Companies are Making the Switch from Toughbooks to Tablets

Toughbooks® are exactly what they sound like. They are rugged and used in a wide variety of industries, like construction, emergency services, manufacturing, oil, gas, utilities and more. While Toughbooks have long been considered ‘king’ of mobile devices in these industries, tablets are quickly catching up. Companies are making the switch for these reasons:

Toughbooks are expensive. They can cost upwards of $3,500 per device, which can be cost prohibitive for small businesses. Meanwhile, the cost of an iPad with a highly protective case could cost only $900, or a Toughpad® could cost as low as $1,200 (half the price of a Toughbook). In an effort to save money, companies are making the switch.

Toughbooks are bulky and heavy. The average weight of a Toughbooks is around 8 lbs. The average weight of an iPad is around 1.5 lbs, making it much easier to carry and handle. A mobile employee who relies on their tablet will have an easier time carrying around a tablet than a Toughbook.

Tablets can connect directly to multiple technologies. Toughbooks can connect to wifi, while tablets and Toughpads have multiple options of networks to connect to such as 4G, LTE, Wi-Fi and GNSS. This, in particular, helped out the Reading Fire Department Crew in Pennsylvania, who recently made the switch to tablets.

A Toughbook is not a mobile device. It’s a mobile device in that it’s portable, but it requires (mostly) a flat surface and two sets of fingers to work with. Tablets and Toughpads can be maneuvered with one hand. This versatility is perfect for on-the-go employees.

If your organization is considering making the switch, you can transition from Toughbooks to tablets with these helpful tips:

Make a secure charging system part of your transition. Launching a comprehensive mobile device program requires more than just rolling out the devices themselves. It’s imperative to also consider how the devices will be charged, stored, secured and distributed. For optimal productivity, employees must know exactly where to find a fully-charged device before leaving for a job, as well as know where to secure the device at the end of their shift so that it’s ready for the next person or the next shift.

Set up a training with all team members. Make sure your employees know exactly how to use their new tablet or Toughpad devices. There might be a bit of a learning curve, but what’s great about tablets is how user-friendly they are.

Backup all your old devices. This might go without saying, but make sure all important information is backed up just in case.

Hire an outside IT company to handle the transfer of data. If you have many devices that need to be transferred, it might be worth it to hire an outside IT firm to handle data transfers. They will be familiar with this type of transfer, and you will save yourself a huge headache.


When you decide to transition from Toughbooks to tablets or Toughpads, make a secure charging station a part of your seamless transition. View the full lineup of LocknCharge Tablet Charging Stations here.

 

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How Mobile Devices Help Field Reps Provide Better Service

Mobile workforce using mobile technology to improve communication and data entry accuracy

You may think of a Field Rep as someone who works for a utility company and comes to your house to service your cable box. However, Field Reps are common in many other industries; think mechanics, roadside vehicle service providers, public transportation agents and quality control/maintenance teams.

When Field Reps carry mobile devices, their lines of information and communication drastically open up in many ways. For example: you call your cable company for a service call. They give you an approximate time between 9am and 3pm that they might stop by, and when they arrive, they have to keep calling their headquarters or office back to get information about your account.

We have all experienced situations similar to this, but Mobile devices are now affording mobile employees a variety of benefits:

Instant Research and Information

Mobile devices give Field Reps access to a world’s worth of research on the go. They can gain insight into their customers and future leads, reflecting better on their company. Additionally, Field Reps working for organizations like energy companies and cable companies will be able to pull up important customer account information at the drop of a hat. Inventory, warranties, and numerous other documents can be at their fingertips. They won’t need to contact their call center, and their customers won’t need to dredge up paperwork.

Information Gathering

With a mobile device, Field Reps can quickly input or update a customers email address, phone number and other data. This also allows for fast follow-ups. Mobile employees such as roadside vehicle service providers can send a quick email or make a call from a mobile device. As companies grow and start to become more data savvy, Field Reps are gathering more data on their customers every time they meet, which allows companies to provide even better customer service.

Real-time data collection is extremely useful to companies because it provides up-to-date information that can be shared throughout an entire organization in seconds. Energy and utility company reps, for example, are able to record meter readings, upload photos of the assessed damage, etc. effortlessly and seamlessly. Real-time data entry ensures that information is recorded more efficiently and more accurately.

