One third of organisations say that mobile technology investment is a top priority, according to a study by Zebra Technologies.
Thirty-six percent of organisations said investment was a top priority, while an additional 58% said it was a growing priority to keep up with changing customer demand.
The Future of Field Operations study interviewed 2,075 mobility decision makers from 20 countries.
Zebra said that the survey results indicate that organisations are looking to deploy enterprise mobility devices to enhance front-line worker productivity and customer satisfaction in field operations including fleet management, field services, proof of delivery and direct store delivery workflows.
The survey shows today only one-fifth of organisations have a majority of their field-based operations using enterprise mobile devices. This is estimated to reach 50% in five years.
Respondents indicate most organizations intend to invest in handheld mobile computers, mobile printers and rugged tablets. From 2018 to 2023, handheld mobile computer usage with built-in barcode scanners is forecasted to grow by 45%, mobile printers by 53% and rugged tablets by 54%. The higher levels of inventory, shipment and asset accuracy provided by using these devices is expected to increase business revenues.
A key driver of productivity, efficiency and cost-savings in field operations is ensuring ruggedized enterprise devices replace traditional consumer ones. Nearly 80% of respondents usually or always conduct a total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis of business devices prior to making a capital expenditure. Only 32% of respondents believe that consumer smartphones have better TCO than rugged devices.
"Driven by the acceleration of e-commerce along with customer's heightened expectations and more focus within companies on differentiating service levels, the field operations industry is rapidly adapting the way it looks at its mobile technology investments," said Jim Hilton, Director of Vertical Marketing Strategy, Manufacturing, Transportation & Logistics, Zebra Technologies.
"Our study shows how growing challenges related to the on-demand economy drive organisations to adopt transformative, disruptive technologies such as augmented reality and intelligent labels to provide visibility and integrate business intelligence for a performance edge."