Worldwide, texting is a very personal activity – not withstanding the texting to short codes and receiving responses or alerts, roughly 90% of texting worldwide is to another person.  Globally, we still see SMS (or texting) growing.  Our global statistics continue to show worldwide SMS traffic growing, but certainly slowing.

We have a number of ways to determine the top “texting days of the year.”  For our role in the ecosystem in the last year, we have visibility to over half of the US SMS traffic and a very significant portion of the global country-to-country SMS traffic.  Consequently, we have to consider both the high volume US traffic in addition to the global country to country (including the US) traffic.   What’s considered high messaging days in the Middle East may not make a dent in the normal rates in the U.S. and vice-versa.  Messaging rates on major holidays or texting days also vary through the day – for example for New Year’s Eve, early in the day, we would see messaging rates at “normal” levels, but later in the evening, we’ll see the rates skyrocket to over 100% of normal.   Consequently, the overall traffic rise for the entire day would be significantly less than the peak hours.   For this reason, these statistics will look at the top 12 international days, which may be different from the more ‘domestic’ (or North American) view.  Finally, we’ll take a look at some of the peak hours in our US centric view of the SMS world.

 

For these statistics, we’ll consider the period from December 1, 2010 through December 1, 2011.

 

Typically reference days are a day or two days before a particular holiday; occasionally, it is the day after.  The criterion is simply the closest “normal” day to the highlighted day.  The percentage increase is calculated from that day or day/hour.

 

Internationally, in country-to-country scenarios, the Top 12 Texting Days were:

Rank

Day

Percentage Rise over Reference Day

1

New Year's Eve 2010 (12/31/2010)

96.34%

2

New Year's Day 2011 (01/01/2011)

80.44%

3

Day before Eid ul Fitr (08/30/2011)

47.93%

4

Christmas Day 2010 (12/25/2010)

41.63%

5

Valentine's Day (02/14/2011)

31.27%

6

Eid ul Adha (11/6/2011)

30.32%

7

Eid ul Fitr (08/31/2011)

26.82%

8

2 Days before Eid ul Fitr (08/29/2011)

24.32%

9

Day Before Chinese New Year (02/02/2011)

17.80%

10

Mubarek in Egypt steps down - 02/11/2011

15.02%

11

Day before US Memorial Day - 05/29/2011

12.75%

12

Chinese New Year (02/03/2011)

12.50%

 

I’m not sure why 05/29/2011 made the list.  It was the Sunday before the US Memorial Day holiday. The major event that day was the running of the Indianapolis 500 auto race.

 

Now, if we simply take the top messaging days on our US-domestic centric node, by absolute volumes, our top 12 list, looks a bit different:

  1. 12.25.2010 – Christmas Day
  2. 11/24/2011 – Thanksgiving Day USA
  3. 01/01/2011 – New Years Day
  4. 12/31/2010 – New Years Eve
  5. 5/8/2011 – Mothers Day
  6. Friday - 6/24/2011
  7. 12/30/2010 – Day Before New Years Eve
  8. Friday - 6/17/2011
  9. Thursday - 6/23/2011
  10. Friday - 6/10/2011
  11. Friday - 7/8/2011
  12. 12/29/2010 – Two Days Before New Years Eve

In this list, we show four separate Fridays in the summer that were in our top 12 (by volume) texting days.  Summer Fridays, no doubt!  Before you ask how many messages we processed, those numbers are confidential, but suffice it to say, it’s well over 1.6 billion messages per day for all of these and more.

Now, if we change this up and compare certain days to “normal” days, we have the following:

 

Rank

Day

Percentage Rise over Reference Day

1

New Year's Day 2011 (01/01/2011)

21.64%

2

Christmas Day 2010 (12/25/2010)

21.47%

3

Thanksgiving Day (11/24/2011)

13.10%

4

Mother's Day (05/08/2011)

9.91%

5

Valentine's Day (02/14/2011)

4.83%

6

Father's Day (6/19/2011)

3.20%

7

Halloween (10/31/2011)

2.41%

8

US East Coast Earthquake (08/23/2011)

2.19%

9

New Year's Eve 2010 (12/31/2010)

2.04%

 

I stopped here at the top 9, as comparing these days to “normal” days gets to be a difficult task as we then have to ask “what is normal?”  Those Fridays in June could be construed as being “normal,” yet they are a top 12 in terms of absolute volumes.  Summer is becoming a significant time for people to text; consequently, we are seeing some of our biggest days by volume in the summer.

 

Many events such as the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the US East Coast earthquake, the killing of Osama bin Laden did generate record messaging for certain locales or very short periods of time.  For example, in Africa, in the hour after the news about bin Laden was announced, messaging was up over 200% in the 1st hour and 86% in the 2nd hour after the news broke.  In the US, the SMS increased almost 20% of “normal” in the minutes that followed the breaking news.

 

The Women’s World Cup win by Japan created similar deviations from “normal” but not enough or for a long enough period of time to create a “record day.”   These days, significant news is more often “broken” over Twitter vs. SMS.  SMS (person to person) is still used, but as Twitter is a one-to-many micro-blog, it is better for disseminating news bulletins.

 

Speaking of Twitter, if we compare the top messaging days to the top Twitter days, most of the breaking news that generated the top Twitter days did not result in high SMS volumes, globally – sometimes certain region generated significant texts, as described above, but these did not translate to significant global volume uptakes.

