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Treo Business Freedom

Following my post last week about the Denver Post article "The Cost of Being Wired", Andrew Davis sent me a very interesting response below in which he shares some of his own corporate-centric views and experiences on the matter.

The cost of 'being wired' really isn't all that high when you think about it... at least not from the corporate perspective.

I'm the IT administrator for my company and I've rolled out 7 Treo 600's and 650's to my users all through AT&T Wireless.  With more than 5 users on a corporate plan we also benefit from discounts of various kinds.

Here's a quick rundown with a corporate account and more than 5 users:

  1. Treo 650 w/ 1 year contract = $399 upfront
  2. Average voiceplan of 700 to 1000 minutes = $70.00/month PLUS 10% discount on ALL lines
  3. Unlimited data plan = $24.99/month (discounts at 3 users, 5 users, and 10+ users)
  4. International roaming capability = $3.95/month
  5. GoodLink software for 24/7 access to corporate email is $330 per user, per year = $30/month (approx)

However, I typically completely discount the upfront cost of the phone for two reasons:

  • Treo smartphones have a higher resale value 1 or 2 years later than other smartphones and/or cellphones.
  • Buying a Treo for an employee is like buying them a desktop or a laptop... you do it once when they start and count it as a "new hire" cost.

Now, let's compare the main costs of not being wired:

  • Hotel internet access: I've seen it as cheap as $5/day and as high as $50/day (in Canada). Further, many hotels (especially in Germany and Switzerland) are rolling out wireless only broadband, which means either no access or dial-up only if you don't have 802.11b
  • Inconvenience: being wired means you have to find internet access to check email, etc. Whether this be Starbucks (T-Mobile) which costs $$$, or Panera Bread (the largest free 802.11b provider), of Kinkos for a hardwire, or your hotel room.

With the above in mind and to justify the implementation of Treo smartphones across the organisation, here's the summary I gave my CEO:

Before we had Treo smartphones, my users expensed their cell phone bills with no discounts.  The average was about $150/month. They also needed internet access in their hotel rooms and they travelled approximately 3 days a week at an average of $10/day access ($120/month).

They were limited to connecting in the morning and evening for emails, and only sometimes at a client's office during the day, meaning emails were typically only answered anywhere from 2 to 12 hours later.

So, the cost breakdown before our Treo implementation was an average of $270 per month per user.  Now with Treo smartphones on a corporate plan and GoodLink (think Blackberry/BES solution but for PalmOS and much cheaper) the overall cost has been much lower.

On a per user basis, voice plans cost an average of $80/month (after 10% discount), unlimited data costs $24.99 and corporate email access cost about $30/month so our average total cost has now shrunk by about half to $135 per month per user.  Additionally, we get the benefits of realtime email access, internet access, calendar and scheduling access among others as well as other applications like GPS. 

This is not all.  Most companies will give us a volume discount so if I need 10 copies of a GPS software that normally costs $39.99, I will instead be able to get it corporately for $24.99 (on average).  Furthermore, my employees no longer even bother to get hotel internet access unless they need to pull down a large attachment and overall hotel or other paid internet access is now the exception and not the rule.

Finally, to make things even easier for our users and more cost effective to us, we've rolled a number of very good - often free - applications such as TreoAlarm and Directory Assistant.  Furthermore, I've compiled a list of the mobile versions of the most popular websites and set it as the default homepage (palm.nccomp.com) on their Treo for quick access to maps, directions, internet searches, encyclopedias and dictionaries among others.

To put things in yet one more perspective, as the IT person for my company, I was personally used to travelling with a laptop and a Verizon EVDO card.  Even a three day weekend to Vegas required I travel with my laptop.  However, with Mergic VPN, MobileTS, and pssh, DocsToGo Premium installed my last trip included only my Treo 650.  And guess what, yes, I was called with an issue and I was able to completely fix the problem... all from my Treo, all without ever turning on a laptop, and all at no additional cost.

Treonauts enjoy their freedom more every day...

Posted by Andrew on March 31, 2005 at 07:11 AM

Treo Opinion

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