Liam Reid, Technology and Innovation Director at The Barcode Warehouse
There is a growing trend towards using device tracking technologies to better protect digital assets, leading to changes in how businesses approach cost benefits and efficiency improvements.
As we look ahead to the new year, we can expect this trend to continue, as more and more industries recognise the advantages of implementing digital technologies in the workplace.
This rise in tracking technology use coincides with businesses struggling with how to best integrate device management technology into their infrastructure.
Until recently, this kind of technology has experienced significantly lower levels of uptake in comparison to others. In the race towards digitalisation, many businesses could not see the justification for purchasing tracking solutions, yet these attitudes, as well as those towards asset management generally, have started to change. Rising hardware and supply chain costs continue to add further strain on companies and with the need to improve efficiencies and business operations, companies are placing more value on their current assets, with a stronger desire to protect investments in a tough economic climate and increase the sweating periods.
With businesses facing rising costs and economic challenges, there is a growing emphasis on maximising the value derived from current assets. Device management services provide a solution for businesses, by collecting all business assets under one form of organisational control, companies can then review the location, status, condition and utilisation of any asset. Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions offer businesses significant advantages when compared to other device management platforms. A device management service via a MDM platform allows businesses of any size to gain control of their full estate of devices, regardless of their model or operating system, as long as the device is still supported and secure.
With companies looking to the future to help elongate device usage and lifespan, centralised device management can support this by protecting and maximising a return on a business’s mobile technology investment. The data provided by MDM solutions can offer companies increased visibility of mobile technology to help make data-driven decisions regarding the volume of devices within a business estate and ownership within the company.
With businesses looking more closely at device management and extending their lifespan, there has been an increasing demand for organisations to be able to track devices even when in low-power mode or switched off. This means we can expect low-frequency solutions such as SigFox and LoRa Wan to become more prevalent in the tracking world along with the continued growth around IOT allowing for the management of non-intelligent but highly valuable assets becoming more prevalent. With qualities such as deep indoor penetration and longer-range capabilities, these will support an increased demand for tracking both inside and outside of the four walls that experts are expecting in the next year.
Here are my predictions for the channel market in 2024.
Digitise to Survive
Following a turbulent 12 months for many industries in the UK, businesses are now looking to 2024 to plan for how they will invest within their digital capabilities to improve and grow their company. Next year marks a turning point in many businesses’ digital transformation journey as many companies are coming to the realisation that there is no alternative. Businesses must digitise to survive.
Particularly across a range of industries, this is becoming more vital, such as pharmaceuticals and logistics and transports, companies must invest in new digital capabilities to reform their legacy systems to modernise and digitise their operations.
This is where asset management solutions and MDM software will play a stronger role within businesses next year. More companies, when investing in new digital technologies, are concerned about the longevity of the new devices they are deploying within their business. To save on costs, businesses are becoming more concerned about how long they can sweat their assets, and MDM software can offer increased insight into the status and operability of a device.
So, with more businesses becoming increasingly financially conscious next year, we will see an increase in the uptake of MDM solutions to manage asset lifespan, but also to evaluate pain points within a business’s digital asset estate to optimise device usage and downtime.
Immersing multi-functional devices into your business
With the onus now on businesses to ensure their assets last as long as possible, there has been a shift to focusing on multi-functional devices within companies. This focus is set to continue next year, with more importance set to be placed on multi-functional devices that can used for a variety of different business operations and have a significantly elongated lifespan.
One key change that more businesses are interested in is being able to use a mobile device as a desktop or laptop, allowing for increased productivity for remote and travelling employees. This shift to multi-functional devices is allowing businesses to save on both device costs and space, as there is no longer a need to have fixed desktop workstations within offices and warehouses. The ‘work from anywhere’ ethos has stuck across a range of industries following the pandemic, and now there is the shift to how can work from anywhere employees use one device for everything.
Embedding new multi-functional devices into the pre-existing business infrastructure will pose a challenge for businesses that are running their operations on legacy systems, so it is likely we will see an uptake in more businesses moving to more digital capabilities and deploying MDM solutions to manage their multi-functional devices.
Following the rise in multi-functional devices, this is coming more into play for the channel, retail and warehouse sectors as more companies are looking to transition from fixed point-of-sale (POS) devices to roaming handheld POS.
For a range of industries this will continue to transform productivity and efficiency, but also provide companies with an option to take advantage of multi-functional device capabilities. As a result, it is likely next year, these industries will see a shift away from fixed devices to flexible roaming mobile devices, capable of multiple tasks both in warehouses and shopfloors.
With the increased element of roaming devices comes an increased security risk, so it is likely that businesses will place further restrictions and security solutions on mobile devices next year. This will be so mobile assets can be managed, tracked, and secured when they are used inside and outside a company’s buildings.
Advancing to MDM systems
Business strategies and operational plans will continue to change frequently next year in response to consumer demands, external influences and new technologies introduced within a business. But, the industry is set to experience a number of challenges next year, particularly for businesses still operating on Windows operating systems.
Businesses must be prepared to shift away from legacy systems that cannot accommodate the added security required for mobile devices within a business network. So, we will likely see businesses moving away from their previous legacy systems to newer Android-supported MDM systems. As a result, there will be a continued reliance on MDM solutions, not only from a tracking and device management point of view but also for security considerations to protect businesses and secure their devices from any potential security risks.
In 2024, businesses will need to remain perceptive when facing a variety of risks and challenges coupled with shifting away from legacy models, moving away from legacy models, advancing to MDM solutions and immersing multi-functional roaming POS devices.