At Rugged and Mobile you know you’re always getting good, impartial advice and if that upsets the odd manufacturer here and there then so be it!
The latest thing that has, quite frankly, been bothering me and a particular customer of mine is Motorola’s new “Agnostic” cradle system that has been launched with the MC9500.
Why it’s a good idea
Well of course 1 cradle to fit all your devices is surely a good thing isn’t it? I can just pop my MC55 into the same cradle as my MC9090G. Buy a few more devices and just not worry about the cradles I need to charge them up with?
Having 1 application across different devices and allowing them to sync in one cradle should also be a benefit?
Why it could be catastrophic
Well let’s think about this. In a charging only scenario, fine go ahead and charge your MC55 in the same 4 slot cradle; great, but what if this cradle is connected and wants to sync? Will all your devices behave correctly? Will they all have the same scanning engines, the same software and be locked down the same? We just feel that this could well bring more problems than it solves to unwary customers who are not getting the whole story.
Secondly are they really going to make every device in their new range fit the same cradle? I think the useability crowd will have something to say about that. Will MC35 users use a cradle the same as MC75 or a gun format MC9090G (all with different voltage ratings by the way!) or does Motorola think we’re all going to use MC9500 from now in all situations. Sure you might get a converter with your device but Motorola have never been good with offering accessories for free and we think this will just be something that ultimately benefits the company and not the customer.
Is anyone really going to buy the converters for existing Motorola devices? I’m not so sure if this is money well spent? You’re going to have to buy them for every device you have or buy and we think you’re simply just better off buying a cradle for the specific device. This way you can have your cradles where you need them for each type of device.
Banking on a few cradles for your whole estate? What if you lose a cradle and then are left under provisioned? You might have spent less on cradles but what will support and downtime cost you? In a highly rugged environment we all know that support is important but you also need a good spares strategy to keep you running 24/7.
Lastly are you really going to put your eggs in one basket? We think this might just be the idea here! Your Motorola cradles are going to end up costing more now if you want a hybrid manufacturer device estate, which is what you will have because Motorola just aren’t that good across the board any more and with devices from Janam, Pidion, Honeywell, Opticon and Psion all better (and significantly cheaper in most cases) than what Motorola has to offer, we feel the customer is simply not going to benefit unless they’re a large company. Proof of this, where are the converters for non-Motorola devices? We’ll see on that.
We think this is a case of a “big corporate” trying to deliver to “big corporates” and forgetting that many smaller companies will not understand or appreciate the added complexities this will inevitably bring. You can’t cast a big net and get all the little fish and we think there are better options out there.
Our advice? Just make sure you know what all the extra’s are before you sign on the dotted line. Make sure your reseller understands your business and how it needs to be supported and make sure they’ll be there for you after the deployment. This complicates things significantly in my view so just be careful!
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