What Industries Can Benefit from a Reliable, Connected Fleet?
Any business equipment in which a chip can be embedded to collect or receive data is no longer considered equipment but rather a device. Companies increasingly rely on these “smart” devices to collect data not only to capture valuable business insights (i.e., building occupancy or shopper habits) but also to deliver the business’ main services such as ordering food or checking in for a flight.
Kiosks, scanners, wearables, tablets, POS systems, and even electric vehicle chargers have become essential to companies’ operations and profitability. As businesses expand geographically and the company needs to service more customers with the same or even reduced resources, the reliance on device fleets becomes more important and complex. While many industries rely on device fleets, some rely on them more heavily than others.
Top Industries That Benefit From Reliable, Connected Fleets
Here are some industries that can benefit from a reliable, connected fleet of devices.
For enterprises, the iOS/Android debate comes down to a clear distinction: if customization is the priority, Android is the path.
Traditional retail might still be struggling under the threat of e-commerce, but the very definition of retail is changing, and a connected fleet of devices is there to support this change. Pop-up retail, such as small stores operating temporarily at events or high-traffic areas, do not have the IT infrastructure (or needs) of a traditional mall or shopping center. Secure, connected devices help pop-up retailers manage inventory and accept customer payments at checkout.
Devices might just save the restaurant industry. Still reeling from the pandemic and the Great Resignation — quit rates in the foodservice industry hit 6.8 percent in October 2021, compared to an overall quit rate of 2.9 percent — restaurant owners have been trying to figure out how to do more with less. Devices for ordering, paying, and tipping, whether tablets on a table or floor-mounted kiosks in one particular area of the restaurant, help restaurants boost efficiency by providing relief to strained, overworked staff. A fleet of POS/ordering systems can be programmed to uniformly deliver the same experience regardless of location.
Devices might just save the restaurant industry. Still reeling from the pandemic and the Great Resignation — quit rates in the foodservice industry hit 6.8 percent in October 2021, compared to an overall quit rate of 2.9 percent — restaurant owners Long before the pandemic ushered in “contactless” options for guests, a fleet of devices has been able to provide hospitality touchpoints that guests have become comfortable with. Contactless check-in and a touchless journey can help guests feel more comfortable staying in a hotel, with 26 percent of consumers indicating they want digital room keys and 35 percent asking for contactless payment options.
4. Logistics and Transportation
Devices might just save the restaurant industry. Still reeling from the pandemic and the Great Resignation — quit rates in the foodservice industry hit 6.8 percent in October 2021, compared to an overall quit rate of 2.9 percent — restaurant owners
This is perhaps the industry that can benefit the most from a fleet of connected devices, including in the following ways:
- Truckers can stay connected to employers or clients via rugged, tablet-size devices.
- Warehouses can place sensors on shelves and bins, which can communicate with robots to “shop” merchandise from those shelves and bins, and deliver them to humans who use scanners to scan the merchandise before packing and shipping.
- Airline passengers can check in, upgrade, and pay for luggage via kiosks in the airport terminal.
In all of these cases, the devices must be durable, reliable, and always on. Out-of-service devices can cause business disruptions and strain on other business resources (i.e., other employees).
Devices might just save the restaurant industry. Still reeling from the pandemic and the Great Resignation — quit rates in the foodservice industry hit 6.8 percent in October 2021, compared to an overall quit rate of 2.9 percent — restaurant owners have been trying to figure out how to do more with less. Devices for ordering, paying, and tipping, whether tablets on a tThe federal government mandated the transfer of medical records from paper-based to electronic in 2015, but the digitization of healthcare creates a more efficient, secure system for everyone. Privacy laws prevent the misuse or compromise of data; patients can rest assured that their data stays where it should, and healthcare providers can access patient information more readily and easily. When healthcare providers can make faster, more accurate diagnoses, devices with access to EMRs increase provider productivity, reduce patient wait time, and create more positive patient outcomes.
The pumps at your local gas station might contain more digital technology than they did ten years ago, but in the future, the pumps will be more connected than ever. As electric vehicles increase in popularity among consumers, municipalities, school districts, and delivery and distribution companies, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and their chargers will need to be reliable and in good working order, with zero downtime. Currently set up as networks owned and operated by a handful of companies, these stations do not pump energy located right there at the station but rather are connected to the electrical grid. EV charging station owners are well aware of the need for always-on, connected devices.
Understanding the Benefits of a Connected Fleet
To better understand why the above industries rely on a connected fleet, it’s important to understand what that entails. Let’s have a look at 5 benefits of having a reliable, connected fleet.
1. Fewer delays
By accepting electronic payments from customers, entering a patient’s data into an app-based form, or having customers pay for their meal with a credit or debit card, business gets done faster. In many cases, customers do not need to rely on an employee for help; customers can help themselves.
However, as organizations are in constant need of sourcing, customizing, connecting, testing, maintaining, and replacing these devices, they may face an IT challenge. Rather than purchase and maintain off-the-shelf devices, no matter how low the cost, hardware should be developed and customized to meet the business’ needs. A partner that offers hardware design and that has experience developing for fleets can solve this challenge.
2. More Clarity for Employees
Employees in office environments may be familiar with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies: using their personal device for company-related work. However, in other environments, it becomes tricky. For example, a home healthcare agency cannot expect its staff of traveling caregivers to use their own tablets to collect patient data. The devices’ operating systems might not be updated to accommodate the necessary software and the security settings need to be changed. In this instance, a reliable, connected fleet is in order, giving employees more clarity as to the technology environment needed for them to properly do their jobs.
Employees might have input as to what they and your customers need. However, rather than leaning on employees for hardware design, consider outsourcing your device development to a partner with experience developing custom-built devices in a range of environments.
3. Enhanced Customer Experience
From Googling an error message to ordering a burrito, consumers are more in control — or rather, they like to feel they are more in control — than ever of their customer experience. There are of course risks that the device will fail, or that customers find the experience frustrating, leading to missed opportunities. However, when done right, with hardware that works seamlessly with the intuitive, branded experience on screen, customers will remember how smart, fast, and even fun it was to interact with your company.
An IT or operations team tasked with managing customer-facing devices, such as kiosks, POS systems, or scanners, would be further challenged to manage a now larger fleet of disparate devices for varied uses. But when you lean on a partner that has worked with hundreds of clients in dozens of environments, you can create the best possible customer experience.
4. Incremental Revenues
Your fleet of devices doesn’t have to just be for employee use. If you operate in an industry such as restaurants, retail, or hospitality, your customer-facing devices can actually serve as a way to capture more revenue.
Working with a partner like Mason to develop hardware means getting a custom OS and custom apps to roadmap any and all possible use cases for your devices. The hardware and OS must also be optimized for high performance and interactivity.
5. Higher Profitability
When employees can work without distractions or hassles, and customers can more easily get questions answered, place orders, or check-in, your connected fleet of devices becomes a profit center. Employees become more productive and employees interact with machines, increasing profitability.
Creating a Reliable, Connected Fleet
As more and more businesses become attracted to the remote and contactless ways of interacting with customers, the need for reliable, connected fleets of devices will increase.
Consider working with a hardware partner like Mason that can deliver limitless control of the entire product lifecycle. The Mason Smart Device Platform gives you granular access to add, remove, or lockdown capabilities making it possible for highly customized products to be built as envisioned.