As part of our “Rugged Support & Repair month,” this week we’re turning our minds to the more Pro-active elements of support.  This is all about what you can do to stop issues happening before they happen.

I compiled a top 10 issues right here from our very own database of issues we keep here to help shed light on many of the things mobile users do that can cause horrific business downtime.

Firmware Hotfixes

Probably right at the top of the pile is firmware. Even the best brands find issues with their mobile devices after they’re launched or they simply make changes to chips and components and they bring out firmware to help resolve a lot of the problems this causes.   With the immense need to constantly update and change hardware just to keep up these days it also means that it’s now rare to run a mobile platform for years without addressing this.  Just like with PC’s and servers, if you don’t keep up with firmware updates your mobile devices can behave erratically and cost you money to have sorted out.

Device estate complexity

Whilst using a portal like Rugged rescue can help with a multi-brand mobile platform, it’s still complex to run different types of hardware and no matter how well written your apps are, a new device can behave differently and when updated can cause a different set of problems. Add to this users often need extra help and training with a new device.  This is one of the reasons why consumer smartphones and tablets can look great up front but are always a costly mistake if chosen for Enterprise level solutions.  They’re just not around after 9-12 months.

Provisioning issues

So you have your 100 devices all out in the field working like a dream and you find a bug one of the essential apps they need to use.  How do you update that?  What about getting some logs from a device? or applying this firmware updates I just told you about above! If you can;t get to your devices remotely and deal with these scenarios remotely then you better call the wife, boyfriend or whoever else you need to as you;re going to be spending some long nights in the office and on the road!

Battery issues

Looking after your batteries is easy but does require attention to keep them purring away all day for your users.  We have some great battery blogs right here so go check it out as a simple process can keep you batteries fresh and new for a long time if you follow it.  A damaged or old battery will cause lots of weird and wonderful issues on a rugged device that are often hard to nail down.

Lock down

Lack of locking users out of certain areas of a device leaves your mobile tool open to all kinds of potential issues.  users that browse the  or use social apps on their device can use up valuable battery power and 3G data and if they can download apps then the device is potentially open to malware attacks that can bring your whole platform down. Keep your devices locked down and focussed on the business task they were bought to do.

Poorly written software

Has your software, whether built in house or externally been written by someone who truly understands mobile and the devices you are using?  There are generic techniques that apps should use to make them connect well, scanning barcodes or RFID tags requires knowledge of data capture, they’re often not just scan and go and having a true data capture partner involved will mean you identify all the little and big things that can cause an app to perform awkwardly.

Old hardware

Do you keep performance reports of your hardware performance?  Do you know when your batteries need replacing or when your hardware is either failing too much or getting too old to run the new apps you;re writing for them?  Hanging on to old kit to save costs can sometimes be the wrong decision.  If you can make more due to having newer hardware that will run more smoothly then think about updating your platform.

Poor accessories

We wrote a great blog here about this.  Having the right accessories available can often be the difference between user bliss or frustration.  They will also stop a lot of the accidental hardware failures that occur if you drop a device.

Device theft or loss

Theft or loss of a device can be very frustrating and you only need to lose your own smartphone to know all about that! Losing the hardware can be a pain on its own but a business tool can also lose all the data on it which can become a legal issue. Make sure you know what to do in the event of a theft or loss of a device.

No support

An obvious one but way too many people buy their mobile devices and expect a managed service as part of the deal.  Whilst a basic support service should always be there for you unless you pay someone else to run your platform you shouldn’t be expecting someone else to do that for you.  Make sure you have expertise in place that can be a focal point for your hardware as it will pay dividends when the inevitable crap hits the fan.

What’s common in all of the above is the fact that so many of these are easy to guard against and can be dealt with, with a few tools, some education and some process tweaks so whilst they seem quite frightening, you can do a lot to help issues before they even happen.

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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