Best Practices for Mobile Worker Connectivity

Overview

Users in the field may use mobile devices online or offline to reliably perform work and asset management, however there are features and data the users may need that are only accessible while connected to the internet.

“My device works just fine, why should i keep reading?”. The truth is that your mobile devices do work great most of the time because strategically placed cellular towers anticipate the traveling public. The reality is that most of us are often working away from these public areas like water pump stations, remote transfer stations, industrial locations and basements of hospitals. While working in these areas, poor connectivity means negativity impacting productivity.

It comes down to your device and location. Devices are designed for long battery life and one way manufactures extend battery life is by reducing network transmitter power. Often, it is not that the cellular coverage is missing, it’s that your device can’t communicate (transmit) back.

If we outfit the mobile worker’s vehicle with cellular connected WiFi router, we overcome this issue with additional benefits:

  • no transmit power issues as the connections are powered by the vehicle’s power systems;
  • cellular, GPS and WiFi antenna are externally mounted outside the cabin eliminating “cage” interference;
  • one vehicle provides internet connectivity to many WiFi connected devices so users do not need a data plan on their devices);
  • better cyber security as the network traffic is using a network router and firewall that may be remotely managed.
  • vehicle GPS tracking in Utility Cloud;
  • strong user WiFi connectivity (far distances line-of-sight and deep penetration inside nearby buildings;

Best Practice:

  1. Equip vehicle with a WiFi / Cellular hot spot router with externally mounted antenna;
  2. Equip users with a quality WiFi mobile device that is ruggedized and protected (note: choose the cellular version even if a data plan is not anticipated as these include higher quality GPS);

Costs

Costs are reflective as of the time of this writing (April 2018).

Onetime Costs

$1500 per vehicle (router, antenna, and installation) (7-10 year life);

$500 per user mobile device (iPad cellular + WiFi) (3-5 year life);

Ongoing Costs

Data plan costs can vary, however as of this writing we are using a shared 4G unlimited data plan for up to (10) devices costing $110 per month base plus $20 per month for each connected vehicle. For example tot monthly cost for 10 connected vehicles with unlimited data is $310 per month.

How to obtain

You may either procure the equipment and data plan directly from hardware and network vendors or we can help.

Contact us at https://utilitycloud.us/ for more details.

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