With the growing ubiquity of tablets and smartphones in the field, especially the iPad, it’s becoming increasingly important that field service techs are able to sync any other tools they use to these new gadgets, creating a seamless flow between devices.

For instance, a Socket Mobile now offers a line of rugged, wireless barcode scanners that can sync with almost any Internet-connected mobile device, from the iPads to Androids and BlackBerry gadgets — all of which are now showing up in field service techs’ tool belts.

There are other wireless, Bluetooth-enabled barcode scanners on the market —companies like Serialio, Motorola, and Intermec offer similar devices — but Socket Mobile’s scanners open up functionality with mobile operating systems like iOS and Android, which had been difficult to manage previously. By linking scanners to techs’ iPads, for instance, workers can parse data, order and track parts and inventory, build out order forms, check warranties or serialized parts, and track customer information right through their tablet apps.

All information read by the scanners, which look a little like electric shavers, is sent out in real-time, making a ton of data accessible by the service company right away. Data can be streamed from the scanner to any data application on a smart device, or companies can buy Socket Mobile’s software development kit and develop unique software themselves.

Socket Mobile says the scanners are being used primarily in healthcare, government, retail, and hospitality markets. They range in price from about $250 to $550 depending on the model. As enterprise mobility continues to move forward, and as consumer tablets like the iPad keep showing up in the field, we’re likely to see a lot more integration between old technologies and new ones.

Image used courtesy of Socket Mobile.

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