Kieran Carroll is MiTAC Europe’s Senior Product Manager for Enterprise. Kieran started his career in government sales of commercial products at Standard Communications before moving on to product manage the Navman Australasia business, taking it from a start-up to a market leadership position within five years. He relocated to the UK with MiTAC in 2008 and has held various roles within the consumer and B2B business units since then.
With experience in both technical and commercial sides of business, Kieran holds an Advanced Diploma in Electrical Technology and a Diploma in Business Marketing from TAFE NSW, in addition to an MBA from the University of Liverpool, where his research was centred on Corporate Social Responsibility.
How long has Varlink been in partnership with MioWORK?
MiTAC have been partnered with Varlink since 2012. Varlink have been key to our UK distribution strategy due to an excellent partner support infrastructure and enthusiasm for innovation in the mobile computing space.
For those who may not be familiar with MioWORK could you give us a brief company history?
MioWORK was launched in 2011 as a B2B brand of MiTAC International Corp and represented in EMEA by MiTAC Europe. MioWORK develops and markets products that enable users to take advantage of the latest developments in mobility.
Kieran how long have you been working for MioWORK?
I have been working on the MioWORK business since its inception in 2011.
Tell me about the product range – What’s so special about the products?
In the past verticals such as retail, hospitality and field service have either opted for fully rugged solutions which exceed their requirements, or consumer devices in padded cases, which are not ideal. The MioWORK products combine the ease of use of consumer devices with the ruggedness of commercial products.
All your products run on the Android® operating system how do you find it?
We selected Android® for MioWORK for two main reasons. As Android® is the number one operating system on consumer grade devices (widely used in specific verticals) it is important for us to enable the switch from consumer to semi-rugged devices as smoothly as possible. Android® is a very flexible and well understood operating system. It is straight-forward to obtain or develop applications for, allowing our partners to bring effective solutions to market a lot faster than in the past.
How would you compare Android® to Windows®?
Windows® and Android® both have a function to perform in enterprise. For a long time Windows® has been the defacto operating system across many industries. In mature segments Windows® remains strong but these are not the verticals which are driving growth. There is a lot of disruption in customer facing environments such as retail, hospitality, healthcare and field sales and these verticals are typically not tied to legacy operating systems. These are the verticals in which Android® is leaping ahead.
What advice would you give to resellers migrating to Android?
Android® has only been on the market for five years yet it is now the dominant OS on mobile devices and it is not going away. My advice to resellers would be to familiarise themselves with the unique benefits of Android® and consider where its solutions can offer additional benefits or value over other systems. Every operating system has its most suitable uses so resellers just need to consider it as an additional option.
For the many resellers who have already started migrating to Android® and are using MioWORK devices, I would encourage them to draw on the expertise available within MiTAC. Whether it is capabilities, integration, SDK related or other we have a dedicated UK-based team available to assist.
What do you see for the future of Android?
Google® continues to innovate in areas such as authentication, payment and new form factors for example ‘Google® Glass’. In the future when you visit a store the retail assistant will know your last visit, what you spent, your brand loyalty and preferences just by looking at you. Android® is the operating system that will enable such rich interactions.
Have you seen a change in technology trends since the emergence of Android®?
Consumerization is the trend which is most shaping our wider business environment. In the past technology emerged first in enterprise or military markets then flowed to consumer products. Over the last few years it has become apparent just how much this process has reversed, partly driven by a fiercely competitive consumer mobile technology industry.
Since employees are using high quality consumer devices outside of work, their expectations are much higher. BYOD in particular is a challenge and opportunity for IT procurement professionals.
Where do you see the future of rugged tablets heading?
We have seen consumer devices impact on the fully rugged market in the past two-three years. However we know that whilst rugged devices are largely viewed as overpriced for the benefits offered they are also seen as critical for a line of business use. Semi-rugged is emerging as a compelling offering since it retains a level of ruggedness whilst also offering the ease of use and lower cost associated with consumer-grade solutions.
The MiTAC brand is huge and very well known, what has MioWORK adapted from them?
MiTAC has been established for over 30 years with a workforce of 7,000 and 17 office locations around the world. The company owns its own factories and produces many products across diverse industries. For example, the company shipped over 7 million satellite navigation products, so has proven quality and manufacturing capabilities. MioWORK leverages the staff expertise, volumes and quality levels of the wider MiTAC business to deliver outstanding solutions to partners.
Do you have any new products in the pipeline?
We are constantly innovating to deliver the types of products our partners need for their businesses. The MioWORK range will be expanding in Q1 2014 and we look forward to sharing a product announcement in due course.
What sectors do you currently work in?
We work across a number of verticals. In the UK, we address retail and hospitality markets with MioWORK and also address the Healthcare sector through MioCARE, our companion range. In other European markets we have succeeded in breaking into emergency services and logistics.
The MioWORK products are used a lot in retail. What are the main benefits for this market?
The MioWORK range offers compelling benefits for retail. Firstly, the integrated 1D or 2D/1D barcode scanner provides the high performance demanded by this sector. Secondly, the MioWORK form factor is unique and offers the maximum size screen whilst still fitting in one hand comfortably for a full shift. MioWORK devices are also semi-rugged and easily cleanable to meet the demands for durability without compromising on usability.
When the devices are added to the single or multi-unit accessory cradles and integrated with software of their choice, our partners can easily deploy a total solution of high quality and rugged solutions designed for retail. The result being improved efficiency and cost savings which are critical for the highly competitive retail space.
What is unique to these products that competitors don’t have?
The design of MioWORK products is unique in the market and something we receive a lot of positive feedback on. Many handheld devices have smaller screens, keypads or are bulky in design to accommodate the scanner and ruggedness. Yet many enterprise users require a larger screen space and lighter devices for their jobs, such as restaurant serving staff (to take orders) or retail assistants for image referencing to retrieve all available coloured stock items. The older form factor devices are just not ideal to cater for the evolving requirements in these situations. The MioWORK devices were specifically designed from scratch to meet these new cases and much more.
MiTAC has won numerous design accolades including 28 prestigious iF Design Awards, the most recent in 2013. All of this experience went into the MioWORK range. However it is the feedback we have gained from our partners that the MioWORK products work well and just feel great in the hand that is the most important aspect to us.
Do MioWORK offer resellers any further services?
MiTAC offer targeted marketing support through Varlink as well as flexibility in warranty or lease options. We also have a dedicated UK-based support team to assist partners with any opportunities or questions they may have.