 

Finally, I wasn’t going to include Christmas Day 2011 in these stats, but early numbers suggest that Christmas this year moves into 1st place for both absolute volumes and change from the “reference day” (I used 12/26/2011 – the day after Christmas).  The change from “normal” is 24.4%.  This clearly shows that SMS is alive and well and is widely used around the world as well as widely used in the United States for extending Christmas greetings.

I hope everyone had a peaceful and merry Christmas and holiday season.

We know that we can build  a Mobile Web Application in an  SAP System using SAP BSP and Html5 /Javascript / Css . There are a lot of Javascript Frameworks that help us to create the optimized mobile UI Layer .   Most popular frameworks are Sencha Touch , jQuery Mobile, jQTouch ,etc and we can include this frameworks in our Sap BSP application;

these 3 blogs by John Moy  (Build your first Mobile web app using jQuery Mobile and ABAP - Part 1)  describe in a great way how to build our Mobile Web Apps using jQueryMobile  ( http://jquerymobile.com ) and this is not the purpose of this blog.

So we can use our BSP Mobile application from iPad , iPhone , Android Devices , etc… I create my BSP Link Shortcut on my iPad Home  and I see this logon screen.

   netweaverlogon.jpg

Not good for a mobile device user! Not mobile optimized , we need to zoom in,it's not the right logon page for a web mobile application.

Thanks to the Official Documentation ( http://help.sap.com/saphelp_nw70ehp2/helpdata/en/48/3a061a902131c3e10000000a42189d/frameset.htm ) and this great blog by  Sergio Ferrari  (BSP/HowTo - Customizing the design of System Logon page in NetWeaver '04  )  we know that we can change the screen layout for each SICF service  creating a custom Abap Class , in SICF Bsp service -> Error Pages -> Logon Errors -> System Logon (Configuration) -> Define Service-Specific Settings -> Custom Implementation (Abap Class).  

Yeah, now we can build our custom  jQuery Mobile Logon  Screen creating  a new custom class that is a subclass of CL_ICF_SYSTEM_LOGIN !

I found the class CL_ICF_EXAMPLE01_LOGIN that is a good starting point for our custom class , so I copied the example class to ZCL_ICF_JQUERYMOBILE_LOGIN . 

  image   image

In HTM_LOGIN method the standard code builds the Logon Page , here we can insert our custom html code.

This “single page” template http://jquerymobile.com/demos/1.0/docs/pages/page-template.html is my starting point to build our logon page.

Exploring the standard SAP Code in HTM_LOGIN method , I noticed that it uses <table> elements , so we must replace html tables , rows and cells with jQueryMobile DIVs and Attributes such as “header” , “content” and “footer” (anathomy of a mobile “Page”).

The Abap Internal Table me->m_logmessages contain all Logon system messages (warning about SSO , HTTPS , ecc..): i put this messages in a jQueryMobile “collapsible” DIV container (not collapsed by default) , but we are free to build our Layout as we want.

Important: In jQuery Mobile, form submissions are automatically handled using Ajax but in our situation we need to prevent it adding  data-ajax="false" attribute to the form element. 

Now we can call tcode SICF to set our custom class ZCL_ICF_JQUERYMOBILE_LOGIN image

This is the code of my basic HTM_LOGIN method(we should consider other important aspects , for example the “Change Password” button linked to 'htm_change_passwd' method,logon languages , etc..).

Here you can download this basic example of ZCL_ICF_JQUERYMOBILE_LOGIN (slinkee)

method HTM_LOGIN.
*CALL METHOD SUPER->HTM_LOGIN
*  EXPORTING
*    IV_JAVASCRIPT    =
*    IV_HIDDEN_FIELDS =
*  RECEIVING
*    RV_HTML          =
*    . 
**A.SPADONI - 27.12.2011 - htm_login Method from CL_ICF_EXAMPLE01_LOGIN
*CLASS.
**A.SPADONI - 27.12.2011 - jquerymobile login html page
  data: lv_msg_item   type bspmsg.
concatenate
'<!DOCTYPE html> '
'<html> '
'<head>'
   '<meta charset="utf-8">'
   '<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">'
   '<title>jQueryMobile - BSP Logon</title>'
 '<link rel="stylesheet"'
 ' href="http://code.jquery.com/mobile/1.3.0/jquery.mobile-1.3.0.min.css"/>'
   '<script'
    ' src="http://code.jquery.com/jquery-1.9.1.min.js"></script>'
 '<script'
 ' src="http://code.jquery.com/mobile/1.3.0/jquery.mobile-1.3.0.min.js">'
 '</script>'
  '<script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript">'
             iv_javascript
  '</script>'
 '</head>'     `  <body onLoad="` me->co_js_cookie_check `();">`
  into rv_html.                                             "#EC NOTEXT
  CONCATENATE rv_html
  '<div data-role="page">'
 '<div data-role="header">'
   '<h1>BSP Custom Logon using jQueryMobile</h1>'
 '</div><!-- /header -->'   '<div data-role="content">'  into rv_html.
***********messages data content
  if me->m_logmessages is not initial.
    CONCATENATE rv_html
'<div data-role="collapsible" data-content-theme="e" data-collapsed="'
'false">'
     '<h3>Messages</h3>'  into rv_html.
    loop at me->m_logmessages into lv_msg_item.
      concatenate rv_html '<p>' lv_msg_item-message '</p>' into rv_html.
    endloop.
   CONCATENATE  rv_html '</div>' into rv_html.
  endif.
***********messages data content  - end
*********login FORM
  CONCATENATE rv_html   `<div data-role="fieldcontain"><form name="`
  me->co_form_login `" action="` me->m_sap_application
     `" method="post" data-ajax="false">`
             iv_hidden_fields into rv_html.
  CONCATENATE rv_html
'<div data-role="fieldcontain"><label for="' me->co_sap_user
'">Username:</label>'
'<input type="text" id="' me->co_sap_user
'" name="' me->co_sap_user
'"  value="" placeholder="Username"/></div>'
'<div data-role="fieldcontain"><label for="'
me->co_sap_password '">Password:</label>'
'<input type="password" id="'
me->co_sap_password
'" name="' me->co_sap_password
'" value="" placeholder="Password"/></div>'
`<div data-role="fieldcontain"><a type="submit" data-role="button" data-theme="b" n`
`ame="submit" value="Logon" onclick="`
    me->co_js_submit_login
    `('` me->co_event_login `'); return false;">Logon</a></div>`
    into rv_html.
  CONCATENATE rv_html '</form></div>' into rv_html.
********login FORM - end
  CONCATENATE rv_html
 '  </div><!-- /content -->'
 ' <div data-role="footer">'
    '<h4>Footer content</h4>'
'          </div><!-- /footer -->'
'</div><!-- /page -->'
'</body>'
'</html>'  into rv_html.
 endmethod.

