How to Choose a Vehicle Computer for Your Fleet Management Software
When transforming your operation to a mobile-optimized workforce there is a list of decisions that will have to be made, from your software needs all the way to what hardware devices are best suited for your workers. Whether you are looking to provide computing power to a forklift or commercial vehicle, there are five important features to consider when selecting the right vehicle computer to pair with your fleet management software.
1 - Vibration Resistance
Moving vehicles create a tremendous amount of vibration from numerous sources, including road noise, acceleration, stopping and turning. This is also true for forklifts, even on the smoothest surfaces. As such, standard laptops and tablets do not fare well in these environments. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of purpose built products designed specifically for these environments, such as items from Zebra Technologies and Toshiba. Make sure that whichever computer you are considering for your fleet management software is capable of standing up to the everyday wear and tear it’ll be exposed to.
2 - Display Quality
3- Processing Power
Computing power is consistently increasing in the tech world, and the majority of mobile computers do not provide the ability to update processors at a later time, so it’s important to choose a device that will be able to grow with your business even if they are replaced less frequently than consumer devices. Unlike consumer devices that have a two-year life cycle, users of vehicle computers are generally enterprise consumers, and therefore the machinery requires longer life cycles. For this reason, it is important to select devices that offer the latest in processing power or have the option for future upgrades.
4 - Communication Capabilities
Mobile computers are just one element that facilitates using fleet management software. You also need to be able to communicate across systems in the broader information system. Whether you are looking to provide directed picking for a forklift driver or real time dispatch to a field service technician, the mobile computer must support a wide range of communication methods. This includes Bluetooth and cable connections for local peripherals, WiFi communication for in-building communication with enterprise computers and ERP systems, and cellular connectivity to connect your mobile technician with real time access to dispatch, invoicing and inventory systems. Do your research before purchasing and implementing these systems so that there are no surprises.
5 - Total Cost of Ownership
Product reliability and longevity are the key components in delivering low TCO and high ROI for your project. Downtime is expensive, so while the initial low acquisition cost of semi-rugged devices with low IP ratings can be attractive, that benefit of cost-savings is quickly eroded by lost productivity, higher support and replacement costs over time. Look for products that have low repair rates and have stood the test of time, and you’ll find a product that is worth the investment cost.
One Unit We Recommend:
In addition to their line of 12- and 15-inch computers, the VERSO+ 10 from JLT Mobile Computers features a smaller profile making it even easier to integrate into space-constrained forklifts or vehicle cabins for use with fleet management software. These include built-in WLAN 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n dual-band and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity with fully integrated and highly sensitive PIFA antennas, giving reliable Local Area and Personal Area communications in even the most harsh and demanding environments. An optional 4G LTE module can be added to provide Wide Area Communications if necessary and the dock can also accommodate Assisted GPS and GLONASS technology.