Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I was reading about the industrial grade handheld PDA M3 today and their description points to some of the rugged features that users need to consider.
M3 Industrial PDA M3’s rugged design and IP54-rated sealing ensures continued use and uptime by protecting against dust, moisture and extreme temperatures (-20°C ~ 50°C), And, whether working inside or out, it has a drop spec of 1.5m to concrete across vast temperature ranges, reducing equipment and maintenance costs.More...
A lot of your decision needs to be based upon what kind of mobile software application you are going to use and what operating system it requires. Do you need a large screen to read drawings, blueprints and maps, or a simple data form?
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
In Steven McConnell's book, "Code Complete" he describes why a person should not jump right in and start developing code for a mobile software solution for use on handheld PDAs on the first day that the business thinks it is a good idea. Often business motivations help drive a sense of urgency to start coding a software application immediately, but there are also business motivations NOT to start today. Coding without gathering ALL the requirements and architecting the system has a high cost.
Here is an excerpt from McConnell's book that is very interesting and true:
Explicit requirements help to ensure that the user rather than the programmer drives the system’s functionality. If the requirements are explicit, the user can review them and agree to them. If they’re not, the programmer usually ends up making requirements decisions during programming. Explicit requirements keep you from guessing what the user wants.
Explicit requirements also help to avoid arguments. You decide on the scope of the system before you begin programming. If you have a disagreement with an other programmer about what the program is supposed to do, you can resolve it by looking at the written requirements.
Paying attention to requirements helps to minimize changes to a system after development begins. If you find a coding error during coding, you change a few lines of code and work goes on. If you find a requirements error during coding, you have to alter the design to meet the changed requirement. You might have to throw away part of the old design, and because it has to accommodate code that’s already written, the new design will take longer than it would have in the first place. You also have to discard code and test cases affected by the requirement change and write new code and test cases. Even code that’s otherwise unaffected must be retested so that you can be sure the changes in other areas haven’t introduced any new errors.
...Data from numerous organizations indicates that on large projects an error in requirements detected during the architecture stage is typically 3 times as expensive to correct as it would be if it were detected during the requirements stage. If detected during coding, it’s 5-10 times as expensive; during system test, 10 times; and post-release, a whopping 10-100 times as expensive as it would be if it were detected during requirements development. On smaller projects with lower administrative costs, the multiplier post-release is closer to 5-10 than 100 (Boehm and Turner 2004).
McConnell lists 5 steps in the software development process:
- System Test
There is simply NO way to bypass these steps for the purpose of saving time and money. If there is an urgent need for the mobile software solution, then there needs to be an urgent need to define the requirements, and architect the system so coding can begin.
- They don't want their inspectors taking up parking spaces at the office. The parking space is limited so they would rather synchronize data out to the mobile inspectors than have them come to the office.
- They don't have anymore office space for the inspectors. They want them to work from the field.
I had never considered these 2 reasons on my article entitled 28 Reasons to Mobilize that is available to download. Make that 30 Reasons to Mobilize.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
- How can I put a work order solution on my Palm Treo 750?
- How can I dispatch a work order to my mobile device?
- How can I accomplish instant invoicing?
- How can I take digital photos of my work?
- How can I get "proof-of-delivery" using a mobile handheld PDA?
- How can I take these paper forms and convert them to mobile solutions?
- My paper process is costing me $234,000 per year. Can I mobilize this process?
If you would like to discuss potential ROIs and the value of mobilizing various business processes please contact us at http://www.mobiledataforce.com/, or call 208-384-1200.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
- Enterprise Solutions such as ERP, CRM and EDMS;
- Infrastructure and networking solutions;
- Radio Frequency Identification;
- Security Solutions;
- Enterprise CAD/GIS strategy;
HiFX focuses on providing business extension through field force automation using handheld PDAs and mobile software for continuous synching of business critical data in the HO and field force. These solutions provide up to the minute information to all employees guaranteeing consistency of data. We are also able to provide services that escalate existing legacy applications, ERP and CRM solutions, workflow applications to seamlessly integrate with mobile applications. With all expertise fundamental to mobile solution development, HiFX rolls out enterprise mobile software solutions and custom business solutions for midsize to large enterprises using handheld PDAs.