and this is the final result!

ipad_1.JPG

ipad_1logged.JPG

LINKS:

       by Sergio Ferrari

        by John Moy

Motivation

 

Inspired by some blogs about RESTFul Webservices (e.g. Android and RESTFul web service instead of SOAP  (Android and RESTFul web service instead of SOAP) ) I will show you a short example how easy it is to consume SAP data in a mobile app built with rhomobile.

Mobile Frameworks

 

There are several different frameworks for web apps  (http://wiki.sdn.sap.com/wiki/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=197034098) available. Here I will show you an example built with Rhomobile which makes use of the Rhodes framework. It is an open source Ruby-based framework to build native apps for iPhone, Android, RIM and Windows Phone. In order to get started you only need to install Rhostudio  (http://rhomobile.com/) which includes the Rhodes framework, the RhoStudio Eclipse IDE and RhoConnect, a server that connects your mobile devices with your backend systems like SAP.

Steps involved


Building my example app was done by the following steps:

  • Creating a Rhoconnect application

  • Creating a Rhoconnect Source Adapter

  • Creating a Rhodes Application

  • Creating a Rhodes Model

 

For step 1 I created a simple web service that reads table SCARR and serves the result as a JSON object created using the ABAP JSON Document Class  (https://cw.sdn.sap.com/cw/groups/zjson) from SAP CodeExchange. The result looks like this:

rest_data.png

The remaining steps are done in the RhoStudio Eclipse IDE. For steps 2 to 5 you only need to follow the 'Create ...'-Wizards in Eclipse.

Consuming the SAP data needs only inserting some lines of Ruby code into the generated SourceAdapter class that you can see below:

ruby_src_adapter.png

This is all that is needed for our RhoConnect application for synchronizing the data between SAP and the RhoConnect server (please keep in mind that I only implemented the READ functionality in this example).  The model of our 'Airline' data object is createdby simply naming the fields of table SCARR:

new_rhodes_model.png

After these steps you only need to enable sync of data between the application and the RhoConnect server (by uncommenting 'enable: sync' in the model class) and implement the model into the view by adding "<%= url_for :controller => :Airline %>" into the generated code.

Running the example Application

After starting the simulator and logging in you get the following overview:

demo_5.png

Selecting an entry directs you to the detail view of the entry. In the standard generated code the CRUD (Create-Read-Update-Delete) functionality is already implemented. Therefore in the example code you can edit the data but synchronizing it to SAP does not alter the data unless I implement it in SAP.

demo_6.png

Disclaimer: I do not want to diss Security as a service here, but I want them to provide me a solution instead of saying what I can't do! So I'll give my own, humouristic, view on the issue, hoping that they (all security guys in the world) may understand our needs.


One of the main blocking issues with mobility is security. Take any large corporation and they'll have a dedicated security team. They'll all be using RSA tokens and VPN tunnels. The entire intranet is locked down to the outside world and nothing gets past. It all makes sense, until you want to use your mobile device for enterprise purposes.

 

[Actually, I'm willing to debate whether all this security really does make sense. I can understand you don't want any outsider to get write access, but daily documents leaking out is hardly a threat. A lot of these companies don't really have confidential documents. Apart from privacy regulations, most of the corporate restricted info is just a summary of common sense. It seems to be hip to have "Top Secret" information.

"Our mails mustn't leak out!!"

-"What? You've been sending your illegal price arrangements via email to competitors again? C'mon..." *shrug*

Seriously, let's stay realistic. But I'm not going to discuss that, I accept security regulation and just want to find an acceptable arrangement for mobile security.]


Why oh why, do we try to be holier than the Pope?

