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My notes, including case studies & videos from the Microsoft Driving Workforce Enablement Through IT Innovation Summit (Mobile Solutions), 2013


Summary: Demonstrating mobile application and device solutions for mobile and field-based users.

Below are my rough notes from the above event:

In the showcase room, there were several vendors were demonstrating solutions, some of which:

  1. Getac, rugged devices, Atex explosive certified
  2. Panasonic Toughbooks, with Peter Ferry
  3. TBS enterprise mobility, taskmaster platform, building solutions on mobile devices, demo of Dell venue pro tablet:ipad mini size, running windows mobile 8, feels very good quality – only about £200.

The first presentation was from the Director of Microsoft Scotland, with the summary of changes to MIcrosoft (devices & services, new CEO), plans to have a bigger local presence.

Pip Fox – Mobile as applies to Oil & Gas vertical

Head of oil and gas vertical within Microsoft UK, have a global director of this vertical who is based in Dubai.

Trends that are changing the world:
• cloud computing
• data explosion
• social computing
• natural interactions
• ecosystem of computers
• consumerisation of it
• 71% of oil & gas workers have used least one personal device for work
• ubiqutious connectivity
• machine learning

Mobility one of priorities of CIO’s
Securability & manageability main challenges with mobile

71% believe that mobile devices greatly enhance oil & gas operations

Main workloads in oil/gas
60% Work order / service management
60% Field data collection
40% Inspection
35% Asset / equipment tracking
35% Email
35% Routing / delivery management

Benefits

• enablement, prioritisarion & collaboration
• business improvement
• automated workloads

Have a mobility strategy
• delight employees and customers alike
• empower your workforce
• protect your company
• get hands on, see how it is done

• starts in board room, goes down the chain to individual worker

• mobile productivity, line of business apps
• anywhere access / connectivity
• right device for right job, define range of devices of different form factors
• manageability, securitability, supportability

Steve Reynolds – mobilising business intelligence

President mobile data association

Economy is still broken, not fixed until 2018 though likely to continue on, incredibly important we get most out of our people and processes

Trends:

In 2012 globally:
• were 7 billion mobile connections – more than population of the world
• UK – 87 million connected phones, population only about 60 million
• 61% of UK adults have a smartphone (Deloitte)
• will filter through to business

• 221 million tablets will be sold in 2013

“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.”

Talked briefly about recent innovations in mobile devices

Social networking – has the power to damage brands

Enterprise mobility

• how can we compete with lower cost operations
• how can we maximise customer satisfaction
• what innovations do we need to differentiate ourselves
• how can we improve our return on sales

Mobile apps

Most of our customers will have a smartphone

Internet of things

NFC
RFID
Bluetooth
iBeacons
Sensors

Monitoring performance / health / inspections, preventing downtime, evidence of inspections being done etc

Taking off in health & fitness – sensors for people, connecting to Internet

Big data / Analytics

Presenting large quantities of incoming data into an easy to view / analyse way – computer processes, looks at trends, highlights issues, opportunities etc

See what your ‘entire’ business is doing not just parts of it, and also data from customers and suppliers

Mobile brings a real time view of your business, dashboards, allows location awareness to be added to data

Case studies

Automatic – sensor for car, analysing, alerting, calling 999 if crash – lots of possibilities

BCA (largest car auction co in Europe) – 4 business units, difficult to analyse company as a whole – used big data techniques to get visibility – used azure to link databases together, which allowed calculation and analysis of trends – led to cost savings by finding inefficiencies

JCB – extending mobile reach – service vans
Have moved to Nokia 925’s in a rugged case, found less breakages than with Motorola – possible due to taking care of them better, can do more with them

Gives them better visibility of what is going on, increased quantity of data available for analysis

Social networking – e.g. AC mgr goes to see a customer, logs an interaction, everyone who has stake in that customer gets notified or awareness

Andy Ord – BT Microsoft Solution Architect

Introduction to BT

Couple of videos:

