Showing posts from October, 2007

Introducing the Psion Teklogix Ikon - Rugged Handheld PDA Smartphone

Here is an interesting experience. I am using blogging software that is provided by Google, and it detected that I was blogging from a location in the Netherlands today and it switched all the instructions to Dutch. Oh well, nothing ventured nothing gained. I was in Paris last week for the unveiling of Psion Teklogix's new rugged handheld PDA phone/scanner/gps data collector called the Ikon (sorry Psion I don't know how to make your special font characters). It is one of the few rugged phones with built in industrial strength scanners and batteries for real world working environments like the ones MobileDataforce works in on a daily basis. Here is the text from Psion Teklogix's press release: 25 October 2007 Paris, France Signifying the dawn of a new era in the PDA marketplace, Psion Teklogix (LSE: PON), a global provider of solutions for mobile computing, wireless data collection, imaging and RFID, announced its return to the market it pioneered over 20 years ago, lau

Work Orders on Mobile Handheld PDAs

Many owner's of small services companies ask me how a paper based work order or service request document can be condensed to fit on a small handheld PDA screen. Good question! Let me explain some of the ways the team at MobileDataforce would layout the screens in an easy to use manner. Most service or work order documents are divided into common sections: Date, Service Technician name, service ticket number Customer Name, address, phone number Reason for Today's Call Work Performed and description Identify equipment that was serviced Cost of work performed Cost of parts used Status of Work (complete, incomplete, outstanding) Payment information Customer and Service Technician signatures We use the ability to pre-load the mobile work order application with all the dispatched customer information from the office. Most of the data the service technician enters into the mobile application can be done using: Check boxes Pick lists Radio buttons Pull down menus with multiple choice

Mobile Handheld PDA Software & HVAC Service Technicians

The poor HVAC service technician didn't see it coming. My wife tried to warn him. She said, "Don't answer any of his questions!" It was too late. Kevin -"What have you got there on the clipboard." Unsuspecting HVAC service technician -"This is a work order form." "How do you know where to go for your next job" "I call Pam at the office. Problem is my Nextel phone takes 10 minutes to connect to the office...I hate it. Sometimes I use my own personal phone to call her." "What does Pam do?" "She talks to all the service technicians and dispatches all the work. She tries to keep track of where all the service technicians are and what they should be doing, and where they should go next." "What happens if Pam elopes to Las Vegas with a circus clown?" "We would just close down the shop and lock the door. She is critical to our business...I call her 5-7 times a day to have her look up ar

Review of Paintless Dent Repair Technologies, PDAs and Handhelds

I have written several articles on the different components of a Paintless Dent Repair mobile software application for service technicians. Here is a consolidated list of the various component of this application: Mobile Handheld PDA bar code scanner to scan VINs (vehicle identification numbers) for the purpose of uniquely identifying the vehicle you are inspecting and servicing ( for more information on this ) VIN database and VIN decoding - the mobile handheld PDA contains a full database of nearly all the automobiles available in a particular country. When you scan the bar code on the vehicle the VIN number is decoded and the description of the vehicle automatically populates the inspection or work order application on the handheld pc . This is updated regularly. Vehicle Inspection Application - once you have scanned the VIN number, you want to inspect the vehicle to identify the necessary services that will be required. This blog article discusses the SPLAT screen technolo

Mobile Automotive Inspection Software & Paintless Dent Repair Software for PDA and Handhelds

The image to the right is the SPLAT screen from the mobile automotive service order application called FieldSync Automotive . It is designed for companies that inspect vehicles for damage and conduct work like Paintless Dent Repair - PDR . You can bar code scan the VIN number, inspect the vehicle, create a mobile work order and get customer approval to work on the vehicle. The completed work order is then synchronized to the FieldSync Automotive office application . The splat screen is a very helpful concept. You can select a vehicle type such as truck, 4-door, hatch back, etc. The splat image brings up an image that enables you to graphically depict the damage or location of work. This is powerful documentation that shows well to the customer. If you would like more information on FieldSync Automotive, please contact us via email or visit MobileDataforce's website.

