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New Workabout Pro from Psion includes cellphone connection

Feature allows field workers to view schematics on screen while talking to support staff

Mississauga, Ont.-based Psion Teklogix has released its next-generation mobile computing handheld device called the Workabout Pro for the wireless data collection market.

The product is more rugged and comes with enhanced imaging and RFID. The new Workabout Pro supports field-installable expansion modules such as scanners, imagers, other RFID modules, wireless LANs, and wireless WAN radios.

The company is providing its channel with hardware developer kits to help partners provide more custom applications.

“The Workabout Pro has been designed for partners. It is the Swiss army knife of handhelds and we expect a range of applications from the partners,” Mike Jachimiec, director of channel sales for Psion.

Some of the new applications Jachimiec is hoping the channel can develop are biometrics, solutions to read cattle ear tags and the scanning of passports.

Another feature is cellphone capability. “A field service person can get a downloaded schematic of a repair he is making, while getting step by step instructions over the phone, Jachimiec said.

The company is also looking to expand its partner base in Canada. According to Jachimiec, Psion is looking for partners with field service or transport logistics expertise.Psion has built a partner profitability channel program for its partner network.

The Ascent Plus program has 362 partners signed up in North America. There are only 47 Psion partners in Canada. Compared to competitors such as Symbol Technologies and Intermec, which has between 6,000 and 8,000 resellers in North America, Psion purposely limited partners in an attempt to maintain relationships with top VARs and provide customers with better service, he said.

The three tier program comprising three star, four star and five star levels, resellers can enter the program with an annual purchase commitment of $750,000. With that, they will receive 30 per cent discounts. In the top tier resellers get 37 per cent discounts on more than $2 million of business per year.

Jachimiec said the Ascent program is a tier program based on volume, but wants to be fair to those partners who add value.

The value-based or smaller partners who do not have high volume business models can increase their margin with an extra 10 per cent discount by having more than 40 per cent of their total revenue from software.

New partners must go through a six month trial process, in which the top end value-based discount will only reach seven per cent.

Psion is also offering a co-branded unit program so that partners can place either their brand or a customer’s name on the handheld bezel. The unit volume to enter this program is just 500 units.

The company has only Synnex Canada as its worldwide distribution partner. Jachimiec added that Psion is working on improving its Partner Connect portal site for sales ordering and RMA. It wants to offer a quote generator, a quick configurator, developer resources and an online demo.

Comment: cdnedit@itbusiness.ca