7 Reasons Smartphones Beat Dedicated Devices for Field Service Operations

| Field Service

7 Reasons Smartphones Beat Dedicated Devices for Field Service Operations

Not long ago, selecting a field service scanning solution meant choosing between ubiquitous handheld dedicated devices. Often, the decision would be based on cost or software compatibility. These days, however, field service operators should expect more from their technology.

A scanning solution should help accelerate a company’s digital transformation – enhancing employee and customer experiences, increasing productivity and agility, reducing costs, and setting them on the path of continuous improvement.

Now, field service organizations have a different technology option: smart data capture software that leverages and enhances the power and convenience of today’s advanced smart devices. But can software and smartphones really replace dedicated devices for field service operations?

Is the technology robust enough for the rigors of the job? Is it reliable, accurate, easy to use? Is it cost-effective by comparison? Does it actually offer improvements over dedicated scanners?

These are all fair questions. Here are the answers.

1. How smartphone scanning stacks up on performance

You’d think that a device built exclusively for scanning would perform better than software on a device already in nearly everyone’s pockets. Not so with smart data capture.

The single scan speed of apps powered by the Scandit Smart Data Capture platform easily matches the reliability and accuracy of hardware scanners. In fact, Scandit is up to 3X faster than dedicated devices.

And by leveraging computing capabilities and a high-resolution camera, smartphone scanning offers superior range to some of the most widely used handheld scanners and ultra-rugged touch computers – exceeding their scan range by up to 40%.

But data capture isn’t just about software or hardware speed. It should also make your field technicians more productive. Scandit Smart Data Capture can scan multiple barcodes in a single sequence, so technicians can complete inventory checks up to 40% faster.

And it’s accurate even with low light, tight angles, or damaged barcodes. With other advanced functionalities, it also does things a dedicated scanner simply can’t, like provide AR overlays to instantly identify the correct item in a full van, or to quickly view job-specific equipment repair instructions and history.

Watch how Scandit Smart Data Capture enables field technicians to fix fast, the first time round.

2. Ease of onboarding field service staff

Smart data capture software has several advantages over dedicated hardware when it comes to ease of use. There’s no hardware to purchase or train new recruits on. Simply download or preload an app to get started.


smartphone models are compatible with Scandit’s barcode scanning SDK, which scans any barcode type.

Technicians are already familiar with smart devices, so onboarding is faster and easier thanks to AR overlays that speeds up training. Additionally, smartphone scanning helps plug the field services skills gap. Read this blog to discover how.

3. Integration with tech stacks

High-performance software scanning technology integrates into virtually any application and workflow running on a camera-equipped smart device, including smartphones, drones, digital eyewear, and robots, via a software development kit (SDK). In fact, some can operate with no integration.

For instance, Scandit Express allows users to add a barcode scanning button to the keyboard on a smart device without any integration. This instantly automates time-consuming and error-prone manual data entry.

Watch Scandit Express at work.

4. How long the battery lasts

Your technicians need enough battery power to get through the workday, and today’s smart devices deliver with the help of advanced scanning software. For example, a popular rugged Android smart device was recently shown to deliver 12,000 scans on a single charge, with a scan every 2 seconds when powered by Scandit’s Barcode Scanner SDK.

That’s more than enough power for even the longest shift in the field.

5. Rugged enough for harsh environments

Smart devices with smart data capture software are durable enough to withstand typical field service adventures. For example, the Samsung XCover Pro has been safely drop tested at 1.5m — strong enough to survive a fall from a pocket or a parked vehicle unscathed.

Its IP68 rating means it is suitably sealed to protect from dust and water while working well in wet conditions. Operation has been proven at temperatures ranging from -4 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and at heights of up to 15,000 feet.

Read this guide for help with selecting the right device for your environment.

6. The security of the solution

Dedicated scanners offer security because they’re not connected directly to the Internet. But digital transformation is all about secure connectivity.

Smartphones have been widely used in corporate environments for some time, both as part of a Company Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE) strategy where a company buys and provides field staff with a mobile device, and as part of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach where companies allow staff to use their own devices for the job.

Either way, today’s zero-trust security measures effectively protect data within and beyond the enterprise network. In addition, since all data extraction and processing is done entirely within the device, the security and data privacy is assured.

7. Smartphone scanning TCO versus dedicated devices

Smartphones with a smart data capture platform are cost-effective in multiple ways. First, there’s the greater productivity they provide. In addition, they work on hardware you or your technicians already own, rather than inflexible hardware and infrastructure.

In fact, Scandit Smart Data Capture on smart devices typically reduces TCO (total cost of ownership) often, to one-third the cost of dedicated devices. Check out this case study for more information on how Enphase Energy reduced TCO with Scandit by eliminating traditional hardware scanners.

And one last question…

Feature by feature, smart data capture can outperform dedicated scanning devices hands down. But the real question field service professionals should be asking themselves is: Can this technology boost the bottom line by improving customer service and productivity alike?

Scandit Smart Data Capture on smart devices offers the speed, accuracy, and intelligence you need to digitize and improve field service operations and provide superior customer service. Scandit’s transformative platform with a full suite of advanced capabilities helps your field service organization re-engineer workflows and take advantage of continual innovation to improve productivity and future-proof your organization’s digital transformation.

Read this guide for detailed insights on how to fast track field technician efficiency to improve employee productivity and customer satisfaction. You can also contact us here.