Mobile workforce management for remote teams
Client is one of the most successful providers of software for remote workers safety and control. Based in UK, it helps dozens of companies everyday to watch their employees, improve efficiency of operations and control employees safety. Powerful back-office component that gathers statistical and employee activity information, provides client customers with an invaluable analytical tool for improving their business.
To continue development of existent product suite for remote workforce control and development of new products.
Collaboration with the client was about improving its existent product line that performed on Windows Mobile, BlackBerry and Symbian by adding new functionality and modules to these products. Specifically, those improvements were:
- New application that silently ran in the background and collected information about employee's mobile phone usage, like calls, SMSes, GPRS, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, etc. It had to be able to run only during employee's working hours and should allow auto-start and be protected from shutting down and uninstallation.
- Enhanced reporting. The functionality allowed client customers obtain more detailed and meaningful reports about activity of their staff.
- Alerting module. It provided functionality for remote workers to set up several types of alerts and each type indicated a certain level of threat. Team manager instantly sees all alerts on a real-time web-based map and depending on type of alert has instructions to perform a specific set of actions.
- The server side was also integrated with APIs of emergency services of police and ambulance to automatically notify those on a critical situation. To ensure proper service work, client decided to implement several channels of application communication with the server: HTTP, XMPP (both through GPRS and 3G), and SMS. Application was able to determine and use the most effective channel. Worker's location should also be determined in several ways: GPS and LBS data.
- SMS control. This module allowed sorting SMS by inbound/outbound, track numbers and record this information into central database.
.NET, MS SQL Server, Crystal Reports, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Symbian
Client company is a true leader and innovator in its industry and keeps the pace of development and projects on a really high level. We needed to synchronize with that pace and provide real results in very tight timeframes.
In terms of technical challenges, there were several. The main one was that all client products form one big solution and development and testing was an issue. Each application was developed in three versions — for Windows Mobile, for BlackBerry and for Symbian and needed to support various devices and versions of firmware.
Applications were multi-thread, required to work through several communication channels, therefore create a reliable architecture that would have allowed easy further enhancement and extention with new features was a serious issue.
To cope with extensive testing and keep clear and transparent control of all issues our team adopted client's internal issue tracking system.
The client was able to continue lead the flag of innovator in the industry of remote workers control and safety by introducing new unique features and products. Our R&D department helped client reduce development costs while maintaining the same high quality of end product.
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