Mobile & Tech

Single-Purpose Devices: The Next Big Thing in Field Service Mobility?

Field service technology is especially hard to get right: devices loaded with bar code scanning and other complex software can cause nightmarish reliability problems for IT. So what if companies could install a customizable operating system on devices that allows them to control which software runs on it, depending on the particular job at hand? Hristo Bojinov, the CEO of Anfacto, a startup that is developing a modifiable Android-based OS, explains why single-purpose devices are ideal for field service.

What’s the problem in field service that you’re trying to solve?

Enterprise applications today don’t let employers deploy and manage large software installations and have control over what runs on devices, when they get updated and whether users can go outside the boundaries that the administrator has defined. The challenge is less about the end-user and more about the company deploying the devices.

My partners and I had been working in the Android/enterprise MDM space at Google and 3LM, a company Motorola acquired, and we saw the need to take OS customization a step further. Some verticals, in particular, stand to benefit a lot from full control of the user experience as well as a product that’s designed with IT efficiency in mind.

Why is your OS better than the status quo, where field service operators buy and manage their own devices?

Our product delivers a seamless experience, and a lot of the capabilities are enabled by OS-level technologies that we have developed. Those are simply not available to an app-only solution. With FleetOS, for instance, the administrator can specify exactly which applications will exist and run on the device. The user has no ability to reconfigure any aspect of the user experience. The administrator has the ability to control the update schedule for applications, as well as for the whole OS.

In which industries or situations do you think FleetOS would be ideal?

We target a range of industries, from commerce/transportation to hospitality and event planning, healthcare and utilities. When it comes to user privacy, auditing, and other regulations, our product is a must-have.

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