2024 A Year For Mobility Partnership - Image by David from PixabayI’ve always thought speculating on next year’s business trends is much like predicting the weather. We can make an educated guess but the minute you decide that you don’t need your umbrella is the moment you get caught in a downpour.

However, what I can confidently say as we enter 2024 is that businesses are facing a period of uncertainty. On the one hand, socioeconomic clouds continue to hang across Europe in the form of higher costs, supply chain challenges and skilled labour shortages. However, there are also encouraging beams of sunlight breaking through in the shape of technologies, such as 5G and AI, that promise to transform the way we do business in the mobility space.

Although the pathway is somewhat unclear and things are fast-moving, it promises to be an exciting year of change for 2024. At these times, more than ever, businesses should remain agile and work closely with their trusted partners to guide them through this period.

Increasing adoption of 5G and AI

In the world of mobile workforces, 5G in the form of private networks promises to unlock a new wave of productivity. The uninterrupted connectivity, high bandwidth and additional security of 5G private networks will be transformative for:

  • Business and education campuses
  • Transport hubs like airports and ports
  • Those hyper mobile workers in fields such as emergency services, logistics and maintenance and repairs

Devices that can take advantage of these networks are, of course, something that Panasonic TOUGHBOOK is already well prepared for.

I won’t win any prizes for predicting that AI will continue to have a big impact in 2024, but its effect on the mobile workforce is still only just beginning to take shape. However, the potential opportunities look exciting. Imagine, for example, the learnings of a maintenance and repair team in the field instantly being made available via an AI app on a mobile device for everyone in the workforce to call upon and benefit from.

Fast growth sectors

As well as exciting technology opportunities, there are also fast growth industry sectors where business in 2024 will continue to drive innovation, including:

  • The impact of battery-power in the automotive industry
  • The utility sectors move to renewables from legacy systems
  • Goods tracking in the logistics and retail industries
  • Advanced communications in the emergency services

A mobility partner for built-in flexibility

As opportunities arise, businesses will increasingly rely on a mobility partner to help them respond and take advantage of these innovation sectors and applications such as 5G and AI. As a result, I believe 2024 will also be the year of the mobility partner. It’s no longer enough to be a rugged device manufacturer. Mobility is complex and will become increasingly so. That’s why our focus is to continue to evolve our services to become a true mobility partner for customers.

Let me give you some examples. As different personas in the mobile workforce continue to rise, support in specifying the right device and peripherals to meet varying team needs is becoming ever more important.

Flexibility on how customers can buy their devices is another popular talking point. Businesses desire flexibility, such as an OPEX monthly finance solution, as well as the traditional CAPEX purchase option.

But it doesn’t end there. Once the rugged devices have been chosen, already busy in-house teams often want staging and roll-out support. As new opportunities arise, a partner that can offer ongoing management, development and support to optimise the deployment is important. And, of course, when devices do fail, mobile workers require a replacement device immediately to avoid costly downtime. At the same time, the issue can be resolved using a 48-hour repair and replacement service from a European-based configuration and repair centre.

Answering the call for sustainability

Lastly, as we move into 2024, there will be a continued focus on sustainability. It’s a year when I believe our REVIVE programme will come into its own. When TOUGHBOOK devices are ready for replacement, this innovative scheme enables customers to send them back to us. We then refurbish and repurpose their TOUGHBOOK devices for sale or donation in the secondary market or recycle them responsibly.

Look forward to sunshine, prepare for rain

So, although there may be uncertainty as we enter 2024, there are still plenty of bright spots on the horizon in the form of growth industry sectors, transformative new technologies and advances in mobility support. As a realistic optimist, I’m hoping for bright weather – but remember – don’t forget your umbrella!

Panasonic ConnectPanasonic Connect Europe began operations on October 1st, 2021, creating a new Business-to-Business focused and agile organisation. With more than 400 employees and led by CEO Hiroyuki Nishiuma, the business aims to contribute to the success of its customers with innovative products and integrated systems and services – all designed to deliver its vision to Change Work, Advance Society and Connect to Tomorrow.

Panasonic Connect Europe is headquartered in Wiesbaden and consists of the following business divisions:

  • The Mobile Solutions Business Division helps mobile workers improve productivity with its range of Toughbook rugged notebooks, business tablets and handhelds.
  • The Media Entertainment Business Division incorporating Visual System Solutions offers a range of high brightness and reliable projectors as well as high quality displays; and Broadcast & ProAV offers Smart Live Production solutions from an end-to-end portfolio consisting of PTZ and system cameras, camcorders, the Kairos IT/IP platform, switchers and robotic solutions that are widely used for live event capture, sports production, television, and xR studios.
  • Business and Industry Solutions delivers tailored technology solutions focused on Retail, Logistics and Manufacturing, using its unique Gemba Process Innovation approach. Its purpose is to increase operational efficiency and enhance customer experience, helping businesses to perform at their best, every day.
  • Panasonic Factory Solutions Europe is helping to make smart factories a reality with its wide range of automated solutions including electronics manufacturing solutions, robot and welding systems and software solutions engineering.

For more information about the Mobile Solutions Business Division, please visit: https://eu.connect.panasonic.com/gb/en/product-groups/toughbook-homepage


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