The Importance of Technology Consulting…And Don’t Buy Windows Phones

September 24, 2017

Need a prime example of poor technology consulting wasting thousands – potentially millions – of dollars? Look no further than the New York City Police Department.

The esteemed department bought 36,000 Microsoft-based Nokia smartphones as part of a $160 million NYPD Mobility Initiative that Mayor Bill de Blasio touted as “a huge step into the 21st century.”

But just months after the last phone was handed out, officials plan to begin replacing them all with brand-new iPhones by the end of the year, sources said.

The full price of the lower tier phone was $450 or $16.2m in hardware. Hopefully, the city received a discount bringing the cost to $250 a device. Regardless, this would still be a $9 million dollar write off after just two years.

Comparatively, an iPhone 5C could have been purchased full price at $450 at the same cost of capital investment. The differentiator is that iOS had a whopping 32% market share globally while Windows had a meager, single percent.

I’m sure the scenario played out along the lines of this.

But it’s still a mobile device, we can still make an application for it, right? Well, yes you can. Well, we can get the device at a cheaper initial price so let’s go with that.

The problem with the above is that just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s the best answer up front. An unused platform isn’t going to provide value for developers. Why make an application for 10 people when I could make it for 1 million people.

With few developers knowing a platform, they’re going to cost more to develop for your platform. Now, you not only have higher initial development costs but you are now launching an outdated application that only select developers will know how to operate creating increased running costs and higher threats of cyber breaches running older technology.

This is digging layers deep and not even looking at the relevancy of the actual hardware itself. The Windows phones purchased were last updated last year while the iPhone 5C would have an additional year through official Apple updates.

4 Year Old iPhone Performance is explored in my article here.

The updates also included security fixes as they happened – support that Windows Phone never supported.

I won’t even begin to analyze additional savings in going to an Android based solutions but I will touch on cellular subsidies. Many large corporations have deals in place for phones through a carrier such as ATT or Verizon. When you’re talking upwards of 100,000 activated lines, this is big money for carriers.

They may charge you $40 a month for a user to have unlimited data and calls in addition to a new phone every 2 years.

The department would not only be receiving the most up to date device but they would be receiving a very low price for cellular service in addition to spreading the cost of the device over an extended time. Compile that with a deal to keep phone 4 years vs 2 years and the savings are even greater.

This was a very quick and dirty analysis of the NYPD’s technology mistake and where they could have saved a considerable amount of money. Any mobile consultant should have been able to point out just a few of these points. A prime example of how knowing the market and what’s available can save you much more than you might imagine.

Quotes originally appeared in this New York Post Article.