Posted 20th August 2013

Advances In Facilities Management Mobile Technology

Providing instant access to business critical information on the move is just one of the many benefits of migrating internal engineers or service specialists to mobile CAFM solutions. Mobile CAFM software offers two-way data transfer solutions, to streamline communication between field staff and back office systems. Information can be reviewed and acknowledged instantly via mobile devices (Rugged, Smartphones or Tablets), delivering real-time live updates back into the core system.

Aside from the instant communication and information review benefits mobile CAFM software can offer an organisation, there are many other key benefits worth acknowledging, including:

Historically, mobile CAFM Systems where developed for Windows Mobile operating systems or Psion devices. This approach was taken by CAFM software developers due to the hardware requirements of the Facilities Management industry. The Facilities Managers and Service Providers tended to look for rugged solutions capable of scanning barcode labels and built to withstand the forces and pressures placed upon them. For many years Windows Mobile was arguably the key operating system for mobile CAFM software development. Recently there has been a huge shift in choice of hardware used by the industry. Android based rugged mobile solutions are now being introduced to the market, in an attempt to replace Windows.

With the dramatic technological enhancements in consumer grade devices (Apple iOS and Android Smartphones/Tablets), Facilities Managers and Service Providers are now looking towards these cheaper and advanced devices for mobilisation. Due to the low purchase cost their logic is simple...if it breaks, replace it! Often mobile devices are secured against a company’s mobile phone contract, thus avoiding heavy outlay costs incurred when buying rugged devices.

Software Delivery

CAFM software is sometimes delivered as a purely web-based/online application. The difficulty with this approach is the restrictions imposed when trying to connect to live data in dead zones. For example, basement areas are a known problem area for data connectivity. Mobile CAFM systems using live data connectivity through web services are rendered useless in such environments.

There is another way. Common amongst regular smartphone users, mobile CAFM apps are now venturing into the market. This approach enables data to be stored locally on the device and transferred back to the core database when in a connected environment. In the case of TabsCAFM, the TabsGo mobile CAFM app has been developed for iOS (iPhone, iPad) and Android smartphone devices. These apps can operate using both online and offline connectivity, delivering as close to live data as technically possible.

Another benefit of developing CAFM apps for Apple iOS and Android Smartphones or tablets, is that field engineers only need one device for all their day-to-day activities, e.g. telecommunication, email, internet browsing, GPS navigation, CAFM data, document management, barcode scanning. Combine this with the fact that cost of purchasing iPhones, iPads or any of the a vast range of Android devices are often included within mobile phone service contract, instant cost and efficiency savings can be made.


... more than just software