How BT have adopted mobile

Three areas that looked at:
• user experience / ease of use
• minimise cost & complexity, self service
• security, very important to BT as host a lot of customer & partner data, brand protection

Field engineering

Have over 6,000 field engineers

• established locations showing different products, got end users involved in device selection – form factor, weight, battery, keyboard, connectivity, touch
• use new Panasonic toughbook laptops, only takes 60 seconds to boot and get onto VPN, windows 8 and touchscreen interface, 2 batteries, lasts 2-3 days
• windows 8 boots up quicker
• business reps went for hp elite pads

What did we learn

• user experience
• boot speed
• touch
• device format
• modern apps
• cost & complexity
• incremental
• start screen
• info worker
• platform
• application virtualisation, self servicing of applications
• security
• proof of identity
• drive encryption
• direct access (fast vpn establishment, as soon as detects internet)

Very positive feedback from their field engineers.

Modern apps
• automatic detect location, brings up, location aware info, duct layouts, past issues in that location, customer info & past issues etc

Electricty / Gas utility supplier (customer case study)

Main objective was improving inspection so for network damages can collect information that allow them to claim back costs of repair

For new services, can update maps and send back to the main office so other field engineers can quickly get latest info

Had 400 mobiles that lacked bluetooth or mobile camera
Used to have 85 variants of phones now have only 3
Panasonic toughbook connecting to a Nokia (c2/c5) phone via bluetooth and using GPRS to send forms back to office – electronic forms replaced paper forms

Hybrid toughbook – convert to tablet mode / touch screen / stylus possible

Take inspection photos on Nokia and uses bluetooth to send the phone back to the laptop, customer can review photographs and sign them off

Used to take days / weeks for forms to get back to head office now takes only 3 minutes

Incident & status management

Presently doing a pilot of using windows mobile 8, improving office to field collaboration, presently over the phone,frequent calls between dispatcher and field – problems with wrong info, bad lines, time consuming knowing who to call, interrupted whilst doing the job to answer the phone

Native windows 8 app, so can queue updates when get connectivity, put updates into app, sends up, allows info to be integrated automatically into crm, sharepoint, incident management systems, resource availability etc.

Auto alerts to remind of SLA’s

Personnel resource management

Using MDM

Exercise took 9 months and now rolling it out

Alan Milligan – IRW systems (Sharepoint)

Customer case study:

Had been using windows mobile 6.5
6yr old app
Lack of version control
Delays in sharing info
High cost (paper, delivery)

Went to

Windows 8 tablet app (asks questions which field answer as they go through process)
Sharepoint 2013 for doc management and business intelligence reports, SQL 2012 / SSRS

Challenges

Sourcing compatible tablets in bulk & accessories (400 of)
Technical proficiency of end users, was quite low
Training

Learning

User training should not be under estimated
Testing in the field should be done as early as possible
Support processes in place right from the beginning

Q & A Session

  1. Problems going from one version and upgrading to another eg. with sharepoint, what about future proofing
    Steve Reynolds: use standards eg HTML 5, agree that will always be a challenge, need a strategy for replacement, e.g. every 3 years or less, have seen one pilot that say to staff after 2 years staff can keep device, encourages them to look after it better
    Andy Ord: MS have set barrier quite high as with their cloud apps they upgrade in months not years compared to on prem

Electric/gas utility presenter: Have an SLA on procurement when getting software from suppliers around when new versions will be compatible and integrated if get an upgrade

  1. Work life balance?
    Steve Reynolds: up to the individual, from a management or hr perspective may need to put some boundaries around this.
    Electric/gas utility presenter: is a plus side, enables home working, flexibility
  2. How handle concerns around location tracking of people?
    Steve Reynolds: need to be open and transparent, bring protection of people into the conversation

need to get end users involved right from the beginning, because if you try to map what you think the process is you will get it wrong

Electric/gas utility presenter: people are less sensitive about this
Andy Ord: hot house is good approach as gets end users involved right from the start. Enables BT to allow recruitment from a different demographic eg people with childcare

Other

BYOD – be careful of tax implications.

 

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