Charging your Rugged Handheld or Rugged Tablet PC

Charging your Rugged Handheld or Rugged Tablet PC

Charging your Rugged Handheld or Rugged Tablet PC
Multiple Battery Chargers are Very Practical

You now have the perfect rugged handheld  or rugged tablet pc and a great app from MobileWorxs and you venture off into the field. But how long will the battery last and how can you ensure it will stay charged? Charging your Rugged Handheld or Rugged Tablet PC is a real consideration for an enterprise mobile deployment.

Not surprisingly battery life of any unit varies depending how long the device is used for in total. If a device has no rest period and is in constant use with scanning 3G or Wi-Fi then expect the battery life to be limited. Compared to a user who uses a device for 20 minutes at a time on site and places the device on standby during travelling, his device would last all day.  Lithium Ion batteries power most rugged handheld and tablet PC devices, and yes they do wear out so budget for new ones after about 2 years.

If device usage is going to be high the first consideration is to opt for high capacity batteries which are not hugely expensive. This can add half again to standard battery life. The next pointer does the unit accept dual batteries? This means a device has 2 batteries which can be separately changed while the device is turned on. When one battery is low the other is in use. It also means your unsaved work isn’t lost as with a hot swap feature there is no need to power down to swap a battery.

Be assured that even units with a single battery do have small internal backup batteries for saving apps and system settings just like a phone.

Charging Options – On Desk

Most rugged devices have accessories for office charging. These can be:

Docks/cradles which may have extra slots to charge spare batteries as well as ports for connecting USB serial devices and external screens.

Or just plain battery chargers. Depending how many devices and therefore batteries you intend to deploy a multi battery charger may be an option worth investigating. Also be sure to figure out where these desk docks or chargers are going to go. Space can be tight in many back of store retail or depot offices so putting up some dedicated racking and installing power sockets will help keep the whole thing looking like some thought has gone into the deployment.

Charging Options – In Vehicle

Vehicle chargers, have the ability to charge a unit in a vehicle on the move. The power source can generally be wired into the vehicle mains or through a cigarette lighter adaptor. There are a number of varying ruggedized vehicle docks, which some can cope with many more device cycles. Again these docks have additional ports allowing for a GPS unit for tracking, or connecting to a external WWAN stick.

Charging your Rugged Handheld or Rugged Tablet PC
A Vehicle Cradle Can Aid Driver Productivity

If a device is operating apps such as Sat Nav then charging is a must. It is also a requirement in most countries to have the device permanently fixed whilst the vehicle is in motion.

 

 

 

The cost of a vehicle dock can sometimes seem expensive, but no where near as much as a new unit, or repair especially if the device ends up being thrown in the foot well after each use !

Otherwise is in vehicle charging required? Just carry a spare battery? This is a cheaper option if your charging dock has a space for a spare battery to be charged simultaneously.

Charging your Rugged Handheld or Rugged Tablet PC – Key Points

  1. If your device will see 6-8+ hours constant use then additional battery capacity  should be a high consideration.
  2. Bear in mind that in many cases chargers docks and cradles are often not compatible across products – even from the same manufacturer. Strange but true !

We can help you navigate your way through this and many other snags that may arise during your enterprise mobility project.

Charging your Rugged Handheld or Rugged Tablet PC 1

 

 

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Integration for Enterprise Mobile Applications

Integration for Enterprise Mobile Applications

Integration for Enterprise Mobile Applications 3The most common and sometimes most complex issue overlooked in a mobile project is how to connect to data in a host system often referred to as “back-end” data. With the vast array of ERP and business administration systems around integration for enterprise mobile applications can be a long process.

 

It is quite rare nowadays to find a company with no IT system in the back office. Usually it is the paper based system of the mobile workers that are the issue, with businesses focusing on mobile application features, rather than how to get data in and out from their existing systems. Commonly we see backend systems starting at the basic level of Excel and MS Access right up to complex systems such as SAP, MS Dynamics etc running on SQL or Oracle. With large companies running multiple systems.

