Windows Sunset Still Happens – Supply Chain Management Review

Microsoft’s decision a few years ago to phase out or end support for its Windows CE and Windows Mobile operating systems by 2020 does not mean that migrating to cart computers forklifts running alternatives such as Android is over.

Legacy Windows operating systems were so widely used on forklifts that some organizations are still making the transition and have issues to consider when migrating to new devices, says Edwin Ringle, Principal Solutions Consultant for Peak Technologies , one of the largest in the country. integrators and value-added resellers of mobile devices and mobility solutions.

“It’s been a few years now [since the sunset], and while some companies have migrated to newer devices, many others haven’t yet, either due to budget constraints or because the pandemic has somehow slowed down the migration,” says Ringle. “In fact, we are seeing ongoing migration efforts in our customer base, and we expect this to continue through the end of 2022 and even into 2023.”

Running an unsupported operating system, Ringle adds, poses a computer security risk because security patches and feature updates are not available for older Windows operating systems. Best to upgrade to newer devices on a supported operating system. Fortunately, major manufacturers of rugged mobile forklift computers offer a variety of Android options, including more traditional vehicle assembly units (VMUs) and rugged Android tablets.

For companies still considering this migration, key considerations include whether to opt for a tablet or a VMU, with task flexibility being the main draw for Android tablets on forklifts, Ringle says.

“As part of the migration efforts still ongoing today, we are seeing some customers moving to tablets on their forklifts,” says Ringle. “Some customers, instead of using a dedicated VMU, are considering tablets with a quick release feature on the stand so operators can easily detach the device from the forklift and use it for other purposes off the forklift. , such as cycle counting.Some tablets come with built-in barcode readers for this purpose.

Analyst firm VDC Research estimated last August that the forklift-mounted computer market, valued at $172 million in 2020, will reach $203 million by 2025 at a CAGR of 2.8%.

VDC also sees two key Android variants – VMUs and more traditional tablets – with tablet growth expected to outpace overall market growth. VDC noted that after sluggish sales in 2020, forklift computer sales picked up in 2021, driven by activity in the Asian and European markets.

While rugged tablets excel at flexibility out of the truck and work well with cellular services, one issue to consider with tablets is the effects of vibration, Ringle says, particularly when it comes to the mount providing a connection. reliable and vibration resistant. with the tablet while driving the forklift.

Ringle advises that if a company wants to look at Android-based tablets with a quick release, the stand should have a sturdy design to withstand vibration. That said, Android tablets can be an attractive option for forklifts that involve frequent tasks such as exception handling or cycle counting that may require the operator to get off the truck.

Regardless of the option (Android-based VMU or Android rugged tablet), more and more companies are opting for ring or wrist-mounted scanners to allow greater freedom of movement and hands-free operation, says Ringle.

There are connection considerations that come into play as companies pursue migration, Ringle adds. For one thing, newer computers may not be compatible with older Wi-Fi systems or security protocols that some sites still use. In some cases, Ringle says, it may be necessary to upgrade Wi-Fi to support newer Android devices.

Another option, Ringle adds, is to consider business-class cellular service as the wireless infrastructure for mobile devices on forklifts, rather than Wi-Fi. mobile devices, it is important for larger fleets or operations to have a mobile device management (MDM) solution or provider to enable centralized device updating and management.

Several MDMs are on the market, Ringle adds, including some free, but when it comes to forklift computing, it’s crucial that MDM can use application programming interfaces for all aspects of hardware so that barcode scanning engine and keyboards can be supported. with MDM, as well as security and operating system updates.

Companies that have switched to Android devices for forklifts love the platform’s speed and reliability, Ringle reports, as well as the graphical user interface and operating system look and feel, which many young workers have come to expect. grown up using on mobile. Telephone (s.

“These rugged Android devices just work – they’re very reliable,” says Ringle. “Overall, they provide a good user experience, thanks to the graphical user interface capability and navigation that many workers are familiar with from smart phones. When a young worker picks up an Android tablet, many already know how it works, thanks to that familiarity. »

Finally, a touchscreen-only device is not always practical for scenarios such as cold storage where operators must wear gloves. In cases where gloves are worn, an Android-based VMU with a keyboard, or a tablet and stand with a physical keyboard, works better than a touchscreen, Ringle says.

About the Author

Roberto Michel Roberto Michel, editor-in-chief of Modern, has been covering trends in manufacturing and supply chain management since 1996, primarily as a former editor and former contributor to Manufacturing Business Technology. He has been a contributor to Modern since 2004. He has worked on numerous daily newspapers, including ProMat, North American Material Handling Logistics, and National Manufacturing Week. You can reach him at: [email protected]

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