Presentation on theme: "Mobile technologies Bunch of disparate technologies Many cases of successful use in firms (000s) Costly to implement because mostly once off bespoke development."— Presentation transcript:
Mobile technologies Bunch of disparate technologies Many cases of successful use in firms (000s) Costly to implement because mostly once off bespoke development from scratch Mostly larger companies Immature => difficult to predict impact and success New type of applications: Field office Fundamentally different from desktop applications (special requirements) Potential for conflict between personal and business usage (somewhat like email)
Classifying mobile applications Back office: MRP, ERP, SCM Front office :CRM, SFA Field office: – Wireless communication – Hand held devices – Field workers : consultants, sales force, field engineers, corporate executives
Examples of field office apps A field technician receives a dispatch. – He can accept the order, reject it, or assign it to somebody else. – He needs to retrieve a more detailed explanation of the problem and some history of the equipment in question. – He needs a map or directions to get to the site. – He needs to fill out time and materials. – He may need to order parts – he may need to generate an invoice.
Another example A driver performing direct store delivery – He needs route information in the morning – He need an inventory of what is on the truck – He needs to be able to cope with a last minute change in an order. The driver might also do a pick up – He needs to be able to record the items picked up.
Inventory of tasks for the field office Selling consulting Fixing Inspecting Collecting information – make a reading Taking a payment Transport something Travelling Access reference info Create / update a record of transaction Send information / alerts
Security / usage constraints Devices can be lost or stolen – Data encryption – Remote disabling of devices Field workers not always the most computer oriented Substantial risk of physical injuries (immersive) Policies – Who is using such devices => profiles Restriction to what field workers can access (data) or can perform (functionalities) – Data partitioning Maintenance / upgrade activities more difficult – Tracking – Remote troubleshooting Synchronisation – loss of data consistency – Conflict resolution => complex architecture + implication for other apps.
Technological components Devices – PDAs, tablet PCs, specialised devices – Concerns over autonomy and resistance to changing environments Networks – Mobile broad band – Concern over reliable access Application – Large data store – Functionalities on a par with desktop – Useable interfaces – Able to work off-line – Concern over the cost +commitment required in developing these
Brans and Basoles classification Connectivity – Online Constant: The device is always connected. – Online On Demand: The device gets connected when the application requests connection. – Online When Available: The application uses a connection whenever one is available. – Offline: All work is done without a wide-area wireless connection. Once or twice a day, the device is connected through a fixed-line or WiFi link. Access – Read: The device needs to read recent information. – Create: The device needs to be able to create new data entries. – Update: The device needs to be able to post updates to the enterprise. – Alert: The device needs to be able to receive alerts. Data Size – Large: The data amount of entries required by the application is very large. – Small: The data number of entries required by the application is small. Content Type – Structured: The information is in a format that is easily interpreted by an application (for example: a text file or a relational database). – Unstructured: At least some of the information is in a format that cannot easily be interpreted by an application (for example: a picture or a video) Location – Yes: The application requires location information. – No: The application does not need to be aware of location.
Some considerations about devices Overall size and weight Battery life Data entry (keyboard, keypad, voice activation) Screen size cost Functions – GPS – Barcode reader – Camera – RFID receiver Carefully tuned software that can run on small devices and promote economical use of CPU whilst maintaining speed of execution Thin versus thick client – Validation – Processing etc...
More on the synchronisation issue Problem area: when data on device is synchronised with data in back end Two key Principles = data integrity and data consistency New record creation Update to existing record Deletion of record Volume of data and risk of incomplete synchronisation Added problems with unstructured data
Case study work Decide a target for a mobile application for our sales force Draw up a business case Analyse requirements in terms of device, connectivity, functionality and interface Design the device and the back end