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Handheld Data Collection - Device Selection


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This slide presentation covers what you should know and ask when selecting a handheld data collection device. …

This slide presentation covers what you should know and ask when selecting a handheld data collection device.

There are a number of options, from consumer grade to rugged devices. While rugged devices cost more, they also have built in features such as barcode scanners and are more suited for field data collection.

The topic is presented from BizSpeed's 9 years experience delivering PDA and handheld data collection software

Published in: Technology, Business
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  • 1. Handheld Data Collection
    How To Select A Device
  • 2. BizSpeed Introduction
    Experience delivering mobile applications for over 10 years as of 2009
    Handheld data collection software for:
    Proof of Delivery
    Field service
    Asset tracking
  • 3. Consumer or rugged?
    The first question…
  • 4. Consumer Devices
    Purchased from wireless carriers directly (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc.)
    Usually free when buying 20 or more
    Designed as phones first
    AT&T Tilt2
  • 5. Rugged Devices
    Purchased from Resellers specialized in devices
    Avg price approx. $2000/ea (or more)
    Designed for field data collection
    Rugged – can be dropped on concrete, in puddles, etc.
    Built-in barcode scanners
    Intermec CN3
  • 6. Do You Need Rugged?
    Many people will steer you to rugged based on TCO.
    A better indicator is whether you need barcode scanning.
    Good quality Bluetooth barcode scanners are $500+.
    If scanning is a more than an occasional part of the job, then having ONE integrated device vs. two (mobile and scanner) is recommended.
  • 7. Why No External Scanner?
    Requires Bluetooth pairing – if field techs switch devices, they have to re-pair.
    Two devices means they have to use 2 hands (one for the scanner, one for their mobile)….not safe on a ladder!
    One more piece of equipment to keep track of
  • 8. Importance of Device Selection
    Rugged devices are a significant investment
    Devices are not upgradeable – you have to specify features at the time of purchase.
    For example, you cannot add a cellular radio after you purchase a device, or GPS, or barcode scanner, etc.
  • 9. Key questions
    What mobile software will you run?
    Barcode scanner – 1D or 2D?
    Signature capture?
    GPS – tracking and navigation?
    Camera – resolution, flash?
    Cellular data – carrier, coverage and speed 2.5/3G?
    Ruggedness rating – drops, snow, rain?
    Vehicle mount –charging in the field?
    Battery – high capacity for longer charges?
    WiFi – a/b/g or batch?
    Printing – connect via Bluetooth or serial?
    Device management - software updates and security?
    Keyboard size - numeric only, large keys for big hands?
    Phone use – used a cell phone or just mobile data collection?
  • 10. Can I user consumer devices?
    Maybe. It depends on….
    Do you need barcode scanning?
    Will data be entered in the field in rugged conditions – ex. Fuel delivery in the snow, meter installations in the mud, surveys outside?
    Will the mobile phone be used a lot?
    Do you need signature capture for Proof of Delivery?
  • 11. Typical rugged devices
  • 12. Typical Devices
    Intermec CN3
    Rugged – 6’ drop spec
    3G radio (e.g. Verizon)
    1D or 2D barcode scanner
    Numeric or alpha keypad
    Does NOT have a camera
    Windows Mobile OS
    Street price with cradle and accessories ~$2500
  • 13. Typical Devices
    Motorola MC55
    Rugged – 4’ drop spec
    2.5G radio AT&T or T-Mobile
    1D or 2D barcode scanner
    Numeric or alpha keypad
    Optional camera
    Windows Mobile OS
    Street price with cradle and accessories ~$1750
  • 14. Typical Devices
    Motorola MC9000
    Rugged – 6’ drop spec (most rugged)
    3G radio
    1D or 2D barcode scanner
    Numeric or alpha keypad
    Many options (like vehicle cradle with serial port)
    Windows Mobile OS
    Street price with cradle and accessories ~$2500+
  • 15. Typical Devices
    Zebra RW420 thermal printer
    Connects via Bluetooth
    4” thermal printer
    Requires mobile software that supports Zebra or mobile printer driver
    Street price with accessories ~ $900
  • 16. What else should I ask?
  • 17. Other questions…
    What mobile software will I use?
    How will I update applications in the field – devices in a warehouse are easier than ones spread across trucks.
    Can I remotely control the device for support?
    Do I need a spare pool?
    Can I lock the device so only specific apps can be used?
    Can I see the device GPS history? Where is it?
    Do I need one device per person or per role/truck?
    Should I get a spare battery? Will it last a whole shift?
    Do I need a vehicle cradle?
  • 18. More Info
    How to choose between Motorola devices at
    Submit a comment/question at