Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
 
Why not use a laptop or tablet?
 
Q: Most data transmission from a remote worker to Head Office is done from a laptop using a modem link. Why do you recommend a PDA instead?
 
A: For office workers a laptop is often the best solution because of the complexity of data and the programs they use. But, in the field, laptops have important limitations:
  • Laptops are less resistant to damage. A PDA is a solid-state device with no moving parts so that it is more able to withstand dropping, poor environments etc.
  • Laptops normally hold more data, which increases the security risk (Ask the civil servants reported in the press that have lost their laptops in taxis etc!)
  • Laptops are cumbersome to use unless you are sitting down
  • Laptops can be connected via a mobile phone but then you have 2 devices to carry round and hold
  • Laptops are a lot more expensive
Why not use a mobile phone?
 
Q: Most people in the field already have a mobile phone. Why not use that?
 
A: Phones are a great way to chat to someone at a distance, but they are no good at transferring accurate data. Think of the time and effort put in by both parties just to notify someone of a new contact.
 
  • You normally have to recheck the spelling, repeat the phone number, find a suitable bit of paper to write on and then, if you need to file the information, you may have to re-input the data or take the time to place it elsewhere. The potential for mistakes is always there whenever data is copied unless it is done by electronic transfer.
  • Think also of the time wasted by failed communications, when you cannot get a good connection. With electronic transfer, the system keeps trying to connect until the data is transferred without wasting more staff time.
  • Many companies are now spending time and money contacting and passing data to and from their people in the field. This is a prime area for improvements, as well as making life much easier for the people directly involved.
 
Is my hardware secure?
 
 
Q: How do I protect my PDA?
 
A: Take simple precautions such as:
  • Property marking your PDA with the Company name
  • Take a note of your IMEI number (15-digit serial number)
  • Use your mobile security PIN
  • Don't leave your PDA unattended
Is my data secure?
 
Q: Could I lose any data?
 
A: Here is the solution we recommend:
  • PDAs should use password protection to prevent unauthorised access.
  • The PDA should not hold any unnecessary data. The data downloaded as standard should be limited to the immediate needs for that particular job. Extra information can then be searched through the browser if required.
  • On completion of a job the details are uploaded to Head Office and the next set of information is downloaded for the next job. There is no need to download more data than is immediately required.
  • If the PDA is lost, it can be quickly disconnected from the network by the phone company and by the company IT department to prevent any access to the system.
  • This makes the use of a PDA significantly more secure than the use of a normal laptop.
  • The only time the PDA should hold data that is not already on your own network is immediately after new information has been keyed in and before it has been uploaded to the centre. Good practice and training should always keep this time to a minimum.
What is the financial benefit?
 
Q: The key question!
 
A: This is one question that is difficult to answer until we know what systems you currently have and what integration and functionality you require.
 

 

Major Benefits