Last week Engage Mobile, in partnership with TechOrchard, hosted mobileBLEND featuring a panel that discussed the integration of mobility into business strategy.Â Panelists included Darrin Clawson of Engage Mobile; Randy Spivey, owner of CrewTracker Software; Dustin Burns, IT Director at McCownGordon Construction; James Robertson, VP of Technology Solutions at TechOrchard; and Todd Churchill, VP Technology Strategy and Principle HealthCare Architect for Netsmart.
The panel discussion started off with the question, â€śWhat is mobile strategy?â€ťÂ Every strategy needs to include three things: people, process and technology. It is also important to acknowledge with these three facets that technology is always evolving and changing and that the need to stay fluid within one’s mobile strategy is critical.Â However, what is the impact of these facets on an organization?Â Like accounting and marketing, how will mobile devices impact employees on an individual basis as well as organization as a whole? Is it functional to include mobility in your company’s plans, and how will it impact ROI?Â Changing the company workflow from paper form to the digital world to make a project outside in a dynamic environment can be strategically challenging.
Panelists shared that one of the key areas when developing a strategic plan addresses human resources and IT management.Â IT and HR are coming to the employer as a consumer to help deliver and make their departments’ content more accessible and easier to use and support.Â From the perspective of HR, the consumer is the employee pushing for greater visibility in the world, which leads to how size can effect your company’s strategy.
Other questions surface concerning how to improve the approach for the external use of devices for the end-user’s view. How should users interface with mobile vs. desktop, all the while providing the services and tools for customers?Â Company size, as well as proper leadership and knowledge, are critical determining factors.Â For example, small- to medium-size businesses are able to be more aggressive with implementation, while this can prove more challenging for larger entities.Â With larger organizations, it’s critical to rely on the KISS acronym, keeping things simple and allowing the platform to receive and provide feedback. But how do you keep it simple when the target is always moving?Â One solution might be bringing together a Cross Committee derived from different departments and different employee levels to help outline the use and strategy for mobile devices, ultimately ensuring a higher level of buy-in and engagement throughout the organization.
Presenters reminded us that mobile devices aren’t the solution for every situation in every company. There are times when the super computer approach for productivity makes more sense, whereas mobile devices may be used on a job site in ways a desktop never could be.Â Overall, beware of the over-justifications for the use of mobile devices in the workplace without first identifying new ways to use mobility in advancing the narrative of productivity.
This brings us to one of the major pushbacks seen in regards to the adoption of mobility: ROI.Â The express nature of mobility can often beat the time it takes to reboot the desktop computer. In some cases, a small device pays for itself in the amount of time that it saves, both in terms of support and dedicated time spent on troubleshooting, thereby decreasing the total cost of ownership. Still, a well thought-out sales pitch that highlights the point of a preserved value while helping justify an enterprise-level purchase is imperative â€” and showcasing value through real-world examples or stories can clench the deal.
In the end, we must consider how we are using mobiles devices now and how that may change in the future. This approach, along with knowing your audience, is critical for handling the ROI piece of a mobile management purchase.
The final thought from mobileBLEND 2013: Always remember that it’s not about how many features and functions we have, it’s how to address the key stakeholder in partnership with people, processes and technology that will help you win with mobility.
While mobile technology affords businesses and employees a wealth of new opportunity, it also raises concerns about the security of corporate data and the influx and management of new devices across varied operating systems in the workplace. To continue to serve the growing mobility needs of businesses and organizations throughout the Midwest,Â TechOrchard is pleased to announce the hire of Sean Barber as mobile IT specialist.
After working for four years in the logistics space, Sean decided to pursue a career in technology. Sean recently completed the IT Administrator track with Centriq Training.Â He is excited to leverage his business experience and formal technology education to serve TechOrchardâ€™s growing client base.
The TechOrchard Team hasÂ more 30 years of experience in strategic process design, information technology and mobility.Â As the Midwestâ€™s leading mobile strategy company, TechOrchard has developed and deployed progressive road maps for companies in multiple market segments with thousands of devices under management with todayâ€™s top MDM platforms.
