By Kevin Burden and Dan Shey
This ABI Research white paper examines the use of smartphones as tools for mobile field workers as a replacement for rugged devices. For many field workers, ordinary smartphones can perform many of the required tasks at a fraction of the cost of rugged handhelds. Through interviews with multiple companies with experience in using rugged devices and ordinary smartphones, the analysis shows the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a smartphone-based mobile field force solution was 14% to 85% less expensive than alternative rugged device solutions.
The primary benefits that drove the lower TCO were improved worker productivity and lower device costs. Productivity benefits were achieved through the longer battery life of smartphones, integrated mobile voice, and data connectivity, and can be maintained using OTA technologies. Smartphone device costs are as much as eight times less than the alternative rugged devices. Even considering a higher replacement rate for smartphones, lower lifetime hardware costs were a driving reason companies chose smartphones over rugged handhelds for their mobile field force applications.