Mobile device smart lockers are an essential piece of your device management strategy. They are a smart investment for schools and organizations alike. As with any investment, you need to weigh smart locker costs and benefits to determine which one is right for you.
Not all smart lockers are created equal, and to get the most from your investment, you need to ensure you have all the features you need – without breaking the bank on functions you don’t.
The Three Levels of Smart Locker Prices
The cost of a smart locker depends on many different factors, including whether it has a cloud connection, the complexity of your workflow, and the extent of software and hardware features. We’ve broken them down to three primary levels of smart locker prices – low, mid-range and high – each with pros and cons.
Low Cost (<$3,000)
Pros: These entry-level, low-cost lockers are simple to use and can facilitate secure public charging on demand.
Cons: Low-cost lockers are often miscategorized as smart lockers, but because they typically aren’t connected to a cloud platform, they are not actually “smart.” Limited hardware features and absence of a cloud connection restrict remote management capabilities. These lockers are designed to solve the specific pain point of uncharged devices and don’t offer flexibility for future growth opportunities.
Mid-Range Cost ($3,000-$12,000)
Pros: Mid-range smart charging lockers offer many useful features at a reasonable price. They include charging ports inside to securely charge devices while not in use. Their primary purpose is to enable automations for broken device exchanges, check in/out or loaner programs and public charging with remote visibility. These lockers typically feature open API that allows for external software integrations – such as IT help desk ticketing systems. They’ll likely be more future-proof and longer-lasting than low-cost lockers.
Cons: These lockers may have more features than you need if public charging is your goal. Many organizations who purchase a mid-range locker for public charging eventually find value in other workflow options. On the other hand, mid-range lockers generally facilitate the most common mobile device workflows for business or education. If your device program is highly unique or extremely complicated, mid-range may or may not meet all of your top needs.
High Cost ($12,000+)
Pros: High-cost smart lockers often provide a very robust feature set with advanced hardware and cloud software capabilities. They may also offer modular size bays, customization for a wide variety of hardware and software features, complex device tracking and more. They can likely accommodate a broader range unique mobile device workflows.
Cons: Many lockers in this category are extremely expensive and may include more features than you need if broken device exchanges, check in/out or loaner programs and public charging with remote visibility are your main workflows.
Finding the Right Smart Locker Price Level
Smart locker costs aren’t always cut-and-dried. Before you can find the right type for your business or school budget, there are several things you need to think about.
What Features Do You Really Need?
Often what’s more important than your smart locker price is the extent to which they solve your biggest pain points. On the flip side, does it solve problems that are irrelevant to your organization? There’s often no need to overpay for fancy features like UV light in bays, vending machine capabilities or complex inventory scanning systems, while other features can be extremely useful no matter what you’ll use it for, like external LED lights to show the status of each bay, open API with no call limits, external ticketing system integrations and modular replacement parts.
How Big Is Your Mobile Technology Program?
It’s important to consider the number of individually-lockable bays when comparing the cost of a smart locker. Calculating the cost per bay can give you a better apples-to-apples comparison of the total investment.
For a busy device management program or an organization with a large fleet of mobile devices, it can be beneficial to select a locker with a slightly higher capacity than you expect to use. Even if all locker bays aren’t utilized immediately after your locker implementation, having a few extra slots allows flexibility should your program grow or change.
What is the Total Cost of Ownership?
Calculating the total cost of both hardware and software, beyond initial purchase is key. In the long run, future-proof lockers will save your organization money in several ways. With improved efficiency throughout your organization, your investment will quickly pay for itself as it saves your staff time and headaches. To get an accurate picture of your organization’s lost productivity for manual device management, you’ll want to account for lost time of staff who are managing devices as well as downtime for device users.
Purchasing durable, future-proof lockers means you won’t need to replace them as frequently, because they’re able to flex with you as technology changes and as your organization grows. The ability to switch from public charging and to break/fix or check-in/out workflows ensures that lockers flex to ever-changing environments.
Regular software and firmware updates ensure lockers will remain useful as device workflow changes. Be sure to note whether software is included or if there is a subscription or renewal fee.
Warranty, hardware longevity and customer service matter, too. Some locker manufacturers only offer a handful of years of warranty protection, even for higher smart locker price levels.
Smart lockers with high usage may need repairs at some point. To understand the total lifetime cost of the solution, it is important to consider the cost of replacement parts if not covered under warranty, as well as cost of labor to make needed repairs. Selecting a locker that is easily serviceable in the field can be invaluable to a busy team.
How to Lower Your Smart Locker Costs
Technology innovations are providing new ways for organizations to save money by giving time back to successful executives, managers, employees, students and teachers. Instead of concluding that smart locker prices are too high, consider how a smart locker can lower your total mobile device program costs and headaches over time.
Next, see if the manufacturer offers a try-before-you-buy or proof of concept program to finness your workflow and comfirm ROI.
How do you know which smart locker price range is right for you for managing mobile devices? The mid-range price level is a good place to start your research. These lockers will have important features you need and the flexibility to grow with you in the future.