Monthly Archives: October 2017

Data Is Safe Using Mobile Technology

When we were told by the late Steve Jobs of Apple and others in the know that the technology we had in the palms of our hands would quite literally transform our lives, some of us dismissed the bravado, whilst others embraced this new mobile technology and began downloading hundreds of apps… Let’s face it, for most of us, the world of ‘apps’ consisted of little more than Angry Birds to entertain the kids and fat face booth to make already unflattering photos appear significantly less attractive. Thankfully, fast forward only a few years and we’ve now ventured way beyond this frivolous and seemingly pointless fun and mobile technology has most certainly began to transform our lives – not only on a personal level, but it has slowly but surely crept in to the way in which we do business too.

The surveying industry has not escaped the infiltration of mobile technology with an increasing number of us (said to be about 10-15% of surveyors) now turning to our iPads and mobile phones to carry out elements of our jobs, often more quickly and efficiently than we did with traditional methods. However its adoption has opened up a number of common concerns; one in particular is that of data security.

Where is Your Data Stored?

If you are using mobile technology to collect and manage your data and produce surveys such as condition assessments, dilapidations and valuations, you must know where and how your data is being stored to ensure it is safe and the process is compliant with your PI insurance policy.

Data extracted with mobile technology goes ‘in to the Cloud’ where it is stored.

But data in the cloud should also be backed up to secure storage vaults.

Most RICS approved PI insurance policies will not cover loss of documents that are…

‘stored on a computer system unless those documents are duplicated on at least a daily basis, with the intention that the duplicate can be used to restore the documents in the event of loss or damage.’

Data and documents must be backed up as well as saved in the cloud. For added peace of mind, backup data should be replicated between geographically diverse data centre facilities.

Not all mobile tech providers back-up your data, so this is something you should consider.

Who Can Access your Data?

Only defined users should have access to the data and all information related to user access to data should be encrypted by “SSL”, which guarantees that only authorized people can retrieve your data.

Data will then sit there permanently and will never be deleted unless instructed to do so, which in terms of compliance and Professional Indemnity insurance is better protection than any handwritten document that may have once been produced on site.

You should always check the status of data ownership and IP as some software providers own the data, which may prevent you from meeting the contractual and confidentiality conditions set by your clients.

New Mobile Technology

The world of mobile technology is a quickly changing landscape, with manufacturers vying to satisfy the mobile users’ ever increasing hunger for new features and better equipment at reasonable cost in a viciously competitive market.

So what’s new? Who hasn’t heard of the latest incarnation of the most successful, and some would argue still the best, mobile touch phone – the Apple 3G S. It’s faster, has more storage, a better camera that can now take videos, voice control, maps, internet access – the list goes on. It’s also now cheaper.

Next up we have Mobile VOIP: Voice Over Internet Protocol – a means of making a phone call from your 3G enabled mobile using the internet to carry the call instead of the mobile network as you normally would. The main advantage is the cost – as most internet access is on a fixed cost, you can use this method to call anywhere else in the world with an internet connection. Savings can be huge; particularly for international calls. Currently Skype (popular for PC to PC phone calls), TruPhone and a company called Fring offer a mobile VoIP service for 3G smart phones.

But how are the mobile providers going to keep up with people’s ever increasing desire to watch video and TV live on their devices? The current batch of 3G (3rd Generation) devices are okay, but have their limitations. So, in development is the 4G (4th Generation) mobile. This will give the user not only high quality on-demand video streaming (for TV), but also access to broadband internet, video chat and fast download of video and music content. A great mobile entertainment center for those who live their lives out of a suitcase.

Lastly, an interesting, yet potentially irritating craze has developed taking advantage of one of the most used features of mobile technology – Blue tooth. Initially intended as an easy method by which two Blue tooth enabled devices could exchange messages and information over short distances wireless, it now has an added function: ‘blue jacking’. ‘Blue jacking’ simply involves sending un-solicited (and anonymous) messages to another person’s device within range of the perpetrator. One regular ‘blue jacker’ was quoted as saying, “The priceless expression on the face of my first victim as he tried to work out what was going on has turned me into a regular blue jacker.” That being said, there are easy ways to prevent yourself being ‘jacked’ – turn off your Blue tooth when you’re not using it: don’t make your device discoverable – but a lot of people don’t bother.

Mobile Technology Meets the Real Estate

Mobile technology is not just beneficial in the technological world. Products and services that go part and parcel with mobile technology can be used to benefit many industries and sectors, not least of all being the real estate industry. If you are involved in the real estate business, pay attention: there are many solutions offered by mobile technology that can help you run your practice more effectively. To be more specific, there are two areas that can greatly increase the productivity and efficacy of the real estate industry: QR technology and Mobile Smartsites.

