Well last week we were an exhibitor at the Service Management Europe SME show hosted at the Birmingham NEC. I went up on the 24th (Wednesday) just to see who was there and to ensure the system worked and I was there in case of any problems arose, none of which did, thankfully ;) We used a Wi-Fi ad-hoc peer-to-peer network for communications rather than GPRS/UMTS for reliability and it worked great.
It was interesting for me to talk to other companies regarding their mobile solutions and what they are doing with it and how they are saving companies money in operation costs using their solutions. The show also had Seminars every 45 Min's or so which hosted real-world experiences from various companies that found using mobility software reduced their operation costs.
I must add to the above. Most of the people, in fact all the people I spoke to never once gave me any figures from real world clients a break down in return on investment ROI. I found this rather strange and somewhat shortsighted. If I were a decision maker looking to save in operation costs, the first thing I want to see is the ROI.
Needless to say I saw some very sophisticated systems each of which had their strengths and had their weaknesses. Remember this show was about Service management, so it only covers mobility in the service management space. But boy, is this a up and coming area - for sure no doubt about that. It reminds me of when ERP - Enterprise Resource Planning systems first came about, now today, ERP is a very competitive business and only the large companies tend to win the business. Service management is still for the taking.
I also noted 90-95% of the solutions were written for Windows Mobile/Windows CE.
A lot of companies were using GPS in their solutions, some primarily GPS, others used it in their arsenal of tools, which in my experience is the best thing to do.
I saw some very impressive job scheduling solutions which used GPS.
Overall the show tended to be a lot busier in the morning then in the afternoon. In the afternoon it got a bit quieter.
To sum up, all the solutions had their strengths and weaknesses. Putting all these strengths together for the average service provider company, you would have a very, very functional system that would deliver ROI in no-time.