MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- Mobile field asset management (FAM) solutions use wireless and global positioning system (GPS) technologies to track local fleets, field service trunk inventory, and products/cargo on the move.
Increased visibility into the real-time location and condition of mobile assets can provide companies with a healthy hard-dollar return on investment (ROI).
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan
, "2010 North American Mobile Field Asset Management (FAM) Market," finds that the market earned application software revenues of approximately $661 million in 2009 and forecasts this to reach $2.0 billion in 2015.
"Respondents to the Frost & Sullivan 2009 Mobile Enterprise Applications survey identified three major ROI impacts of their FAM deployments," says Frost & Sullivan Senior Industry Analyst Jeanine Sterling. "First, they experienced improved field service response times; second, faster trouble ticket resolution; and third, a significant decrease in worker overtime hours. Knowing where your local fleet vehicles are and what specific inventory you have in the back of those trucks ensures that service requests are fulfilled promptly."
Although the mobile FAM solutions segment continues to gain traction and legitimacy in the North American market, a brisker adoption rate is being blocked in some segments by high-priced hardware and persisting overall economic turbulence.
Even though the application software and accompanying wireless data usage can be billed on a monthly per-user basis, mobile FAM solutions tend to require expensive hardware, such as cellular modems for fleet management, pager-size wireless asset tags for mobile cargo monitoring, and barcode or radio frequency identification (RFID) scanners for cargo and inventory tracking.
"All of these hardware options are pricey propositions and can present a hefty upfront investment that, in this economic climate, is prohibitive," admits Sterling. "Vendors and channels realize this and are working on lowering the financial burden for customers."
Device manufacturers continue to work on making their products more affordable. Often, customers can negotiate some sort of financing arrangement to spread the hardware expense over a period of time or they can commit to a multi-year contract and have hardware costs waived altogether.
Vendors are also using lower-risk pilots or limited deployments to convince high-potential FAM users that the benefits of the solution compensate for the upfront costs.
"A well-designed 30-day pilot can be enlightening and mitigate concerns about mobile FAM costs, data security, and worker upheaval," observes Sterling.