The trend of more and more companies reducing their focus on desktops in favour of mobile notebooks is set to continue. Mobile working is gaining in importance on a broad scale – and not only in large companies, but also increasingly in small and medium-sized firms.
Business notebooks therefore have to offer long battery life, and a whole host of wireless connection options, such as Bluetooth and WiFi. For three years now, for example, the demand for notebook models with an integrated mobile broadband function has continued to grow.
One reason is that internal mobile broadband gives 20% less power consumption than an external solution. Also a docking station capability is important for those who prefer a proper and ergonomically designed monitor and keyboard when in the office and at home.
One of the greatest challenges for mobile workers is of course the battery life of their notebooks. And this is where the processors come into play. New generations of processors such as the Intel Core i5 32 nm CPUs (core processing units) are designed to deliver better performance than 45 nm CPUs at the same clock speed and to reduce heat production as well as power consumption.
If a very long battery life is required, users can switch to batteries with a higher capacity. Standard batteries often have four or six cells, and even nine-cell batteries can be easily used in many notebooks. On the Latitude E6410, for example, it is possible to buy a battery plate that gives up to 21 hours battery time in total. It is important that the capacity of the battery is always used to the fullest extent possible. This means that charging the battery unnecessarily when it is still quite full will reduce its capacity – each charging reduces the battery life.
Furthermore, exposure to strong heat (temperatures above 40 degrees) as well as cold (under -10 degrees) damages battery performance and should therefore be avoided. The notebook should not be left in the sun for too long or in the car during the winter.
There are several ways of extending battery life in business operations. Aside from the display and CPU, the real ‘energy guzzlers’ are the communications modules like WLAN (wireless area network) or Bluetooth.
Reducing the screen brightness can considerably reduce the amount of power used. This issue can often be resolved simply by moving the notebook to a less bright location. WLAN and Bluetooth should be disabled when they are not being used. These simple measures can considerably extend the battery life.
The second essential factor to keep in mind in the mobile office is security. According to a Dell study, around 10,000 notebooks are lost every week in airports in the US. Confidential information was stored on 65% of these computers. Measures to secure and protect data are therefore indispensable. Such measures include data-encrypted hard drives that are also equipped with SmartCard readers or fingerprint readers.
Anti-theft solutions also play a key role in this respect and are in ever-increasing demand to protect critical data from misuse. In this respect, Dell offers the Laptop Tracking & Recovery with Data Delete service, which allows users to locate lost notebooks and to trigger the deletion of data. Notebooks with mobile broadband and integrated GPS even allow users to determine the computer’s location and secure the system.
Summarised there are several important factors for business clients when purchasing notebooks: the processor to maximize battery time, docking station capabilities or not, and external or internal mobile broadband.