There’s no denying the increase of mobile device use is not only in our social lives but also, globally, across our professional life. Just a quick click through Mary Meeker’s latest slide deck will give a fantastic perspective and some real insight into the state of internet trends – particularly in relation to smartphones and tablets.
Here’s one of the most interesting slides (number 9) of the 112 in the deck (and each one of them is definitely worth the time for a glimpse).
It says a lot, not just about the rapid growth of tablets over other market-changing technologies: smartphones, ipods, but also about how quickly tablets became so popular. It took until the sixth quarter after launch for the iPhone to reach 10,000,000 shipments. It took the iPad HALF that time. Highlighting that the rate of adoption of new technologies by businesses and consumers is increasing.With that in mind it should probably come as no surprise that 64% of mobile workers carry a tablet…
Which got me thinking about how much the growth of mobility is impacting the professional world. We are all aware that the customer is now demanding the ability to do their banking and their shopping whilst they’re getting the train to the office. But some workers are not just on the road or rails whilst they get to the office. Many now work remotely and in turn with the rise of mobile devices, the number of remote staff members is growing too.
According to a Ipsos/Reuters poll released at the start of 2012 around one in five workers around the globe telecommute frequently – but what constitutes a telecommuter? Well, with the rise of mobile connectivity many of us are now ‘mobile workers’, relying on our smartphones and tablets to increase our productivity from our waking moments until our head hits the pillow.
But then there are the road warriors, the iWorkers - the staff out in the field. For some time now these guys have been growing in number – not just working from home but also doing their jobs on site in remote places and whilst traveling between appointments partly. And it makes sense – beyond requirements of the tasks they need to do, it can reduce an organisation’s carbon footprint and expenses to have field workers, especially if you equip them well.
The mobile workforce must live up to its name and have the ability to do their job efficiently even when they’re in a disconnected environment – and it is vital to give them the tools to do so.
“Getting the right information into the hands of employees is critical to completing jobs well and on time. When an employee’s job takes them away from their office or desk, they must still have access to information”*
It’s all about business outcomes…
- A food inspector can combine information from a current inspection with previous results to have the evidence to shut-down a dangerous food outlet on the spot, ensuring no more customers fall sick;
- A mobile lender can provide house hunters with loan approval in their living room so they can get on with finding a home;
- A property inspector can report a dangerous plug socket and ensure an electrician is dispatched immediately to repair it;
- A paramedic can order new supplies for the ambulance as they’re consumed in the course of work.
As such, businesses are building the systems and resources to be able to make the mobile workforce really fly – for example, some energy companies are rolling out smart vehicles that have satellite phones, wifi hotspot, cameras, and on board computers to their site inspectors. Operating that way, companies also need to have the systems and processes in place to make these devices and technologies super-effective. 70% of businesses cited Increased Worker Productivity as one of the results of deploying mobile applications*.
Enabling your mobile workforce in this way means you end up with a much better result. If your workers in the field are filling out forms digitally (even while offline) and then sending those forms back to a database as soon as they have a connection this will greatly improve workflow cycles. Furthermore, if they can complete those mobile forms with any accompanying files needed, such as photographs even better.
Many organisations are investing in “Vertical Applications” for Insurance, Healthcare, Asset Management etc – but these applications are limited to a very specific use case. When the mobile employee wants to:
- Order a new uniform
- Complete a timesheet or expense report
- Report an OH&S incident
They often have to ignore their shiny new powerful mobile device and resort to paper.
Whatever the requirement, using a mobile device to complete these tasks is irrefutably quicker than printing off a form, filling it in by hand on site then scanning, mailing or faxing that form back to the office, where it will have to be rekeyed into the database. Equally, if you have a remote worker who urgently needs access to information from a client file – so much the better if they can get that information to appear on their device as and when they need it.
If you could introduce such potential to your mobile workforce, you absolutely would, wouldn’t you? For anyone whose organisation undertakes tasks such Asset tracking, Field sales, Field service, Fleet management, On-site inspections, or On-site audits – a smart choice to improve productivity is a Field Mobility solution that can extend the powerful capabilities built into iPads, Android tablets and Microsoft Windows devices with intuitive mobile data capture apps.
If, after reading this blog you still have a few minutes to spare – you might want to watch this video– which demonstrates Avoka’s Mobile Field Worker solution. It’s a smart, cost effective and elegant mobile data-capture solution that gives your organisation an easy, code-free way to significantly improve both field staff productivity and data quality through SmartForms (online forms) whilst reducing operating costs. And it’s not just appropriate for core business activities – it can empower the field staff to perform all manner of data capture activities including HR, Finance and OH&S style forms.
The Mobile Field Worker solution is based on the Avoka Transact Mobile FieldWorker App and Avoka Transact platform. The Mobile FieldWorker app is now available on the app store, and it’s free. If you would like more information or a live demonstration then you can contact us today.
* Forrester report Connected Mobile Workers Power Innovation to New Heights http://www.avaya.com/uk/resource/assets/whitepapers/BCL%20-%20Mobile%20Collaboration%20-%20Connected%20Mobile%20Workers%20Power%20Innovation%20-%20Mar%202012.pdf