PestWorld - July/August 2016 - (Page 21)

❱❱ PESTECH best case available on our devices-typically Otterbox, which guards against dirt, scratches, falls or even moisture. Some even protect them in the rain. If you can't find a ruggedize case, you can still buy the tablet-just know they will break when dropped, and thus are more disposable because fixing tablets often costs more than the cost of replacement. Choosing a Mobile Device BY TODD LEYSE AND ERIC SAUBER D eciding which mobile device to use in your field force is determined by many factors-and the factors important to one pest management company may be completely different than the factors important to another. OPERATING SYSTEMS The first consideration would be to make sure your tablet and its operating system is compatible with your company's current or desired field service software, commonly called a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tool. The most common platforms are Google's Android, Apple's iOS, and Microsoft's Windows, giving the user flexibility and options. Some older systems may only support a version of one operating system, which limits your choices greatly. SUPPORT STRUCTURE The next set of variables relates to your support structure. Who will support your mobile fleet? Some options are: a dedicated IT staff, a contracted vendor, or perhaps a tech-savvy employee with other duties. Depending on the size of the company and the support system in place, you may want to limit the number of platforms/manufacturers to just one or two devices. When I was in Information Technology Management, my department supported 2,000 personal computers, and we had to limit the purchasing choices for desktops to three manufacturers and two laptop manufacturers just to have a chance to support them all. While the scale is different, the point is the same-depending on your support resources, you may want to limit it to two models-one for technicians and one for managers/owners. The fewer models to support, the better. EVERYONE HAS A FAVORITE Most companies are partial to a specific platform. If the entire company has iPhones, then iPads might be the right choice. If the technicians have Android phones, they'll find using an Android tablet easy to learn. iPads are much more expensive than Android tablets or Windows tablets, which give you the added ability to run Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, etc.), so if that's important to your salespeople and service managers, then perhaps Windows is a better fit. DURABILITY IS KEY You don't want downtime in the field. Older ruggedized units used to cost $1,500 or more, but these days, they aren't that much more. We tend to buy less expensive units, but add the PHONE VERSUS TABLET The decision to equip your technicians with just a phone or a phone and tablet depends on the app being used and size of the display. You want the user to be able to comfortably use the device. Some companies use cargo pants with a large side of the leg pocket, large enough to hold a 7" tablet, but not an 8" tablet-so check that out first. Some companies want two devices (phone and tablet) so they can use the tablet easily while on the phone. Others want to simplify and use just one device. Hopefully your CRM software is responsive, meaning it will size and still look good on a smaller display like a phone. Depending on your CRM, you may need to license each device. Others, like Blu Star, licenses per user, so one user can use it from any number of devices. Your CRM may allow you to interface with Bluetooth devices such as barcode scanners, keyboards and wireless printers. Near Field Communication (NFC) is another connection type that can be useful. If so, these might be good options for you. Some devices have builtin barcode scanners, but these tend to be much more expensive and the hardware a year or two behind the times, and thus are slower, have smaller screens and limited memory. Check with your CRM vendor if they require a cell data connections in your tablet, or if you can connect it via wifi to a hotspot created on your cell phone, which probably already has a data plan. There should be no need to have a cell plan on your tablet and on your phone. If you have questions, please contact us at or 763-231-8900. ● Todd Leyse has a B.A. in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota. Eric Sauber is licensed PCO, has his A.C.E., and is currently an IT Computer Support Specialist. Both are at Collabetive Services, LLC, makers of Blu Star Field Service Management Software. PEST WORLD > JULY / AUGUST 2016 | 21

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PestWorld - July/August 2016

Message From the President
Wearable Devices
Targeted Tech
Down With Data Breaches
Proving Your IPM Service With a Handheld Generated Report
PesTech: Choosing a Mobile Device
Heard From the Hill: Department of Labor Releases Final Overtime Regulations
Marketing Corner: Communicating to the Public About Mosquitoes
Ask the Expert
Membership Programs: Start a More Meaningful Conversation
Mythbusters: Does Social Media Really Work for My Company?
Calendar of Events
Index to Advertisers

PestWorld - July/August 2016