Custom-Designed and Specialty QR Codes

QR codes have their uses in virtually every industry. This is especially true of real estate. This is because QR codes are a fabulous way to display a house. If you are posting an advertisement for a home in a newspaper or on a billboard, you’re limited to using that ad space; therefore, you can only show a limited amount of pictures, and you can only display a certain amount of content. QR codes allow you to maximize the real estate of your ad space (no pun intended!). By placing a QR code in your ad space, you are allowing a prospective buyer to scan the code and be brought to more photos, information, or even a video of the home. This means that you can give a virtual tour of a home right on someone’s cell phone!

What’s more, these codes don’t have to be black, white, and boring. Because QR codes are becoming quite ubiquitous, it is now possible to create custom-designed codes; that is, codes that contain custom imagery, colors and backgrounds that combine the technology of QR codes with the creativity that you wish to put into them.

Smartsites
Smartsites are absolutely crucial in the real estate industry. Most people already know full well that websites are necessary… but how many people realize that a simple website is simply not enough? If you’re not careful, you may just end up with a website that is unalterable by you, either by virtue of the software it’s built with, or because of the sheer complexity of the back-end process. In today’s day and age, content needs to be fluent; that is to say that it can be, in no way, shape or form, immutable. This is obviously true of the real estate industry, where new properties must be constantly added to a website, and homes that have been sold must be removed. Old information is absolutely detrimental to a real estate website… and this is where smartsites come in. Smartsites allow people to change their content at any time. The days of calling up your Webmaster are long since gone; it’s now crucial to ensure that your website can be changed by you at anytime.

If you are interested in QR technology or smartsites, consider choosing a mobile solution company today that can help your real estate business reach its full potential.

Ways POS Mobile Technology Can Increase Customer Experience

By now you have probably heard about the rising trend in mobile technology in the retail environment. A survey done by IHL Group found that 61% of retailers rate mobile technology as their top priority. This increased interest in mobile technology has spurred retailers to begin moving beyond simple transaction processing and begin integrating POS systems with marketing, merchandising, inventory, and customer data. This allows retailers to provide a personalized and interactive experience for consumers. Nearly two-thirds of retailers have identified the mobile POS device as a cause of this shift, extending the customer’s experience outside of the traditional shopping lane and onto the floor, decreasing wait time while increasing employee/consumer interactivity through integration.

According to IHL’s survey, more than 2.7 million tablet devices will be shipped for use in North American retail and hospitality by 2015, an increase of 450% over current rates. These figures don’t even take into account the handheld devices that retailers are rushing to roll out in mobile POS deployments. So what can mobility do for you and why should you begin integrating this technology into your retail operation? The answer is simple, mobile POS, inventory and a better customer experience can provide more money in your wallet.

1) Mobile POS

Mobile POS is an easy way to increase customer experience that ultimately can put more money into your pocket. Mobile POS devices act as an extension of your traditional point of sale lane allowing you to do things like never before such as queue bust. Transactions can be scanned on a handheld device and resumed at the lane or register. This can dramatically decrease wait times and the chance of “balking”, when a customer decides not to enter the line because of its size. Shorter wait times provide your customers with a better experience increasing the likelihood they will return for future purchases.
Some retail environments such as nurseries, co-op and bulk sales prove difficult for both merchants and customers at the time of purchase. Often the customer or merchant needs to wheel a heavy potted tree, bags of mulch or other large items from outside or a warehouse to the POS and then to the customer’s car. Instead, simply complete the transaction from anywhere using mobile devices such as handhelds or tablets paired with a mobile printer. Mobile technology untethers the merchant from terminals and workstations allowing them to complete transactions on the fly.

2) Mobile Inventory

Receiving and inventory processes can be optimized through the use of mobile technology. Changing prices and counting inventory is faster and easier than traditional methods through direct database and peripheral connections via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Mobile inventory deployment can be configured to update instantaneously with the POS and back office. This often reduces labor hours required for inventory and item maintenance giving you more time to spend with what matters most, your customers.

3) Increase customer engagement and satisfaction

Mobile devices can give store associates access to a wealth of information, and highly visual devices that can be used to develop stronger customer relationships and deliver highly personalized service. Perform price checks, check warehouse stock, provide coupons and promote new products directly from the sales floor. This allows you to spend more time getting to know your customers, understanding their needs and building a relationship based on trust and quality service.