Today we’re going to explore another usage scenario which captures how smartphone-based barcode scanning is transforming the enterprise. To continue the discussion, we’ll look at how smartphones can be utilized by technicians in the field to improve customer service.
Peas in a Pod: Traditional Field Service and Barcode Scanning
Since the beginnings of industry, retailers and manufacturers have had to provide service and maintenance to products and equipment in the field. In the consumer world this includes any technician that may come to your home to repair a refrigerator, a satellite dish or a water heater, while in the enterprise world this may be a technician servicing an industrial generator, a copy machine or a piece of heavy machinery. All of these field technicians typically carry a mobile computer of sorts that allows them to interact with the product or machine they are servicing through barcode scanning. In today’s world the climate is shifting, and mobile computers and dedicated handheld scanners are increasingly being replaced with durable smartphones which can perform the same functions at a fraction of the cost while providing a better user experience and value-added features to the technician.
Here are some typical functions of a field service app:
– Scan serial #s to retrieve product metadata (specs, history, etc)
– Locate and order parts for maintenance
– Monitoring the movement of equipment and staff
– Identify past technicians who worked with the product or equipment
Replacing Scanners with Smartphones and Leveraging the Bring-Your-Own-Device Trend
Recently we put together a scanner comparison which took a look at the total cost of ownership of popular mobile computers, dedicated barcode scanners and smartphone devices. The scanner comparison revealed that replacing traditional barcode scanner hardware with a smartphone-based mobile app (using a Samsung Galaxy SIII) can save companies upwards of 73% of the total cost of ownership of a traditional mobile computer (Intermec CN4). Check out this blog post for the full scoop.
As an alternative to providing company-issued smartphone devices, enterprise companies can expand their savings even more by capitalizing on the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend by providing their technicians with an app that can be downloaded to their personal devices. Such an app would greatly decrease hardware costs while equipping an entire workforce the power of a barcode scanner.
Adding Scandit’s Barcode Scanner SDK to an Field Service App
Scandit’s unique Barcode Scanner SDK can scan most symbologies used on products and equipment including extremely small barcodes with ease (as small as 4x4mm Datamatrix codes). The Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK also delivers the speed and accuracy required to bring true enterprise-grade barcode scanning to smartphones and tablets. The familiarity of the smartphones also helps to shorten training time and improve the user experience for technicians. For those companies capitalizing on the BYOD trend, Scandit’s cross-platform capabilities and ability to capture accurate readings even on devices lacking autofocus make it an indispensable addition to any field service app. Watch the video to get a sense of the user experience.
Developing a Field Service App
So you’re convinced, it’s time to build app what needs to happen next?
1) Decide if you want to build the app in house or hire a solution provider to build one.
2) Decided which platforms you’d like the app to run on. If you are considering fostering a BYOD ecosystem plan on having your app support both the Android and iOS platforms.
3) Assess which systems you need the app to work with. What type of database will the app need to access for product or equipment details? How will the app connect to your database?
4) Identify the features you need, and find the best software components for the job.
(Our Barcode Scanner SDK is perfect for providing enterprise-grade barcode scanning).
5) Build and test your app (or watch it being built).
6) Deploy and Enjoy.
Need help making a decision? Our sales staff is here to help. Contact us for more information.
Stay tuned for some posts coming up which take a close look at the world of point of sale!