When you enter your house, you disable the alarm by typing the code. The code doesn't change every minute, nor do you have to repeat the process for every room. If you stay quietly in your sofa for 5 minutes, it doesn't reactivate automatically. No! You enter it once when accessing your house and you no longer worry about it anymore until you leave the house (or go to bed).

 

On your bank card, you have a 4 digit pin-code. The code doesn't change every minute, yet no one really worries about the security there. If your bank card is lost or stolen, you call card-stop and have your card blocked.

 

You even walk around with a Visa card having a X-Thousand Euro/USD limit, with no pin code whatsoever. Only a quick signature is necessary and no one actually verifies this signature. Yet, we don't particularly worry about it.

 

Your laptop contains a lot of documents stored locally. There is a lot of "confidential" information on there. Yet, the only protection for local access to your laptop is your user name and a password. Oftentimes, the laptop is in standby or hibernate, so the user name is remembered and you only need the password. Given enough time, they'll figure out your password and have access to all your confidential documents on the hard drive. Even if your entire drive is encrypted. Can you remotely wipe your laptop? You can with a mobile device.... There are actually options to remotely wipe a laptop, but I still have to encounter the first corporate laptop that actually has such functionality.

 

Someone printed a report to read it in the taxi on the way to the airport, but lost it along the way. Oh no! Data leakage and no way to wipe it remotely.

 

You should be God blessed happy with a mobile device that you can control!

 

Apply this to mobility.

From security, the message you'll get is: You need strong authentication!

 

So really, we're all going to have our token next to our mobile phone, anywhere we go. When we quickly want to check something on our device, we'll wait 10 seconds for a new code to refresh and then enter the code for our access. And we'll do this every frigging time our device comes out of standby, because it needs to reconnect. Oh and PS, if you carry your token and your phone and they both get stolen, you're still in for it.

 

Some go even further and only want to make Citrix and virtual desktop available to any device. Seriously? We want to use mobility for user friendliness, for quick access, and your recommendation is Citrix? I'll have you eat my mobile phone, see how that tastes.

Why is a single pin code on your mobile device not enough? You enter a 4 digit pin whenever it comes out of standby and then you can access the corporate information, via specific apps with specific rights and specific contents. You do not need access to everything when you're on the road. No! You only need that data which makes sense and mobile apps will serve you with the right data needed.

 

Use client certificates for the login procedure. It's pretty secured, very user friendly and can be managed centrally. What more can you ask for?

Your mobile device is the employee's responsibility. When you lose it, alert your security by any means possible, just like you would immediately call card stop after losing your bank card.

 

Stop being holier than a laptop when talking about mobile devices. You've got data leaking out of every gap and you'll only make the problem bigger if you do not supply a reasonable solution to your users. The more you are going to lock users down, the more they'll find alternative ways to get data out. (Google Docs, home servers with VPN, webserver for web services,...) I know, I'm one of those creative users. We're going to find loopholes anyway. Better supply us with a big giant gate, to which you hold the key and control.

 

Security leaks might just actually go down.

 

But then again, isn't Security supposed to be Paranoid? After all, it is their job, so you can't blame them for it...

A short break from the Android series, but still on the subject of enterprise mobility. This topic has lingered for quite a while in my mind and I thought it was time to share it to the large audience.

 

Not new, not the first

This is not a new idea. I first thought of it somewhere at the end of 2010, early 2011 and presented it on an SAP event in April 2011. I'm also probably not the first to think of it, as I have googled around a bit and found that multiple people had come up with the idea as well. None the less, it's still very relevant, and nobody has actually put it to practice. Not that I know of at least. So I'll launch it again and implement it myself if nobody else will.

 

Sexifying your call center

In job ads, working at a call center is always represented by a picture of a smiling, stylish, sporty guy or girl, all claiming that they have the best job in the world. It’s divers and challenging, you have a lot of social contact with the clients, enthusiast colleagues and a state of the art work environment. That’s what I call marketing!

 

Now for reality; Narrow desks, cluttered with a bulky old desktop pc and an equally big phone with a multitude of mysterious buttons. Post it’s stuck to every available square centimeter. Depressed looking people, who have all lost their unique touch and just blend in with the room. They are wearing a headset and answering complaint calls with a cheery voice, whilst looking as if they’re about to tie a rope around someone’s neck. Their own, or that of the person on the end of the line, they don’t care anymore.

 

Strangely enough, all technology is available to make their lives a lot more cheerful. Using the right tools, you could transform that office into a lounge of Zen. The best of psychologists would not be able to turn the depressed employees into the cheerful and proud individuals that they could become by giving them the right equipment. Throw out those cramped little desks, clear out the entire room, burn those old desktop, please… But surely, you wouldn’t throw away the big phones? That’s the main tool for anyone working in a call center, right?

 

Mobilize

Welcome to the age of mobile computing and tablets! Give all your employees a nice tablet like an Ipad or an Android alternative, or a Blackberry Playbook,... whatever. Now let’s make/receive calls using Skype and the company’s wireless network. It’s free of charge! Use an enterprise Skype dispatcher so that each employee’s time is used as efficient as possible. Now put a piece of software on that tablet which allows the employee to enter the call details directly into the SAP (or other) CRM system and integrate the Skype calls in there. Done? Good, you just replaced the expensive desktop PC and VOIP phone by a less costly, smaller and infinitely more intuitive device that your employees can carry with them.

