Rugged Mobile Devices Costs Less than Commercial-grade Devices

11/20/2003 - VDC recently completed a comprehensive survey with nearly 250 enterprise users of mobile computing solutions in harsh commercial and industrial operating environments. Five-year total costs of ownership (TCO) calculations reveal that the majority of users deploying rugged mobile computing devices spent less per operator per year than companies deploying commercial-grade devices.

Commercial-grade users often spent less per operator per year supporting lighter-duty, next-generation applications operating in less challenging physical environments. Examples of these deployments included: financial services, field sales, and hospitality.

VDC's TCO analysis accounted for a number of investments and expenses required to deploy and maintain mobile computing solutions. Major cost centers analyzed included:

  1. Mobile platform and peripheral hardware
  2. Software licenses and development fees
  3. System implementation, installation and integration
  4. Training for operators and support staff
  5. Ongoing maintenance and operation support - including warranties
  6. Replacement parts and spares
  7. Downtime costs - including lost operator productivity, IT staff support, and related

Two trends were apparent throughout the studies' seven vertical volumes:

  1. Hardware acquisition costs for commercial-grade devices are universally, significantly lower than rugged mobile device acquisition costs
  2. Ongoing maintenance, replacement and downtime costs associated with commercial-grade hardware solutions were almost universally higher than for rugged mobile solutions.

In most installation environments, these increased service, support and downtime costs, outweighed the lower cost of hardware acquisition, and left users of commercial-grade solutions spending more per operator, per year over 3- and 5-year lifecycles.

About VDC
Founded in 1971, VDC is a technology market research and consulting firm that specializes in industrial and commercial electronics, computing, communications, software and power systems markets. For further information about "Total Cost of Ownership Models for Mobile Computing and Communications Platforms: Industrial and Harsh Commercial Environments" or any other VDC service contact: Tim Shea, Senior Industry Analyst, 508-653-9000, Ext. 132,

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