Different development approaches will provide different integration paths. If coding using a platform there will be a number of integration options out of the box, if traditional coding it very much depends on the developers experience.

Integrating to systems is performed in two stages; one is pulling the data out of the host database of to use on the mobile devices, the second is to update or insert backend system records with results from the mobile device. Both can be performed via a number of simple routes, such as SQL queries, web service calls,  import and exporting CSV/XML or similar files and finally moving towards the complex end by using API’s (Application Programming Interface).

SQL queries can extract large amounts of data from specific tables or connect to a view (pre-configured table that’s results matches specific criteria) if one has already been setup. Some logic is probably required here to make sure records are not overwritten. Inserting/Updating back to an SQL database is usually performed per results set.

Web service calls provide real time access, which can also be called in the field over 3G. This method is OK where result sets are small. Some time can be saved as the web service will have already been provided by the host software company. As above some logic is probably required here to make sure records are not overwritten.

Importing/Exporting CSV, XML files can be easily done on a batch process and avoids the complexities of coding the API. We tend to find this is used an interim/testing process, but can also reliable when live. The issue is it does tend to add another failure point. Once again some logic is probably required here to make sure records are not overwritten.

Using an API means the solution can be coded to call specific function and parse the given data. The API essentially handles all the data and updates the correct areas of the back-end system. An API integration can be a seamless full integration, but is also the most time consuming and requires knowledge of both the mobile and back-end systems. It can also mean continual high development costs if the complete solution is ever changing.

There are numerous other options and varieties of the above. The choice made is very much dependent on questions about the integration options the backend system can provide and accomodate.

Key Integration Questions

  1. How many users need to access the data.
  2. How many need to access it at any one time.
  3. How many results and results sets there are.
  4. Are results sent one at a time or in batch.
  5. How are the mobile devices updated.
  6. Does data reside on the mobile devices.
  7. How do devices receive new data
  8. Is the data all stored in one location.
  9. What is hte nature of the in house systems architecture.
  10. how many systems require updating.
  11. What are the redundancy and failover setups……the list can go on !

In the first phase of testing the integration is usually the major testing piece as if data doesn’t flow correctly the solution is somewhat useless. No matter what backend system is being integrated to as long as a detailed testing plan is drawn up and completed there is much greater chance of project success. A key factor in your long term return on investment.

Not discussed in this blog is how integration for enterprise mobile applications can differ from consumer to enterprise applications. Well…. An enterprise application should be a complete solution capable of seamlessly integrating into in house backend system literally a modern day lynchpin. A consumer application downloaded from an Application Store connects to the developers hub and if possible may connect to in house data. Generally this is not the case and they operate standalone or semi-standalone.

How can we help you with Integration for Enterprise Mobile Applications ? Learn More

Experience our Apps Book a Demo or Visit Here

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Enterprise Mobile Project Gone Wrong Who You Gonna Call ?

Enterprise Mobile Project Gone Wrong Who You Gonna Call ?

Enterprise Mobile Project Gone Wrong Who You Gonna Call ? 5
Calling the Fire Brigade May Not Help

We get to speak to a wide variety of organizations some of whom have already tried unsuccessfully to deploy an Enterprise Mobility project.

Reasons can be complex and certainly in some situations management buy in and adequate funding can be issues.

However on too many projects the Return on Investment  ROI calculations go straight out of the window just as the initiative gets difficult. Enterprise mobile project gone wrong ? Here are 5 common problems that we have encountered that may help to explain why this happens.

