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ObjectiveC Authors: Pat Romanski

Related Topics: iPhone Developer, iPhone for Business, iPhone Developer Summit, Objective-C Developer, Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms

iPhone Developer: Article

The Information Worker

A story of problems overcome

Let me set the scene for my fictitious organization...

My insurance company needs to speed up the flow and turn around in claims. Currently Assessors are given their appointments in the office at the start of day and then go out on the road. With them, they may take a paper notebook, a set of claim forms, dictaphone, diary, camera, mobile phone and a set of street maps for the local and surrounding area of responsibility. Not a pretty picture of a Mobile worker, with all this equipment, but a real possibility.

During a full working day the Assessor drives to each claimant’s location and takes detailed notes & pictures, these separate pieces of information, then have to be entered into the back office system on return to headquarters at the end of day. Quite a task!

The insurance company also has issues that they do not readily know where each Assessor is located; if any new important claims need to be visited as soon as possible and getting the flow of messages from /to the Assessors is sometimes quite difficult.

Benefits of empowering with anywhere, anytime data access from Mobile applications...

  • Dramatic boosts in productivity and efficiency, enabling assessors to manage more clients Reduced time intervals between submission of client applications and underwriting, ensuring that clients receive coverage faster
  • Extraordinary customer service capabilities, resulting in high satisfaction
  • Ability to maintain security and confidentiality of client policy information
  • Significant reductions in redundant data entry, administrative costs and errors
  • More efficient data delivery to remote users and central processing

For our innovative mobile application design, lets first of all replace the Assessor’s paper notebook, Dictaphone, diary, camera and cell phone with a smartphone/cmd device, such as an iPhone. This device, and devices like it, are a cell phone and have an integrated camera. Within the operating system we get features such as a diary/calendar, telephone directory and the ability to take voice notes.

Using these features and the power of a Mobile Enterprise Application Platform we can easily create an application that encapsulates all the types of data the Assessor would wish to enter. So the Assessor can capture at source, typed text, written notes/drawings, pictures and voice notes. These can be saved directly into a database on the device and easily synchronized to the backend system. This synchronization could be achieved after each call, to speed claim turnaround, or at the end of day whilst on the way home, via Wi-Fi or Cellular.

Extending the application further to include input from the iPhone's internal GPS receiver hardware, adds more innovative features. The application could occasionally synchronize back the current location (latitude & longitude) of the Assessor to a back end system. This would meet the requirements to know which Assessor is the closest to that important new claim appointment and using the application to link to Google Maps or Navigation Software, they could be routed automatically to the next location, with efficient driving instructions.

With the application using phone enabling features the Assessor can call or SMS the next appointment automatically from within the application, if there is likely to be a delay in the appointment.

Straight away in this initial phase, we have added innovation with handwritten data, voice data & picture data, through software & hardware working in combination.

More Stories By Ian Thain

As one of the Sybase Technical Evangelists, Ian regularly addresses technical audiences all over the world and his sessions are always very well attended. He also writes education classes, whitepapers, demos and articles for various Sybase products and publishes regularly in Journals such as SYS-CON's PBDJ and International Developer Magazine. He is also the Sybase Unwired Platform & PocketBuilder Evangelist and works closely with the team in Dublin, CA and Concord, MA on new features and demonstrations for the products. In his customer-facing Evangelist role, Ian is very involved with the design, production and testing of Enterprise class Unwired Solutions, that have been implemented using Sybase's Unwired tools for Sybase customers around the globe. In addition, Ian is a dedicated technical expert continually working with Sybase's key partners and clients to enhance the capabilities of the Unwired solutions that Sybase can offer to its customers. Ian can also be found on Twitter @ithain