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Software Suite for Mobile Technicians and Field Service Management

Handyman is a software suite streamlining management of field service workers. With the help of iPhone, iPad, or Android devices it enables efficient data exchange and work coordination between field and office staff. The suite consist of a desktop part and a mobile application that synchronize to allow for assigning tasks, scheduling on site works, tracking progress, and information updates.

The application enables companies to create service plans containing instructions for every particular industry, so that activities can be performed according to unified standards. Once a task has been performed, a corresponding field in the application form must be filled in for time tracking purposes. It is also possible to take a photo on site and send it to the office in order to get new instructions. Users can add comments to the task field, for instance, indicating the reasons why a certain job cannot be completed.

Apart from that, the application tracks workers’ locations. This helps managers to distribute tasks and elaborate routes in the most efficient manner. The information on fulfilled orders is sent back to the server and can be later used for invoicing, customer management, statistics, etc. The application speeds up critical processes, improves service quality, and minimizes downtime.

ePocket Solutions AS is a Norwegian company providing solutions that improve efficiency of field workers employed in the service industry. The company turned to Altoros to develop a service management software suite for desktop computers. The collaboration resulted in a successful product and the customer requested mobile clients for Apple iOS and Android devices. The requirements were as follows:

  • The software suite was to be a highly scalable and flexible platform that could be easily adjusted to the needs of small and large companies operating in different industries.
  • The mobile client had to allow for managing resources (people and assets) in a cost- and time-effective manner by measuring daily productivity of workers, reducing overtime, and preventing downtime.
  • The application was to decrease transportation costs due to efficient scheduling as well as simplify billing and invoicing of field service orders. These improvements would help to enhance service quality as well as overall performance a company.

The customer needed a single-platform solution adjustable to the needs of many industries, including providers of telecommunications, construction, and utility services. This is why Handyman had to feature the highest degree of scalability and flexibility.

The company already had a desktop version of the product with a legacy back end built on Visual Basic. They wanted to stick to its structure and architecture, so Altoros had to elaborate a solution that would retain the old architecture while featuring new components and functions.

The UI of the mobile applications for iPhone, iPad, and Android had to be identical and equally convenient to use. This was challenging due to UI design differences between these platforms. The team had to elaborate a complex solution to solve the interface standardization issue.

  • The team used VB.NET to port some of the old modules and add new functionality while retaining the Visual Basic architecture.
  • We decided to use plug-ins and extensions for quick customization to the needs of different industries. New functionality can be added without modifying the initial code of the software suite. Basic features can be easily supplemented with new functionality to meet the requirements of various customers.
  • The team created new classes to enable a universal UI that looks equally good on different desktop and mobile platforms. Thanks to this solution, the application does not have to check the type of device before it starts. This reduces the load and improves overall performance.

ePocket Solutions AS received a highly customizable service management software suite that can be offered to a wide range of companies operating in different industries and countries. In Norway, 3 out of 4 electricians use this application as an essential tool in their every-day activities. The suite is also popular among mobile workers employed in other sectors, including utilities, construction, telecoms, manufacturing, and facilities management.

The recent informal feedback from the world’s leading software research vendor suggests that ePocket AS is among the top 4 companies in the standardized mobile field service solutions market.

Technology Stack

Server Platform

Windows Server 2003/2008, MS SQL 2005/2008

Client Platform/Application Server

Windows XP, Windows 7, iPad, iPhone, Android

Technologies

.NET Framework 4, Entity Framework, DevExpress Controls, Cocoa Touch, UIKit Framework

Programming Language

VB.NET, T-SQL, Objective-C, C, Java

Database

MS SQL 2005/2010, SQL Lite

Modeling Tool

Visio 2010

Database Design Tool

Visio 2010

Development Environment

Visual Studio 2010

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