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What is Mobile Computing?

Mobile computing is not only about your device. It’s about letting you enable a mobilized workforce.

Smartphones and tablets let the mobile workforce gain access to data away from the office, in the client’s conference room, in the airport, or at the project site.  With mobile devices, it is no longer necessary to be cut off from the life line of information when you are away from the office.

The cloud makes all this possible.  The cloud is no longer something dark and ominous or melancholy:  “It’s a cloudy day.”  “Dark and cloudy skies are forecast.”  “There is a cloud hanging over my head.”  Rare was the enthusiastic “cloud with a silver lining.”

Now cloud means something altogether different, at least for those of us who are not mariners or pilots.  Cloud computing means paying a subscription fee to access software hosted by a third-party.  It also means taking big computer servers out of your own data center and renting space on servers from a cloud-service provider instead.  That drives down operating costs due to economies of scale:  the cloud server provider has more computers than you and specialists doing computer administration per computer, so all of this costs less.  These cost savings are passed along to the customer.

Mobile computing means using smartphone applications to tap into that.  The real benefit of mobile computing in the cloud is having access to information where you need it.  Mobile device applications provide access to this back-end data to users in the field.

Today, people who work in the field prefer smartphones and tablets.  Who wants to lug a 14” laptop to the project site? It hardly fits on the fold down tray of the cramped airplane seat. If the guy sitting in front of you reclines his seat, you can hardly work with your knees in your chest, plus the moron has just pinned your computer to the tray, so you cannot move it at all.

Smartphones are wonderful and convenient, but they have a small screen.  It is awkward to use the company’s portal to try to enter data into the contract and project management website (portal) when the screen won’t fit on the page and keeps shifting around as you try to type into it.  What the mobile user needs is an easy-to-use data entry screen that is specifically designed for the size of the small screen of the mobile phone and tablet. The fields need to be large and easy-to-fill and not disappear altogether when the touch-screen keyboard pops into view.

People working on projects in the field need to be able to update the status and due dates on tasks assigned to them.  They need to be able to update contract information and route changes to their boss for approval.  While the project might be located in one country, the engineering might be done in another.  Contractors and far flung employees need to be able to get onto the project management system, over the internet, regardless of where they are located and without the annoying need to connect to VPN and create a VPN account for each person on the project.

This is where mobile cloud applications come in. LoadSpring Solutions, Inc. is a leader in program management hosting and cloud management. LoadSpring’s project management software, SpringBoardTM 7.0, not only runs in the cloud, it also comes in a convenient smartphone application called LoadSpringMobileTMLoadSpringMobile is designed to fit the screen of the mobile user’s tablet or smartphone, unlike portals which are designed for the desktop.

LoadSpringMobile is secure.  The Internet connection back to the cloud is encrypted, because it uses HTTPS (SSL encryption) to connect to Primavera 6 and Contract Manager.  No hacker sitting in Starbucks can spy on your data in transit.  No data is stored on the mobile device, so there is no risk of losing company secrets if you lose your phone or it is stolen. The result is an easy interface to multiple backend applications. That way, you’ll know that updates made in the field securely make it into the server. If only the barista could make choosing which latte to order that simple.

So leave the laptop in the hotel, in the office, or at home and use your mobile phone or tablet to access project management hosting software in the cloud instead.  As for meteorological clouds, if it is a cloudy day, take along your umbrella.

If you have questions about project management hosting the cloud or need additional material related to our blog. Just ask us.

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