5 Common Problems

  1. Endless Development – It is very easy especially if you engage an “expert” coding house to end up with an endless cycle of software development. For instance lots of companies who think they are expert in HTML 5 know nothing about using mobile devices in mission critical projects security or host integration.  Key question; have they done this before? if not it can get very costly, complex and time consuming. The resulting app can become technically outdated be difficult to change maintain and upgrade. As this process rolls on hardware is often still sitting in a corner collecting dust.
  2. Difficult to use Development Environments – There are some well marketed “mobile application development environments” out there all claim to be easy to use. The problem is enterprise mobility can get messy. At the very least it needs to map your field based process as well as be reliable and sustainable once deployed. Making some of these environments actually come up with the app you need on the device you want can lead to lots of tinkering which means more budget burnt on professional services.
  3. Lack of Product Documentation – This is something that most people don’t think about until its too late. All of the organizations with failed implementations that we have spoken to this year said that the lack of product documentation how to’s, frequently asked questions, installer guides, etc rendered the already difficult to use development environment or custom cut code useless. All leading to increased time spent and cost incurred when the app should be deployed addressing the business problem that prompted the project in the first place. Key question; look at the user guides a vendor has put together for other customers – can you understand the material?
  4. Hidden Costs – one customer told me he thought that the provider he chose to custom develop his application was going to be the perfect fit affordable, solid, great product vision and support. However, when he needed to make a very simple change to his application he was charged with 40 hours of development time. Key question; ask up front and get the vendor to show you, how easy is it to amend an app and re-deploy it in the field and what is the cost.
  5. “We bought an off the shelf app” – Key question; Great! but does it match your business process or does it offer a transformational way of doing what you might already be doing with pen and paper at the moment? If not be ready to experience the traditional square peg round hole approach where the app can be expensive and inflexible or where the customisation needed to map your processes is eye wateringly expensive.

If any of the above describes your enterprise mobile project gone wrong  I have good news….. MobileWorxs can help! Think of our mobile enterprise application platform  environment as a means to an end. It has a bunch of great features that allow us or our customers to build great enterprise grade apps that will run on .NET Android or iOS and are solid and sustainable. We have experience in a wide variety of application areas such as field service management and facilities management so can help automate and enhance the process workflow of your mobile workers.

Challenge us, we will build your application and demo it to you live on our very first phone call.

Andrew CahillAndrew Cahill MobileWorxs MD has 20 years of experience in the use of enterprise mobility solutions and applications to improve the performance of real life business processes.

Andrew has worked on some of the largest Enterprise Mobility projects in the UK Eastern Europe the Middle East and Africa. He has user and project experience in helping companies think through and develop mobile strategies to get the most out of a deployment.

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Security Risks for Enterprise Mobility and Best Practice to Deal with Them

Security Risks for Enterprise Mobility and Best Practice to Deal with Them

Guest Blog from the guys at Digital Defence. Security Risks for Enterprise Mobility and Best Practice to Deal with Them.

Security Risks for Enterprise Mobility and Best Practice to Deal with Them 7Digital Defence develop world class data and device protection solutions for mobile devices. Mobile device management solutions protect selected data and centrally enforce security policies on mobile devices – a true enabler for mobility.

Does your enterprise organisation allow your employees and IT users to connect their handheld computers, mobiles and Smartphones to your company-wide network solutions?

If so, you probably already know that you need to be aware of the data and security risks associated with mobile deployments. Have you developed a strategy which outlines the appropriate policies for dealing with these issues effectively and efficiently?

This article covers 6 best practices and policies for handheld device security. All of which can have a significant impact on the Return on Investment ROI of your project.

Potential Security Risks

  1. Physical Security

Simply put, handheld devices are prone to loss, theft or compromise simply because they are portable by nature. It’s relatively easy, whether by intention or accident, for an unauthorised person to gain access to a handheld devices, including the resident data.

Some people share their devices with family members or friends. Opportunistic thieves aim for easy targets and those they know are likely to have high value devices in their possession; anyone from couriers to travelling business people to service engineers are all at risk.

Identity theft is now a highly organised crime and high profile or enterprise level organisations that hold personal data about their customers or clients are attractive targets for data theft.

There were over 102,300 recorded cases of Identity theft in 2009 – Source CIFA 2010

Identity fraud cost the economy £1.2 billion in one year – Identity Fraud Steering Committee figures, 2008

If your handheld devices are configured to access corporate email or to connect to your Enterprise software through your Virtual Private Network (VPN), you already have a significant security risk.

