Mobile hardware: types brands and models
IMPORTANT - not all applications imply usage of mobile hardware: in several cases of collaborative or vertical cross-company activity tracking usage of regular web browsers of desktop PCs and possibly document management HW and SW would be sufficient.
Wherever helpful, there are several device categories and models suitable to be used as mobile front-end.
- Rugged PdAs, designed for industrial applications and particularly recommendable for their long life and usability, even under critical conditions, always equipped with embedded barcode scanners / RFID sensors;
- Off-the-shelf consumer PdA, far less resistant to collisions, vibrations, water, dust, etc., yet three or four times cheaper then the former and thus recommendable for occasional users or safe usage environments. These devices can be combined with external barcode scanners or RFID sensors via BT or SDIO port (alternatively our software allows to read barcode labels through the embedded camera, provided that it reaches a mid quality level - see below);
- Common cell phones of any brand and model with which, either through SMS exchages or through an innovating middleware tool developed by our partner bMooble, users can directly access the web based application easily and effectively (the tool alows merely transmitting the context data with hardly any overhead).
Cell-phones usage virtually eliminates any hardwdare acquisition cost (assuming that any mobile worker would have a cell phone available also for such use).
NOTICE: we plan to extend, within a few months, GPS localization and camera-based barcode reading to cell phones too.
Windows CE / Windows Mobile PDA devices–based Tracking and Localization Software
Generally, to make usage of all features of the mobile client of our applications, customers choosing to adopt PdA devices will have to select a model with the following characteristics and peripherals (whether embedded or external):
- Operating system : Windows Mobile version 5.0 or subsequent OR ALTERNATIVELY Windows CE 4.0 .net or subsequent
- GPRS connectivity (Traceland can support with its configuration)
- GPS receiver
- Barcode scanner (CCD, laser or “imager” type) – replaceable by adequately powerful embedded cameras (2.0 Mpixel or above and macro mode available)
- Still as an alternative or in addition to the barcode scanner, a RFID sensor compatible to the tag´s frequency adopted in relevant business context
- (optionally) a camera to take documentary pictures associated to the recorded events (besides barcode reading - see above)
On the contrary it is NOT specifically required that to have a Wi-Fi connectivity card installed (this could be useful for devices regularly used indoor in areas covered by a Wi-Fi signal to save GPRS transmission cost, which are nevertheless substantially immateria - see cost/benefit section).
Usage of cell phones does not imply any special requirement other than almost universal characteristics (JAVA compatibility and GPRS data transmission).
Given the above requirements, the choice about mobile device category and model has to be taken based on the aspects that customer intends to optimize among those listed below, taking into account that customers might chose to adopt different mobile hardware configurations at a time, in order to address varying needs and contexts within their own organization or within the extended network of their operational partners.
Overall, the aspects to consider while choosing hardware configuration are:
- usage frequency and mode
- purchase / rent price plus ownership cost
- usability (e.g.: physical versus virtual keyboard, embedded versus external scanner)
- resistance against collisions as well as physical / chemical or atmospheric agents
- integration vs. modularity (e.g.: embedded or external GPS receiver)
- post-sales assistance requirements (response time)
Once a mobile hardware category is chosen, the actual mode and its supplier can be chosen according to cost and technical specifications offered by each vendor.
Traceland has already conducted deep researches, contacted several vendors and actually tested several units, based on which can provide a competent and independent support in selecting hardware which could turn really helpful in letting customers save cost and prevent problems.