3 technologies set to shape the future of the mobile workforce
The evolution of the mobile workforce has enabled businesses worldwide to harness the advantages of technology on-the-move. Communication streams have become optimised, the working day has become streamlined and the execution and reporting of tasks has become more reliable. This is, in part, due to mobile workforce management software and ruggedised hardware, enabling businesses to benefit from high performance technology regardless of environment. As technology develops, opportunities invariably arise, so which three disruptive technologies look set to shape the future of the mobile workforce?
In the industrial computing markets, we know that IoT is the future. Juniper Research has predicted that the number of IoT devices will increase to a staggering 50 billion by 2022. That gives a clear indication of the way the world is heading in terms of the technology it will adopt. But what does it mean for the mobile workforce?
Any business with a mobile workforce will be able to use IoT to interlink any device in their technology arsenal. Coupled with the rise of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), devices and cars will soon be able to speak to each other in real-time, ultimately leading to a more connected workforce with enhanced speed, accuracy and reliability of decision making.
To successfully keep up with evolutions in technology and software, hardware selection is crucial. Rugged devices often come with extended operational life, enhanced availability and are designed for high performance and reliability. Choosing a specialised, modular device will not only be effective and cost-efficient for today’s needs, but will also deliver the scalability to support the software of tomorrow.
Mobile devices have empowered field workers to do away with paper trails, enabling them to digitally log data and share it in real-time, and yet physically storing information remains a time consuming act. AI – or artificial intelligence – can be summarised as the ability of machines to replicate human thoughts and actions. Gartner state that 37 per cent of organisations have implemented AI in some form, and that uptake has tripled over the past year.
Its emergence as a workforce tool allows for the processing and storage of data in such vast quantities and complexity, that it’s simply not possible for a human to replicate. Improving the speed and analysis of data, AI will free up mobile workers to concentrate on delivering quality customer service while office workers will gain a more in-depth insight into proceedings out in the field.
AI is slowly asserting itself into our daily lives, with virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri becoming the norm and accepted ubiquitously. For the mobile workforce, these can deliver hands-free communications for tasks like scheduling meetings; ensuring business is kept moving at all times. The next stage of development for AI assistants can already be seen in the healthcare industry where they are being used to help diagnose illnesses. It is highly possible that we could see this extend into field service applications, where a technician can get support to identify technical issues, saving the time and expense of having to call for human support.
Now into the fifth generation of cellular network technology, 5G will provide speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G. According to Deloitte, this will also result in improved reliability and capacity. For mobile workers operating in remote locations – say an ordnance surveyor situated up in the Brecon Beacons – 5G connectivity and reliability will come as a welcome advancement in connectivity.
Once fully rolled out, 5G will allow remote working to become much easier as well as enable workers to enhance their presence through 4K, AR and VR capabilities. In the case of 5G, the future is already here – so expect to see businesses take advantages with the creation of new products, applications and jobs not previously possible with 4G.
5G will also make cloud processing a lot more viable. The legwork of the CPU/GPU will be enacted on dedicated server farms using industrial machines, with only the output being streamed to devices. For mobile workforces, this could spell the end of laptops with heavy batteries, as lightweight devices can easily be plugged into 5G streamers for remote access to office PCs.
The mobile workforce is evolving at a constant rate, and the importance of partnering with organisations that stay abreast of the ever-changing landscape cannot be understated. While new technologies make life easier for mobile workforces, the challenge of securing dependable operation in what are often challenging environments remains.
Device reliability is paramount and suppliers of mobile technologies will need to seek new and innovative ways to push the boundaries of what is possible in terms of both ruggedisation and security, delivering the levels of protection and performance the modern mobile workforce demands.
At Captec, we have developed established relationships with leading suppliers of rugged technology and offer a fully managed, end-to-end vehicle installation service. Coupled with in-house design and engineering capabilities, we can make the customisations that ensure the exact performance, protection and longevity requirements of customer applications are met, quickly and cost-effectively.