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More than Half of APAC’s leading organizations see mobile technology investment as key to improving business performance

Zebra Technologies Corporation, an innovator at the edge of the enterprise with solutions and partners that enable businesses to gain a performance edge, today  announced the results of its latest Future of Field Operations APAC Vision Study, which revealed mobile technology investment to be a growing priority for 60 percent of Asia-Pacific organizations. The study indicates that investments will be made in disruptive technologies and enterprise mobile 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. 

“Driven by the acceleration of e-commerce along with customers’ heightened expectations and increased focus within companies on differentiating service levels, the field operations industry is rapidly changing the way it looks at mobile technology investments,” said Tan Aik Jin, APAC Vertical Solutions Lead, Manufacturing and Transportation & Logistics for Zebra Technologies.Our study shows how growing challenges related to the on-demand economy drive organizations to adopt transformative, disruptive technologies such as augmented reality and intelligent labels to provide visibility and integrate business intelligence for a performance edge.”

The digital-savvy population of the Philippines has been key in the increasing adoption of e-commerce in the country. More Filipinos are now inclined to acquire goods and services online. Last year, 70 percent of Filipino internet users made at least one online purchase. Consumers’ growing preference for online shopping is spurred by the convenience e-commerce provides, which in turn is fast-tracking the rise of the “on-demand” economy, revolutionizing commercial behavior not just in Asia Pacific but also in the rest of the world. 

“Our study highlights the top three trends driving changes in field operations across the Asia-Pacific. These are the growing expectations of performance and convenience from end customers, replacement of paper in the field by mobile technology, and disruptions to field operations caused by emerging technologies and faster networks,” said Tracy Yeo, Country Lead for the Philippines, Zebra Technologies. “In Asia-Pacific, more than half of the organizations have a mobile-first mindset when it comes to adopting enterprise-wide mobile and emerging technologies. These forward-thinking organizations are setting their field operations apart with three key strategies: scaling of mobile technology and supporting technologies enterprise-wide, evaluating total cost of ownership of mobile technology as a standard practice and utilizing emerging field operations technologies more extensively to achieve  competitive advantage.”

Equipping front-line workers in APAC with enterprise mobile devices remains a priority to stay competitive. 

In Asia-Pacific, up to 44 percent of the organizations view mobility investment as a top priority.

As much as 58 percent of Asia-Pacific organizations are expanding mobile technology to enterprise-wide use – reaching 97 percent by 2023. 

From 2018 to 2023, the use of handheld mobile computers with built-in bar-code scanners in Asia-Pacific is projected to grow by 41 percent, mobile printers by 60 percent and rugged tablets by 57 percent. The higher levels of inventory, shipment and asset accuracy provided by using these devices is expected to increase business revenues. 

Tertiary concerns and post-sale factors are important for organizations when evaluating front-line worker enterprise mobile devices. 

Mobile-first organizations in the Asia-Pacific are conducting total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis prior to a major capital expenditure on mobil technology up to 83 percent of the time. 

Only 34 percent of the survey respondents believe that consumer smartphones have better TCO than rugged devices. 

Emerging technologies and faster networks are disrupting field operations. 

Mobile-first organizations in Asia-Pacific tend to be early adopters of emerging efficiency-boosting field operations technologies. 

Mobile-first organizations in the Asia-Pacific are expected to:  

    • Implement the use of sensors, radio frequency identification (RFID) and intelligent labels from 76 percent to 98 percent from the end of 2018 to 2023. 
    • Make greater use of augmented reality applications from 68 percent to 95 percent from the end of 2018 to 2023, which can make detail-oriented workflows such as merchandising more efficient.
    • Have broader use of blockchain from 68 percent to 96 percent from the end of 2018 to 2023 to track chains of custody of goods or document service by multiple partnering firms.

Key regional findings

  • Asia-Pacific: 44 percent of respondents consider truck loading automation among one of the most disruptive technologies compared to 28 percent globally.
  • Europe, Middle East and Africa: 70 percent of respondents agree e-commerce is driving the need for faster field operations.
  • Latin America: 83 percent agree that faster wireless networks (4G/5G) are boosting investment in new field operations technologies compared with 70 percent of the global sample.
  • North America: 36 percent of respondents plan to use rugged tablets by next year.


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