Solution: One simple measure that is worth adopting early is to require your users to protect their devices with passwords or PINs. Selected passwords should be required to access the operating system whenever the handheld is switched on as well as to unlock the device in the first place.

Read the whole article from Digital Defence on Security Risks for Enterprise Mobility and Best Practice to Deal with Them.

Get in touch to see how MobileWorxs can help you with your enterprise mobility requirements for rugged handhelds a rugged tablet pc or software for mobile application development

Andrew CahillAndrew Cahill MobileWorxs MD has 20 years of experience in the use of enterprise mobility solutions and applications to improve the performance of real life business processes.

Andrew has worked on some of the largest Enterprise Mobility projects in the UK Eastern Europe the Middle East and Africa. He has user and project experience in helping companies think through and develop mobile strategies to get the most out of a deployment.

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Mobile Enterprise Magazine Five Reasons to Choose Rugged Over Consumer Devices

Mobile Enterprise Magazine Five Reasons to Choose Rugged Over Consumer Devices

Guest Blog by By Kelly Harris, Business Development Manager at  Barcoding, Inc.

Rugged 10" tablet PC
Rugged Tablet PC

Consumer and rugged devices serve different purposes and different markets. An article published in Mobile Enterprise magazine cites five reasons to choose rugged over consumer devices and talks about how line of business devices are still preferable for many people in field based industries.

 

First major consideration Windows .NET is a more consistent platform than iOS, Android or Blackberry for long term projects that require task-specific software.

Second, Rugged devices offer ease of use — not just for the end user, but also for security, initial deployment, compliance and ongoing support personnel. Third, calculating Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) reveals that IP65 enabled rugged devices can be much less expensive in the long run. Rugged devices also offer more flexibility in terms of carrier contracts and service pricing

Finally, rugged mobile devices support multiple functions and necessary accessories for a wide range of field tasks and have the long battery life to sustain this all-in-one solution.

 Read the entire article from Mobile Enterprise Magazine

Get in touch to see how we can help you with your enterprise mobility requirements for rugged handhelds a rugged tablet pc or software for mobile application development

Andrew CahillAndrew Cahill MobileWorxs MD has 20 years of experience in the use of enterprise mobility solutions and applications to improve the performance of real life business processes.

Andrew has worked on some of the largest Enterprise Mobility projects in the UK Eastern Europe the Middle East and Africa. He has user and project experience in helping companies think through and develop mobile strategies to get the most out of a deployment.

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Mobile Printing in Enterprise Mobility Applications

Mobile Printing in Enterprise Mobility Applications

Mobile Printing in Enterprise Mobility Applications 10
Wireless Mobile Printers come in various guises

When developing a project for your remote workers one consideration is how to incorporate mobile printing in enterprise mobility applications in the first place. Is there a need to print a receipt or report for the customer contact on site? There is a big choice of rugged mobile printers all of which provide different features and most importantly can print the correct label receipt or report you require.

Most people new to the enterprise mobile apps tend to think of having to carry a huge heavy printer. In fact mobile printers can be very small like the Zebra P4T clipping onto a belt or on a shoulder strap. They can also be very large printer fixed to the inside door of a van. It all depends on the size of label receipt you want to print.

One big question to ask is does a receipt or report need to be printed on site? For this scenario think of a civil enforcement officers Fixed Penalty Notice application when the vehicle or person in question must be issued a ticket on the spot. Otherwise if you have the customers email details why not just email a .PDF. In some cases a print at the point of service is not a definite requirement such as for parcel delivery companies who handle all documentation via email or online.

Two main types of Wireless Mobile Printer Technology

Thermal Transfer and Direct Thermal.

1. Thermal transfer has two main components. It uses a carbon ribbon, using heat to “transfer” the carbon onto the media (the receipt or label). The results on the printout are much crisper than the Direct Thermal but it does mean costs a greater as you’ll need to buy new ribbons and new media.

