Spatial Enterprise Mobility Essentials Part 3

OFFLINE capability
– the IoT you have, when you haven’t got an IoT

This part 3 of a series of articles in relation to Spatial Enterprise Mobility Essentials:

In Order of Importance:

  1. Business Outcomes over Technology Drivers – Chicken & Egg
  2. User Interface – Simplicity by Design
  3. Offline capability – the IoT you have, when you haven’t got an IoT
  4. Any to any – do not limit yourself or your Enterprise
  5. Hardware considerations – they do not matter (anymore)

If you cannot wait, you can download the entire paper from here  .

There would not be a self-respecting software vendor today who is not claiming compliance with or at least dedication to “The Internet of Things”:

“… The Internet of things (stylised Internet of Things or IoT) is the internetworking of physical devices, vehicles (also referred to as “connected devices” and “smart devices“), buildings, and other items—embedded with electronicssoftwaresensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data…”[1]

There has not been that much hype around the IoT since “the cloud” and despite the best marketing[2] efforts of mobile data carriers – the sad reality is that being offline is a regular and frustrating experience for mobile field workers in utilities and Telcos around the Globe.

Using mobility solutions that rely solely on “the IoT” or “the cloud” are doomed.

Being caught out without offline capability in emergency situations is a very high risk activity, in particular for utility network restoration workers.

LatLonGO® works offline (sometimes connected) using self-healing BitTorrent synchronisation, as well as on-line. The BitTorrent approach is of particular advantage over slow communication lines with remote depots in a large utility network infrastructure. These depots may have a handful or two of mobile devices that greatly benefit from local WiFi peer-to-peer data distribution.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_of_things

[2] https://www.telstra.com.au/coverage-networks/our-coverage

Spatial Enterprise Mobility Essentials – Part 2

User Interface, Simplicity by Design

Over the following weeks a number of parts will be published on LinkedIn covering the following aspects:

In Order of Importance:

  1. Business Outcomes over Technology Drivers – Chicken & Egg
  2. User Interface – Simplicity by Design
  3. Offline capability – the IoT you have, when you haven’t got an IoT
  4. Any to any – do not limit yourself or your Enterprise
  5. Hardware considerations – they do not matter (anymore)
  6. If you cannot wait, you can download the entire paper from here  .

Giving the mobility consumer a bad user interface (UI) experience will mean the end of your mobility project – the end-users will not touch it.

Cramming as many function buttons as possible into nested menu ribbons on a tiny screen is a sure path to disaster – “less is more” – best illustrated by the first version of Microsoft Word developed in 1981.

Since, more and more functionality has been added to the extent that ~80% of people may be using less than ~20% of the functionality, either because that is all they need or because they would not know where to look for the remainder (a search assistant now provides some welcome relief).

Bad UI:

Good UI:

LatLonGO inside Innovapptive

Instead of yesteryear’s monolithic (large, indivisible and slow to change) applications the “app revolution” (small, task specific, easy to change) is widely accepted in in a variety of business use field forces such as utility workers, reporters, police, insurance adjusters, and direct sales.

The key to mass user acceptance is “Simplicity by Design”.

LatLonGO® simplicity has been released for all major platforms

  • natively for Android, iOS, Windows and web browser clients
  • Embedded on-line inside SAP GUI and SAP NetWeaver Business Client (NWBC)
  • Embedded off-line inside SAP SMP/WorkManager (Syclo)
  • Embedded off-line inside Innovapptive/mWorkOrder/RACE
  • Coupled off-line with FulcrumApp Forms
  • Integrated with cableScout

While there are common functionality themes across (Telco, electricity, gas, water, Defence, …) industries there will always be the need to customise extra functionality to fit certain areas of specialisation such as fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), pressure network modelling, etc…

For this reason, the LatLonGO® Software Development Kit (SDK) is highly adaptable for other integration points or application scenarios.

Spatial Enterprise Mobility Essentials – Part 1

Business Outcomes over Technology Drivers – Chicken & Egg

In Order of Importance:

  1. Business Outcomes over Technology Drivers – Chicken & Egg
  2. User Interface – Simplicity by Design
  3. Offline capability – the IoT you have, when you haven’t got an IoT
  4. Any to any – do not limit yourself or your Enterprise
  5. Hardware considerations – they do not matter (anymore

If you cannot wait, you can download the entire paper from  here .…. We all agree that business outcomes should come before technology drivers, however without “neat[1] technology” there would be limited business outcomes and the chicken and egg situation applies.

Both business and technology leaders within the Enterprise must come together and align to a shared set of goals and a strategy to get there.

For a typical utility, the top business goals typically are “sweating the assets”, “reduced truck roll” and “increased wrench time”.

