The Tipping Point on Warehouse Scanning

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Recently a new mobile warehouse device has hit the market, one which signals a tipping point in our industry. You have probably read or experienced for yourself how smart phones and tablets for consumers have revolutionized our economy and our society as a whole. At Appolis we have for years recognized the gap between innovation in rugged devices and consumer devices. A decade ago Microsoft produced the very best operating systems for mobile devices, both consumer and rugged on one operating system and development platform. Unfortunately, the road has not played out as many would have thought and some companies were unable to shift in time for the revolution brought about by smartphones and tablets.

Looking back, the results in terms of where we are today are easy to understand. According to a Sept 2014 VDC Research article, “rugged handheld computers has stalled around 15 million units. At the same time, enterprise shipments of smartphones and tablets continued to scale with an estimated 45 million currently installed supporting line of business applications.” The article goes on to explain that “rugged handheld vendors are being increasingly relegated to supporting existing customers – i.e. replacement sales – with much less exposure to greenfield opportunities.”


This tipping point event that I referred to is the launch and marketing effort of a new android device from one of the largest players in the space Zebra, who acquired the Motorola/Symbol line of rugged handhelds.  This device is the Android TC8000. When the largest provider of rugged handhelds places a major sales and marketing effort behind its first android device designed for the warehouse, it's a big deal … a tipping point!

Ultimately the winners are everyone who embraces this latest advance!  Stock prices of manufactures go up with the impending new device's sales. And the biggest winners are warehouse consumers of those devices who realizes the efficiency gains. Android is a winning platform of the future, sure to garner a new age of innovation in the warehouse, of a magnitude that we have not experienced over the past 10 years.

Something to watch for in 2016 will be the adoption of android warehouse rugged versus line-of-business semi-rugged android device offerings. Either way the world of warehousing, and the new exposure to greenfield opportunities such as WithoutWire Field Service is going to be a much better place for everyone.

by Travis Smith, CTO/Founder, Appolis

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