By Phil Poje | CEO, TechOrchard
The Construction Tech Briefing was an exciting opportunity to discuss what is happening around the issues that are faced by staying mobile, and the exciting things that are developing in and around the mobility space.Â A roundtable was conducted, with participants including: moderator Ryan Johnson, director of IT at Builders Association; Ray Chen, director of information systems at Faith Technologies; James Robertson, VP of technology at TechOrchard; James Benham, president and CEO of JB Knowledge Technologies Inc.; and Dustin Burns, information technology director at McCownGordon Construction.
The first question posed asked, “What are the current challenges subcontractors are experiencing in relation to mobility?”Â Participants shared that finding the proper doc format can be a very challenging experience along with the issues of sharing the data.Â For example, how do you find a “standard” and keep from having to enter the data twice due to the fact there is no industry standard?Â The problems with the use of PDFs is that it does not have an interactive code.Â In turn, the owners are the ones delving into new formats and discovering the open formats that will lead the industry moving forward.
Question two asked, “What is something your organization is doing through the use of mobility?”Â McCownGordon Construction started handing out loaner iPads to contractors, which has helped with the improvement of saving time at the job site both with the contractor and in regards to communication within the project.Â Ultimately, this moves closer to producing an environment that will lead to greater buy-in for creating productivity with mobility. The issue is to view the technology like a construction project and stop gutting and rebuilding technology every year. Users must remember it’s a living, breathing focus toward an engaging mind on the workflow of a project vs. the complete destruction and further rebuilding. After all, why would we continue to do this if it does not work?
Further discussion centered on some of the issues with Bluetooth, including the low power of keyboards and problems with headphones and communication.Â But what about smart beacons, like NFC, QR codes, Wi-Fi or Tile active RFID?Â Using smart beacons to help clock in and out at the job site can be a useful tool.Â Yet, we must consider whether this type of technology, along with the necessary software, is available to use. And finally, is there a method of trading date to the device?Â The short answer is “yes,” but nothing there is nothing standard across the industry at this time.
The moderator then asked, “What is COSA?” COSA is the time date being passed around with the intent to use whatever content is being used and send it out to whatever cloud service is being used like BOX, Dropbox, etc., which could be taking off soon. The use of smart codes to download plan room data with mobility is saving time.Â The alliance of the businesses developing an open source standards in the the industry. An example of this is companies like Trim and Autodesk pushing and developing to be the leaders of StetchUp and Bimm into one product.Â These companies are using Augmented Reality, or AR, along with the use of GEO-located AR. One example might include pointing your mobile device at an ad in Times Square, followed by a car pulling out of the ad and driving off.Â This is where everything is happening, but if a standard is not developed, this whole idea will go nowhere. Developing an object and displaying an idea in construction is critical.Â The use of smart reality to be able to interact with a Revit mobile and scale it to size and scope in an impressive tool, and modeling of the object can be displayed depending on your point of view.
Finally, the discussion closed with the question, “So, how did you get your company started with mobility?” Panelists agreed that it cannot be dismissed for the need for more real time data is important.Â The importance of just getting started and diving into a fully developed and well thought-out process to be more lateral in agility and be able to have the best products in a fast and efficient manner is key. Mobility is not just handing out an iPad and expecting your employees have full integration and then expecting them to experience the product at it fullest. Rather implementation of training helps to move past the scare of hitting the wrong button. Most people jump into mobility via their phones, so before training there needs to be a discussion on what are you going to do with the mobile device.Â App design is at the heart of this with being able to work offline.Â If you don’t have mobility with clearly developed goals for moving forward, it’s unlikely you’ll remain competitive in your industry.
By Phil Poje | CEO, TechOrchard
Ever since the debut of the iPhone I have been asked, “What is the best way to protect my device?”Â Normally I give the generic â€śITâ€ť answer: “Even if you found the perfect case, I would never recommend cliff diving with your device nor take it swimming.â€ťÂ At this point I usually get a chuckle quickly followed by a, â€śRight, but if you had to choose, which one would you recommend?â€ť This question has lead me to write a review on the infamous OtterBox.