2. Direct Thermal printer uses carbon coated receipts/labels, again using heat, but this time to score an image into the media. There is only one major cost for this – buying media. The heated print head does wear out eventually as you’d expect, but it can last the life of the printer is most uses.

Both have their advantages and disadvantages. If labels/receipts are required to be hard wearing, scratch resistant, print high quality images i.e. 2D bar codes, long shelf life or in direct sunlight then Thermal Transfer is the best option. If basic layouts need to be printed, stored in plastic wallets or out of sunlight, only required for short periods, then Direct Thermal is the way to go.

Mobile Printing Media

“It all starts with the label…. “There are numerous types of media available – ranging from the very glossy, very hard wearing to the basic till receipts you get at most stores. They are available in almost every size you can think of and can be provided with pre-printed text on one side. Very useful for store return policies or payment details for a parking fine.

Wireless Mobile Printers for Direct Store Delivery and Van Sales

Mobile Printing in Enterprise Mobility Applications 11
Full Page Rugged Printer

Impact printing is not used a great deal in many enterprise mobility projects other than route accounting or direct store delivery as it is called in some markets. Here the requirement is to print a full page receipt in some cases with multi part paper. Most of the above considerations still ring true – but what to use? An office printer would not be rugged enough. As far as we know Intermec are still building the 6822 a behemoth of a printer but very well suited to this environment.

 

Communication

Communicating with mobile printers is done in one of three ways; Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Direct Cable.

  1. Bluetooth. Ideal for ad-hoc connections in the field, does not rely on anything else, can limited by distance and not considered the most stable connection. But this is the most popular choice for mobile printers.
  2. Wi-Fi. Fast, stable, but does require the device and printer both to be in Wi-Fi signal range.
  3. Cable connection. A direct cable connection from device to printer. This is the most reliable option but also the must inconvenient if you need to disconnect from time to time, and means something else to carry.

But defining communication medium is only half of it. The next part of the challenge is to get the printer to print the label exactly how you want it with all images/bar codes etc. For a device to talk with a printer it has to do so via the printer interface. Each manufacture has their own printer language at this point. Zebra uses ZPL (Zebra Printer Language), Intermec Printers use IPL (Intermec Printer Language), and so on.

Print commands in each of these languages can be a bit of a challenge. Most printers also have a line print option, and depending on the software can essentially print a complete printer layout that resides on the PDA device. Whatever option the device must have the drivers locally installed to communicate with the printer.

New printers on the market can now accept .csv files and similar file via print management software tool, or can print directly from notepad. In some cases new printers can call and receive from a web service meaning a device may not even be required. Obviously this has very limited operations.

Finally if carrying an extra piece of kit is a big issue maybe a mobile printer is not required. Alternatives are IP printing back to a printer in to office, PDF generation and email, back office staff printing and posting documents, or online access only for customers.

Mobile Printing in Enterprise Mobility Applications 4 Things to Think About

  1. Start with the application. Does the customer need a printed “something” at the point of service?
  2. Media. What sort of material does the receipt or label need to be made of to suit the enviroment?
  3. Hardware. What sort of wireless mobile printer will suit the process?
  4. Mobile Application Development. How can you make your rugged handheld or rugged tablet pc generate the right label at the right time containing the correct information? On our platform the built in print layout designer takes a lot of the hassle out of cutting code.

Mobile Printing in Enterprise Mobility Applications 12

How can we help you add Mobile Printing in Enterprise Mobility Applications ?

 

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How long to build an enterprise mobile app ?

How long to build an enterprise mobile app ?

So really how long to build an enterprise mobile app ? The short answer is hours or days depending on the complexity of the process. Find out how long…

How long to build an enterprise mobile app ? 14
How long to build an enterprise mobile app ?

The longer answer is that this question usually follows a realisation that a mobile worker based process in your business is not as it should be. Part of how to address this is how long will it take to build an app. The question is always sure to generate lots of discussion and opinions about approaches to development and mobile device platforms and OS’s. Often you end up with all the   ingredients for enterprise mobility but no recipe!