 

Socialize

A lot of customers vent their frustrations on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+. Using the API's of such social networks, you can create an integration with their information feed. You can have real-time feedback via social media, lowering the threshold significantly. You can do a lot with this information.

 

Emotional sentiment analysis allows you to categorize the feedback as positive or negative. You can immediately respond to a vented frustration by creating a ticket and informing the person via the very same channel. This can help you in turning negative feedback into positive feedback. On social networks, image is everything, so if you are perceived as a proactive customer friendly company, this is going to create a positive buzz.

 

Modernize

Happy faces yet?

 

Oh, they want a chair. Right, I forgot that we threw everything out the door.

 

Fine, let’s put some sofa’s, design chairs, lounge seats, fat-boys (beanbags) etc in the room. Decorate a bit with some flowers and plants, a central collaboration table with a Microsoft Surface where the supervisor can assist in difficult cases. Put a TV on the wall showing the KPI’s and the most productive emplyee. *BOOM* you’ve got that state of the art work environment promised in the Job Ad.

 

What would your employees prefer?

 

Just watch out not to fall in the beanbag trap. If you change the tools and the environment, you also need to change processes and culture. They all go hand in hand.

Now, What are the advantages?

For starters:

  • Happier employees
  • Flexible offices
  • Image
  • A venue for receptions and parties at the ready

 

But also, less obvious:

  • Flexible manpower during peak loads
  • Cost reduction
  • Recruiting talent

Some explanation may be necessary.

 

Flexible manpower during peak loads? That sounds an awful lot like cloud technology.

Exactly!

Because you no longer have to rely on your static infrastructure, you can easily hire extra agents for a product launch or during peak periods (holiday season?). They don't need a desk, they don't need a PC, they don't need an IP phone. All they need is a tablet, an account and a place to sit. Theoretically speaking, they don't even have to be in the office. They could be in a remote location. In practice, putting them in the next room may already be a stretch for most companies.

 

Ok, so you can equip them very fast, but don't they need a couple of weeks training to work with the system?

That's the beauty. Tablet devices are very user friendly and if you build your CRM capturing and assistance app in a user friendly manner, your newly recruited puppies won't need a lot of training. Half a day may be enough for the basics. Your more experienced staff can easily move more to the complex issues while the newbies handle the simple cases and capturing.

 

So how does this help in attracting talent?

It's obvious that, if I would like to work in a call center and had the choice out of a traditional one, and a beanbag one, I'd go for the latter. The impact will not be only on your call center. It will be much broader. If your company is known for such a good working environment, and has such an innovative image, than it automatically becomes a magnet for talent. Investing in your people is key for attracting talent.

 

Okay, I'm convinced, gimme the shiny stuff!

Ehr... well, as far as I know of, it doesn't exist yet. Mainly because every call center has different requirements for capturing and data entry. So either we streamline the process and come up with a single solution, or we build a custom solution for each call center.

Secondly, most companies don't really care about their call center.

 

featured on my personal blog

Mobility is not only your smartphone or your tablet. It goes a lot further than that. Think about your laptop. Does that not offer you a higher degree of mobility? Think about your car. For sure, it offers mobility, but you can't use your car for work, can you? What I would like to do in this episode of #AndroidForEnterprise, is look at devices which have, or can have Android as a mobile OS and how this could benefit you personally or as an organization. Some of it already exists, others are in the pipeline and some are pure imagination from my side.

Cars

Some time ago, I wrote a blog on Social Traffic. In there I explain how car manufacturers are beginning to use Android for their on-board devices. This can be used for consumer purposes (navigation, traffic information, road services). Let's take the idea a step further and see how a car can become interesting for the enterprise.

Knight Rider was far ahead of its time, but we're catching up

You could start for example to have your calendar in your car. You step in the car and it shows you that in half an hour, you're expected in a meeting. Automatically, navigation starts to bring you to the location. Alas, the system detects a lot of traffic and calculates that you will not make it in time. So it offers you to call the meeting organizer so you can inform him. Your car connects to your phone and initiates the call, all handsfree.

One morning, you're driving to work and your car notices that you are low on fuel. It automatically alerts you and offers to navigate you to the nearest petrol station of your choice. This could offer a nice option for advertisements. If you're a petrol station, you may want to show an ad to the driver, letting him know that 5km's further, petrol is cheaper than the competitor who is just around the corner. Imagine that it's an electrical vehicle, the car can then skip all petrol stations and show an ad from your local electricity resellers to navigate you to a charging point. A whole new market for advertising opens up. not only for petrol or electricity, but also for motels, road restaurants, shops, entertainment, taxi's, road assistance...

If your company is none of those, they can still benefit. How many employees with a corporate car abuse the system of fuel cards to gas up their private vehicle. Imagine now that the company car itself knows when it's refueling, how much it's taking in, what it's kilometers are and what the consumption and driving behavior of the conductor is. The onboard system can detect fraud and alert the leasing company. Using some other sensors, the car can also detect maintenance requirements and ask to schedule an appointment for repairs or maintenance asap. This can reduce costs of breakdowns.

Your entire fleet management could be greatly simplified and reduced to a central application which connects to each company car by remote.

