Raco streamlines rugged device deployment for enterprise IT

Integrator teams device makers, T-Mobile; also, cheaper data plans

Raco Wireless has forged partnerships with three ruggedized mobile device makers to streamline deployment of handheld bar code scanners, printers, computers, RFID readers and other specialized devices. Raco is bridging a gap that's traditionally existed between these specialized device companies and the value-added resellers that work with enterprise customers.

Raco worked out deals with Honeywell, Intermec and Motorola Solutions to preconfigure their rugged mobile products with SIM cards, before they're shipped. And with T-Mobile, it worked out an array of flexible three-year data plans, and attractive pricing, to correspond to the device makers' three-year product warranties.

BACKGROUND: A look at how ruggedized handhelds are designed

Raco is T-Mobile USA's primary and preferred systems integrator for deploying machine-to-machine cellular wireless solutions for the carrier's business customers. Those solutions encompass such diverse applications vehicle/fleet management, cargo tracking, traffic efficiency systems, health monitoring and alerting, electric metering and "smart grid" applications. [see "M2M Market Review 2012" by Tolaga Research, Newton, Mass.]

The new agreements represent a branching out by Raco, to cover end user mobile devices, though targeting specialized and rugged devices -- instead of consumer-oriented handhelds such as the iPhone or iPad -- for demanding industrial applications and sites.

"The VARs are still in the picture," says John Horn, president of Cincinatti, Ohio-based Raco. "When they order these devices now, they get them with the SIM card already installed, and much better service plans [already in place]." The new plans can even reflect seasonality requirements, if the devices are not used during winter or summer months, for example.

Horn won't be specific about the pricing for the new plans, but says they are "at least 50%" less than the industry average.

In the past, VARs would order scores or hundreds of these specialized devices, add the SIM cards themselves and then negotiate with carriers to find the best deal for a given enterprise deployment.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World. : http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww john_cox@nww.com

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