GPS

When mobile devices are equipped with location services, customers can know almost exactly when their Field Rep will show up. The mobile device can send a ping to the customer when the Field Rep is on their way, so they will always feel prepared and have a more accurate time estimate. On the other side, Field Reps will be able to more quickly and accurately find the place they’re going with simple GPS capabilities. Imagine if all quality control and maintenance teams used this method.

Real-time Communication

Customers and mobile employees can communicate seamlessly–imagine customers never having to phone into a call center to be connected to their rep. If customers can connect directly with their field rep through text, chat or another messaging service, they will be impressed with their reps’ fast response times.


When you equip your Field Reps with mobile devices, it’s crucial to keep them secure and charged up. Several businesses use our charging stations so that their Field Reps can check out a charged device at the beginning of a shift, spend the day on service calls using a device, and return the device at the end of the shift. Store your Field Feps’ mobile devices with a LocknCharge storage device; learn more here.

 

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Keolis Commuter Services Implements New Tech to Improve Railway Transportation Experience

Keolis Commuter Services operates and maintains Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Commuter rail system that services over 35 million passengers annually. Their vision for the company is to “Think Like a Passenger”, and with their new technology plans, they are certainly living up to their tagline.

In their previous ticket sales model, passengers had several options for purchasing tickets: at a ticket window inside the station, at a kiosk inside the station, through the app, or on the train with cash. Even with all of these methods, a major challenge they continued to face was that many commuters were not aware they couldn’t use a credit card on the train. This fall, the company made a forward-thinking decision to also accept onboard credit card payments.

“As we continue to find ways to improve our customers’ experience, this technology offers an additional, convenient way for the payment of fares,” said MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramírez. “The adoption of smart technology like this will help accelerate the fare transaction process through a system that is already familiar to many of our customers.”

Challenge

In order to achieve the goal of accepting credit card payments on board their commuter trains, the first step was to begin putting mobile technology into the hands of their 450 train conductors. Step two was to standardize a process to manage their considerable technology investment: iPhones, credit card scanners and mobile ticket printers–three separate devices that each needed storage, charging and physical security.

The Solution

As part of their mobile device policy, each conductor is responsible for his or her own devices–and to prevent loss, theft and the potential for uncharged devices slowing productivity during a shift, conductors needed access to a secure area to charge their devices during the day. In order to accommodate the number of outlets required to securely charge several devices at once, FUYL Tower Charging Lockers by LocknCharge were installed inside city hub employee rest areas. The small footprint of the FUYL Tower allows users to charge a greater number of devices in a small area–which was the case for Keolis.

The FUYL Tower features 15-individually lockable compartments, each compartment including both an AC and USB outlet. During a shift break, an employee can use a PIN number to access an individual locker where they can charge their iPhone, credit card reader and mobile ticket printer. If a conductor forgets their PIN number, the Keolis help desk has access to the FUYL Tower’s back-end management portal where they’re able to retrieve a PIN or open a locker remotely.

Results

Only a few days after their device rollout, the IT Team at Keolis received extremely positive feedback from the train conductors and the passengers. Their thoughtful process of thoroughly training employees and deploying devices alongside a charging solution resulted in a seamless transition toward mobile credit card transactions.

Keolis has proven that their plan is achieving the intended goals, and they have seen an increase in customer satisfaction through this added convenience for commuters. They’re also able to easily track and report ridership data, which allows them to provide an even better customer experience for their customers.

What’s Next?

To date, Keolis has rolled out mobile devices to over 85% of their conductors–and because of the flexibility and scalability of the FUYL Tower, Keolis is able to continue to roll out mobile devices at a thoughtful and sustainable pace until they reach their goal of 100%.


To download a PDF of this article, click here.

For more information about how LocknCharge can help contribute to the success of your mobile device deployment, click here.

 

 

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Rally Health Simplifies Workflow So They Can Simplify Healthcare

September 28, 2018 | Washington, D.C. & Cities Across the U.S.

FUYL Tower Charging Locker

Background

It takes vision, coordination and innovation to make life easier. Ironically, it’s a lot of hard work. Rally Health knows full well that simplifying an industry–specifically the consumer health industry–is a complex job.

It all started when founder and CEO Grant Verstandig faced surgery to correct a chronic sports injury. What he had believed to be a minor setback to his college lacrosse career, proved later to be career-ending. Verstandig set out to solve the all-too-common disconnect between individuals and the realities of their own health and healthcare needs.