[update] Just as I released this blog, an article appeared about my home town (Mechelen, Belgium).

http://www.gva.be/antwerpen/mechelen/belgacom-wil-experimenteren-met-slim-parkeren-in-mechelen.aspx

The article is in Dutch, but the basic idea is to introduce smart parking. A system which knows all the parking spaces in the surroundings and its occupation (by use of a sensor) and automatically guides you to the nearest free parking space. it's not Android Specific, but it shows you the potential of mobility outside of the common.[/update]

Cash registers

There aren't actually real cash register out there that have Android embedded, yet. However, all the components are already generally available. The Android market has multiple solutions for cash register apps available. There's also credit card readers for Android. (Mind you, they are also available for most other popular mobile Operating systems. I may be cheering for Android and Google now, but Microsoft and Apple offer high potential as well.)

No more bank and loyalty cards

Seeing how all the building blocks are available and Android being open source, it's only a matter of time before a cash register manufacturer decides to put Android on his machines.

Next to that, Google is working together with Verizon to provide mobile payments via Near Field Communication. It doesn't take a genius to see the possibilities. Pretty soon, you will no longer need a credit card and loyalty card. You'll simply swipe your phone across the payment terminal, accept the payment by entering a code on your phone, and you're done.

Office/home appliances

Google has a vision in which their Android system runs on multiple devices at your home, or in the office. The idea is that appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators, TV's, dryers, central heating, etc have Android on board. Your Android enabled phone would then become a remote control for your entire house/office.

Cooking on Droid

Some examples in the DailyTech Article mention reminders sent by your fridge, when your phone detects that you're in a supermarket. "Don't forget the milk, I'm out." But you would also be able to turn off the lights, change the TV channel, turn on the dryer and washing machine... That magnificent idea from a couple of years back -that your cooking plate would be able to show you a recipe, based on what is present in the fridge and guide you through the cooking process step by step- suddenly becomes reality.

All these ideas still focus very much on your home, but there is nothing stopping you from using them in offices as well. Using sensors and Android appliances, you can create a complete facility management module which turns off the airco and lights during the night. The module could be capable of locking the doors after a certain hour, switching on the alarm, allowing remote control of the security camera's, roll up the blinds in strong winds, start the dishwasher after office hours etc... All of this, from a central location which can be managed from distance.

Android Surface

You probably already heard of the Microsoft Surface. It's a super sized tablet pre-iPad era, on which multiple people at once can work. Obviously, the surface runs on windows, but with a nice layer on top to make it more finger happy and user friendly. I have always seen a lot of possibilities in the use of the surface. Whether it's on the wall, or standing in the middle of the office as a table, you could use it during meetings to pull up a dashboard with sales figures. Everyone (obviously 20 people may be too much) can gather around and interact with the figures, drilling down, requesting extra info, opening documents and slides etc... It's the ultimate collaboration tool.

Microsoft Surface

Not even a year ago, I was thinking about the concept of mobility for employees that, at first sight, are not supposed to be mobile at all. I had this crazy idea of a tablet based call center. Agents would no longer sit at a desk, working on a laptop or desktop PC in combination with an IP phone. Instead, they could sit anywhere in a lounge-like area with just their tablet and a headset. Skype can act like the IP phone and the tablet connects to the wireless network in the area. When they have a particularly difficult question from a client, they could go to the center of the room where they gather around a Surface together with a supervisor. They could simply swipe the details of the call to the surface, call up all necessary information on the bigger screen and work together on the case. Afterwards, the manager can continue to monitor performance on the surface and display the numbers on a wall.

Sounds neat, doesn't it? (Perhaps I should write an article about that idea as well...)

I thought about this in the era, before I got so hooked on Google technology, so I didn't stop at the thought of having a Microsoft solution interacting with a Google or Apple solution. Knowing now how open and widely spread the Android system is, how long will it still take until someone comes up with an Android surface?

Android on laptops?

This is a tricky point. There are multiple initiatives to run Android on laptops or desktops and multiple vendors actually already offer such devices. Just google around a bit and you'll find tons of articles, links and products. The question is: "Do we actually want Android on our laptop?"

Probably not. Android was designed for smartphones and adjusted for touchscreens. Although it may run perfectly on your laptop, there may be a lack of functionality. Authoring may become a problem. What about all the specific Windows applications for your business? What about SAP? What about your development tools?

You could state that Android runs on a Linux kernel and, as such, can support OpenOffice, Eclipse, Java and a whole range of other software, but let's face it: "Next year will not be the year of the Linux desktop". Android will probably not change this.

A second reason against this idea is Chromium OS. This is Google's web based OS for Netbooks and laptops. It's basically a browser as an OS. Google's idea behind it is that nothing is stored locally anymore. All your documents and files are stored in the Cloud. Applications run on remote servers as web apps. Your Netbook basically becomes a thin-client for the web. This works perfectly for the average business computer user, but just like Android lacks development tools and support for business specific software like SAP. 

Chromebook

Android would get lost in the middle. It's not a full fledged desktop OS like Windows. It's lacking certain key aspects like "business applications". On the other hand, it's a lot more bulkier than Chrome OS, which is perfect for the "non-core-IT-employee".

