Firms ramp up mobile outlay
Businesses in Asia-Pacific are ramping up investment in mobile technology, augmented reality, intelligent labels and blockchain in their field operations to differentiate their services from competitors and better serve customers, according to a survey by a US-based computer printing technology firm.
"The growth of e-commerce and high customer expectations are forcing companies to invest more in mobile technology," said Tan Aik Jin, vertical solutions lead in Asia-Pacific for Zebra Technologies, citing the firm's survey "Future of Field Operations".
The online survey interviewed 2,075 mobility decision makers from 20 countries.
Many organisations, under increasing challenges from the on-demand economy, are pivoting to augmented reality and intelligent labels to bolster business performance, Mr Jin said.
He urged businesses in Thailand and Asia-Pacific to be careful about delays in services and delivery because customers are becoming more impatient about shoddy operations.
The growth of e-commerce increases channels for consumers to order goods and services, while online feedback platforms have forced service providers to maintain their performance standards, said Zebra.
Global e-commerce retail sales are expected to reach US$4.48 trillion by 2021.
Mr Jin said global marketing research firm Nielsen indicated Thailand's online retail commerce market, excluding online travel, is expected to reach $3 billion by next year, an increase of $2 billion from 2015.
He indicated there will be more deployment of handheld mobile devices, including rugged tablets, to accommodate field mobility.
"Thailand is one of Asia-Pacific's key markets for investment in enterprise mobile technology, which has been growing gradually," said Mr Jin.
Firms here tend to equip their field workers with mobile technology to enhance their work effectiveness and in response to customer expectations.
This development can be seen in various field operations, including fleet management and delivery.
In Asia-Pacific, 44% of organisations surveyed view mobility investment as a priority.
Some 58% of them are expected to use mobile technology in 97% of their operations by 2023.
The use of handheld mobile devices with built-in barcode scanners in the region is expected to grow by 41% from last year to 2023.
The adoption of mobile printers and rugged tablets is expected to rise by 60% and 57%, respectively, during the same period.
The use of these devices is expected to enhance the management of inventory, shipments and assets, resulting in higher business revenue.
He said the use of sensors, radio-frequency identification and intelligent labels by regional organisations is projected to rise to 98% over the next five years.
Augmented reality applications will be used to deal with detail-oriented tasks, with blockchain technology rolled out to track goods and documents.
Siwaj Rojanatemsak, Thailand country manager of Zebra, said three major updates that could happen in field operations are growing customer expectations of more convenience, replacement of paper by mobile technology, and new technologies in the segment.