Monday, July 23, 2007

Barnes & Noble's and Handheld PDAs - Symbol PDT 3140

I have a habit. It is a habit that my family has learned to live with. I must confess. I can not pass by a person working with a handheld PDA without stopping to ask them what they are doing. My family has learned to just keep on walking as if they don't know me.

Yesterday, I was walking through Barnes & Noble (a book store) when I spotted an employee working with a Symbol PDT 3140. I first introduced myself and said my interest in her was purely professional (I've got to work on that line). I told her I worked at MobileDataforce and we deliver all kinds of mobile software solutions for use on Symbol handheld computers, and was interested in how she was using it.
"Are you using it for inventory tracking?" I asked.
"No, I am looking up where each book on my cart is to be placed on the shelf," she answered.
She was not using the handheld PDA and mobile software purely as an inventory database, but the software on it was telling her how to do her job the right way based upon planagrams (analysis of how items should be displayed and organized to maximize sales). This is a very good example of how mobile handheld computer solutions can be much more than just portable data storage, or field data collection devices. Huge DB2, SAP or Oracle databases with data mining and business intelligence applications can crunch large numbers and then push that knowledge to the mobile handheld computer of the mobile worker. This allows the most sophisticated intelligence to be shared with the lady in Barnes and Noble, or the electrical utility guy crawling through the briars inspecting power lines via his mobile handheld PDA.