On the bright side, no matter how you turn it: "Chrome OS, Android on Laptop, Mac or Windows" it's still childsplay to integrate the entire Google suite in your laptop/desktop and synchronize to your phone or other Android devices. (More on that in a later blog)

Wearable devices [update 4/Jan/2012]

Both Apple and Google are reportedly designing wearable devices. Devices you carry on your body or in your clothes, running on either mobile OS and integrating with the smartphone, or standalone. In the case of Google, it would be a virtual reality glasses based on Android. There's a lot of potential in there. Augmented reality for starters. What you see in the real world, can instantly be extended with extra information. What you see, is also directly transmitted to your phone, so you can process input information; scan barcodes, face recognition, navigation, product comparisons...

If the wearable devices from Google run on Android, it's pretty easy to integrate them seamlessly with mobile apps and even reduce the need of a smartphone in many situations. Someone working in a warehouse can get round with just his visor and have his hands free to do the work he's supposed to do.

Conclusion

Android is creeping into our daily lives and is well underway to boost the so-called "Internet of Things". We will see it popping up in our kitchen, in the office, in our car and in so many other places. Leveraging the possibilities will lead to an integration far beyond our imagination. Personally it could help us in pressing energy costs, saving us time, increasing our performance and much more. Enterprises could use the integrated technologies for marketing, management of assets, fraud detection, performance increases and so much more.

That the "Internet of Things" is the next big wave in IT is something most big companies agree about. That Android could be paving the way towards it is an opportunity which we can embrace.

 

This article is a part in the #AndroidForEnterprise 1: Management Overview series

Crossposted from my blog.

Here we go, another blog on mobility / licenses and costs? No not this time (although I agree on many valid points stated in there ;-) ).

In this blog I like to explain the track we drove for implementing mobility at one of our customers.

Initiate

As consultant we can be lucky lots of times. So were we at our current customer. When the department manager approaches you with a question on how we could help in building and implementing a mobile strategy, you’re for sure eager to advise. That’s basically how it started, end of Spring this year.

Going mobile

We got together with the client and started to dig in and dig up the various business needs and thoughts on the future. What is mobility? What do we want with mobility? What do we have? What do we need? Discussing the long-term and solidness were quickly part of this discussion. Paint the picture is what you’re basically doing in this process. Enable the broad use of mobile computing in a business context. In other words, picture enterprise mobility.

Discuss architecture

One of the major client requests was mobilize field engineers to be fully supported on the road doing their maintenance job. But alongside, the future thoughts were not only based on this particular solution. As the customer requestor is head of the competence centre department, there was also a broader wish; Provide mobile solutions to various other business units, like, for example approvals on a mobile device and for example incident reporting on a mobile device. With this vision of the future the discussion came to another level. To advice to have all sorts of mobile solutions, each with their own maturity, levels of security and multiple points of maintenance, wouldn’t be a good job. Having a unified, stable, secure, standardized architecture. That was the moment the word platform came into play. This would solve the risks of having non-unified unsecure solutions and tangling connections, sometimes called ‘spaghetti’. A central and single point of reference has a strong preference. See below for an illustration;

image

Advise

The discussions done, weighing the strong preference for a platform. We did advise for SAP Sybase Unwired Platform as a mobility platform.

Most important reasons;

  • Easy connectivity to SAP backends is a must
  • SAP’s own platform is an advantage;    
  • Device registration and maintenance;
  • SAP’s mobile solutions do use the platform as well;
  • A platform, with multiple future options that are not only suitable for field engineers. The future is not just one application but lots more; choosing a platform versus a single point solution is wise;
  • A platform guarantees the security and scalability and is uniform
         

Based on this we started with a small proof of concept.

PoC

We setup a demo landscape on some available desktop machines. Doing it like this would help us speed up and quickly be able to show results. After initial installation of the Sybase Unwired Platform and SAP NetWeaver Mobile, we decided to build a small app as proof of the pudding.  As technology we selected Sybase Mobile Workflow, which allows you to easily build an HTML5 app in no-time. So we did. In only a few days we had the platform and the app (PeopleFinder) up and running. By leveraging some existing Z_* function modules and the JCO connector in SUP, it is quite easy to create MBO’s and generate an application without any coding. The customer was impressed by this success. (See screenshot below).

image

The real deal

Having a successful PoC allows you to move on to the next stage, as the architecture has proven itself. In the meantime a project is running alongside. Topic is mobilizing field engineers. SAP has a solution for that which requires SUP and NW mobile as well, and it is called SAP EAM Workorder Mobile. The project and the successful PoC made us start a new PoC on EAM Work Order mobile. Next step was install and setup of SUP and NW Mobile at the hosting partner. I won’t describe the mobilizing field engineers project in detail, but basically the solution interfaces via SUP and NW Mobile with the ECC backend. It gives engineers the possibility to view, adjust and create work orders, notifications etc. on a tablet. I will describe the PoC in another blog.

Conclusion

This ain’t all. There is much more to dive deeper into. There are all sorts of questions that are important mobilizing your business.

  • Managed vs. unmanaged devices.
  • Mobile device management, internally or hosted.
  • Relay server or APN, or both in different situations.
  • New area of support, knowledge of full chain is important.
  • Device subscription.
  • Handle lost devices.
         

One thing for sure, the Sybase Unwired Platform stands tall at our customer. It fulfills the need of serving as a platform. It does fulfill the long term strategy and fits into the initial mobile strategy question.

This mobile readiness attracts even more attention within the business. Workshops started to mobilize approval workflows for several frequently used workflow processes. And that is just typical for the SUP platform and its capabilities :-).

