Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Microsoft, Palm and MobileDataforce Team Up for Handheld PDA and Smartphone Campaign

Microsoft, Palm and MobileDataforce team up to provide small to medium sized companies with cost effective mobile field services applications for use on smartphones and handheld PDAs. Here is the slogan:

Mobile Field Service Workers. Wireless access. Get it Done.

Deliver mobile work orders, inspections, up-to-date asset information, and more with the PointSync Mobility Platform & Palm® Treosmartphones

How valuable would it be for your field services team to easily access mobile work orders, wireless pick lists, inspections and up-to-date asset information on their Palm® Treosmartphones?

Join Palm and MobileDataforce for a live, interactive Webinar to find out how. By attending, learn how to qualify for a free 30-day trial of the MobileDataforce PointSync® Mobility Platform and a Palm Treo 750 smartphone.

Qualified users for the trial will also receive a free mobile consultation and discounted pricing from MobileDataforce – and up to four hours of mobile solution consulting for free! And... Get all your mobile field service questions answered live during the Webinar by representatives from Palm, Microsoft and MobileDataforce.

Discover how MobileDataforce PointSync on Palm Treo smartphones can help your company:

  • Deliver work orders, inspection forms, asset management and more to your field service workers

  • Sync two-way data from the point of business to help save time, improve accuracy, and avoid misplaced forms

  • Consolidate multiple mobile devices into a single Windows Mobile® smartphone that delivers voice, email, text messaging, and mobile field service applications2

  • Create your own mobile applications, or have the MobileDataforce Professional Services team complete and deploy a solution for you

  • Stay ahead of the competition and help ensure top-level customer service

We look forward to seeing you at the Webinar. Join us to take advantage of the opportunity to get a free, no obligation trial offer and realize the mobility benefits of this solution for your field services team.2

Friday, August 24, 2007

Concrete Sawing and Drilling and Mobile Handheld Computers

I had the opportunity to be the keynote speaker at the Concrete Sawing and Drilling Association meeting this week in Phoenix, Arizona. It was a cool 112 degrees on Wednesday when I arrived. I was able to spend a lot of time with these CSDA folks (who would go outdoors in that heat?) and learn even more about their individual businesses.

Here are some of the reasons companies in this industry are interested in mobilizing their field services:

1.Wirelessly dispatch job tickets to mobile handheld computers
2.Pre-task planning to prepare for job and have all required equipment loaded on vehicle
3.Track equipment that is needed and removed from warehouse
4.Record the person who checked out the equipment
5.Record the vehicle that equipment is assigned to
6.Document the tasks that need to be performed on the job. Were they all done?
7.How much time did each task take? Improve job estimates
8.Wirelessly synchronize data back to the office for instant invoicing
9.Was all equipment checked back into the warehouse?

These are similar requirements to many different field service industries. The business owners I spoke with were all looking to decrease loss, reduce unnecessary expenses and increase productivity and profits.

MobileDataforce has a great deal of experience helping field service companies mobilize their operations and accomplish the goals listed above.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

MobileDataforce Named Microsoft Certified Partner

MobileDataforce Named Microsoft Certified Partner

Idaho Software Company Further Distinguishes Itself by Earning ISV Competency

Boise, Idaho— August 23, 2007 – MobileDataforce® a leading provider of business critical mobile software applications for the SMB markets today announced it has earned certified status in Microsoft’s Partner Program, which recognizes MobileDataforce’s expertise and impact in the technology marketplace. As a Certified Partner, MobileDataforce has demonstrated expertise with Microsoft technologies and proven ability to meet customer needs. Microsoft Certified Partners receive a rich set of benefits, including access, training and support that give them a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

“Only companies that have demonstrated high levels of customer service, proved their experience and attained advanced certification receive the designation of Microsoft Certified Partner,” said Allison Watson, corporate vice president of the Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft. “Today, Microsoft recognizes MobileDataforce for its skills and expertise in providing customer satisfaction with Microsoft products and technology.”

In addition to achieving certified status, MobileDataforce has declared the ISV/Software Solutions Competency. Microsoft Competencies are designed to help differentiate a partner’s capabilities with specific Microsoft technologies to customers looking for a particular type of solution. Each competency has a unique set of requirements and benefits, formulated to accurately represent the specific skills and services that partners bring to the technology industry.

The ISV/Software Solutions Competency recognizes the skill and focus partners bring to a particular solution set. Microsoft Certified Partners that have obtained this competency have a successful record of developing and marketing packaged software based on Microsoft technologies.

“We are pleased to have earned certified status in the Microsoft Partner Program. This achievement demonstrates to our customers our experience and commitment to developing mobile software applications that run on Microsoft operating systems,” said Kevin Benedict CEO of MobileDataforce.

About the PointSync Mobility Platform

PointSync Mobility Platform is an enterprise class solution used to rapidly design, develop and deploy mobile software applications. It is architected to provide database centric mobile applications with bi-directional synchronization, GPS, barcode scanning, RFID, connectivity, security and enterprise database integration all within one solution.

