‘Ruggedized’ data devices at $250
Reinventing the business case for mobile field force
We expect incremental annual sales of 10 million units in 2014, effectively increasing the size of the entire rugged device market by 50 percent to over 30 million units. The main driver for this price drop will be a shift in approach, from only deploying devices specially designed for rugged use, to purchasing standard consumer smartphones or tablets with regular toughened screens and then further protecting them by adding rugged cases.
This development does not signal the end of the existing market for ruggedized devices. More likely, it will expand the market to tens of millions of additional field force workers around the world, helping to increase their productivity by enabling a range of connected applications such as data entry, job allocation, and viewing maps and drawings. Not all field force deployments require the same level of ruggedness: for millions of existing rugged device applications and tens of millions of potential new users, ultra-rugged devices may be overkill. The lower entry price for rugged connected devices, particularly when combined with pay-per-use mobile field force software, might even remove the need to present a business case at all.