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Showing posts from March, 2007

How to Develop a Slow and Unreliable Mobile Software Solution for Mobile Handheld PDAs and Smartphones

Some companies have figured out how to develop slow and unreliable mobile software solutions for use on expensive and fast handheld PDAs and smartphones completely on their own, but for those new to this process please read on: Make sure you purchase the slowest available processors on your handheld PDAs Develop your mobile software applications in complete isolation from your real world working environment - chance and fate make life interesting if not entertaining Make sure you purchase the least amount of memory possible on your chosen PDA Purchase outdated and end-of-life handheld PDAs (try eBay) Develop new mobile solutions to run on old operating systems (try pocket pc 2002 or 2003) Choose a dial-up modem option for synchronizing your PDA (forget wireless broadband) Develop mobile solutions that assume you will always have good wireless carrier coverage Make sure if you lose wireless coverage, that your mobile software application is useless Take your existing deskt

Handheld PDAs in the Kitchen

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I took a brief holiday with my wife this week and somehow ended up in a kitchen products store. As I was rummaging through the various over priced multi-colored utensils from around the world, I noticed a Symbol Handheld PDA on a nearby kiosk. This was something interesting in a kitchen store, who would have thought it? I walked over to the kiosk and noticed a synchronization cradle sitting next to a connected desktop computer with a flat panel monitor. I noted that the Symbol PDA had a built-in barcode scanner, monochrome screen and was running the Palm OS. I walked slowly around the kiosk, pretending to be captivated by the flexible cutting boards, but I was really trying to determine the purpose of the handheld computer. I noted that the Symbol PDA was their low-end ruggedized device, and that it seemed to be positioned for the use of their customers, not for their own internal inventory purposes. I imagined I was Sherlock Holmes out to solve a case and reached for my pipe.

Crop Dusters and Mobile Handheld PDAs

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I am always interested in new and unique mobile software applications that run on handheld PDAs and smartphones. This week one of our partners in New Zealand started work on a flight information recording application for crop dusters. They are using the PointSync Mobility Platform to design, develop and deploy this solution. I don't know all the details, but it certainly sounds interesting!

Building Inspection Solutions on Handheld PDAs

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It is the season for Building Inspection solutions here at MobileDataforce . We are currently involved in 5 different Building Inspection projects. We are working with county governments, private building inspection companies, mold inspection companies, water conservation organizations, and a housing authority in Europe. There are a lot of similarities: Identify the building and building owner Identify the physical location Identify the inspector Identify the date and time of the inspection Inspect the premise Identify and document the areas that were examined - building, floor, room, wall Recommended action steps Inspection Report Mobile Invoice Sometimes there are work orders or preventative maintenance work orders that get activated based upon an inspection. For example - NE corner of the roof is damaged, schedule repair. Other times work and cost estimates are associated with the inspections. For example - NE corner of the roof is damaged - estimated repair time 16 hours - ma

Mobilized Work Order System for Mobile Handheld PDAs

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What does a "mobilized" work order dispatch and management system look like on a mobile handheld PDA? It consists of a number of business processes integrated together to create an efficient and profitable process that satisfies the requirements of your customer. Let's explore a mobilized work order process now: A customer calls in to report a broken heating system. The office staff takes the phone call, enters the relevant information into the work order database application on the desktop computer which creates a unique work order number. The work order database application, with GIS integration, can compare the location of each service technician to determine which service technician is closest to the work location. This is accomplished with GPS tracking on the service vehicles or handheld computers used by the service technician. Once the appropriate service technician is identified, the work order is dispatched to the handheld computer used by the service technici

Enterprise Mobile Software Solutions for Handheld PDAs and Smartphone Report

Aberdeen Group reports that 80% of survey respondents are planning for increases in handheld PDAs and smartphones with wireless access and more complex devices with data applications and network connectivity. These new devices require management of the full life cycle from sourcing, procurement, connectivity assistance, applications support, security, data back-up, device replacement, through retirement. In an earlier blog article I wrote in detail about the support requirements of enterprise mobile software solutions. Companies simply need to understand that mobile handheld PDAs and smartphones and wireless networks often come with a new and fresh set of support considerations. iAnywhere / Sybase has invested heavily into developing enterprise solutions for managing mobile devices called Afaria .

Faster and Faster Wireless Networks for Use on Handheld PDAs

In this article T-Mobile and Vodafone announce faster mobile data service offerings that will be available later this year for smartphones and handheld PDAs. What does this mean? Larger amounts of data in the form of maps, photos, audio files, video files and VoIP will be able to be sent at faster speeds to smartphones and handhelds. This has a lot of relevance for companies dispatching work orders, CAD files, blue prints, Maps, etc. Visitors will be able to test HSDPA service at data speeds up to 7.2M bps (bits per second) and HSUPA at speeds up to 1.45M bps at the T-Mobile and Vodafone booths. That compares with the operators' current 3.6M bps HSDPA and 1M bps HSUPA. Around the globe, enterprise users of mobile data service seek higher speeds to send and fetch large PowerPoint presentations and e-mail attachments as well as for using company intranet services more effectively. T-Mobile plans to offer 7.2M bps HSDPA service later this year, according to Deutsche Telekom CEO Re