In a matter of a few years, Verstandig’s company caught the attention of healthcare giant, UnitedHealth Group. They were purchased and have since continued their rapid growth, now employing 1,000 people in offices across the U.S. They’ve also quickly broadened their scope of responsibilities, as they transition into becoming UnitedHealth’s primary digital services platform.

Challenge

Rally Health provides subscribers with online and mobile tools to compare insurance benefit options, search for healthcare providers and participate in employee wellness programs. As they make it easier for consumers to take health matters into their own hands, they too were looking for ways to empower their own growing staff.

For instance, every employee has a company-issued laptop–an essential tool for productivity. Many employees need access to their work remotely, whether from home or a meeting on the other side of the country. IT Operations Manager Gareth Stonebraker and his team are in charge of making sure those employees are reliably equipped, even when it means someone needs a spare laptop on a Sunday evening before a Monday morning flight.

Stonebraker was looking for a method of managing their loaner fleet of laptops in each office. He needed a 24/7 customer service solution that could make life easier for both employees seeking access, as well as his own team granting it.

Solution

Stonebraker was first introduced to the LocknCharge FUYL TowerTM at a reputable conference tradeshow. He saw a live product demo and believed the intelligent charging locker with 15 individually lockable compartments might be just what they were looking for. So, he did his due diligence, consulted with a few key players and brought a 5-bay demo unit back to the office in D.C. for a test run.

It was a hit. Not only was Stonebraker impressed with the ease of working with LocknCharge throughout the process, he also found implementation to be a breeze.

Results

Unlike many of his projects that are met with mixed reviews from the team, the FUYL Tower was fully and immediately embraced. Everyone was on board with the easy-to-use digital keypad and prompts that let employees help themselves to an assigned, fully-charged loaner laptop.

The tower also serves an important secondary purpose as secure overnight storage for many interns who don’t have their own locking filing cabinets for laptops or other mobile devices.

Even the design of the tower fits perfectly into the tech company’s culture. It’s sleek, it’s durable, it’s innovative and yet, it’s simple. With ever-evolving software and firmware upgrades and a lifetime warranty, which is vital for an agile, gumptious company like Rally.

They’re currently in the process of doubling the size of their D.C. office and expanding upon the theme of user self-service by adding a computer accessory vending machine.

 

To download a PDF of this article, click here.

For more information about how LocknCharge is improving workflow in the healthcare industry, click here.

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Patient Satisfaction Scores Are Improved By Successful Mobile Device Deployments

The research is overwhelmingly in favor of using mobile devices in hospitals. Hospitals seem to be seeing overall higher patient satisfaction scores, and a recent study done by Vanson Bourne (commissioned by Jamf) confirmed just that.

The study surveyed 600 global healthcare IT leaders on their use of mobile devices–from the Netherlands and France, to Germany and the United Kingdom, to the United States. 9 in 10 said their organizations have implemented or plan to implement a mobile device initiative, and nearly all (96%) reported an increase in patient experience scores when mobile devices were deployed, with a third of those claiming major improvement.

Healthcare Dive summed up the study: “When it comes to use cases, the highest support is for clinical care teams, with 91% of respondents saying these would benefit from a mobile device initiative. For example, 67% said mobile devices improve communication among a patient’s care team and 52% said they increase access to medical records. Other areas that stand to gain include administrative staff (73%), nonclinical staff (54%), long-term patient stay (47%) and short-term patient stay.”

The Jamf study also concluded that 47% of organizations plan to increase their usage of hand-held technologies within the next 2 years. Read more on this study here.

Mobile devices are most often used in nurses stations, administrative offices and patient rooms, but can also be useful in countless other places when it comes to patient care. A new Zebra Technologies study found recently that mobile devices are likely here to stay; 97% of nurses and 96% of pharmacists at acute care hospitals said they expect to use mobile devices by 2022. This same study found that 7 in 10 hospitals say IT solutions improve patient care, while 55% cited reduced costs. It also found nurses credit mobile devices with improving staff communications, and 61% report fewer medicated administration errors.

With healthcare becoming dependent on mobile devices, it’s more important now than ever to have devices fully charged and ready to use at all times. A recent study confirmed that 91% of current LocknCharge customers prioritize having quick access to mobile devices. LocknCharge laptop and tablet charging stations charge, store, secure and streamline workflow for mobile device deployments of any size.

Mobile devices make hospitals run safer, faster and improve patient satisfaction scores. If you use multiple mobile devices in your establishment, we can help keep them safe, secure, and charged up for the critical times that your staff needs them. Learn more about LocknCharge secure charging devices in healthcare here.

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