In  this Third episode of my #AndroidForEnterprise series, I'll zoom in on Android and Mobility. This may sound pretty  weird. Why a separate blog on Android mobility? Isn't Android all about  mobility?

Well, yes, and:

  • There's mobility in terms of a device you can carry
  • and there's mobility in terms of embedded devices

I'd like to clearly seperate both, which is why I'll  only discuss the Carry-along devices in this episode and write a  separate blog on embedded devices. So in this episode, I'll talk about  Smartphones, Tablets and Rugged devices.

Smartphones

Multitude of Android phones

Initially, Android was intended as an operating  system for smartphones. It essentialy went head to head with iOS and  Meego/Maemo.Google, who wanted to compete on the mobile market and  essentially saw a great opportunity to extend it's advertising work,  bought Android and further developed it to what we know today.

From  its first launch in 2008 on the G1 to the Samsung Nexus today, Android  has undergone a huge evolution and conquered the mobile market by storm.  There's hundreds of smartphone models out there and 100,000's of new  phone activations daily! Prices range from less than 100$ for a basic  feature phone to 600$ or more, for the high-end models.

This  broad range of devices is very interesting to consumers, but also to  enterprises. Not every employee may require a GPS module or NFC module  or high amounts of storage. So depending on the type of work an employee  does, the enterprise can supply him with a phone or a budget. (Buy Your  Own Device)

This Buy Your Own Device trend is touching  ground in many enterprises that think about mobility. Where Bring Your  Own Device may force the enterprise to support a lot of different mobile  operating systems, the Buy YOD strategy allows the enterprise to limit  the list of possible devices. Enterprises can supply employees with a  list to choose from and a budget to spend. In this list they can include  the devices which they want to support, based on minimum requirements.

The  device is yours to keep, and you may increase your budget with your own  money. As the enterprise co-sponsors your phone, they can also install  the device management tools in there, so that you can also use the phone for business tasks.

Tablets

After  the succesful release of the first iPad, many android phone  manufacturers wanted to have a piece of the tablet market and launched  tablets featuring the Android phone OS. Google Acknowledged the need to  introduce more tablet features in their smartphone OS.

Android tablets are sprouting like mushrooms

Many saw this as a branching of the  Android Operating system, but it's actually still very much the same  operating system. Especially in terms of virtual machine, the tablet  version is still perfectly compatible with the phone versions. Just try  any smartphone app on a tablet and it will work. The only branching that  happened, was on kernel/Driver level, and that is not something where a  developer should worry about. This is a concern for the manufacturers.  The VM itself just underwent an evolution.

With the  latest version (IceCream Sandwich) Google has merged the tablet kernel  and the smartphone kernel back into a single version, containing yet a  new version of the virtual machine as well.

The Android  tablets are picking up speed in terms of market adoption, but they are  still lagging behind quite far on the iPads. However, they are already  outnumbering all other Tablet OS' like RIM's QNX or HP's WebOS.

With the introduction of the Kindle Fire and the Barnes & Noble's Nook, the number of Android Tablets is expected to skyrocket. This may trigger a pull effect in enterprises. As more  employees have cheap(er) tablet devices, the demand can rise to use them  internally (for training material, documentation, business tasks).

Rugged Devices

In a previous blog, where I highlighted rugged devices, I briefly mentioned the rise of Android in this section as well. This  isn't really a surprise. Most rugged devices run on Windows Mobile 6 or  6.5, which does not offer a finger happy interaction. instead, you must  work with a stylo, need two hands to operate the device and it does  require some training.

Rugged Android devices

Android offers a much nicer interface with  more intuitive input and it's finger happy. Many iOS users have had  their hands on my Android devices and they all admitted that it worked  pretty much the same as iOS and provided a very user friendly interface.  Having a rugged device which is finger happy and intuitive can increase  productivity of those who work with it.

As a plus,  when opting for Android, you get to profit of the vast community of  developers out there. How many people, as a professional, do you know  that develop, or want to develop for Windows Mobile? Compare that to the  number of people you know that are willing to do, or doing, the same  for Android.

Don't cheat! Don't include Windows Phone.  Because that one is not available on rugged devices and will never be  supported by MS for rugged devices. Instead, Microsoft will continue to  develop its WinMob 6.5 platform and rebrand it as Windows Embedded.

Conclusion

Despite  the many efforts of using the fragmentation of the operating system as a  reason to not promote the use of Android in enterprises, we see that  there is very little reason (if not, none) to worry about this. Business  apps will rarely have code that runs directly in the base OS'  environment. Instead, they'll practically all be running on the level of  the virtual machine. As there is backwards compatibility in the virtual  machine, any app developed for Android 1.6, will still run on 4.0.

The  abundance of choice in Android devices makes it interesting for  companies where employees want to have a choice in which functionalities  on their device they have. Also, instead of having to equip everyone  with an expensive uniform device, the enterprise can offer many  different devices, ranging from rather cheap to expensive, which may  reduce costs.

Not only can you satisfy the office  workers at all levels with Android devices, but even employees that use  their phone in extreme conditions have a growing choice of rugged  devices to suit his needs.

Instead of a risk, Android clearly offers an opportunity in terms of carry-along devices.

 

This article is a part in the #AndroidForEnterprise 1: Management Overview series

Crossposted from my blog

Actions

Filter Blog

By author:
By date:
By tag: