tools4dev Reviews Device Magic’s Mobile Forms

tools4dev logo

tools4dev, the resources, reviews and how-to’s provider for international development professionals and aid workers, just recently did a review of Device Magic’s Mobile Forms.

Have a look and see what tools4dev has to say about the product; how it can be used, the pros and cons, and also the costs involved. Some great feedback and perspectives from folks using the technology in the field in less than ideal environments.

Check it out and feel free to comment – we’d love to know what you think!

New Sketch Features Now On Android

Remember that post about the Sketch Question’s new features? Well, now those features are available on Android!

Just to recap, the new Sketch Question features are:

Draw on an Image (you can take your own photo or select one from an album)

You can use this feature to upload an image and draw on it with the pen. For example, if you  needed to write up a damage report of a car for an insurance claim, you could take a picture of the car and use the pen to indicate the damage.

Screenshot_2014-03-26-10-48-20

New Pen Colors (now there is a range of black, red, green and white)

You can use this feature to draw on backgrounds of any color or to color-code aspects of the image. Continuing with the example above, you can change the color of the pen to indicate damage from a previous accident that was not repaired and damage from the current accident.

Screenshot_2014-03-26-10-48-31

If you have any thoughts you’d like to share, or questions you’d like us to answer, feel free to leave a comment!

Configuring Mobile Forms for Android by Clicking on a Link

Android phones

You may recall the post about Configuring Mobile Forms for iOS by clicking on a link. Now this feature extends to Android, too!

When you have people in the field, having them type in an organization code and name is frustrating. Mobile Forms for Android now allows you to send the people in the field a configuration link. By clicking on the link, their device joins to your account automatically!

The link looks something like this:

dmforms://requestassignment?organizationkey=MYKEY&operatorname=MOBILE_USER_NAME

When the user clicks the link (which can be sent via text message, email, or any other digital medium) the app will launch and join the organization.

Of course, you’ll need to URL encode the parameters. So here is an example where the two parameter values are:

organizationkey: VAN424
operatorname: John Doe

dmforms://requestassignment?organizationkey=VAN424&operatorname=John%20Doe

With this feature, you can easily generate custom configuration links for your users (for a simple online URL encoder/decoder, click here).

Now, if you need to get a large number of people to join an organization in one go, you can mass email the link to them and bypass all the time-consuming work that could be involved.

Useful don’t you think?

BYOD in the Workplace: Pros & Cons

DepositphotoBYODEd2

There’s a new trend that is making tracks in the working world: The BYOD trend.

If it hasn’t hit your company yet, it may only be a matter of time before it does. The “Bring Your Own Device” trend is all about companies allowing employees to bring their own devices to work to be used for work purposes (which involves connecting them up to the company network).

This is the opposite of the HYOD (“Here’s Your Own Device”) trend which was previously more common in companies – a program where the company gives employees devices.

As with any new trend, there are pros and cons that could influence the way people see the increasing prevalence of the BYOD program in the workplace. Some aren’t even aware that these pros and cons exist.

Here are the pros and cons.

Pros:

Familiarity – One of the biggest pros in the BYOD program is that employees are able to use devices with which they are already familiar. The familiarity that employees have with their own devices allows them to tackle work-related tasks with increased ease and efficiency and in a more timely manner (because there is no time spent on getting comfortable with the device).

Flexibility – By allowing employees to use their own devices, employees are able to work anywhere at any time without needing to use flash drives to access work documents and without having to email work documents just to transfer them from one account to another.

Easy Updating – It is well known that updating a smartphone or the software on a tablet is far easier than updating a desktop computer.

Financial Viability –  BYOD means that employers save money (they don’t have to buy devices for each of their employees) and, due to the fact that employees will be paying for their own devices, they are more likely to take better care of the devices (which reduces costs for repairs and updating, if there are any costs at all).

Cons:

Liability – When it comes to blurring the distinction between work devices and personal devices, the question of who is liable for repair costs arises.

Who should pay for a new device if something goes wrong with the device or if it gets stolen while on work time? What about when one is using the device (or claims to be using the device) for work-related tasks outside of work hours and something goes wrong?

These are questions that need to be carefully considered and for which a solution ought to be provided before implementing the BYOD program in your company.

Security – Even though security on devices with access to private work information is important, it is more difficult to manage the security on personal devices.

Controlling Use – Companies using the BYOD program have to contend with the fact that they will be relinquishing control over the appropriate use of employee devices (there is little way of ensuring that the devices will be used appropriately).

Data Retrieval – After a contract has been terminated or when an employee leaves the company, it may be necessary to remove the company’s private information from the employee’s device, which could prove to be difficult (a way needs to be devised to prevent the potential misusing of information).

In order to limit the potential risks that could come from the implementing of the BYOD program, a policy should be put in place explaining the expected and acceptable use of personal devices in the workplace (in place of company provided ones).

It is then the role of the employee to ensure that he or she fully understands the BYOD program’s policies before agreeing to them.

All in all, what we can take from this information is that a well thought out BYOD policy and properly enlightened employees are important in guaranteeing the success of the BYOD program.

Save Your Completed Forms in the Field & Upload them back at the Office

Screenshot Ed

Did you know that Device Magic’s Mobile Forms app can save numbers of submitted forms while you’re in an area with no network connectivity?

Did you know it can then upload all these forms simultaneously when you go back online?

Well, now you do. And it’s true.

This means that, when you spend the day traveling to different sites where the network connectivity isn’t up to scratch, you can still save all the important information to your forms in offline mode.

Then, when you get back to the office – or to any place with better network coverage – you can submit all the forms from that day. All at once.

Say goodbye to the worries about forgetting important bits of information, and the tediousness that comes with submitting one form at a time (which is exacerbated when there are a high number of forms)…

All you need is an account with Device Magic and you’re set. So, sign up (if you haven’t already) and enjoy the benefits of multiple form submissions that Device Magic has to offer.

Happy submitting,

Device Magic Team

Using the Time In & Time Out Calculations On Your Forms

Timesheet photo

Calculating billable hours is a truth in any business. You want to know how many hours were worked, how much money was made and how much of that money will end up in your pocket – those are questions to which everyone wants the answers!

Now, whether the calculating is done using a pen and paper, a calculator, or your brain (if you are math-inclined), it goes without saying that the repetitive calculations are tedious and time consuming.

In order to go about making the calculating of this information quick and effortless, all you need is to know the correct formulas to put into the “Expression” field in the calculation question.

Here’s a scenario:

Richard works as a supervisor in a large plumbing company that dispatches plumbers to people’s homes at all hours of the day and night.

While calculating billable hours for all the plumbers can be a lengthy process, Richard uses Device Magic’s Mobile Forms – which means the hard work is done for him!

When he first began using it, all he had to do was create a form that contained the “Hours Worked” calculation question to send out to the plumbers’ mobile devices.

Billable Hours Screenshot Cropped 1

Below you can see the Expression Editor

Billable Hours Screenshot Cropped 2

Here is the Function Wizard

Billable Hours Screenshot Cropped 3

And here is the Select Input

BIllable Hours Screenshot Cropped 5

Lastly, below is the completed formula

Billable Hours Screenshot Cropped 6

Let’s now turn our attention to Simon.

Simon is a plumber who works under Richard. When he arrives at his destination (as assigned to him by Richard), he takes out his mobile device, opens the form, and inserts the current time into the “Time In” question.

He begins his work.

And then, when he’s done, he takes out his mobile device, opens the form, and inserts the time into the “Time Out” question.

Automatically the “Hours Worked” are calculated (as seen below).

Billable Hours Screenshot Cropped 7edSimon lastly submits the form, and Richard receives the submission, which looks like this:

Billable Hours Screenshot Cropped 8

Formulas:

Time_Out – Time_In = the answer in seconds (when a time answer is subtracted from another, the result is the difference in seconds)

(Time_Out – Time_In) / 60 = the answer in minutes

ROUND((Time_Out – Time_In) / 60, 0) = the answer in minutes, rounded to the nearest whole number (the “0” indicates it will round to the nearest whole number)

(Time_Out – Time_In) / 3600 = the answer in hours

ROUND((Time_Out – Time_In) / 3600, 2) = the answer in hours, rounded to 2 decimal places

***

Bear in mind that you can either fill in the formulas by using the “Function Wizard” and the “Select Input” in the Expression Editor, or you can copy and paste the formulas listed above.

Alternatively, to bypass any effort at all, here is the JSON file for you to download.

2 New Things You Can Do With The Sketch Question

The ever-popular Sketch question has 2 new features! Click the play button on the short video above to see these new features in action.

These features are:

 - Draw on an Image (you can take your own photo or select one from an album)

Use this feature to upload an image and draw on it with the pen!

Insurance Claim Damage Report Image Cropped 1

Example of it in use:

Writing up a damage report of a car for an insurance claim – you can take a picture of the car and use the pen to indicate the damage (as seen below).

Insurance Claim Damage Report Image Cropped 2

- New Pen Colors (now there is a range of black, red, green and white)

Use this feature to draw on backgrounds of any color or to color-code aspects of the image!

Insurance Claim Damage Report Image Cropped

Example of it in use:

Continuing with the example mentioned above - you can change the pen color when drawing on the different areas of damage to indicate damage from a previous accident that was not repaired and damage from the current accident.

Insurance Claim Damage Report Image Cropped 3

The uses for these new features are boundless – limited only by your imagination! Contact us if you have any thoughts you’d like to share or any questions you’d like us to answer.

Add a Description to Your Saved Forms

New to the Device Magic Forms app is the option to add a description to your saved forms.

This will make it easier for you to see what each saved form is about. It will also help you tell the difference between different versions of the same forms that haven’t been submitted.

Here’s a scenario to illustrate this:

George spends his day gathering information about car accidents from clients. He enters each client’s information on a Device Magic Mobile Form.

Before this feature, George struggled to tell one form from another without opening the form itself – this can be very time consuming.

Then this feature was released, which makes George’s job much easier! Now he can write a short description while saving each form to help him identify one from another with just a quick glance.

I’m sure you think this is useful… I know George thinks so!

***

Now, if you have a look below you can see the options that appear when you press the “Back” button once you have opened a form.

Description Take 2

Next you can see the space provided to add a description to a form.

Description Take 2 2  Description Take 2 3

Once you have added a description and saved it, it will appear as you see on the Demo iPhone under “Saved Forms”.

Description Take 2 4

One last thing – the description, along with the form, disappears from your forms list after submitting the form.

Remember to let us know what you think!

New Visual Feature Enhancements to the Online Store Connector

We are all familiar with the visual features we can add to our forms. Images, GPS locations – these visual features add a dynamic to the mobile forms and make the recording of information all the more interactive and personalized.

To make these well-used features more enjoyable, we, the Device Magic Team, have added some enhancements that we want you to know about!

Enhancements Image1    Enhancements Image2

These new enhancements allow you to plot the submission of forms (including location questions or fields that have been geo-stamped) on a Google Map.

Enhancements Image3

As you can see above, points of interest are indicated. The map can also be viewed in full screen mode by clicking the button marked “Fullscreen”.

Enhancements Image4a

Form data can then be displayed by clicking on one of the marked points on the map.

Enhancements Image4

And, lastly, this form data also includes a clickable image link, which opens your image in a new tab, like so

Enhancements Image 5

We hope you find these enhancements useful. Let us know what you think!

Arlington Heavy Hauling – Case Study

 

Arlington Heavy Hauling Logo

Gary Ayers of Arlington Heavy Hauling recently decided to move his operation to Mobile Forms from Device Magic and go paperless. His experience was very positive and his favorite feature is “instantly being able to update everything.” It was easy to get started and Device Magic’s Mobile Forms offers many advantages over Arlington Heavy Hauling’s old system. Overall, everyone at Arlington Heavy Hauling is very happy with the upgrade.

Before Mobile Forms from Device Magic:

Gary says Arlington Heavy Hauling “used an antiquated system that was satellite based” before they used Device Magic to update their system. This system had no graphical interface and it required drivers to complete forms while they were on the road. There were five different forms that needed to be completed for each load and this system failed to meet the demands of their business. To improve efficiency they would need to find another way.

Getting Started:

As Gary looked for solutions to the problem that Arlington Heavy Hauling was facing, Device Magic was an obvious choice. The company purchased 7” HTC Android tablets for its drivers and began the process of transitioning to paperless forms. Gary says, “It took me about a week to be comfortable with it.” Now he is so comfortable with the system that he has begun creating surveys to bring data from his drivers into dispatch meetings. Device Magic’s Mobile Forms helps him to quickly develop, deploy, and analyze survey data.

Arlington Heavy Hauling Red Truck

Advantages Using Mobile Forms:

Arlington Heavy Hauling has experienced many advantages since going paperless with Device Magic. Rather than listing them all, they’ve been collected into three primary categories. Some benefits have had an effect on efficiency, some have impacted accuracy, and others can be seen in the company’s bottom line. Many of these benefits impact multiple areas since improvements in efficiency and accuracy tend to create cost savings as well.

Efficiency

Having the ability to accurately track every stage of a haul allows dispatchers to relay detailed information to the customer. This means customers are more satisfied with the service and dispatchers spend less time tracking down information about a haul. Every form and photo uploaded into the system by a drive includes a timestamp and GPS data. Dispatchers can use this information to track a haul or send assistance in the event of a flat tire or other emergency. Gary says, “[Drivers] can upload a blown tire, for example, and we can utilize the GPS to get them help.” This helps to keep drivers safe and speeds up the whole maintenance request.

Accuracy

The entire haul is much more accurate now. Arlington Heavy Hauling can now monitor every stage of the process, from checking the haul through delivery and transfer. As mentioned above, this information makes the whole delivery more efficient. However, it also increases accuracy by providing data to analyze deliveries. Time stamps and GPS data can be loaded into a table to calculate the efficiency of different routes and drivers. It is now very easy to see if a delivery is off schedule and the problem can be addressed in advance.

Cost Savings

Gary hasn’t implemented any specific measures to determine the exact cost savings from the switch to Device Magic’s Mobile Forms. However, he said “it has tremendously streamlined communication, which translates to saved time, and probably money.” Arlington Heavy Hauling is very happy with their decision to use Mobile Forms from Device Magic.