Enterprise digital assistant

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An enterprise digital assistant (EDA) is a handheld computer, born of the personal digital assistant popularity which was adapted for extensive, more robust usage within the SME (Small to Medium Enterprise) and Enterprise business applications as a data capture mobile device.

Over the years, these business applications have grown from simple batched data collection using barcode readers to include extensive usage of other expanding business technologies within the areas of WLANs (Wireless Local Area Networks), GPRS Edge Communications, biometrics, magnetic stripe, Smart Card and RFID data capture technologies.

EDAs are also known as Data Capture Mobile Devices or Batch Terminals or Portables.

EDAs have many uses in many types of business: Warehouse management, Inventory control and Field Services to mentions a few.

EDAs are to the business sector what the personal digital assistant was to the domestic sector, allowing business applications to combine a portable device with their data collection requirements.

As is the case with PDAs, EDAs may include a touch screen, IrDA, Bluetooth, a memory card slot, however, EDAs may also include one or more data capture devices.

EDAs are available on a variety of different OS Platforms i.e. WindowsCE, Windows Mobile, Windows PocketPC, Windows XP Tablet Edition, Linux (Various), Palm, DOS and some proprietary OS Platforms.

Boundaries among PDA, smartphone and EDA can be blurred when comparing the wide array of common features and functions. EDAs attempt to distinguish themselves with a pre-defined requirement for long term constant daily operation (Normally allowing a minimum of 8 hours). They seek a higher than normal impact rating / drop test rating and an ingress protection rating of no less than IP54, Most have at least one Data Collection function i.e. a Barcode or RFID Reader etc.

An EDA is designed to withstand all-day everyday use in harsh or hazardous environments, these rugged compact devices can deliver wireless WAN/LAN/PAN voice and data communications, including VOIP functionality.

EDAs are available in a number of form factors, for example Handheld or Wearable and can be further extended to include figure barcode scanners, RFID panel antennas, Swipe card readers, External Battery Packs and Printer carry cases.

Where PDAs are intended as single person devices for personal applications and usage, EDAs are very often intended as multi-person devices for business applications and usage.

PDAs can be expanded to add-on data capture functionality, whereas EDAs very often are designed without the need for additions and can include a combination of built in data capture functionality. Barcode scanner or RFID Reader, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, GSM, GPRS and VOIP are the most common standards of functionality within EDA mobile devices.