It has been an interesting past 9 years, to say the least. On June 29, 2007, Apple released the first iPhone. Sure there were smartphones before then, but that date was a defining moment in the history of the smartphone that we now all carry and rely on so heavily.
Being in the rugged mobile computing industry, we looked at these devices as toys and definitely not up to the rugged needs that our customers have for mobile computers. Flash forward 9 years and to some degree that is still true and to some degree, it is no longer true. The consumer devices are getting more rugged with time, the new “Waterproof” iPhone 7 is a testament to that. The cameras are getting better, meaning that their ability to quickly read barcodes is getting better. The displays are getting more shatterproof with time as well.
But if you are trying to deploy consumer-grade devices into a commercial application, there are still some very real concerns. OS updates being one, they come frequently and have a very high possibility of breaking your applications. You as the administrator of these devices also have no control over the user applying these updates. The inability to lock the device down, keep users from playing games and surfing the web is another concern. Frankly, consumer devices are desirable, so the chance of them being stolen goes up drastically. The list goes on and on, wireless security, battery life, short product life cycles, how to manage multiple users on the same device, etc.
At the EMP Tech Group, we want to be your trusted adviser. We want to be in a position where we understand the marketplace, what is available and what mobile computing tool will best suit your needs. There are still some pretty clear guidelines. If you are equipping white-collar workers such as salespeople with personal devices, a consumer product is definitely the way to go. If you have a warehouse full of forklifts, constant barcode scanning, a rugged environment as well as a rugged workforce, then the traditional barcode terminals are the way to go.
But there is some middle ground where the answer is not always so clear. For those applications, Cognex has introduced the MX-1000. It is a sled and that is not new, but the product is new in that the unique design has an interchangeable cable, gasket and faceplate that allows you to put different smartphones in the same terminal and upgrade the smartphone over time with an inexpensive change out. This allows you to deploy different smartphones with the same external form factor and future-proofs your investment.
The MX-1000 also has its own removable battery that will charge the battery in your smartphone. If you want to use a handle for a legacy mobile computing feel, that is available as a bolt on and also includes a 3rd battery giving you extra-extra-long battery life.
Cognex has always been an industry leader in barcode scanning. From extremely quick scanning of paper-based bar codes to reading almost impossible to see direct part marks, Cognex has led the field in scanner technology. This scanning technology is included in the MX-1000.
Contact us today for an onsite demonstration of this groundbreaking device. Let us help you decide what technology is best suited for your mobile computing application.