For businesses in certain industries, a simple mobile app may not always be enough. Often, mobile apps for businesses in manufacturing, technology, engineering and other industries, need to be integrated with some form of hardware in order to truly function in a way that improves business development and is useful to the company. A hardware-integrated solution, simply put, means a mobile system that is combined with outlying hardware in order to connect the two through an app, or other technology system. As mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets become more integrated into the workplace, especially in hands-on industries like manufacturing, they are constantly evolving to further benefit businesses with expanded functionality. One of these ways, is through integrating hardware.
The goal of hardware integration is to use mobile devices to replace other, traditional forms of controlling hardware, like a remote. Through a user interface on a mobile device, controlling hardware is made easier, more sleek, and has more capabilities than from a simple remote with a few buttons, as well as the added benefit of mobility, capability, and lower costs.
When Apple launched FaceTime in 2010, it showed a huge leap and advantage in combining hardware and software. By foregoing the need for a third party app and download, and simply providing users with an in-call button to switch to video call using their iPhone camera, Apple successfully integrated the phone’s hardware with FaceTime software, and gave users a unique experience that really put Apple on top (as if they weren’t already there). Apple “eliminated the friction” between hardware and software that is typically seen, according to TechCrunch.
As the “Internet of Things” becomes more and more of a reality, combining hardware and software shifts into popularity and has become a goal for many app and mobile developers, as well as a necessity for many businesses. From surveillance systems, to warehouse management, to medical equipment and home appliances, hardware integration makes life easier for consumers and employees, as well as lowers overall costs.
Hardware integration also increases overall productivity- the combined ease of a mobile app and hardware that does have to be manually controlled creates and environment of increased productivity and an easier workplace.
Though initial costs may be high to integrate hardware and create the necessary mobile technology, this integration will decrease business costs by way of maintenance, inventory, and less manufacturing and engineering costs.
Digital tools that utilize hardware integration also foster innovation- many of Apple’s iPhone feature, such as FaceTime in the previous example, combine software and hardware, allowing for greater innovation within Apple to create even better features to improve the lives of their consumers.
As mobile software becomes more and more advanced, linking it to hardware for some industries is almost becoming necessary. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said “You have to be in the hardware business and the software business, to get the best possible system. We believe it’s the right idea, we believe it’s the next generation of computing, we believe all the pieces have to fit together,” during a keynote speech at Oracle’s OpenWorld conference in Tokyo.
Hardware integration also creates a key competitive advantage for businesses- whether its because the workplace is improved and functions more effectively, or because their product is more appealing to consumers. Digital hardware solutions create a more effective space for many industries.
If your industry could be further improved by combining a mobile experience with hardware functionality, then a hardware-integration software solution may be a fit for you. At Enola Labs, we have successfully developed multiple automated hardware integration systems that can help provide businesses with a solution that improves efficiency and lowers overall costs. Our technical staff has decades of experience in building software strategies and solutions for Fortune 500 companies that overcome highly complex integrated enterprise challenges. To learn more about the expertise we can bring to your project, contact us to schedule a short Austin software consulting session- we’d love to hear what you’re creating.