every circumference of the app usage.
Analyze the effectiveness of your app deployment by measuring adoption, implementation, and engagement to calculate effective ROI.
Gain valuable insights on how users are interacting with the app deployed so that you can identify your most valuable user-flows and connect them to critical business metrics.
In response to the ongoing maturation of rugged devices and the evolution of operating systems, a consistent, integrated rugged device management approach is critical. Modern organizations need a holistic solution that enables them to enforce pre-determined corporate policies and measure device and app performance wherever their on-field employees are dispersed. Additionally, an adaptive solution that can be adjusted to the evolving digital landscape should be an additional bonus.
Scalefusion rugged device management facilitates the IT admins to manage and secure the fleet of rugged devices deployed across geographies through an intuitive holistic dashboard. By rapidly provisioning, securing, and managing the device fleet, IT administrators can avoid going over budget or devour unnecessary IT hours.
With a rugged device management solution such as Scalefusion in hand, businesses can gain greater confidence and assurance of unmatched management and monitoring of devices, apps, and enhanced productivity of on-field workforces with minimal device downtime around the clock. With Scalefusion’s rugged device strategy, you can adopt whatever the future may hold with ease.
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Thousands of businesses rely upon Scalefusion for managing their mobile device, desktops, laptops and other endpoints
Ayush Maskara is a Content Writer at Scalefusion. A media science graduate, a photographer, a fiction author, a storyteller, fiction manuscript editor, and an avid self-help reader, Ayush has been penning the creative wisdom for six years and have stepped into the IT domain for further exploration and staying awake with technological trends across the globe.