When the latest and greatest mobile phone debuts, it can seem like the best course of action to upgrade immediately. However, that is not always the most effective or efficient decision, especially if the devices still have some life left in them. According to Statista, in 2022, the average lifespan of an enterprise device was 2.42 years before replacement, but they project the average life of a device will go down to 2.28 years by 2025. To get a variety of perspectives on mobile refresh trends, as well as to identify some benefits and challenges, we reached out to AOTMP® enterprise members to capture their perspectives.
Glenn Leatherwood, Valmont Industries, Inc.
We are running an average of about three years for our mainstream users. Maybe two years, but typically we have to remind our users it’s time to upgrade. We expect some users to want the latest and greatest when they are released, but it is typically 15% of our install base that keeps the bleeding edge current. We can easily use “buddy upgrades” to accommodate them.
First and foremost, the value we see in refreshing mobile devices is security. It is important to keep devices current to ensure vulnerabilities are minimized — that’s how old some of our devices on the plant floor can get. Secondly, the performance and reliability of the devices and their ability to support connections to devices such as Bluetooth, WiFi, NFC, etc.
Tracy Chinn, Wilbur-Ellis
We do not have an official refresh schedule due to the high cost of the devices. We advise our employees to only refresh the device if they start experiencing issues with their current device in regard to battery life or other performance issues. Our industry (Agriculture) is pretty hard on the devices to begin with, so we do normally end up refreshing the devices every 2-4 years, but do not have an official schedule.
Devin Taylor, Abt Electonics
The vast majority of our cellular lines are in use by our drivers and technicians. Most of our other staff is BYOD, but we do have some personnel, managers, and others that have work issued devices. For these users, the upgrade schedule is largely based on when the device no longer functions as expected and is not a set rule.
For our Drivers and Technicians, it is a different story. With technology rapidly advancing, we had a breakthrough a few years back. The “budget” phones were powerful enough and had good enough cameras to run our internal applications. With this knowledge, we unified our fleet’s phones to one budget android device. Taking advantage of carrier deals, we upgrade the budget device every 24 months, and as old devices are transitioned out, we wipe and send to a recovery service to recoup the remaining value of the device.