We speak with a lot of technology specialists about the charging and storage solutions that they are using in their schools. One of the first questions we ask them is, “Are you happy with your carts?” Sometimes they have no complaints, but when they do they seem to hone in on certain themes. These are things you will want to look out for to help your tech staff escape the literal pains of being stuck with the wrong cart.
1. They Have to Bend Over Backwards to Set Them Up
If setting up a cart involves your techs assuming such positions as "the pretzel" or "downward dog" you may want to steer clear. In all seriousness, if you have to hunch over the cart for an extended periods of time, the setup process can literally be a pain in the neck—or back! Carts are often advertised for their ease of use, but that does not necessarily mean that they are easy to set up, so you may want to consider this ahead of time.
The difficulty often stems from the need to assume awkward positions in order to attach various components, to fasten nuts and bolts, or to thread cables through tiny gaps for the sake of setting up cable management... or in some cases to actually assemble the cart. With the range of cart designs available these days, assembly can range from being backbreaking to being effortless, so try to get a cart that is easy to set up and use and your techs will thank you.
2. Wiring Carts... Nobody's Got Time For That!
Not only can wiring a cart be uncomfortable and tedious, but it can also be time consuming, cutting into an IT specialist’s schedule. For this reason, many schools resort to paying an outside source or procuring a student to do the job. Neither of these solutions, however, is the most practical.
It can be more costly to hire outside help. Likewise, students are, well, students. They aren't techs and if they do not complete the job properly problems could arise later. Look for carts known for their quick setup and keep in mind that although the cheapest carts may seem appealing, sometimes they need to be assembled on arrival. That means that they actually have to put the cart together before the wiring process can even begin. Having to assemble a cart takes up an IT specialist's valuable time and should be factored into the total cost of the cart.
3. The Carts Require Around-The-Clock CareThe quality of a cart’s construction is important because carts with constantly breaking parts can cause problems and some are easier to fix than others. These problems are amplified when multiplied over a whole fleet of the same type of cart. Your tech's day shouldn't be occupied with trying to get replacement parts from a manufacturer or finding a locksmith to rescue devices trapped behind a jammed lock. Look for reliable carts that are constructed with solid, durable materials. Furthermore, a manufacturer with great customer service, you will find, is worth it's weight in gold.
4. They Are Perpetually Having to Replace TimersReceiving last-minute service calls can be a royal pain and, for timer-based charging systems in particular, there is a high chance that their timers will have to be replaced regularly. These can be a pain to replace, even if they happen to be under warranty. The good news is that there are charging systems available that do not require regular maintenance, such as our signature Intelligent Charging System, which uses power sensors to detect which devices are the most drained and then directs the power to them first.
5. IT Versus the Dreaded Spaghetti Monster
Another unfortunate reality is that no matter what preventative measures are taken, carts will have to withstand classroom abuse over the course of the year. This will without a doubt take a toll on their ability to perform and in this scenario, IT specialists are usually considered responsible for knowing how to replace parts, set up cable management, and re-assemble the cart at a teacher’s beck and call. A task that is easier said than done.
With this in mind, IT specialists have especially come to dread the end of the school year because carts often arrive back in their care dismantled. Cables are hanging out in every which way and shelving may have been rearranged, or even broken. Investing in a cart with an accessible, straightforward cable management and storage system should make the restoration process easier for IT specialists and the transition to the summer holidays less stressful. Also consider that sometimes carts that have more thorough cable management can take a little longer to set up at first, but they can allow you to save time in the long run when everything stays neatly in place and doesn't have to be redone every couple of months.
Let's face it, the people that work with the carts the most are not always the ones that make the decision on which cart to purchase. There are also other factors that come into consideration like ease of operation for the teachers and students and whether or not they fit in the budget, but keeping these things in mind will surely aid the overall success of your device roll-out.
To save your IT specialist’s sanity and escape the pains of being stuck with the wrong cart, we can help you figure out exactly which one will suit your needs. Even if it’s not a JAR Cart, we are always happy to talk you through it because investing in carts is a big decision that affects the everyday employment of your devices.