 

Mobile Application Development

Mobile application development can take many forms including cutting code from scratch or using an off the shelf canned module that came with your ERP or decision management system. In the smart phone era this Time-Money-Quality equation is becoming more significant as Andrew Till discusses in a recent Forbes article.

In our world mobile application development needs to be tailored to the process of the business and must directly address the issues that have been identified.  Our approach uses a methodology that involves techniques like iterative development and software prototyping. Using the MobileFrame v5.1 mobile development platform it is a style that favors incremental development with constant feedback and involvement from the end user. This process can be repeated until the application has been perfected and meets the needs of the user.

All of this can happen very quickly allowing you to get an app deployed far quicker than through traditional methods. And the quicker the app gets deployed the faster your process deficiency can be corrected and your return on investment can begin.

 10 Mobile Development Platform Features

  1. Drag and Drop Screen Design – Design your mobile application logic once and deploy to multiple different operating systems including .NET Android or iOS.
  2. Drag and Drop Print Designer – Create mobile label and reciept print layouts in minutes and not weeks.
  3. Printer Driver Bundling – Printer Drivers are bundled in no need to pick a specific printer.
  4. Device Driver Auto Recognition – We are plug and play across a wide variety of different devices, and can support mixed device deployments.
  5. User Administration – Users can authenticate against their current usernames / passwords and IT can lock down the device to keep the network safe.
  6. Peripheral Integration – We Support RFID, GPS, 1D and 2D Barcode Magnetic Stripe Scanning, Photo Capture, Photo Annotation, Drawing, Speech to Text, Digital Signature Capture, Printing Barcode Printing and RFID.
  7. Backend System Integration – Out of the box integration into any ODBC or OLEDB compliant data source including.
  8. Synchronization Management – Fail proof sync engine prioritize which networks you would like to sync over first.
  9. Mobile Device Management – Remote Device Management out in the field with the ability to take administrative control.
  10. Enterprise Application Management – Update Applications Client Software and third party applications over the air no need to collect the device from the field.

From our experience with these MobileFrame features we can create an app often in hours and in many cases go from  Design/Scope to deployment is 3-4 weeks. This includes integration with different back-end systems. With this kind of turnaround many of our customers end up adding further applications to address other requirements far quicker than they had originally envisaged.

Key point; when looking at a mobile worker project and the inevitable question of how long to build an enterprise mobile app consider your options carefully. Think about how your approach should enable you to really involve your own staff in the design process and be able to  add functionality in the future.

Learn more about mobile application development phase of your enterprise mobility project contact us today.

Andrew CahillAndrew Cahill MobileWorxs MD has 20 years of experience in the use of enterprise mobility solutions and applications to improve the performance of real life business processes.

 

Andrew has worked on some of the largest Enterprise Mobility projects in the UK Eastern Europe the Middle East and Africa. He has user and project experience in helping companies think through and develop mobile strategies to get the most out of a deployment. He also likes old cars preferably with lots of chrome!

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iPhone Screen Rendering for Enterprise Mobile Apps

 

iPhone Screen Rendering for Enterprise Mobile Apps

iPhone Screen Rendering for Enterprise Mobile Apps 16
iPhone Screen Rendering for Enterprise Mobile Apps

Wondering about iPhone screen rendering for enterprise mobile apps ? Or if you have created apps for iPhone you are likely aware that the iPhone 5 has introduced some radical changes to the screen. Leaving most developers scrambling to update their apps.

 

With MobileFrame v5.1 Intelligent Rendering means your apps will re-size to properly fit the iPhone 5 screen without requiring any work on your part. Ensuring your apps work flawlessly whether on a iPhone 5, 4/4S Android or .NET device of any screen dimensions is as simple as setting up anchoring and letting our intelligent rendering handle the rest. Write once, deploy anywhere…

To view a demo book a consultation or a visit get in touch.

