In part one of this exclusive interview with rugged specialist manufacturer Getac’s UK president Peter Molyneux we looked at how long we can expect a rugged device to last as well as whether Microsoft could return to power in the mobile arena. Now in the concluding part we look at how the rise of tablets has changed the landscape for rugged devices, whether there is still a future for rugged laptops and why Molyneux thinks that BYOD just won’t work…
One of the major changes in mobile computing across the last decade has been the rise of tablets themselves. This has led to a number of Getac’s competitors, perhaps most notably Panasonic appearing to shift focus away from their traditional fare of rugged notebooks and laptops. However, this isn’t the case for Getac.
When pushed on whether there is still a market for the rugged laptops Molyneux reacted with a clear belief that there is still plenty of space in the market for laptops, tablets and of course their lovechild the convertible.
“We are very committed to continue to develop our fully rugged notebook range” he states effusively “The B110, B100 and the X500 all fully rugged and we are continuing to push them”
“We have just won a couple of large projects (with rugged laptops) in Europe but we’re finding that our main competitor are not doing the same. Now that may mean they are focussing on tablets as their primary offering from here on but we are continuing to develop our Android platforms, we will continue to develop our windows 7 and 8 platforms and we will continue to develop our Laptop platforms so we can keep that broadness open.”
“The question may be will we continue to support Win Mobile and ther I’d say probably. But certainly rugged notebooks and rugged tablets of all form factors and both OS’s we will continue to develop” Molyneux added
In fact Field Service News ran a feature earlier this year asking if we were seeing the Death of the Rugged Laptop and our conclusion was that whilst rugged tablets may well become the form of choice, there is still very much a need for rugged laptops especially when large amounts of data input is required. Molyneux echoed these sentiments alos.
“Although you are right to say there is still very much a market for rugged notebooks, tablets have certainly taken some of the fully rugged notebook market. However, the main impact will be on the 3.5” win mobile market. Even in transport logistics they’re thinking of tablets now. Frankly the performance and cost of tablets is much better compared to the older 3.5 inch mobile computer.”
tablets have certainly taken some of the fully rugged notebook market. However, the main impact will be on the 3.5” win mobile market
“Openly speaking I have seen the subject around for the last three years.” opens Molyneux “Maybe it’s because I’m slightly separate from that community but I have yet to come across an actual BYOD project. I do think it is an opportunity but in my mind the reliability, the replacement cycle, the insurance, the security risk I still think there is a lot of unanswered questions.”
He stops for a moment as if confirming his thought process before continuing “When you are looking at mainstream IT in the field, I think there could be a need for something in perhaps the lower demand area, something running on a HTML5 basis where someone just needs to see something…” he says as he ponders the concept a moment before reaffirming his initial thoughts “…but in a critical working environment like delivering gas, water, electricity or delivering facilities management in a nuclear production plant I can’t see how BYOD can fit.”
“I’m open to be told I’m wrong,” he continues “But I’ve seen this approach being presented and reviewed and a full BYOD deployment is a very tough call for an IT infrastructure.” He adds.
However, whilst BYOD might not be something Molyneux sees happening on a major scale anytime school there is a related trend that he does think we may see.
“Coming from the other side, we are hearing from a customer perspective, especially from local government that they are looking to roll out devices to their workforce that can be used for both business and pleasure.”
“There are many benefits to this…” he continues “To cite an old statistic I heard when Blackberry first released launched, you would see an increase in 25% in productivity per user beause they takes the device home and work. It’s true and we all fell for that one! Have a Blackberry and work more and now it’s common practice to be at home working tapping away whether it’s on your iPhone or a rugged computer. Look at the way Microsoft are marketing their devices now – we all do it these days we all take our work home”
“Also of course another additional soft benefit is that is that the device is yours so you look after it more. Which is another major positive for businesses and one which I don’t think would be particularly hard to map in terms of seeing a tangible return on investment.”
So whilst Molyeux doesn’t see a future for BYOD he does see an exciting prospect in a similar concept but in reverse.
“Absolutely – reverse BYOD is definitely on the cards” he agrees “we just need to put our heads together to think of a decent new acronym now”