Paintless Dent Repair & Mobile Automotive Services Software, Handhelds, PDAs and Mobile Software

In a blog article I wrote earlier, I discussed a mobile work order software application for use on PDAs, handhelds and Smartphones under development that is designed to run on ruggedized handheld computers and to be used by automotive service technicians. They bar code scan the VIN of a car and then create a work order. Once the work order is approved they complete the work, invoice the customer and synchronize the data with the office. In the image above you see the desktop application used in the office. This application allows work orders to be created and dispatched to the automotive service technicians in the field. Reports can be generated and the work orders can be loaded into QuickBooks for invoicing. If you operate an automotive inspection service, paintless dent repair, detailing or other automobile services business then you may find this very interesting. If you would like more information please contact MobileDataforce by email or visit our website .

Paintless Dent Removal and Mobile Software Solution for PDAs and Handhelds

MobileDataforce is in the process of developing a very interesting mobile software application for handhelds and PDAs called FieldSync Automotive (TM). This software application runs on a rugged handheld computer and synchronizes with a desktop application that manages work orders, schedules, reports, invoices and integrates with Quickbooks . Other accounting systems can be supported but require additional customization. MobileDataforce is developing a powerful collection of applications for companies that provide mobile automotive services. Services such as paintless dent repair ( PDR ), detailing, mobile windshield repair, automotive inspections, etc. If you would like more information please email us or visit our website . The mobile handheld software application (pictured above) enables the user to scan (using a barcode scanner) the VIN number on the automobile and then assign a work order to that unique vehicle.

Business Process Optimization for Mobile Handheld PDAs

How do you improve upon a paper forms-based business process? The plumber, electrician and appliance repair person have been using a clipboard with paper work orders and service tickets forms forever. How do you improve upon this tried and true process? Let me provide some ideas for your consideration: The office can wirelessly dispatch new work orders directly to a handheld device Small service companies, with an owner/operator, can take calls from customers while on the road and enter new work orders on their mobile PDA phones. These work orders can be synchronized with the office and dispatched immediately to other service technicians Wireless work orders can be integrated straight into office database applications and accounting systems so there is no additional paperwork to be entered The wireless work orders can contain all the information on the customer, warranties, equipment type and model, history of the account, driving directions, etc. No need to call the service technicia

Saving Time Developing Mobile Software for Handheld PDAs

It is important to recognize that mobile software applications for handheld PDAs are not just developed by 1 person in a dark room with a computer. The business unit manager can order a mobile software application to be developed, but someone must design it, develop it, test it and approve it. Do you really want the programmer to complete the entire application on his/her own, or do you want a person who understands the business to be involved? Here are some considerations: Do you want the mobile software application to look exactly like the paper form in use today? If you don't specify differently, the programmer may design it to look like a small piece of paper on a mobile handheld PDA. Do you want the programmer to dictate your business process, or do you want to tell the programmer how the business process should work? Do you want the programmer to tell the field workers how, when and where they should sync the mobile application, or do you want the business users to tell th

You Should Not Develop a Mobile Application - Just Because You Can

We often receive calls from software developers asking about our mobile software development environment . The developers often ask the question, "Why should I use your development platform when I can develop my own mobile software application for handheld PDAs?" That is a good and fair question. I will usually follow their questions with my own: How many mobile software applications have you already designed, developed, deployed and supported successfully for handheld PDAs? Is your employer comfortable with having you learn on the job or are they risk adverse? Are they willing to be patient with your learning curve? If it takes you 4 months longer to develop your own, does the business suffer? Have you created a full synchronization engine successfully in the past? This is very complicated and software companies like MobileDataforce have spent years optimizing these. What are the chances you will get it right and optimized on the very first project? Do you have experience d