Sunday, January 08, 2006

Working with a Budget, Part 2

In the last segment we assumed you already had a functioning "work order management system" in the office. As a first step you needed to find a "mobile client" software package that would synchronize with your "work order management system". MobileDataforce has a "software development kit" for PointSync http://www.mobiledataforce.com/pointsync/pointsync_developer.asp that would resolve this issue. So the next step is determining which handheld computers to use.

Here are a few thoughts on determining which handheld computers to use:
  • Do you need a numeric, or alpha numeric keyboard on your handheld? If not you can save money by simply writing on the touch screen with your stylus, or using touch screen buttons.
  • Do you need add-ons like a bar code scanner, RFID reader, digital camera, GPS or electric chainsaw? These can be very useful, but add costs to your handheld.
  • How rugged does your handheld need to be? If you are repairing desktop tape despensers, you could probably get buy with a $300 consumer grade handheld, but if you are climbing fences, wading through sewage ponds, or immitating a crash test dummy, you may want to seriously considering investing in a ruggedized device that is in the range of $1,500.
  • Handheld computers have a standardized rating system that identifies how "rugged" they are. So when considering which handheld device you need, read up on the ruggedized ratings. This will tell you how many times Fumble Fingered Fred can drop the handheld while washing the outside of the windows on the 19th floor.

...more in Part 3