2010 Best in IT Management of Mobile Devices

By  Kassandra Kania — November 05, 2010


Management Masters
Remote control tool helps satellite provider diagnose and resolve handheld issues.

MasTec Advanced Technologies specializes in the installation and service of satellite systems, home theater, and residential media services. Due to its seasonal business, the company deploys between 3,200 and 3,700 Intermec CN3s in the field over the course of a year. Field workers use the devices to perform day-to-day tasks such as appointment scheduling, assignment attendance, advanced reporting, messaging, and advanced inventory.

To maintain these devices effectively, MasTec needed a mobile device management solution. First and foremost, the company wanted to equip its support staff with remote control and helpdesk tools to diagnose and fix problems with its almost 4,000 handhelds, thereby improving visibility and lowering handheld support costs.

To meet these requirements, MasTec installed Soti's MobiControl on its fleet of mobile devices. The deployment process was seamlessly integrated into MasTec's quarter-end physical inventory through the use of pre-developed barcode sheets distributed to all offices. Once scanned by the handhelds, the barcodes automatically enabled the MobiControl software package to be downloaded and installed on the device.

"We were able to have our warehouse staff install the software while performing their normal inventory function on each handheld," says Amanda Kahler, manager, handheld support. "The remarkable part of the installation process was that we were able to install MobiControl on more than 2,844 Intermec CN3 handhelds in a 24-hour period without adding any appreciable inconvenience or delay to our inventory management process."

The solution has improved every facet of the handheld support process. "MobiControl equips us with the information and tools needed to resolve a majority of support calls within minutes," says Zach McGuire, group president. "Prior to MobiControl, many support calls resulted in the wireless device being shipped to our support depot for resolution as we lacked the ability to remotely monitor and manage the devices. With MobiControl, our shipping costs have been drastically reduced, our device availability metrics are under control, and our field workforce can focus on our customers." The company has saved an estimated $43,000 annually in shipping costs and eliminated the need to hire two additional full-time employees for the handheld support team.

Furthermore, MasTec can deploy new applications and updates to existing applications quickly and efficiently as well as track the location of handheld devices that have an onboard GPS chipset to help reduce loss, misplacement, and theft.

Going forward, the company expects to deploy additional handheld applications that will generate revenue. "These devices are a great way to stay connected with our mobile workforce in real time," says Kahler. "With MobiControl, we are able to push that connectivity further by enhancing how we communicate and use our devices in the field.


Controlling Mobile Pests
Mobile solution helps pest control company zap bugs and asset tracking issues.

Rollins provides pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents, and insects. But the company wasn't able to control and protect technicians' mobile devices in the field

"We didn't have a good way to track and manage our assets," says Tim Parks, director of support and operations. "We tracked them on a spreadsheet, so we found ourselves missing assets, being unable to account for them, and not knowing when they last connected."

Rollins deployed AirWatch mobile device management software to control approximately 2,200 mobile devices in its commercial business sector. Techs use either Motorola MC70s or Intermec CM50s to access the company's internal reporting and compliance application.

The solution has led to a decrease in missing and lost devices and provided much-needed technical support to remote users. "With the remote control that we have now, it's a lot easier to troubleshoot issues and provide better service to our end users," says Parks. "The deployment of software updates is also possible without having to ship the device back for any changes that need to be made." Prior to AirWatch, devices were shipped in for repairs or updates approximately 10 times a month, resulting in significant shipping costs and time spent in transit.

Personnel costs have also been drastically reduced. "Before, we had two to three people trying to track and manage things," says Parks. "Now we have one person providing support for 2,200 handhelds."


Consolidating Costs
Corporate-liable device program saves oilfield services company $1 million-plus annually.

With 2,200 individual lines of service at Weatherford International, costs for mobile phones were spiraling out of control. Users submitted their phone bills to Accounts Payable for reimbursement, burdening the department with thousands of bills to process every month.

"It was costly and time-consuming," says Edeniz Hernandez, supply chain specialist. "We had people expensing out their phones or partially expensing phones and data that applied to the business only. And then we had some lines that were company-owned." With no reporting mechanism in place, management had no visibility into costs or usage habits.

To address these issues, the company turned to Advantix Solutions Group to consolidate individually liable wireless accounts on the corporate account. Advantix developed a Web portal that allowed Weatherford to transition their lines of service with minimal end user interaction. The company now has one bill a month and is able to generate individual and manager reports of wireless data on a monthly basis.

The solution saves Weatherford around $1.23 million annually, based on the calculated base cost of services, and an estimated $84,433 annually based on removed features that were previously expensed but are no longer allowed on the company's wireless policy.

"Prior to Advantix, the average cost was between $120 and $150 per unit to submit and process an invoice," says Hernandez. "Now, our price per unit is about $70, and we're able to negotiate better terms and benefits from our carriers."


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