How can we do this? think of our platform like PowerPoint; You buy PowerPoint once and you create as many presentations as you like. Our solution is the same. Buy once and create as many flexible mobile applications as required a great total cost of ownership model for your business:

  • Build flexible applications that exactly match your business needs.
  • Enterprise grade work flows rules and processes without coding.
  • Code-free seamless integration with back-end systems.
  • Build applications in days rather than months.
  • Change applications instantly in real-time.

For more information on anchoring and intelligent screen rendering click here.

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How Does Mobility XE Mobile VPN Software Work?

How Does Mobility XE Mobile VPN Software Work?

We have known the Mobile VPN guys at NetMotion for some years. Their software aims to make mobile workers more productive because their work is not interrupted by lost connections or by moving from one network to another. With Mobility XE workers do not have to continually stop what they’re doing, reconnect with their VPN and re-start their applications allowing them to focus on their jobs – not the wireless technology. So how does Mobility XE Mobile VPN software work?

Traditionally describing this can get a bit tedious…

…so they came up with this great cartoon as way of explaining what a Mobile VPN can do for your enterprise mobile project. Bravo guys!

Find out more about putting a Mobile VPN on one of our rugged laptop rugged handheld or rugged tablet PC‘s.

Try a Rugged Mobile Device for 10 days FREE

What…you didn’t get my message?

What…you didn’t get my message?

What…you didn’t get my message? 18
Mobile Worker Communications is a Critical Issue

Running a mobile field service management operation can be tough especially when you need to exchange information with multiple workers at different locations in real-time.

The last thing a manager wants to say is; What…you didn’t get my message?

 

We have seen organizations try all sorts of approaches in an attempt to bridge this communication gap including:

  • Equipping mobile workers with 2-way radios.
  • Using Push to Talk on specific handsets.
  • Sending text messages to private phone numbers.
  • Calling workers directly on their own phones.

All of these are useful and have a role but they are not optimized around the principle of automating a business process onto a rugged handheld or other mobile device.

What…you didn’t get my message? Communication as a Distraction

  • Push to talk handsets provide instant feedback but what happens when a mobile worker either does not have the handset near him, its in a vehicle, he can’t hear the message or they are out of coverage?
  • Mobile phones have obvious benefits but interrupting a worker in the middle of their task with a call or text can lead to a decrease in productivity. And what happens when he misses an important call text or voicemail.
  • Most crucial of all with employee supplied devices who owns the phone? What are the health and safety implications. And where is the audit trail of sent and received messages if something goes awry and needs following up?

Improved Enterprise Mobile Instant Messaging

We have solved this problem by vastly improving the existing concept of instant messaging and optimizing it to work in an enterprise mobile enviroment.

Built right into MobileFrame v5.1 the Instant Messaging system allows for both office and mobile workers to collaborate in real-time. Messages are setup for guaranteed delivery including the ability to store and forward. They can also be posted to an application in such a way that the worker has to acknowledge read/receipt before he can carry on with the app process. We also provide a complete audit trail of all messages sent and received.

Enabling your team to communicate more effectively is just one of the many ways that we can help you eliminate the hassles associated with running your mobile workers.

Learn more about our Instant Messaging as part of the mobile application development phase of your enterprise mobility project contact us today.

 

Key Benefits Enterprise Mobile Supply Chain Management

Key Benefits Enterprise Mobile Supply Chain Management Software and Hardware

Key Benefits Enterprise Mobile Supply Chain Management 19
Supply chain management often starts in a warehouse

If your business involves moving goods from one destination to another enterprise mobile supply chain management can allow you access to real-time accurate data which can be turned into real efficiencies increased productivity and management of costs.

The Challenge

Keeping track of vehicles stock and paperwork is necessary to ensure a smooth running organisation and responding to customer demand. Tracking so many varied items presents many challenges not least of which is getting material from one location to another whilst coping with the inevitable time lag in getting paper job documents back from the field

So what are the Benefits?

Where a enterprise mobile supply chain management approach can reap benefits is the elimination of paper documents which allows remote workers to free up time to complete more critical tasks. This will help reduce errors and make more sense of managing administration. Specifically speed up back office cycles to do with invoicing delivery reconciliation and problem solving. By spending less time on admin and paperwork your staff can spend more time on adding capacity into your network or new customer facing tasks.

Other wins include:

  • Track assets on the road.
  • Confirm receipt of delivered goods and be able to show customer a proof of delivery,
  • Track fleet movements speed limits and driver behaviour.
  • Integration with related business systems leads to greater return on investment ROI for existing technology investments.
  • Stock triage – especially stock “lost” in vehicles.
  • Win more business by showing prospective clients

Software Apps

Our application development platform can support small businesses from 5 users to enterprise businesses with 1000+ users plus. You end up with custom applications that match your process workflow and are built with no custom programming.  We can help you design and deploy your enterprise mobile supply chain management applications to any combination of Android iOS or .NET device including PDA’s, Tablet PCs, laptops and desktop computers. Experience an app.

Hardware Options

Your enterprise mobile supply chain management project has got to run to something. This usually starts a huge discussion about which sort of mobile device is suitable for your project and which ones are affordable by your organisation. To help you take the pain out of this process we partner with some of the leading vendors of enterprise mobile grade rugged handheld and rugged tablet devices which come in a number of form factors. Speak to us about trying one of these devices free for 10 days. to run with your existing or new supply chain management apps. Most devices can be leased for less than the price of a cup of coffee per day.

 

Cloud Solution Vs Thick Client – Devices

Cloud Solution Vs Thick Client – Devices

10" Rugged Laptop at work
Choose the right device for the application Algiz XRW notebook

When looking to move away from outdated paper forms to a mobile application businesses have two options; choose a cloud solution Vs thick client based solution. Choosing the device should be the easier part !

Many people new to mobile applications often consider using the latest iOS Smartphone or Android tablet  as they look stylish, the workforce wants a new phone and they are cheap when compared to other devices. Taken in isolation 9 times out of 10 this has been proven to be a costly error, why? because the mobile application development should fit the business need before selecting the device. Choosing the wrong device is expensive creates issues for the users and does not leverage the investment made against the application. It can also make a nonsense of any total cost of ownership projections.

The application needs to be defined –What data needs to be captured i.e. scan barcodes, RFID, capture GPS, capture signature, how much text? How long will the application be in use for each day? What environment is the device used in? How big will these screens be? How many pages will the application span over? Will other software be required to run?

If a signature is required the device criteria is quickly narrowed down removing a vast percentage of Smartphone devices that are touch only screens. Adding barcode scanning and/or RFID can be done with Smartphone devices and a handheld scanner, but for ease of use a rugged handheld would be the recommended option with a scanner built in. If the application is used throughout the day power consumption will be high so you may need extended batteries and a stable method of charging the device when on the move.

The environment needs to be factored in if the device should be rugged to avoid damage when knocked or dropped? Does it need to be protected from heavy rain showers or continuous bright sunlight? Could the user be wearing gloves or have dirty hands needing a stylus or keyboard? And is the device used indoors or outdoors? Screen brightness for good readability changes from device to device.

Another high priority is the screen size. Larger screens means less pages, quicker form completion and increased application overview. The trade off is size Vs ease of use.

Other factors are what other applications need to run on the device and the level of warranty required. If users need desktop software in the field the quick solution would be to look at Windows 7 Rugged Tablets. A one year limited warranty on a smartphones Vs a 3 year fully inclusive maintenance agreement  on a Rugged Tablet PC could mean that in a typical deployment a project could be acquiring Smartphones 2 or 3 times over.

When considering a Cloud Solution Vs Thick Client – Devices. The key question is: If a device doesn’t have the correct features to fit the business needs then why consider it for short-term savings? Buy the correct device once or buy the wrong device several times over?

 

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