Category Archive: Mobile Devices

I Forgot My SmartPhone

I LOVE mobile, mobile apps, mobile

technology and mobile business. Don’t forget to disconnect and connect face to face, person to person!

Zenware - Mobile, Cloud, Web, SaaS and Software Solutions~~~~~~~~~~
Jody Sedrick, CEO
Follow me on Twitter: @jodysedrick and @zenwareinc
LinkedIn Profile
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Zenware is a Boise Idaho based company that specializes In custom mobile software development, custom iOS development, custom Android development, iPad software development, iPhone software development, custom web development, web hosting and SaaS based work order management software.

Mobile Apps – the POWER of Roles

Field Service DispatcherRecently we met with a property management company to discuss implementing ZenTouch to manage their field service crews and customers. One of the very first questions I asked the management decision team was “What are the roles of each person involved in your field service team?”

This one question led to an in depth discussion of each member of their field service team. We not only discussed the role of each person but the business processes associated with each job role. We discovered that they had 4 primary roles that while different were interrelated and dependent upon each other. These included:

  • Field Service Tech
  • Field Service Manager
  • Office Manager / Dispatcher
  • Director / Sr. Manager

Each of these roles had specific needs and goals that they were trying to address.

  • Field Service Tech
    • Mobile Work orders that can be sent directly to their SmartPhone. “We want to be able to dispatch a new service ticket any time during the day. We also want to limit the amount of travel into our office.”
    • The ability to add work orders or service items to a work order in the field. “Sometimes our guys need to add service items to a work order.”
    • Semi-Rugged Tablet – “Our guys have fat grimy fingers”
    • Easy to use, intuitive interface that will make it “easier” to enter work order information. “Some of our guys are slow to adopt technology.”
    • Automatically push changes – “Changes don’t occur all the time. But there are changes. We’d like automatically push those changes to the technician.
    • Integration with GPS Maps to “guide them to their next job assignment”
  • Field Service Manager
    • Service Team Location – “I’d like to know where my guys are, or at least their last know location. I want to better plan the location of their next service call”
    • Inventory / Parts Tracking – “It would be nice to know when my guys are getting low on parts so I can pre-order parts for example HVAC filters”
    • Time Tracking – “I would like to know when my guys start and stop a job. It would also be nice to track time in route”
  • Office Manager / Dispatcher
    • Daily and Weekly planning – “I need to quickly switch between a day view and week few so that I can strategically plan service jobs.
    • Service Team Location – “Like our Field Service manager I need to know where our guys are right now. This would be particularly helpful when responding to emergency jobs I could assign a technician based on his location and job load.”
    • Time Tracking – “I would like to know when they start and stop a job. It would also be nice to track time in route”
    • Have completed Work Orders automatically come into the system. “I’m tired of trying to decipher if a 5 is an S or a 7 is a T”
  • Director / Sr. Manager

As you can see each role is unique but connected at the same time. Discussing these roles enabled us to explore business processes, bottle necks, customer acceptance policies, scheduling, inventory management, appropriate devices, reporting needs and interdependencies to help each player fulfill their role and create a unified team.

Whether you decide to implement an off-the-shelf, cloud or customer built solution the real challenge is implementing a system that is flexible and powerful enough to accommodate each business role in an efficient manner that allows for seamless transitions of data from one user to the next.

Businesses that have adopted role based mobile systems are discovering the power of roles – that the right data, at the right time, in the hands of the right person enables them to drive business now.

Zenware - Mobile, Cloud, Web, SaaS and Software Solutions~~~~~~~~~~
Jody Sedrick, CEO
Follow me on Twitter: @jodysedrick and @zenwareinc
LinkedIn Profile
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Zenware is a Boise Idaho based company that specializes In custom mobile software development, custom iOS development, custom Android development, iPad software development, iPhone software development, custom web development, web hosting and SaaS based work order management software.

 

 

 

 

Windows 8 – the Resurrection of Microsoft as a Mobile Giant?

For years I have watched Microsoft complacently sit back and let their foothold on the mobile market slip away. Mobile innovation from Microsoft has been conspicuously absent for the past 5 years. If it were not for the rugged space I suspect Windows Mobile would have already gone the way of Palm – a slow agonizing death. And even the rugged mobile space is asking the question “When will you support Android?”

Windows 8 is Microsoft’s last chance to resurrect Microsoft as a long-term viable mobile player enabling Microsoft to recapture marketshare.

Potential Windows Phone 8 Impacts on Business

1.Built-in Development Community, Tools and Resources

Microsoft has a built-in community to develop and deploy applications. Microsoft has the resources and community to promote and encourage development of applications. The tight integration of Windows 8 and Windows 8 Phone will be an attractive choice for CIOs and IT Managers who are looking to fully integrate mobile devices and internal systems.

2.Unique UI 

Windows 8 Phone provides a very unique and functional user interface.  Unlike Android where each manufacturer’s implementation is so varied you wonder if you have the same OS installed.

Microsoft wisely signed licensing agreements with Apple for some of the mobile technologies in their development of WP8. This offers some protection to the device manufacturers. I’m sure manufacturers will consider this as they watch the Samsung vs. Apple court battles continue.

3.Opportunity to Earn a Piece of the Rugged Market

I know that many rugged mobile device users are clamoring for a better device experience. They are tired of wrestling with a needle-sized stylus to enter data and an OS that hasn’t been significantly updated for 5 years. Many are even reconsidering the rugged versus consumer grade ROI argument in light of providing a more fluid way of collecting and recording information in the field. I have also noticed a culture characteristic that has underlined some purchasing decisions. This may seem petty but a reality, many rugged mobile device users I’ve talked to want the iOS experience but they see the iPhone as a “preppy, costly, elite user” mobile device. They see the Android as a blue collar, affordable mobile device option that could play very nicely for Windows Phone 8 adoption.

4.Built-in Printing

This could be the Trojan Horse for Windows 8 Phone business and field service adoption. Printing in the field from an iPhone or Android is a three-ring circus. The hoops you have to jump through to print in the field is largely dependent upon third party intermediaries or full connection to a wireless network.  If Windows 8 Phone provides direct printing this will serve as a dark horse feature that will help the adoption especially in the service sector.

5.Tablet Form Factor

Can you say Coup de Tat? The Surface, scheduled for release Oct. 26th, could be the device that accelerates Microsoft’s recapture of lost ground in the mobile space. Many people want the larger form factor provided by a tablet device. I’ve especially noted this in the field service industries where they want a mobile device that accommodates fat, grubby, man-sized fingers and a full set of mobile functionality.  Add the dual functionality of switching between Windows 8 and traditional Windows mode and Microsoft has provided nice transitional step for many potential users. This coupled with the promise of easier mobile printing could kick the door wide open for Windows 8.

The field is ripe for Microsoft to recapture its place as major mobility contender. Question is will Windows 8 have enough punch to excite mobile users and resurrect the sleeping giant?

Jody Sedrick
Follow me on Twitter: @jodysedrick and @zenewareinc
LinkedIn Profile 

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Zenware is a Boise Idaho based company that specializes In custom mobile software development, custom iOS development, custom Android development, ipad software development, iphone software development, custom web development, web hosting and Saas based work order management software.