The survey revealed five key trends. These were:
TREND 1: Of the early adopters of mobile technology surveyed, 67% of Local Government and Social Housing organizations have integrated rugged or semi-rugged mobile technology. The adoption of mobile technology suggests that paper based systems are now disappearing rapidly, leading to increased productivity. However, the 2012 study suggests that this is not a consistent picture and that there are large areas of this evolving market still to convert. Of those who had already made an initial move to mobile, the majority use 2 different devices which can result in lost uptime.
TREND 2: Amongst those who have moved to mobile handheld devices, early problems have been detected with the initial handheld units chosen, which were simply not rugged enough. Whilst government and social housing organisations have moved toward mobile technology to manage, control and support mobile operatives, poorly performing hardware has caused organizations to look again at their initial choice of devices. A strong perception now exists that semi-rugged or rugged devices can overcome major problems such as poor battery life and cracked screens; mitigating the problems that arise from devices dropped or damaged in the field.
TREND 3: 42% of those surveyed purchased devices from an airtime provider. The survey shows that many first generation users opted to go with devices from a phone contractor due to an existing contract. This often resulted in devices that were inappropriate for the handheld environment in social housing and local government.
TREND 4: The majority of users in local government and social housing have needed to replace failed, broken and discontinued devices between every 1 and 6 months.
TREND 5: 100% of second-generation users would consider upgrading to a more rugged device to maximise uptime. Of those surveyed, all would upgrade their existing handheld assets to more rugged devices in order to extend the amount of time between device failures. Additionally, 75% would consider outsourcing support so as to better manage solutions and costs.
Commenting on the survey Cherry Rance Marketing Director of 1st Touch said, Our survey reveals that pairing the right device with the right applications can bring significant efficiencies and productivity increases to any organisation where handheld based operatives equipped with PDAs provide services. Simply put, the right rugged device and the right mobile workforce solution can completely revolutionise communication with back office systems as well as customers. Choosing the wrong device or the wrong mobile solution leads to significant downtime and highly questionable ROI.