Conker and Computing Webinar

Conker and Computing join forces to bring you this webinar on The business-rugged sweet spot: Choosing fit-for-purpose, robust mobile devices, and service models.

This webinar discusses how industries using mobile devices in challenging working environments are counting the costs of selecting the wrong kit. James Summers, our CEO, joins the panel, bringing his valuable knowledge and expertise to this insightful webinar.

The mobile workforce, including those working in challenging or hazardous business environments, are frequently using consumer mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, and laptops) with a bespoke app or two inside a – supposedly – rugged case, or the variety of devices preferred by military engineers.

One is ‘under-specced’, and the other is ‘over-specced’. Most enterprises ignore the ‘goldilocks’ center. Putting a plastic cover on a mobile device and a screen protector is rarely good enough, resulting in frequent and expensive repairs, early replacement, and loss of work time. On the other hand, military-grade equipment is expensive, heavy, and still in use long after its sell-by date.

This research discussed in this webinar will examine how industries that are equipping fieldwork staff, and others working in challenging business situations, with mobile devices, are experiencing productivity woes as a result of using the wrong kit.  What are the priorities for meeting demanding and challenging environments with devices and systems that transform core business processes, the benefits of using business-rugged devices, and the appeal of Rugged-as-a-Service models?

Credit, Computing.

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This webinar discusses how industries using mobile devices in challenging work environments are counting the cost of using the wrong kit. We’ll also explore the best way to go about selecting devices for your organization, and learn from those who are getting it right.

To help tackle this, we were joined by James Summers, Founder, and CEO of Conker, Brett Cooper, Senior Geo-Technical Software Specialist at Fugro, and Andrew Hobbs, Research Analyst Enterprise Technology at Incisive Media.

James Summers says

Well, fundamentally, the issue with putting shoulder pads on something is that it doesn’t stop you getting smacked in the face, and shoulder pads look good, we get the idea, and sure, that is part of protecting a device, but there is a lot more that you want to protect, and the working conditions that people are discussing there, even the connectivity issue that seems like it’s a little on a tangent, organisations demand all of that.

James Summers;

Putting shoulder pads on a device won’t generally protect from liquids, bright light and extreme temperatures, both high and low, something the batteries in regular devices don’t like. So ruggedisation is about much more than just that tough look, just those shoulder pads, as it were.

Brett Cooper:

If you’re going to purchase a number of devices, then approach the suppliers early, and most suppliers are more than happy to work with you and give you demo devices. Get your hands on them, take them out to where you’re actually going to use them, and test them properly.

James Summers:

There’s also standard industry data out there for failure rates, and obviously everything will vary for that, and so users can ask those questions. I think failure rates in year one for consumer devices when they’re used in a context where a rugged device would have been more suitable, is about 18%, and over three years, it’s almost 100%.

What additional features does Conker offer?

James Summers:

It’s really about serviceability, and the interesting thing about consumer devices and the growth in IP protection and consumer devices is just the amount of stories where people tell me about their wife dropping it in the toilet, and proving that the IP protection isn’t there. Because what happens when you drop a device is that, actually, you start to wear down the seals. A couple of device drops in the house, a couple of drops in the street, and then suddenly it gets wet, and you wonder why that ingress protection that you were sold on is no longer there.

Andrew Hobbs:

So we were asked, “What are your organization’s main motivations behind using mobile devices?” We asked participants to select three maximum, so although some of those further down may be of interest to participants, we’re trying to get a handle on what the main motivations are, and surprisingly, productivity gains has come out on top, at just under half. And that’s obviously linked with connectivity and communication, and perhaps the other side of this productivity coin is an improved working environment.

Andrew Hobbs:

What’s interesting here is, when a mobile device goes down, you’re losing all these advantages, you’re losing those productivity gains, the ability to collect data.

James Summers:

Historically, rugged devices have usually had user replaceable batteries, but that function of the device is added to the overall bulk of the device. And I think there’s this real push for the device to be ever smaller and ever more portable, even with rugged, which is always going to be that little bit larger than consumer devices. We’re now offering, and other people in the market are offering, devices that don’t have user replaceable batteries, and that’s going to come down to the individual choice as to how you handle that.

James Summers:

What’s still critical though is that, that device isn’t sealed, isn’t glued together, so it comes down to the serviceability of the device. Conker’s view on this is straightforward, but we’re not in the box shipping business. We’re in the uptime business. We hold more parts by value than we do stock. That immediacy of availability for support, for parts, for repair, that whole service element, that’s actually more important than getting the box out in the first instance.

Andrew Hobbs:

So we’ve got a couple of statements now that really just reinforce the findings we’ve seen so far. First up, we asked, on a scale of one to five, one being strongly disagree, and five being strongly agree, to what extent do you agree with the following statements? First up, we said the short life cycle of consumer devices makes them more expensive in the long run, and we’ve talked a bit about this already, but you can see here that it’s very strongly rated to the agree side, and I think it’s clear from that, that many people have been stung in the past by specifying consumer devices, and then having issues with reliability down the line.

James Summers:

I think they need help with understanding that fit for purpose piece. Organisations come to us, rightly, with a concern about cost, and rightly, with a motivation to boost productivity, and those answers have screamed through in the data, in the answers to the surveys posted today. But people still need help with that fit for purpose piece, and really calls out to what Brett is saying about testing devices.

James Summers:

It’s not just a case of choosing a commodity, like you patch to a desktop PC. That device has got to go out in the field. You’ve got to start with one, and it’s got to be in the hands of your users, because if there isn’t user acceptance, then the project fails. You might spec a device, a seven inch that’s on the desk here, and the user says, “But I can’t see the information.” Or conversely that, “It’s too big. I need it to fit in my pocket.” That real world testing has got to be done.

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About Conker

Founded in 2008, Conker is a British producer of business-rugged tablets, touch screens, and mobile devices, providing durable and reliable systems for successful digital transformation.

The firm’s consultative approach delivers fit-for-purpose solutions that improve productivity and streamline business processes, supported by its easy-to-work-with UK-based service team. Customers include Eastern Forklift Trucks Limited and the food waste company, Winnow Solutions. Conker has a partnership with Fusion UEM by VXL and intends to expand its technology partnerships.

Led by founder and CEO, James Summers, Conker’s collaborative approach now empowers mobile workers to measurably improve productivity and make their lives easier by automating the mundane and streamlining business processes.

The business has received recognition within The Financial Times’ FT 1000: Europe’s Fastest-Growing Companies (2018) and Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 (2017). The company legally trades as Tablet Technologies Ltd. For more information visit: