Which tools should you consider to deliver Field Services Apps?

Oct 6, 2021 10:22:13 AM

Your field service teams have a tough job. From scheduled inspections to repairing heavy, expensive equipment to traveling some long, hard miles at short notice and more, their jobs can be physically and mentally taxing.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure they have the best tools available to them. No matter what devices your team is using in the field, they need reliable software that will make their jobs easier, not add to the stress of a tough day.

Microsoft’s PowerApps development platform is commonly used to develop apps for field service workers, but is it the best option? Increasingly, JourneyApps has begun making waves with an innovative approach to app development that has even caught the eyes of the makers of RealWear®.

So between JourneyApps and PowerApps, which is right for your business? 

Before digging into the specifics of utilizing JourneyApps or PowerApps, it’s important to examine just what ReaWear® is and why RealWear® devices have become such exciting devices for field service work—and industrial work in general— in the first place.

RealWear® has been at the forefront of high-tech manufacturing industry trends for some time now because their voice-activated, hands-free devices allow technicians to accomplish their tasks with both hands without sacrificing connectivity to support resources such as off-site experts or relevant schematics.

Perhaps the most revolutionary devices that have hit the market for field service techs have been the hands-free RealWear® HMT-1 and the HMT-1Z1.

The head-mounted tablet HMT-1 attaches easily to hard hats and other protective headwear and can also be used on its own. The voice command system has been tested in a variety of environments and, even when surrounded by noise as loud as 95dB, maintains a 98% response accuracy.

RealWear® makes it possible to shift between written information and visual aids while using both hands on the job. Additionally, it allows your techs to speak with a remote expert and share photos and videos of what they are working on.

Removing the need to step back to consult instructions on paper or a tablet makes your technician more efficient. It also keeps your team members focus on the task at hand, increasing safety. And the voice/visual connectivity means that you can have one experienced technician conduct training for several new team members in different locations without going out into the field themselves.

The HMT-1 and the even more powerful HMT-1Z1 are so much more than RealWear® smart glasses. They are invaluable tools for your team members in the field. So what app development tool will help you take this device to the next level?

Optimizing your RealWear® Support

Because RealWear® wearable devices provide a wide range of benefits, it is imperative that your company has the software infrastructure in place to get the most value out of them. You need the capability to develop apps that will allow your teams to take advantage of the range of functions the HMT-1 provides.

Microsoft PowerApps has the muscle of one of the biggest corporations in the world behind it. But does that mean that PowerApps is the best choice for powering RealWear® by default? Not necessarily. 

One of the drawbacks to a platform designed for an extremely broad user base is that the development functionality doesn’t always provide the optimum design space and agility for specific industries. That’s where a more versatile platform like JourneyApps can prove its value.

Who is Developing Your Apps?

Something that needs to be considered when choosing your development platform is who will be doing the work of the actual app development. 

PowerApps has historically been targeted at the so-called citizen designer—someone using no-code development tools who does not necessarily have a software design background. This results in apps with limited scope that do one thing very well.

In contrast, JourneyApps and their development partners use a balanced no-code/low-code approach to make apps with a wider range of functions that include effective offline functionality. This creates apps that have more complex use cases and functions, even when a team member is in a wifi dead spot.

What Devices Are You Using?

Our world is more interconnected than ever, and our devices allow us to communicate in ways that would have been science fiction 40 years ago. That means that to get the most out of your apps, they need to be available on more than one screen.

Having an app that is accessible on RealWear®, iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and via the web allows your field service techs to share information with and download instructions and schematics from team members in a central hub, or even in their own home offices.

Having an app with versatility access allows your off-site team members, no matter where they are or what device they are using, to securely access the data gathered by your field agents as soon as possible.  

This allows your teams to immediately track progress on deliverables, tailor upselling pitches more accurately to your customers, analyze the effectiveness of your equipment in the field, and create visualization materials for use by high-level decision-makers.

JourneyApps has an advantage in this area because its use of OXIDE allows for GitHub integration and full cross-platform functionality with a single codebase.  In contrast, PowerApps uses different codebases for mobile and desktop. That simply is not as efficient as JourneyApps. There’s no other way to say it. 

Where Will Your RealWear® Be Used?

Field service technicians in the industrial and manufacturing sectors can be sent out to some pretty remote locations. Not only that, but the nature of the materials used to build industrial facilities means that mobile reception and wifi access aren’t always guaranteed.

If you have technicians working atop a wind turbine or out on an offshore oil rig, you need to be sure that the app they will use to access important information for their work can function offline. That means being able to cycle through different schematics for different equipment while being able to pull up an inspection checklist without needing to reload information from the cloud with every voice command. 

You also want to be sure that, once your team member has online access, the data they collect can sync up on the backend as soon as possible. This is another area where the more versatile development capabilities of JourneyApps outdo PowerApps.

Both platforms can generate apps with offline functionality, but PowerApps’ offline data sync and storage capabilities don’t match up to JourneyApps. Obviously, both platforms’ apps work better when online, but JourneyApps has more robust performance when offline.

For Optimal Performance, the Choice is Yours!

RealWear® apps power the most exciting connectivity tool in industrial field service. The development platform you choose can make a huge difference in the ROI on your acquisition of HMT-1s and/or HMT1Z1s for your field teams.

Both platforms discussed in this piece have their strengths. Before choosing one or the other, be sure to ask yourself the right questions and look at the advancements that have started to emerge, such as the augmented reality assistant.

RealWear® has created incredible devices. Your apps should take full advantage of those capabilities. The versatility and functionality provided by a JourneyApps powered development platform will allow you to get the most out of your investment. Reach out and learn more today.

Subscribe by Email

No Comments Yet

Let us know what you think