MobileDataforce in China Working on Mobile Inspection Software for Moible Computers, PDAs and Handhelds
Friday, September 14, 2007
- Draw a picture or diagram of the various players, software systems, buildings, vehicles, etc., that will be involved in the system. It helps everyone to see where the data starts, where it is collected, edited, synchronized used and stored.
- List the business processes involved in the system (i.e. work orders, asset tracking, inventory, inspections, accounting, payroll, invoicing)
- List who will be using the system
- Ask an expert to draw out and detail how the enterprise application works and interfaces with third party software
- Identify how each person involved will access the information (i.e. mobile handheld computer, desktop application, web application, etc.)
- What reports do they need to have? Are they dynamic, or are they standard reports?
- What database application(s) does the mobile application need to interface with?
- Provide a database schema for the database where the data will be stored?
- Make an expert, that knows your database application, available so the development team can quickly get their questions answered
- Pick your mobile device or handheld computer early so the development team knows screen sizes, button configurations, bar code, RFID, GPS etc., configurations
- Have a person available to review and test the work each step of the way.
- Don't ask the mobile application to do all of the same things as an enterprise software application. Be careful to use the mobile software application in the right manner with an understanding of the limited screen size, processor speed and memory available on mobile devices.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
- Mobile tax assessment application
- Mobile water deliver application
- Mobile clinical supplies and supply chain logistics application
All of these customized mobile software applications were developed using the same mobile software development platform called the PointSync Mobility Platform by MobileDataforce for use on handheld PDAs and Smartphones.
- Mobile auto inspections
- Mobile job estimates for auto detailing and PDR
- Mobile work orders
- Wireless synchronization and integration with enterprise work order management system
- Integration with Microsoft Dynamic GP for accounting
- Production and work reports
Monday, September 10, 2007
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
In summary - qualified field services companies can receive a free 30 day trial of a Palm Treo 750, the PointSync Mobility Platform, 4 sample mobile software applications and up to 4 hours of free mobile solution consulting by registering.
- Time sheets
- Pet vaccination tracking
- Tracking medicine shipping to Africa
- Concrete testing
- Government housing inspection projects
- Subway system switch inspections
- Tracking condom distribution to clinics
- Beverage distribution and promotion system
- Clinical studies on sever spinal injuries
- Electronic Patient diaries for Hemophiliac patients
- ATM repair and maintenance
- Heating ventilation and air condition work orders
- Electric company's work order system
- Oxygen delivery
- Propane delivery
- Medical supply delivery
- Much more...
MobileDataforce's PointSync Mobility Platform is used by companies around the world to mobilize a wide variety of business processes.
- Scanning a bar code on the wrist band of the patient
- Scanning a bar code on the applied medicine
- Capturing the date and time stamp on the handheld computer
- Synchronizing the data to an enterprise software application
- The collected data activates business rules
- The business rules prompt the user with questions
- The system alerts user if there is a problem with the treatment or treatment schedule
- Ask for response to alert
This was a fascinating example of a handheld PDA and a mobile data collection system that is integrated with an enterprise database. These same 8 steps can be implemented with many different assets. Let's consider a large piece of manufacturing equipment and a plant maintenance technician:
- Scan a bar code on the side of the equipment
- Scan a maintenance service bar code to designate the service you are performing
- Capture date and time stamp on the handheld computer
- Synchronize the data with your Asset Tracking or CMMS system
- The collected data activates business rules
- The system's business rules prompt you with questions about the service
- The system sends you service alerts based upon stored data
- You respond to the alert and verify you read it
These 2 data collection systems work the same from a mobile data collection technology perspective, but serve 2 completely different industries.
MobileDataforce develops mobile software applications that help companies improve their field services operations.