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Improve ROI by investing in a mobile workforce - do it

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Improve ROI by investing in a mobile workforce
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Once you have a strategic mobile plan in place that defines how to incorporate mobile capabilities within your IT infrastructure, it's time to acquire the proper equipment, establish the infrastructure to support mobile applications, develop policies for the mobile workforce and implement these solution components. This section walks you through the basics of finding the right equipment for your company and establishing a mobile application architecture.

Equip yourself with mobile access devices

When you're ready to start shopping for mobile devices, along with the hardware and software to support your solution, begin by determining which products will best meet the data requirement needs, and then consider the portability aspects of the product. By using this approach, you'll ensure that the mobile workforce always has the right information at the right time, contributing to the optimum return on your investment.
If your workforce needs access to sensitive company data or the Internet regularly, but is often far from Wi-Fi hotspots, you'll need to employ mobile devices that use embedded 3G technology (HP Mobile Broadband) or Mobile Broadband (WWAN).
That's because Mobile Broadband technology offers more consistent remote access than Wi-Fi technology. Instead of requiring users to be in range of a wireless computer network, the technology can be used from almost anywhere a person can use a cell phone. Plus, it can combine with Bluetooth technology to let workers use hands-free speakerphones, for example, or synchronize data wirelessly.
Take a look at the following types of products during your search:
•  Notebook PCs, which come in both standard and ultra lightweight versions, have large, wide-screen displays and can display high-end, dedicated graphics. Battery life on some notebooks PCs is quite long, and can enable workers to stay connected up to 15 hours without plugging in with optional additional batteries.
•  Tablet PCs feature touchscreens and the ability to take notes by hand directly onto the screen.
•  Mobile printers come with both color and black and white printing capabilities.
•  Handheld computers now include advanced security features and GPS (global positioning system) options.
Equip yourself with mobile access devices
•  Smartphones, some of which can be used in multiple countries, let your workforce can stay connected worldwide.

Wireless connections

As mentioned previously, your mobile workforce needs connectivity capability, either HP Mobile Broadband, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth. Here's a look at each option.
HP Mobile Broadband is an embedded 3G broadband technology that works in conjunction with a wireless service provider that supplies nationwide coverage. By using the latest wireless technology, mobile workers experience connection speeds comparable to DSL (digital subscriber line) that are standard in most workplaces. All Mobile Broadband data traffic is secured between the notebook and cellular tower with 128-bit encryption—the same level used in e-commerce transactions. Because the connection technology is incorporated into the device, no additional equipment is necessary. Upgrades are easy for most products and generally cost less to maintain than other wireless technologies.
Mobile Broadband technology can also provide high connection speeds and reliable security, although connections are made using a wireless PC card that's an additional piece of equipment to purchase. A variety of manufacturers offer this device. This is a good short-term option for Mobile Broadband capabilities, but lost cards and the potential for damage or misuse of the cards makes it a less-desirable option than embedded 3G technology. However, if you already have existing notebook PCs or handheld mobile devices that you want to use for a mobile solution, a wireless PC card can be a smart way to retrofit the PC and get started. You can use cards in existing PCMCIA (Personal Computer Memory Card International Association) slots, ExpressCard slots or USB (universal serial bus) ports.
Wi-Fi is a technology that relies on wireless "hotspots" for connections. As a result, mobile users must be in a specific location that offers wireless Internet access to use the device. Wireless hotspots are often provided by hotels, restaurants and airports free of charge in support of customer demand for this service. Wi-Fi connections are prone to security breaches, however, because most Wi-Fi hotspots use unsecured networks.
Bluetooth is a wireless networking protocol that enables devices in a PAN (personal area network) to communicate with one another. If you're new to Bluetooth, you can learn more about Bluetooth and how to use it at HP Bluetooth Solutions.
VPNs are a secure, cost-effective method for connecting remote employees directly to private company networks via the Internet, or through the use of software. A VPN differs from traditional WAN (wide area network) connections because it doesn't transmit data over phone or other physical lines. As a result, VPNs are generally less expensive and easier to maintain than a WAN setup. There are multiple types of VPNs that can be established and a variety of methods are deployed to ensure VPNs are secure, such as firewalls and encryption.
Note: If you're considering mobile deployment as an enterprise solution, browse the HP Enterprise Mobility Suite website for further information.

Establish the mobile application architecture

Once you've determined the right devices for your mobile workforce, you need to establish the mobile application architecture. Most devices run on Microsoft Exchange Server software, although some require different software. When you purchase your mobile devices, you need to verify the required mobile application architecture and plan to install new software or hardware, if that's required.
In the Use It section, you'll see how a mobile office can work with ease while maintaining strong levels of security.
•  Next: Use it

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