About MobileDataforce

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

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Symbol MC50, Target & Handheld PDAs in the Field

My family and I were doing something for the first time - outfitting a university dorm room. My son is about to leave the nest and join the ranks of academics and scholars (I hope!). Did you know that Target (USA based stores) has a complete line of products for dorm rooms called "07 College?" OK, they were not too creative on the brand name, but we did buy about a half dozen products from that line for his dorm room. In the process of shopping a store clerk walked by with a Symbol MC50 handheld PDA in her hand (if you are a regular reader you will note that Wal-Mart also used this handheld PDA and barcode scanner). She was looking up product inventory with the handheld and answering customers' questions.

I pondered the activities of the store clerk and considered how that same activity (i.e. business process) could also be used outside the store. Most of the mobile software solutions MobileDataforce helps deploy involve some level of rain, wind, dust and mud (in addition to oil, blood, ice, explosions, etc.). The store clerk was looking up inventory to help a customer know if they could buy the product. The query also would tell the clerk where the products were located, and if there were more in the warehouse.

Field Service technicians use this same feature everyday. They just work in locations with more dirt and spider webs. Picture this - the service technician is on his back under a furnace. A replacement part is required for the repair. He pulls out his Smart Phone and queries the inventory in his van. The part is not there, but it is in a van just 1 mile away. He calls to the other van driver who delivers it.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Inspection Data Requires Visibility and Handheld PDAs Can Help

I was in the Benelux working with a large Fortune 1000 company on a global inspection project involving over 500 inspectors. One of the motivations for the project was to ensure that the inspection data that was collected was synchronized from the mobile handheld computers directly to a database that could be viewed and analyzed by management in near real time. Previously, when inspections were completed on paper forms - the paper forms were simply filed in a cabinet. The only forms reviewed by management were those with a very, very bad scores. That meant nearly all the collected data was trapped on a paper form and stuffed in a dark file cabinet unavailable for easy viewing, distribution and analysis. The problem with not viewing the data that is collected is that trends and patterns can not be recognized and corrected in advance. There was a lot of money spent collecting inspection data that could not be acted upon in a preventative manner.
This week's bridge collapse in Minneapolis brought the Benelux example to mind. Seems there had been many inspections, but obviously the data was not being viewed by the right parties in a manner that would motivate preventative action.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Samsung Q1 Ultra - Handheld Computer for Construction and Building Inspections

MobileDataforce is working on a construction and building inspection software project in China. The handheld device chosen by our customer is a Samsung Q1 Ultra. It is a two-handed handheld computer. The Qwerty keyboard is split half on one side and half on the other side of the screen. The mouse is on the left side and a navigation button on the right.
This device will be used for inspections and quality assurance audits.
It is a good looking device, but a two-handed handheld will take some getting used to.

MobileDataforce and HVAC Service Software on Handheld PDAs

MobileDataforce supports mobile software applications for many different kinds of service technicians and handheld PDAs. This time of year (summer 2007 and hot weather) has us working with many HVAC (heating, ventilation & air conditioning) companies.
A recent report from Aberdeen Group says that field service automation can lead to an 18% increase in service revenues and 9% reduction in Mean Time to Repair. The typical conversation with the owner of an HVAC company goes as follows:

"I am getting buried in paper work orders! Is there a way to have an electronic work order on a handheld PDA or Smart Phone that wirelessly synchronizes directly to my accounting software? Can work orders be dispatched from my office to a handheld computer? I would like my service technicians to enter their time, parts used, work status and get a digital signature on a handheld computer. Can that be done cost effectively for my 18 service technicians?"

My answer - "Yes sir...we deploy integrated mobile work order solutions weekly."
Click the image on the right to enlarge.

Here are some common features:
  • Dispatch of service tickets/work orders

  • Reassignment, Cancellation handling, Emergency calls

  • Routing and event status, Maps and routing information sent with jobs

  • Status of jobs

  • Job data and description

  • Customer data

  • Technical Data

  • Equipment data

  • Parts and part orders

  • Inventory checks

  • Locating parts

  • Parts orders

  • Shipping status

  • Invoicing

  • Customer signatures

  • Mobile invoice printing

  • Sales and Mobile CRM

  • Up selling products and service packages

  • Warranties and renewals

  • Job estimating

  • Customer Survey

  • Inspections
If you would like to discuss mobile software applications for handheld PDAs in detail please contact MobileDataforce, or click here to request a personal demonstration.

Additional articles on mobile handheld computer solutions - click here.

Additional mobile Work Order related articles

Muffled Voices in Your Mobile Handheld PDA

We are working on a large inspection software project in the UK for a water utility that uses handheld PDAs. In the course of supporting this effort one of the inspectors sent a problematic handheld PDA in for service. Seems it had run out of memory. Upon closer inspection we found a 30 minute voice memo of the inside of his pocket. For the curious - not much of interest in the recording.

Voice memos? These are useful when you need to record your findings while keeping your hands free (dangling from a 40 story building, climbing a ladder, crawling through a pipe). These voice memos can be wirelessly synchronized to a database and someone back at the office can type them into the database if needed.

MobileDataforce's PointSync Mobility Platform enables you to attach voice memos to a database on the device and to have this voice memo synchronized with the enterprise database application in the office.