Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) is a newer model of hardware procurement and management that offers several advantages over the traditional way businesses buy and manage hardware.
In this article, we’ll explore what HaaS is, the pros and cons of the model, and several specific hardware-as-a-service examples for different applications.
Table of Contents
- What is Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS)?
- Pros and Cons of HaaS
- Hardware-as-a-Service Examples in Practice
- HaaS vs IaaS
- HaaS vs PaaS
- HaaS vs CaaS
- Is Hardware-as-a-Service the Same as Leasing?
- Final Thoughts
What is Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS)?
HaaS is a pay-as-you-go model for procuring and managing hardware. Under this model, businesses subscribe to a hardware plan from a service provider on a monthly or annual basis.
The service provider is responsible for maintaining the hardware, ensuring it remains up-to-date, and providing any necessary support.
For small to medium-sized businesses, HaaS can be a cost-effective way to obtain the latest hardware without having to make a large upfront investment.
It can also be appealing from a management standpoint, since it frees up internal IT resources that would otherwise be spent on maintaining the hardware.
These resources can be redirected to other digital transformation projects that may be more strategic for the business.
Pros and Cons of HaaS
There are several potential advantages to using a HaaS model:
- Pay-as-you-go pricing can be more flexible and easier to budget for than traditional hardware purchases.
- The service provider is responsible for maintaining the hardware, which can free up internal IT resources.
- HaaS can make it easier to obtain the latest hardware since businesses are not tied to a specific piece of equipment for a long period of time.
However, there are also some potential disadvantages to using HaaS:
- HaaS can be more expensive in the long run than purchasing hardware outright since businesses are essentially renting the equipment.
- Service providers may not be as invested in a business’s success as the business itself, which could lead to subpar service.
- If a business decides to cancel its HaaS agreement, it may be required to return the hardware to the service provider, which could be costly and inconvenient.
Hardware-as-a-Service Examples in Practice
HaaS is becoming increasingly popular as businesses look for ways to lower their costs and become more agile.
Here are a few examples of how the HaaS model is being used in practice:
HaaS solutions now offer in-cab management options for businesses with large fleets of vehicles. These solutions include GPS tracking, real-time engine diagnostics, and performance monitoring.
For example, Trimble offers bundled in-cab hardware options that businesses can subscribe to and receive connected telemetry hardware along with professional services, navigation and messaging solutions.
For restaurants, the main HaaS use case is point-of-sale (POS) systems. Restaurant POS systems often include hardware such as touch screen monitors, receipt printers, and barcode scanners.
For example, Oracle offers a POS SaaS that includes both the low-cost, remote server convenience of a SaaS product along with the point-of-sale hardware and day-to-day support for running and maintaining the system at your restaurant.
One of the most common use cases for hardware-as-a-service is office equipment. This includes printers, copiers, and fax machines.
For example, Brother offers a printer HaaS solution that includes a color multifunction printer, on-site service and support, and supplies for a low monthly fee.
Many IT service providers, such as this company, also offer managed services that include HaaS components, such as routinely updating and exchanging PCs and other office equipment in addition to ongoing system maintenance and security monitoring.
Another use case for the HaaS model is to provide update and secure mobile devices for field workers in different industries.
For example, Aegex provides mobile communications solutions for field workers in industries where hazardous operations are often necessary, including oil and gas, aerospace, chemicals, and utilities.
With their HaaS program, companies can subscribe to receive updated and secure mobile devices, such as tablets and IoT sensors and practical accessories, for their workers with 36-month or quarterly plans.
Inventory management includes tracking and managing the movement of physical goods throughout a supply chain. This use case for HaaS often relies on IoT sensors to track inventory levels and location in real-time.
For example, Honeywell offers a warehouse management solution that utilizes barcode scanner hardware to track inventory levels and location. The service also includes software for managing and reporting on inventory data.
Remote Conferencing Hardware
Just about every business uses remote conferencing software these days. But with a Hardware-as-a-Service solution, companies can also subscribe to receive the physical hardware needed for remote work, such as webcams and headsets.
For example, Logitech offers a webcam HaaS solution that includes a Logitech C930e webcam and Logitech MeetUp conference camera. The service also includes a three-year warranty and technical support.
Zoom also offers a HaaS subscription service that includes the remote communications equipment for either phone or full conferencing room setups.
Cisco Webex also offers a hardware subscription service where you can subscribe in 3-year terms to receive Cisco devices, including IP phones, Webex desktop and room devices, and a Webex Board.
Security and Surveillance
Another example of a useful HaaS solution is security and surveillance. This might include CCTV cameras, access control systems, and alarm systems.
For example, Axis Communications offers a security camera HaaS solution that includes their network cameras, recording software, and support services. The service includes a three-year contract with monthly or yearly payments.
HaaS vs IaaS
Many people confuse Hardware-as-a-Service with Infrastructure-as-a-Service. However, these are two different things.
With IaaS, companies subscribe to receive access to remote servers, storage, and networking resources on a pay-as-you-go basis. This is similar to how SaaS works, but with IaaS, you’re renting access to infrastructure resources instead of software tools.
With HaaS, on the other hand, you’re subscribing to receive access to physical hardware that’s managed by the service provider. This might include office equipment, mobile devices, security cameras, and more.
HaaS vs PaaS
Another common confusion is between Hardware-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service. However, these, too, are two different things.
PaaS is a cloud computing model in which companies subscribe to receive access to a remote platform for developing, testing, and deploying software applications. This platform might include tools for managing server infrastructure, application development, and more.
HaaS, as we’ve seen, is a subscription service for receiving access to physical hardware.
Related: PaaS vs SaaS vs DaaS vs IaaS: What Should You Choose?
HaaS vs CaaS
Finally, Hardware-as-a-Service is sometimes confused with Communications-as-a-Service. However, these are two different things.
CaaS is a cloud computing model in which companies subscribe to receive access to a remote communications platform. This platform might include tools for voice and video calling, text messaging, email, and more.
This model is specific to communications apps and equipment, whereas HaaS services (as we’ve seen) cover a variety of solutions.
Is Hardware-as-a-Service the Same as Leasing?
No, Hardware-as-a-Service is not the same as leasing. With leasing, you’re renting access to hardware for a set period of time. At the end of the lease, you have the option to purchase the hardware or return it.
With HaaS, on the other hand, you’re subscribing to a service that includes access to the hardware. The service might also include things like maintenance, support, and repairs.
There are many other Hardware-as-a-Service examples on the market. In fact, it’s become a viable business model for IT companies and consultants looking to differentiate themselves with an attractive option for their customers along with new sources of recurring revenue.
It’s become a core component of digital transformation for smaller companies as it allows them to focus on their main business goals.
The HaaS model also has some advantages for larger companies. For example, it can help them to save on the upfront costs of purchasing hardware, as well as on the ongoing costs of maintaining and repairing it.
If you’re considering a HaaS solution for your business, be sure to carefully compare the different options and providers to find the best fit for your needs.