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App development

Make mine an App please

App Development just got easier.
Written by Drew Davies - Senior Systems Developer for Panasonic Mobile Solutions Business Division Europe

Make mine an App please – App Development just got easier

They say “No man is an island” and the same can also be said of mobile computing devices. To unleash the full potential of mobile computing in business, organisations need applications, as well as laptops, tablets or handheld devices, that meet the needs of the workforce. Fortunately, building, tailoring and managing those apps is becoming a lot easier with the emergence of Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms (MEAP).

Take Raskone, for example, Finland’s largest commercial vehicle repair business. When it wanted to renew and improve its mobile computing and service software it turned to technology specialist Kauko Oy and Panasonic TOUGHBOOK – not only for its rugged devices but also rapid application development.

raskone

Its previous handheld device, with a Windows operating system, had a small screen that was difficult to read and a small physical keyboard that was hard to use. Frustratingly, the software application would also lose settings and data if the device battery died during an assignment.

These issues sometimes resulted in mechanics discarding the device, keeping track of spare part sales on pen and paper and manually reporting them to managers. In the worst cases, reporting and tracking were forgotten, leading to lower sales and poor inventory management.

Kauko Oy, a mobile computing specialist and the exclusive provider of Panasonic TOUGHBOOK devices in Finland, suggested using the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK T1 handheld device and using the TOUGHBOOK Omnia agile software development approach to create a bespoke application.

The software was created by the TOUGHBOOK Omnia team using its MEAP of choice, the MCL software development environment. Developing, integrating and maintaining custom software applications across multiple devices can be a complex task. The MCL Platform simplifies this process. Custom apps can be designed quickly and easily deployed to multiple devices across any business. No more siloed technology, no more multiple platform management – no matter how diverse the range of devices, form factors and operating systems are. In addition, TOUGHBOOK Omnia brings down the time it takes to develop a bespoke application - from years and months to just weeks, or even days for proof of concepts – saving time and money.

Compared to coding from scratch, the software development cost for Raskone with Omnia was five times lower and delivery much faster. The first demo version was ready two weeks after the initial meeting and Raskone had a publishable version after a couple of months. Today, the company is using the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK T1 rugged Android handheld warehouse solution including pistol grip, charging dock and custom-designed application to deliver a future-proofed sales invoicing and inventory management solution that reduces errors and improves efficiency.

And there are many other industry sectors also taking advantage of the TOUGHBOOK Omnia approach for fast application development. The team have developed a number of proof of concept applications, including a voice app to help engineers at a major railway carriage maintenance provider carry out inspections. The application, available in multiple languages, helps the engineers to keep their hands free to carry out the inspection, as they work through the checklist and complete their report.

An application to manage the inspection and certification of new build properties has been another challenged addressed by the Omnia team. Alongside the checklist and reporting, the application can be used with the camera on the rugged tablet to take photos and attach them to the digital report.

For a French food producer, the team produced a warehouse job distribution and workflow management app to replace the paper system. For a European courier service company, it was a bar code scanning, photo and signature capture application, linked to the backend system, for the easy receipt and delivery of goods. 

And it’s not just faster, streamlined app building with the MCL platform, application deployment and management becomes much easier too.  You can monitor users and devices from virtually any location, deploying new app updates and modifications with increased agility. Staying future-proof is no longer a costly, time-consuming process, so make mine an app please!

Header image source: TeddyGraphics/shutterstock.com

Find out more about TOUGHBOOK Omnia and the MCL platform.

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