Throughout the past week I had the opportunity to test out the OtterBox onÂ my iPad Mini, with it newly furnished upholstery of iOS 7, I might add.Â (Perhaps in our next article we can talk about iOS 7 Battery Issues!)Â There are two sides to picking out the right case: form and function.Â Or, is it function over form? I canâ€™t remember back to my days in high school art class.Â Regardless, we all have fancied over the fact that Apple has made such an effort to make sure their products look and feel elegant in your hands.Â With that being said, historically one of Apple’s biggest criticisms has been over the fact that Apple is focused far too much on the form and not enough on function.Â Have no fear, the OtterBox is here! It has developed an amazing case to help Apple from the function perspective by protecting devices from drops, dings, scratches, scuffs and mild amounts of water (and I do mean mild).
Keep in mind I did not take the case through its paces of dropping the case with the iPad in it at 10 feet all the way to 100 feet, nor did I take it swimming to see if I could still operate the device underwater in my scuba gear. (Iâ€™ll have to direct you to Consumer Reports for that kind of review.) In the end, I did let my kids have at it!Â What could be a better test then that of small children having their way with the iPad, mind you surrounded by the loving protection of OtterBox.
The first key thing that I noticed was the weight of the iPad with OtterBox. Yet with that added weight comes the peace of mind of the type of protection that is offered.Â The second thing I noticed was that there was zero protection against water over the front- and rear-facing cameras as well as the speakers at the bottom of the iPad. In short, I would not recommend the swimming test, unless you also plan on making a trip to the Apple Store to get it repaired.Â As far as durability, I would definitely recommend the OtterBox.Â No, I donâ€™t think it could win a fight with a sledge hammer, but as far as dropping or anything that would fall into the category of everyday use of the device, OtterBox would be a great fit for individuals at any construction company all the way to students in a one-to-one program at schools.
Other than the obvious downside of not swimming with the OtterBox, I have two issues. One was at times the touch on the iPad was unresponsive due to Otterâ€™s protective screen over the iPad.Â The second issue had to deal with iOS 7 when Apple added Control Panel (a quick way to access the iPadâ€™s volume, brightness or the new AirDrop on/off switch). With a quick swipe of the finger up from the bottom of the display, which was cumbersome at times, the functionality did not always work as it would without the OtterBox.Â Regardless of the small issues, overall I would give OtterBox a 7 out of 10 on form and a 9 out of 10 on function, or a solid 8 gold stars.
The follow-up question everyone asks is, “What color should I get: black, gray or red?” For that I always respond back jokingly, â€śIâ€™m color blind.â€ť
iPad & iPhone iOS 7 Integration Training
At TechOrchard we want to express how excited we are as Apple begins to gear up for the release of iOS 7 September 18 for iPad and iPhone and how it will impact the world of mobility within your organization.
As iOS 7 rolls out, we would like to invite you to participate in our new iOS 7 training that is designed to meet the needs of your individual business.Â In the coming weeks, TechOrchard is prepared to roll out our training process to better prepare you and your organization in maintaining the relevance of mobility.
We have prepared your personalized training for the new iOS 7 iPad/iPhone.Â For more information, please contact us at 913.685.1475 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Some of the top 7 key features we are excited to share:
Multitasking in iOS 7 will learn when you like to use your apps and can update your content before you launch them.
Control Center gives you quick access to the controls and apps you always seem to need right this second to quickly turn Airplane mode on or off, turn Wi-Fi on or off, or adjust the brightness of your display.
AirDrop your documents using Wi-Fi or bluetooth.
Per app VPN can now be configured to automatically connect to VPN when they are launched giving IT granular control over corporate network access and ensuring mobility with security.
App Store license Management will offer businesses the ability to assign apps to their users while keeping full ownership and control over app licenses.
MDM Configuration options in iOS 7 includes a number of new commands, queries, and configuration options that make third-party MDM solutions even more powerful.
Enterprise single sign on for corporate apps will allow users to use their own credentials for apps from the App Store.