On The Move


Mobile solutions at Work

We typically refer to mobile solutions in the context of consumers as these mobile devices are used in our daily life for fun, accessing information, watching movies and similar tasks. We also use these Mobile electronics for work related tasks: phone calls, texting, email, business apps and for accessing / sending information.

There are more specific mobile solutions which are targeted at a certain business environment such as medical and fleet management. The later is a very interesting market segment that is one of the first vertical markets targeted by mobile vendors. The benefits of using mobile solutions in fleet management are clear. Usage of inexpensive and abundant GPS-based mobile applications can help simplify workforce management, route optimization and dispatch, vehicle diagnostics, eliminating driver paperwork for Hours of Service applications for example.

All of these capabilities help control costs and increase efficiency and directly related to the usage of mobile solutions. Examples: image or barcode captured can increase productivity and reduce paperwork. Wireless time cards allow to remotely clock in and out and simplify these tasks and decrease the paperwork burdon. The ability to track driver location allows to define boundaries and provide an alert to save on fuel costs by minimizing out-of-route miles.

Here’s a photo of Motorola ES400 mobile phone scanning a barcode

What does it have to do with mobile interfaces?

Usage of high speed air-link such as 3G allow to enable data-based services. The ruggedized mobile electronics available, which are in essence smartphones or tablet computers targeted to serve a certain industry provide more opportunities (or more headache) to SoC architects. Having a flexible design that can cover multiple applications and still be cost effective and manufacturable is challenging. This is more difficult as mobile applications go horizontally (all consumers), vertically (automotive, medical, industrial, emergency, military) and in the future expected to fragment further into sub-categories. The opportunity here is to expand the mobile market into applications that could bear higher ASPs and thus higher margins but will pay for a product that can support the right features.
One approach to mitigate this problem is defining the base platforms per similar market(s) and have the flexibility within each platform to add or remove features as needed. For that you need interfaces that can support the variety of options considered on each platform AND provide application optimized approach to maximize the profitability. How you do all that? some of the mobile interfaces supported today (and in the future) allow you to achieve that in an elegant way and I’ll be discussing some of these options in future blog posts.

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