51 Questions the IT Department Wants Answered when Supporting Mobile Solutions

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Often the focus of a mobile software project is on gathering the functional requirements, designing, developing and deploying the mobile solution, but little or no focus is given to the question of how to support it once it is deployed. Here are some of the support issues to consider: Who does the field worker call if there is a mobile device problem? Who does the field worker call if their mobile application is not synchronizing? Who trains new hires on how to use the mobile application? If there is a mobile software problem, who fixes it - IT, consultant, contractor, systems integrator, software provider or your cousin Howie? Who does the field worker call if the mobile application needs edited? Who defines the business process you are mobilizing? They may need to approve any changes to the business process. Who controls the security of the device? How do you set-up a new user to securely access the enterprise database? What kinds of security rules must the field user follow? Do

Handheld PDA Solutions for First Responders and Mobile Business Processes on the Server Side

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I have written several times about the benefits of automating business processes on mobile handheld devices, so this time I am going to focus on automating business processes once the data is synchronized from the handheld device in the field to the server in the office. Last week I visited Patron Systems in Boulder, Colorado. They are a software company focused on law enforcement and public safety. They have sophisticated business processes built into their mobile law enforcement applications that include real-time queries to multiple disparate databases to auto-fill eforms on laptops. Once the data is collected on the law enforcement form, it can be synchronized and routed to a police supervisor for review. It stays in a "work que " until the supervisor either approves or rejects it. If rejected it is returned to the original officer for editing and correction or if approved gets sent to the record management system for storage. This is an example of how data collected

More on Workflows & Business Processes for Mobile Handheld PDAs

I want to share some more thoughts on mobile software applications and automated business processes as they relate to mobile handheld PDAs. One of the key differences between a paper form and an electronic form on a handheld PDA is the ability to include automated business processes in the electronic form on the handheld. What do I mean by automated business process? Definition of Automated Business Processes: a set of interrelated tasks linked to an activity that spans functional boundaries. Business processes have starting points and ending points, and they are repeatable. IBM adds these valuable comments - "More importantly, the value of creating business processes for an enterprise is in the intellectual assets that those processes represent. The widgets that a business produces have value, of course; additionally, the knowledge of how to make those widgets has value too. That knowledge can be captured, added to, and improved in a business process. The scope of the widget-m

Multilingual Mobile Software Applications for Handheld PDAs

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Mobile software applications are often used in the field by workers using handheld PDAs that do not have English as a first language. To assist in training these workers to use mobile applications in the manner they are intended audio and video files can be included in various locations on the mobile application. These audio files are often accessed through an icon on the application next to a field or set of inspection questions. Here are some examples: RFID Cattle Management application includes Spanish language audio files on the screen so workers can listen to instructions on how to correctly use the application and answer questions. Construction Management application can flip back and forth between English words on the application and Spanish words on the application at the push of a button. Quality Assurance applications can explain how to analyze the quality of a particular operation through audio, video and pictures Instructions can tell the field worker the proper method o

Video for Service Technicians Using Handheld PDAs

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Imagine this - a junior service technician needs advice on how to repair a piece of equipment. He pulls out his handheld PDA with a wireless connection, calls his supervisor back at the office, and starts taking a digital video of the equipment. The supervisor is able to view the digital video in real time and asks the junior service technician to move the video camera around so the equipment can be viewed from several angles. Advice is given and the junior service technician completes the job. This scenario is available today. MobileDataforce's PointSync mobile software for field service technicians is available here, and the ability to transform your Smartphone or handheld PDA into a live video cam can be found here .

More Business for Mobile Software and Handheld PDAs in Australia & New Zealand

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MobileDataforce is growing rapidly in Australia and in New Zealand. We have just kicked off a number of very interesting mobility projects. One project in New Zealand is with a prominent engineering and construction company that involves mobile service requests. They are utilizing GPS, photo capture and the ability to create new service requests and job estimates on the handheld PDA from the field. Our customer has the following business units; trucking, engineering, asset management, facility management, road and bridge building and construction and many more. Each of these business units have a need for mobile software on rugged handhelds to communicate with their management team and software in the office.

30 Reasons to Mobilize Your Business using Mobile Handheld PDAs

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ROI (return on investment) is the term used to define the value of a solution relative to the cost. If a mobile solution for use on a mobile handheld PDA cost $50,000, how do you justify this investment? Management needs to see that their investment will provide them with a positive return. The following list contains some of the most common justifications for mobilizing business processes using mobile software for handheld PDAs: Eliminate time spent in the office re-typing data collected in the field. Eliminate time spent on the phone dispatching service tickets or work orders, rather dispatch electronic service tickets direct from your computer to the mobile device of your service technician. Send driving directions from Google Maps in the electronic work order; saves time finding work locations. Avoid the fuel costs incurred delivering paperwork to the office; rather synchronize the data direct from the field to the central database application. Avoid the time cost transporting