Hewlett-Packard: Screen Gem

By Brian P. Watson  |  Posted 2006-05-05 Print this article Print

Hewlett-Packard has turned heads with the iPaq's sharp display, even though it's not always the cheapest option on the table.

Can sprawling tech colossus Hewlett-Packard—whose offerings range from printers to high-end Unix servers—produce a handheld that's sexy and powerful enough to compete with specialists like Palm and Research in Motion?

You bet, say customers. They like the HP iPaq's high-resolution screen and touch-sensitive features, and its Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system, even if the handhelds aren't always the cheapest products in their class.

For Rich Schaeffer, CIO of St. Clair Hospital in Pittsburgh, the iPaq's "beautiful" screen and attachable bar-code scanner made it the right choice to help doctors and nurses avoid costly medical errors by improving accuracy of prescriptions.

The 331-bed hospital built a bar-code and radio frequency identification (RFID) scanning system using iPaqs, to track medications and other supplies. Tom Ague, the hospital's chief operating officer, estimates that the system prevents more than 5,000 medication errors each year, out of 1.3 million annual doses. That's helped put it in the top 5% of hospitals nationwide for patient safety outcomes, according to HealthGrades, an independent health-care rating company.

Says Schaeffer: "We're just scratching the surface."

At Dependable Highway Express, a Los Angeles transportation services company, about 300 drivers download their daily schedules using iPaqs before they start their deliveries, says systems administrator Julio Polanco.

At $800 with necessary peripherals, the iPaqs save the company more than $1,000 per device compared with some of the bulkier handhelds it has tried in the past, according to Polanco. "We looked at a lot of devices, and for the price, you couldn't beat it," he says.

Price didn't seal the deal for Crossmark's Clay Curtis—but it didn't break it, either. The CIO at the consumer packaged goods marketer bought 1,400 iPaqs to help roving customer service representatives communicate with headquarters.

Curtis valued the ability to link up to existing Microsoft systems more easily with the iPaq than by using a device with a proprietary operating system, since Windows Mobile uses applications that function similarly to its desktop cousin. That, he says, was more important than paying a little extra. "You can find cheaper device manufacturers," Curtis says. "From our perspective, supporting a device we were already familiar with kind of offset any cost difference with a different hardware supplier."

Handheld Computing

3000 Hanover St.
Palo Alto, Ca 94304
(650) 857-1501

EMPLOYEES: 150,000

Mark Hurd
President & CEO
Joined HP in March 2005, following the resignation of former chief Carly Fiorina. Previously he served as president and CEO of NCR.

Todd Bradley
EVP, Personal Systems
Before joining HP, he served as CEO of palmOne, formerly Palm's hardware division.

The iPaq hw6900 Mobile Messenger provides phone and e-mail service; includes support for General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity. The iPaq hw6500, running Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition, offers phone, e-mail and text messaging with Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), GPRS and Bluetooth connectivity.
Reference Checks

Dependable Highway Express
Julio Polanco
Systems Administrator
Project: The Los Angeles transportation company, with more than 750 trucks and trailers, deployed iPaqs to help drivers obtain work schedules and manage changes with dispatchers.

Clay Curtis
Project: Field representatives of the Plano, Texas-based consumer packaged goods marketer use iPaqs to manage in-store projects and consultations in its sales force automation system.

St. Clair Hospital
Rich Schaeffer
Project: Doctors and staff at the 331-bed Pittsburgh hospital carry iPaqs with the Microsoft Pocket PC platform to monitor patients' prescriptions and treatment to avoid making medication errors.

Redlands Police Department
Clete Hyman
Deputy Chief
(909) 798-7622
Project: The California municipality's police force armed almost 100 officers with iPaqs to report traffic stops as part of an effort to analyze the extent of the department's racial profiling.

St. Jude Heritage Medical Group
Dr. Allison Foley
Medical Informatics Officer
(714) 992-3000
Project: The Fullerton, Calif.-based medical group has deployed about 100 iPaqs since 2003 to give doctors access to medical records, anatomical diagrams and prescription information as well as dictation capabilities.

Executives listed here are all users of Hewlett-Packard's products. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.

Hewlett-Packard Operating Results*
2006FYTD 2005FY 2004FY
Revenue $22.66B $86.70B $79.91B
Gross margin 23.5% 23.4% 23.9%
Operating income $1.49B $3.47B $4.23B
Net income $1.23B $2.40B $3.50B
Net margin 5.4% 2.8% 4.4%
Earnings per share $0.42 $0.82 $1.15
R&D expenditure $871M $3.49B $3.56B
Sales, gen. & adm. costs $2.69B $11.18B $10.50B
*Fiscal Year Ends Oct. 31; Fytd Represents Three Months Ended Jan. 31, 2006

Other Financials**
Total assets - $74.41B
Stockholders' equity - $35.81B
Cash and equivalents - $11.93B
Long-term debt - $2.42B
Shares outstanding - 2.82B
Market value, 4/20 - $95.63B
** As of Jan. 31, 2006, Except as Noted

Associate Editor

Brian joined Baseline in March 2006. In addition to previous stints at Inter@ctive Week and The Net Economy, he's written for The News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla., as well as The Sunday Tribune in Dublin, Ireland. Brian has a B.A. from Bucknell University and a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.


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