Your IT department already has its hands full supporting day-to-day operations. Adding a mobility deployment to their to-do list may be overwhelming. Given the complexities of a big business-critical project like a retail mobility solution, retailers can go it alone, solving each problem as it surfaces, or draw on retail industry experts like DecisionPoint Solutions who can anticipate common deployment problems and streamline the planning, design and implementation phases of a mobility deployment. Each step of the process has its unique challenges and every step should be guided by best practices and years of experience in deploying complex retail mobility solutions.
Utilize Proven Deployment Expertise
Planning a successful retail mobility solution requires matching the right technology to the right business needs while staying within your budget. Steps in the process include:
- A consultative approach in evaluating whether your existing network can accommodate the bandwidth demands of cutting-edge mobility solutions
- Architect a proof of concept to test a proposed solution based upon real world use cases
- Updating or replacing legacy apps to take advantage of the capabilities of current mobility technologies
- Designing an enterprisewide rollout that’s efficient and smooth, with established processes to handle the inevitable teething pains of a new system.
- Consider an ongoing maintenance plan for your mobile devices
- Ensure you have a data analysis platform available to make sense of the usage data and other information streaming from devices as they are used
Choosing the Right Mobile Devices
One of the biggest decisions in deploying your retail mobility solution is selecting the right mobile devices for your business needs and work environment. While consumer devices are less expensive than commercial devices, there are many hidden costs with consumer devices that should be considered.
For example, consumer-grade devices are not designed to withstand workplace conditions or may not have the technical capabilities needed to fulfill their mission. In contrast, ruggedized commercial devices are designed to withstand dirt, moisture, drops and constant all-day use, lowering your overall maintenance costs and downtime. Ruggedized devices can also be shipped with high performance barcode scanners, hot swappable batteries with long charging lives and protection from environmental challenges.
When selecting the right hardware for your retail mobility solution, consider these additional factors.
Compatibility and Connectivity
If your mobile devices will rely on APIs or other proprietary software extensions, these components will need to be installed on each device. Commercial devices can be configured en masse by an experienced integrator so that each device is ready to use right out of the box. For consumer devices, these components must be installed manually, a cumbersome process if you are deploying hundreds or thousands of devices.
Mobile devices communicate through WiFI. Commercial devices typically come with powerful WiFi transmitters that accommodate workers who are constantly moving. Transmitters in consumer devices are weaker and may not stay connected under constant movement.
Ruggedized devices also include support for mobile device management (MDM) solutions, which provide administrators with the ability to manage a large mobile device pool from a single application. MDMs can provide administrators with data on usage, device health, device location, battery health and many other factors that help companies get ahead of device problems before they turn into downtime. Due to security features in consumer devices, centralized management is much more challenging.
Security and Safety
Commercial devices are designed with enterprise security in mind and the process of managing multiple users and logins is streamlined through the MDM system. Security can’t be managed centrally on consumer devices, so you need to rely on users to keep sensitive data secure.
And because commercial devices are ruggedized, they’re more reliable than consumer devices, keeping more of your data safe from equipment failures.
Enterprise Application Requirements
In general, the demands of business outstrip the ability of consumer devices to handle it. For example, using a consumer phone scanner to capture barcodes is slow and cumbersome. Commercial devices are equipped with scanning engines designed for speed and reliable image capture. Commercial devices also have more support for different networking options, so communication can be optimized for your infrastructure. Screen lighting on consumer devices isn’t adequate for bright lighting. Commercial devices can also be equipped with GPS, RFID scanners and screens that are readable in high or low light.
Easy Service Management with OnPoint
Post-deployment, you’ll need responsive service when devices develop issues. DecsionPoint’s OnPoint Service Hub gives retailers complete visibility into the status of their devices in repair. With OnPoint, you can see the real time status of repair tickets and OnPoint’s powerful asset and inventory reporting tools help you keep track of hundreds or thousands of mobile devices. OnPoint is an enterprise management system for the entire lifecycle of your devices, producing reports on everything from devices currently in-house, shipped for repair, in need of security updates and more.
Deploying and managing retail mobile solutions can be a complex undertaking, but the process can be simplified with the right equipment, tools and expertise. DecisionPoint helps you manage the complexities so you can focus on managing your business.
Retail Success with DecisionPoint
Let DecisionPoint help you like we did for a very large, well known high end retailer. DecisionPoint worked upfront with the store operations and IT teams to ensure that both business and technical requirements were aligned and architected a solution that bridged any gaps to ensure a smooth deployment. Using our proven methodology, expertise and lessons learned from past projects we were able to provide a ruggedized solution comprising of 7,000 plus devices deployed to over 350 stores in a very aggressive time frame. DecisionPoint configured, kitted, and loaded software for every unit deployed. When they arrived to the stores, they simply had to turn them on and plug in the accessories. We can truly make deployments less expensive and easy on your IT resources.
In addition, we worked with the retailer and Google to enable ZTE (Zero Touch Enrollment) for the inventory of Android devices utilizing the customer MDM and streamlining device build processes.
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Learn more about how DecisionPoint and Wavelink can improve efficiency and profits.