Thursday, February 22, 2007

Handheld Computers Everywhere


What do these folks all have in common - the water delivery guy, the parking meter attendant, the surveyor on the sidewalk, the UPS delivery guy, pig farmers, building inspectors and nearly every business person in the airplane? The answer....they all are using handheld computers. So why then is Dell Computer announcing they are going to stop manufacturing PDAs? The answer is that handheld computers are becoming much more than the simple PDAs (personal digital assistants) that Dell has traditionally sold. The new convergent PDA phones should really be renamed to EDAs (enterprise digital assistants) and they are now being sold primarily through the wireless phone carriers rather than electronic stores or direct computer manufacturers as in the past.

EDAs require the combination of a mobile phone and a full functional computer. They integrate processing power, memory, Windows Mobile operating systems, wifi, bluetooth, internet, music/video, digital cameras, and sometimes GPS, bar code, RFID all working with email/calendar features connected over the Internet to enterprise corporate databases and software applications. The simple PDA has been transformed into an essential tool designed to extend the power of corporate database applications into the hands of the mobile workforce.

Think about it...nearly 40% of the global work force is mobile. That means they are traveling, driving delivery trucks, working in field services, repairing equipment at a customer's location, farming, building homes, etc. These mobile workers need access to corporate and customer data and the use of corporate software applications, yet they need them on a portable, ruggedized handheld computer that can fit on their belt or in their pocket.
My team at MobileDataforce is dedicated full time to extending the power of enterprise database applications out to the field force. This is accomplished by developing mobile software platforms such as the PointSync Mobility Platform that enable handheld computers to connect to and access enterprise applications. These solutions enable the bi-directional exchange of information between the office and the field using handheld devices.