Based on our experience the following 7 steps are a reasonable start to get a strategy under way:

  1. Get all business managers on-board first, but never alienate the technologists
  2. Clearly define the high-level Business Outcomes (known knowns)
  3. Study the market to find and evaluate appropriate technology that seem to meet the business objectives (unknown knowns)
  4. Iterate and be open to disruptive technology that may transform your business in ways you never imagined in step 2. (unknown unknowns)
  5. Fully understand how new technologies may support refined business outcomes. (known unknowns)
  6. Under no circumstance launch into a “big bang” Mobility project because you think you fully understand your business requirements or a technology fit. Instead invest in a low-cost, low-risk Proof-of-Concept (PoC). Do not aim for PoC perfection, aim for high level validation of assumptions using AGILE methodology.
  7. Only if step 6 was successful, start planning for “the real” implementation.

LatLonGO® was first purchased by a major utility servicing 1.3 million network service connections when it was “conceptual” rather than a released product.

The technologies and concepts contained in the concept were disruptive enough for the customer to select it over established legacy technology of 20-30 year standing and only after a tough 200-person-day PoC shoot-out to exacting business outcome requirements.

This first customer then embarked on a three-year SAP Enterprise Transformation journey and we were privileged to be assigned the SAP/GIS office integration and SAP/GIS ERP Mobility challenges.

Today, this customer has two-way LatLonGO® interfaces embedded inside SAP-PM for Work Order Planning and SAP-MRS for Work Order Scheduling in the office, while the field users benefit from a two-way LatLonGO® interface embedded inside SAP-WorkManager (Syclo) for WorkOrder and Notification field processing – this business solution is unique on a global scale.

LatLonGO® has since been SAP Certified and won State and National Export Excellence Awards and has been sold to major customers in Australia, New Zealand, USA, UK, Germany and Luxembourg totalling 3.5 million service connection points.

It has been white-labelled as cableScout Mobile by a major German Cable Management software company as default Mobility offering to their 300+ customers.

It is embedded inside Innovapptive’s advanced Rapid Application Configurator Engine (RACE)/WorkOrder functionality and comes bundled with HERE, the market leader location platform used in 85% of factory fitted in-car navigation systems.

The on-going we-do-IT® R&D budget for LatLonGO® is more than $1 million with 20+ FTE development staff in Melbourne and Hyderabad.

[1] “There was just something neat about the machine.” Gates, Bill (1996). The Road Ahead.

Spatial Enterprise Mobility Essentials

Introduction

LatLonGO inside Innovapptive

Mobility well strategized and implemented has enormous potential to transform the Digital Enterprise. It is common to find even large organisations in the utilities and Telco sectors without a clear strategy or with a piece-meal approach limited by annual budget cycles or pure technology drivers.

This paper draws on 35 years of Enterprise Mobility experience that started in 1982 writing least-squares adjustment programs in Assembler for a ‘Electronic Field Book’. It had a Sinclair Z80 processor, a LCD display with 2 lines of 40 characters each, 88KB memory and no map display. It was shock resistant and water-proof.

In 1996 we built “ITworx” designed to run on Win3.1 with 8Mb of memory. It was pen aware, had a seamless map base and scale dependent display, a Street Gazetteer, it would read and write CAD files, had an MS-Access data store, interfaces to Smallworld GIS, Intergraph, MapInfo and SAP R/3 Batch Input (equipment, functional location, notification, work order) – we sold it exactly once as it was technology- and not business-driven, and far too advanced to ignite the imagination of business decision makers.

Fast forward to today (2017) where at least 78% of CISCO surveyed Enterprises agree that “Mobility Is a Strategic Imperative for Our Organization’s Success”[1] while the number of handheld or personal mobile-ready devices now exceeds the world’s population with an additional 2 billion machine-to-machine connections (IoT[2]) – such as GPS systems in cars – in operation.

Based on 22 years of SAP/GIS/CIS/DMS/OMS Enterprise Integration experience in global utilities and Telcos this paper presents a 100% biased view of what is important in Enterprise Mobility – using LatLonGO® an Award-winning SAP Certified ERP Mobility Solution as exemplar for typical utility use cases, as well as its Telco specific companion product cableScout Mobile for a different set of use cases.

Over the following weeks we will publish the following articles:

In Order of Importance:

  1. Business Outcomes over Technology Drivers – Chicken & Egg
  2. User Interface – Simplicity by Design
  3. Offline capability – the IoT you have, when you haven’t got an IoT
  4. Any to any – do not limit yourself or your Enterprise
  5. Hardware considerations – they do not matter (anymore)

If you cannot wait, you can download the entire paper from here .

[1] http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/solutions/enterprise-networks/mobile-workspace-solution/mobility-survey.pdf

[2] https://www.internetsociety.org/iot