MAPCON Maintenance Software Article Series

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Industrial Uses of Smartphones and Tablets

Lisa Richards, Educational Outreach Writer

Smartphones and tablets are a growing trend among consumers. With their ease of use and portability, these devices offer connectivity virtually anywhere. With options such as using a smartphone as a Wi-Fi hotspot, you have many ways to remain connected wherever you go. Industrial use of both smartphones and tablets also continues to expand as technology advances and portable devices offer more functions and services.

With rapid expansion of applications within the medical industry, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has researched the issues and provided guidance for practitioners. The FDA acknowledges that mobile applications help consumers manage their health, educate them about health, and provide convenient information access. Consumers are not the only ones using health applications, however, with health care professionals also utilizing these services. Examples of medical mobile apps include programs that count calories, track weight loss, or provide exercise information. Applications designed for medical professionals include programs that offer diagnostic or treatment options. The FDA will regulate applications designed for use as an accessory to a regulated medical device. The FDA will also regulate applications that create a medical device out of the mobile platform. Some applications that meet criteria of a medical device but that do not pose significant risk to patients may not require FDA regulation.

Maintenance management applications assist consumers with a variety of personal and professional management services. With their user-friendly designs, consumers learn to use mobile devices quickly to increase their functionality for a variety of uses. A smartphone or tablet enables the quick capture of information, eliminating the need to find paper to write it down. People are able to record information, take screenshots, take and upload photos, access and update system data, consult manuals, access and update inventory, and complete work orders. It's also possible to set up notification alerts for a variety of situations, such as appointments, updates and other events. Time management is a subcategory of maintenance management applications. Time management is important for people, both professionally and personally. Productivity applications deliver professionals with the services they need to work productively, manage time, and meet deadlines. Employers can also use productivity applications to monitor employee activity, which can improve production.

Businesses that move inventory need failsafe methods for tracking and updating inventory data. Smartphones and tablets can put this information into employee hands in a convenient and mobile way. An inventory application would connect to a central database, giving employees mobile access to the information. Addivattional capabilities of these applications include creating and scanning barcodes and placing orders from the field. Some businesses choose to invest in tablets for employees that will serve in a variety of functions, such as cash register and telephone service.

Industries that involve hazardous work areas need to take additional steps when using smartphones and tablets professionally. Installing protective cases onto mobile devices can minimize damage to the electronics, while still providing employees with business applications for work. Electronic security is another important consideration for many businesses. The use of mobile devices in business necessitates a network for employees, which can create security issues. Businesses should create usage policies to manage devices. Businesses must make provisions to prevent data loss and information theft. Keeping devices updated to the most current operating system is one part of ensuring security. Data encryption helps to keep information secure within the company. Firewalls, virus protection and strong passwords are also important security measures.

Consumers often use smartphones and tablets to manage and utilize a music library. When using a mobile device for music, it's possible that storage on the device can reach capacity. To avoid issues, manage storage carefully and consider using a utility application for file organization. It's also possible to download console applications that enable playback of audiobooks on a mobile device. Currently, many consumers are "cutting the cord" with traditional cable TV and moving to less expensive streaming servies. HotDog provides simple but detailed information for cord-cutters to get the best possible experience without cable.

The real estate industry utilizes mobile apps to improve functionality. Electronic furniture and decorating apps enable brokers to hold up a smartphone or tablet to scan room dimensions for creating floor plans. A tablet can also enable a broker to make client presentations with the integration of photos and data to present information to clients.

The security industry is experiencing changes in the industry, thanks to tablets and smartphones. Companies can create applications that give consumers the ability to monitor their homes from a mobile device. While this option does not guarantee security, many consumers appreciate the added functionality of a mobile security service. Businesses in the security industry have the challenge of staying current with ever-changing technology to ensure that they offer cutting-edge services to customers.