Showing posts from May, 2008

Handheld PDAs and Mobile Inspection Software for Electrical Utilities

Sho -Me Power owns 1,663 miles of transmission line, and is responsible for inspection and maintenance of the transmission line. Sho -Me power works directly with power suppliers to help transmit power to rural areas. Sho -Me Power provides services for 131 customer delivery points in 125 distribution and transmission substations. Sho -Me Power used paper forms to perform inspections of transmission lines in rural areas, which resulted in many challenges. Inspections were performed twice per year, once in the fall and again in the spring, transmission line poles and pole attachments were inspected for damage. Areas surrounding the transmission line were also inspected for overgrown trees and undergrowth to determine trimming needs if necessary. Many inspections were done during poor weather conditions which made it difficult to collect data, juggle necessary paperwork, and caused lost or smudged paperwork because of weather conditions. The paper forms were also time consuming to fill

Mobile Handheld PDAs, Barcode Scanners and ERPs

Last week my PSO (professional services organization) team gave me a demonstration of one of the coolest mobile software applications for handheld PDA that I have ever seen. This one mobile software application does the following: Proof of delivery - route delivery Route assignments Customer's payment status Customer's details Work Order Dispatch Inventory Tracking Identifies nearest source of additional inventory (mobile or warehouse) New product orders Fleet tracking (odometer readings, driver logs, hours of service) Critical message (alerts) - requires driver to read before continuing Planagrams - Mobile application tells the driver how much product to deliver to each customer and on what date Preventative maintenance planning and service tickets These are just a few of the features that our customer asked us to customize for their business in just one mobile software application. This customer has chosen the Psion Teklogix WorkAbout Pro as their mobile handheld computer. T

Ethiopia & Mobile Handheld PDA Solutions

I was very excited last night to view photos from one of our mobile application consultants (Will H.) who is in Ethiopia for the next few weeks. He is working on a very interesting mobile software project to help with a medical supply chain and logisitics solution that uses mobile handheld computers, Windows Mobile and software from MobileDataforce . The proof of concept utilized Palm Treos running Windows Mobile OS. His photos included exotic foods, landscapes, cityscapes and his temporary office. Mobile applications have great appeal in locations where the traditional landline infrastructures are less developed. Wireless networks and connected/disconnected mobile software applications are very well suited for these environments and can accurately collect and synchronize data from very remote locations to centralized databases anywhere in the world.

Comparing the MTC 2100 Ultra Mobile Computer to Handheld PDAs

Nexcom's MTC 2100 (left), MTC 2100-MD (middle), and MRC 2100 Although I love handheld PDAs, I am a big fan of ultra mobile computers. They fit in your hand like a paperback book, yet provide the full power of a laptop. The touch screens permit you to use them like big PDAs. MobileDataforce focuses on working with field workers, so ruggedized mobile devices are very important. It is said to provide from four to eight hours of battery life, Nexcom's triplets differ in more than just color: The MTC 2100, aimed at logistics and field service applications, includes GPS, based on SiRF's starIII chipset. Also onboard is a laser barcode scanner. The MTC 2100-MD, aimed at medical and POS (point-of-sale) applications, includes an onboard RFID reader. The MRC 2100, designed for outdoor and vehicle use, has added rubber padding installed, and is said to withstand drops of up to four feet. The devices include 802.11b/g/n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0, and accept optional

Visibility & Accountability in Field Services with Handheld PDAs

I must confess that I am much more of a people person than a numbers person. However, in my role as CEO of MobileDataforce I am accountable for understanding and using a large amount of numerical data. My responsibilities include: Collecting the important business data Analyzing the meaning of the data Reporting the data to my managers, my board and financial institutions Forecasting future growth and business performance based upon the data Improving my business processes to enable better performance in the future Investing in future products and services that will reap rewards in the future My responsibilities are very similar to many officers and managers of small to medium sized businesses. The key to effective management is having accurate and timely data, understanding the data and making effective business decisions based upon the data. Let's take a moment to ponder the process of collecting data in the world of field services (mobile service technicians). The field s

Quality Audits & Quality Assurance Using Mobile Handheld PDAs

My team at MobileDataforce is working on a mobile software development project with one of the world's largest consumer packaged goods ( CPG ) companies. The mobile application is designed to run on handheld PDAs and help the Q&A department improve their visibility into the manufacturing being done in hundreds of different locations around the world. The Q&A department is responsible for the quality and safety of both their employees and customers around the world. The mobile application allows internal company quality auditors to inspect an operation and synchronize the data to the corporate Q&A database in near-real time. This allows the data from thousands of inspections around the world to be quickly analyzed for trends and problems. Once the data is collected on mobile devices and synchronized to the corporate Q&A database, business analytic software can be used to understand the data and its impact on quality. Issues can be identified, policies implemented

Visibility - Mobile Software on PDAs & Handheld Computers

My PSO (professional services organization) team has been assisting several organizations around the world this month on mobile software projects for handheld PDAs with a common theme - visibility. Let me explain: Managers are often responsible for field work in locations where they are not physically present. They are personally accountable for the work delivered, but often have limited visibility into it. This is ALWAYS a challenge and a big risk. In the last few days we have been working on mobile solutions that provide the following benefits: Help a large Paintless Dent Repair franchiser track the quality of work through mobile and onsite customer surveys, work orders and inspections Track the shipping and delivery of medicine throughout Africa and South America using mobile handheld computers that synchronize to a central database Help a construction manager document construction projects with inspection software and other applications that help manage many projects in diff

Mobile Handheld PDAs for Scaffold Inspections & More

MobileDataforce has recently been working with a construction company to design a complete mobile software application for use on handheld PDAs for managing scaffolding construction and inspections. They selected a a Symbol MC9090 ruggedized handheld computer to use on the job. I was surprised by how much work is involved with the construction, asset tracking and safety inspections on scaffolding. Here is just an overview of the main menu of the mobile software application: Users will choose from the six menu items: Scaffold Manager allows the user to erect, dismantle and revise scaffolds from the mobile device. Inspection Checklist allows the QA person to perform daily inspections. Work package will let users choose from predefined scaffold packages and sub-packages that include estimates of crew needed as well as duration times for erection and dismantle. Dismantle times are only an estimate and no work order will be supplied for dismantling scaffolding. (these work packages w