The possibilities of tablets and smartphones are endless
GMT Europe launches range of mobile apps
Keeping an inventory of stock on a tablet, tracking drivers, or letting a customer place his orders himself with his phone. It is all possible. Tablets and smartphones are making their entry into the waste market at breakneck speed. The existing solutions, such as the digital waste calendar as a mobile app, focus mainly on civilians. However, the trend continues in the business-to-business market.
“Integration into the business process is essential for success,” said Mark Abbas, director/owner of GMT Europe. “In the early years, the first container ordering apps were no more than a digital form that sent an e-mail to the waste collector. Nowadays there are apps that are directly connected to the back-office system. This makes using it much more efficient and more personal,” says Abbas.
“It is important for IT service providers to work from a Mobile First strategy,” he says. “Mobile First is the principle that programs are first designed for mobile devices. This does not only involve technical layout matters, such as buttons, logos and navigation, but essentially specific functionality.”
The first tablets with a fully integrated solution will soon be used in collection vehicles. The software is user-friendly and cheaper to buy due to the application of consumer electronics. Of course, we make the devices suitable for intensive use and we protect the devices against dust and water. “The possibilities to deploy tablets are endless. Think, for example, of sellers who go on the road with the most current price catalogue and who conclude contracts on location and of applications to register inventory transfers at a transfer station or hazardous waste depot”, he says.
Online and offline
There are two important focal points: provide a seamless integration into the business process and the related IT systems. “After all, one would like consistent information in the system and qualitative data. A second focal point is that the app should work both online and offline for many mobile applications. The 3G or 4G network, but also the WiFi network is not always and everywhere available. One can already lose information when there is a short hick-up. Therefore, a user should be able to continue with an app, even if it is offline.”
GMT chooses Mobile First. “When we think of something new, we first check whether a user is mobile, or could be, when he is going to use the application. For a driver who does the weighing himself or performs his order administration in the vehicle, it is very obvious. But, for an employee at a transfer station who keeps inventory of stock or a planner in a smaller waste collection company, it can also be very useful to follow his drivers who are underway on his tablet.”
From a user perspective, it is also important that an app can be used on a mobile device, both online and offline. “Of course, you do not want the self-weighing application to crash when your 3G connection cuts out for a moment. Managing and keeping mobile apps up-to-date requires the necessary infrastructure and toolsets. Our customers are used to us supplying scalable and robust solutions. So, they may also expect the necessary in this area.”
GMT has already developed a range of mobile apps, including a booking app, waste calendars and a bulk waste booking app. “And there’s more to come. We will soon launch a series of new mobile apps that can be used both online and offline. We will continue to surprise the world of waste now and in the future”, Mark Abbas decides enthusiastically.
The waste disposal industry is undergoing one of the biggest changes in recent decades at the moment. The circular economy is forcing organizations in the sector to reverse thinking. But, the developments in the field of information technology will also have a major impact on the management of waste disposal companies in the coming years.
Business use is increasing
Tablets and smartphones have changed the time and place where we use the internet and find or share information. TNS-NIPO reported in a study in 2012 that - worldwide - tablet users spend an average of 31 hours per week on the device. For a major part still for private purposes. The business use, however, is increasing. Users in the current times expect the application to be as intuitive as the apps on deIphone or the Android device. An application must be clear and logical.