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Industry News - July 18th 2014



IDC Evaluates Utilities Mobile Field Force Management Vendors

IDC Energy Insights has released an IDC MarketScape study that provides utility companies (electricity, gas, water, etc.) with an insight into the current capabilities and future strategies of mobile field force management (MFFM) software vendors, guiding them in planning a new MFFM implementation.
IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Utilities Mobile Field Force Management Software, 2014 Vendor Assessment provides a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the characteristics that determine a vendor's current and future success in the MFFM market.

The 10 vendors evaluated in this analysis are CGI; Clevest; ClickSoftware; IFS; isMobile; Oracle; SAP; TOA Technologies; Ventyx, an ABB Company; and ViryaNet. The study shows that:

  • Vendors are systematically enriching their product features and functionalities. Many of them have broad capabilities and a future vision that meets and anticipates the needs of utilities.
  • Different types of mobile devices and different operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, etc.) are agnostically supported by the majority of vendors, but not yet consistently supported by all of them.
  • Mobile applications generally support text entry of various data types, dropdown lists, dependent dropdowns (reference data), complex data validation, etc.
  • The majority of vendors have deployed integrations with common GIS, EAM, CRM, and ERP systems. GPS solutions and vehicle tracking systems are also integrated. However, each MFFM solution differs in the variety of vendors' applications into which it integrates, as well as the level of available off-the-shelf adaptors.
  • Even if utilities still seem to prefer an on-premises installation, the cloud option, specifically multitenancy, is more pervasively offered by vendors, with some of them only offering cloud as a possible delivery model.
"Mobile technologies enable innovation in the area of field worker operations, positively impacting efficiency, safety, worker empowerment, and ultimately supporting the company's business goals of operational excellence as well as the reduction of opex and environmental impact," said Roberta Bigliani, associate vice president, head of Europe, Middle East, and Africa, IDC Energy Insights. "Utilities planning to invest in a mobile field force management application should consider this study to get a first independent assessment of software providers. Company-specific business needs, or local market context needs, should also be taken into account. Utilities' individual decisions must be taken in the context of their specific organizational and process maturity, and in consideration of the IT enterprise architecture and application strategy."

Responsive Website Design Allows Hotels to Increase Conversion Rates, User Experience

Responsive design means that a website is made to be viewed on any desktop, tablet or smartphone device. This type of web design ensures that a site’s copy, images and any other elements are tailored to fit the size of the device’s screen seamlessly. A responsive website design is one site that has the ability to be resized to fit the screen of any device a user may be visiting the site from, rather than having a website and a mobile site.
Is Responsive Design Right for Your Hotel?
As with any website design option, RWD has pros as well as potential drawbacks for some. Responsive design not only introduces an optimal user experience, allowing you to better capitalize on site visits by making it easy for guests to book whether they’re on your website on their smartphone, tablets or desktop, it is also recommended by Google and lowers overall operational and maintenance costs.
Delivering your web content across all platforms and devices potential guests are using not only positions your business at the forefront of how consumers are buying, it reflects on how you regard your customers.
Consider these recent statistics:
67% of smartphone users are more likely to make a purchase on a mobile site than an optimized, non-mobile site. (Google, Sterling Research and SmithGeiger)

In December 2013, 69% of tablet users shopped via their tablet in the last 30 days. (InMobi and Mobext)

Nearly half (48%) of users surveyed by Google said that if a site didn’t work well on their mobile devices, they felt that the company did not care about their business. (Google, Sterling Research and SmithGeiger)
The Cost of a Responsive Design Website Doesn’t Have to be Expensive
Perhaps one of the most positive aspects of RWD is that properties have two options: build a new, responsive design website from scratch or take an existing site and convert it. This is ideal for hotels whose website have undergone a recent redesign or refresh and may not have the budget or desire for a complete rebuild but still wish to stay competitive and maximize online bookings.
Deciding to invest in a responsive design website for your property — whether it is an entirely new site or the conversion of an existing site — might not be as costly as one might think.
With over 85% of adults believing that a mobile site should look as good, if not better, than a desktop website according to a survey by TeaLeaf, now is the time to think about the user experience your website delivers and whether responsive design is a fit for your property, timeline and budget.
To learn more about creative website solutions, including responsive website design, please visit our website, www.lodginginteractive.com.


Lavu Includes Delivery and Routing Extension For Restaurant iPad POS

Lavu Inc. has announced a new delivery and routing extension for their iPad POS. This “smart” delivery dispatch provides the best route for each delivery, and recommends the optimal sequence to maximize driver efficiency. Coupled with the Lavu Customer Database, this centralized solution aims to improve productivity for businesses that deliver.
The iPad terminal displays delivery orders and allows staff to assign drivers to those orders. Drivers are provided with a map and directions to each delivery location via text message or printed receipt. The system approximates delivery times and selects the best path for the driver to take.
Multiple Order Routing groups two or more orders together and Lavu maps out the most efficient route with turn by turn directions. Routes are calculated according to order times, destination, and driver availability. This maximizes efficiency while providing a timetable to ensure driver accountability.
The delivery and routing extension is available for all Lavu iPad POS accounts, and costs $30 that is added to the monthly hosting fee. Lavu offers a free trial for clients to use the extension before purchase, so they’ll be able to really understand how this solution would benefit their business.

Mobile POS Gives Food Truck Added Functionality with Sales Tracking and Inventory Management

Happy Belly Curbside Kitchen, an Atlanta-based food truck, has implemented the NCR Silver mobile point-of-sale (POS) to help grow its “farm to street” business.
The rollout across its four trucks is intended to provide Happy Belly – voted by health site Greatist as one of the top 10 healthiest food trucks in America – an advanced mobile POS functionality such as sales tracking and inventory management.  
Since 2012, Happy Belly has served fresh, organic and local cuisine to Atlanta-area customers from its lime-green food trucks. Since then, Happy Belly has made a name for itself in the natural foods scene by educating families about the benefits of eating healthier, sourcing natural foods locally when possible, and donating 5 percent of profits to the Boys & Girls Club of Atlanta to fight childhood obesity.
Before deciding to implement NCR Silver, Happy Belly owners Joe and Amie Bruno realized they needed robust reporting tools to track catering sales, which now account for about 50 percent of the company’s revenue.
Another Atlanta-based food truck, Tex’s Tacos, recommended NCR Silver to Happy Belly because of the mobile POS’ consolidated reporting features that enable users to track sales and cash for all mobile locations, Bruno said.
The Brunos have already benefitted from NCR Silver’s reporting features that break out sales by “event,” such as a rehearsal dinner, rather than each order. They also use NCR Silver for daily activity, such as running reports on food truck park events.
Another key benefit of NCR Silver’s reporting feature is how it helps Happy Belly plan what ingredients to take to the food truck parks and to specific events. This visibility is key, as Happy Belly prepares all food on site – rather than in advance.
The Brunos now have four iPads running NCR Silver, one in each Happy Belly truck and one in each of Tex’s Tacos trucks, which they are currently managing and leasing.

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