Wednesday, July 16, 2008

MobileDataforce Announces iPhone Software Development Services

MobileDataforce® Announces iPhone Software Development Services

New iPhone software development services enable businesses to deploy custom mobile business applications to the popular iPhone

Boise, Idaho— July 17, 2008 – MobileDataforce®, a leading provider of mobile software solutions for businesses, today announced a new professional services offering for users of the popular Apple iPhone.

MobileDataforce has for years been developing mobile software applications for use on handheld PDAs and helping our customers develop and deploy mobile enterprise software applications around the world on the Windows Mobile and Pocket PC operating systems. We are now adding the capabilities to develop enterprise mobile business applications for use on the iPhone.

About MobileDataforce®

MobileDataforce® is a leader in the development of enterprise class and business critical software solutions for use on mobile computers including Smart Phones, Handhelds, PDAs, Tablet PCs and laptops. MobileDataforce has sales offices in Europe, North America and in Australia to support their expanding customer base and sales channels. Privately held, MobileDataforce has been mobilizing business solutions since 2000. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.mobiledataforce.com/.

Apple Stores and Motorola MC50s

I had the opportunity to be in an Apple store in New York City last month. I was again very intrigued that Apple employees were still using Motorola handheld PDAs inside the Apple stores. I would think that Apple would want to replace these handheld PDAs that run Windows Mobile operating systems and are manufactured by their smartphone and PDA competitors. It will be interesting to watch this situation.

MobileDataforce is now developing custom mobile software applications for businesses wanting to extend the use of their iPhones or handheld PDAs into their business processes.

- Kevin Benedict

Mobile Data Collection on Handheld PDAs Drives Rational Decisions

The title of this article is a mouth full, but it is true. We have customers using mobile data collection technologies on handheld PDAs for the following purposes:
  • Surveying AIDS victims, using mobile handheld computers, in various African countries to learn about habits, practices, cultural norms and other lifestyle issues. This information is synchronized back to a central research databases so analyst can learn how best to educate people on how to prevent the spread of AIDS. Real field data is critical for developing the most effective educational programs.
  • Customer surveys included with Work Orders/Service Tickets. Once work is completed at a customer's location, the service technician hands the customer a mobile survey form on the handheld. The customer has the opportunity to rate the service in several different areas. This information is immediately synchronized to the office database and the manager can review the customer's responses. This is an effective way of scaling the manager/owners contact with customers. If there is a problem rating on the survey the manager can immediately contact the customer to address these issues. Having a mobile survey, also encourages the service technician to always provide their best customer support. Managers can base bonuses in part on customer survey reports.

These are just 2 areas where real-time, or near real-time mobile field data collection can enable managers in the office to make solid rational decisions based upon data gathered in far away locations.

If you are interested in more information on inspection software, data collection software or mobile software applications please visit MobileDataforce's website.

- Kevin Benedict

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Law of Mobility for Mobile Handheld PDAs and Mobile Software

The Law of Mobility states that the value of any product or service increases with its mobility. Improvements typically realized from a mobile solution include a reduction of paper, streamlining of non-value added and redundant processes, an increase in overall productivity, elimination of manual processes, reduced labor costs and overtime, and increased quality and reliability of information. ~Russell McGuire, The Power of Mobility

Russell McGuire has provided us with a concise description of the value of mobile software applications for use on mobile handheld PDAs. Here are 39 detailed reasons to mobilize your business.

Mobilizing business processes enables you to gain visibility into work done in the field, helps to ensure quality work, enables you to reduce administrative work and invoice for field services quicker.

- Kevin Benedict

Monday, July 14, 2008

Online Educational Video on Implementing Field Services Using Handheld PDAs

Educational Video on Mobilizing Field Services

For those of you interested in mobilizing your field services with handheld PDAs and mobile software, you will fine the following video informative and useful. The President of Psion Teklogix (a ruggedized handheld computer manufacturer), Ron Caines and myself explore the challenges and rewards of mobilizing field services and field data collection.

Field Services video

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Apple Could Make Things Easier for th iPhone Smartphone

It is a good thing MobileDataforce's professional services organization has so much experience developing enterprise mobile software applications and synchronizing with back office systems, because Apple has certainly not offered much help in making the iPhone enterprise ready. We are developing iPhone applications now for customers and are often coding our own software to fill many gaps in Apple's SDK.

This experience is predictable when new technology is released. It takes companies like MobileDataforce to fill in the missing links. Even with these early stage issues, it is certainly fun and the iPhone smartphone is absolutely capable of being a value enterprise tool for the mobile workforce.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

GPS Features on the iPhone

One of the coolest features of the Apple iPhone for businesses is the integrated GPS functionality. Companies can use these features for a large variety of purposes including:
  • Adding time and date stamps PLUS GPS coordinates to work orders as a way of proving the time, data and location of work performed
  • Enabling service technicians and delivery vans to be tracked in near real-time.
  • Helping drivers reach their destination faster and with less fuel
  • Associating job estimates to a GPS location
  • Locating and identifying the location of various pieces of equipment and other assets
  • Associating conditional assessments for asset management with a GPS location. This can be used to locate buildings, walls, sidewalks, sprinkler heads etc, that require repair

The list can go on forever because there is a HUGE amount of value in adding geospatial information to just about any field service activity. Including this feature on an iPhone is one more step toward making the iPhone a valueable business tool for the enterprise.

MobileDataforce is currently working on a number of mobile business applications for the iPhone.

Business Applications for Apple iPhones

MobileDataforce has just started a very cool mobile business application for use on the Apple iPhone. My team has over 50 years experience developing custom mobile applications yet are still excited about using their experience with the iPhones.

This iPhone business application involves the following:
  • Login to an office database application from an iPhone
  • Enter Sales Order information on the iPhone in the field and transfer the order to the database application in the office
  • Enter Shipping information on the iPhone and transfer the information to the database application in the office
  • Initiate credit card processing on the database application in the office
  • Receive acknowledgement of Order acceptance and CC processing
  • Initiate an order fulfillment and shipping process in the warehouse

This is just one of many iPhone applications and projects that MobileDataforce is reviewing and/or developing for our customers at this time. It is fun, but challenging as Apple has not provided complete tool sets for iPhone development yet. Currently we must develop many of the tools ourselves to address the needs of the enterprise business application market, but eventually Apple will offer more tools to simplify the most common enterprise integration needs.

Let the fun begin for the iPhone enterprise application market!