When talking about mobility, people tend to think about smartphones and tablets, but in the world of field service, mobility goes much beyond those two popular categories.
As seen in some fascinating data shared by ClickSoftware, [the #1 software vendor in the world for field service solutions], when it comes to heavy usage in core field conditions – mobile goes beyond smartphones and tablets all the way to laptops, rugged PDA’s, Windows and even Windows Phone.
Here are a few interesting takeaways from ClickSoftware’s recent mobile statistics and my take on what it means to the service market.
Mobile Operating Systems
When it comes to number of users – Android, like in the consumer world, is leading the way with 67% of all employees using Android smartphones or tablets.
The reason? Price mainly. Analyzing the companies using Android shows multiple mega-sized organizations using low-end devices. Android is also dominant in Africa, Asia, and South-America. In those territories, the large organizations are often using low-end devices and Android has a variety of options to offer in this device category. In the US, however, Android’s numbers are low with 9% while iOS holds almost 60% of the employees. This is probably impacted by the level of popularity Apple has in this territory through out the past years.
Mobile operating systems break down by territories (based on number of employees)
Measuring mobile OS based on number of organizations shows a completely different picture: Windows,, a PC operating system which is mostly running on desktops and laptops is in the lead with 35% of companies using it as the main OS used in the field. This can be explained by many utilities organizations where heavy data capturing, and multiple legacy systems dictate windows-based devices. Many of those organizations cannot replace Windows with a “pure” mobile OS but they often add a secondary device which is more portable and constantly “on”. This causes a slow decrease in the number of new projects involving Windows and in fact, during 2014 and 2015, the number of organizations deploying Window devices has reached the lowest threshold with 15% only.
Windows Mobile is long forgotten in most of the world but for many field service organization in Europe it is still being used. Those are mainly Telco & Utilities companies who have been using rugged PDA’s and are probably using some “custom” functionality only those unique machines can provide. In the years between 2012-2015 many of those organizations have already replaced those ancient devices with modern ones.
Supporting Common Trends
ClickSoftware’s data doesn’t provide any major surprise in this section but it strengthens a lot of the common trend seen in the market:
- Smartphones are the most popular devices used by over 60% of field service employees.
- Very few field service organizations are using BYOD
- 45% of field organizations have embraced CYOD
- Laptops (rugged and regular) are still the most popular choice for Utilities (~70%)
- Exception is Oil & Gas companies – where smartphones are mostly popular
- Tablets are mostly popular for surveys
- In South America & Asia there is close to 0% usage for laptops in the field
Leading brands: Apple, Panasonic, Samsung
Cloud technologies did not become popular among field service organizations over night. Security concerns, as well as legacy systems and traditional trends made the change happen relatively slowly. ClickSoftware’s data proves that but does show a cloud momentum, which means field service organizations are finally getting there.
Over 50% of ClickSoftware’s “new” customers are deploying their mobile solutions over the cloud. This is the average number but in territories such as Australia and North America the numbers are significantly higher (with 93% of all Australian customers and over 50% of North America customers running on cloud). Other territories are much slower to adopt cloud.
Can you give a conclusion? Can you tell me about your vision and what you think will happen next?
In a world where mobile devices are responsible for the majority of our daily activities, cloud and smartphones are taking over traditional computers. While this is true for the majority of industries, field service continues to present a slightly more complicated picture, combining modern trends with traditional and legacy policies and tools.
On one hand it might slow down the speed of changes. On the other hand it makes the mobile challenges to be more interesting.