Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Newforma Punch List tablet app: why we started with Android; where we go from here

We built the first version of our mobile punch list app for Android® tablets instead of the popular Apple product, the iPad® mobile digital device (as is its legal name).

Why start with Android? Newforma Vice President of Customer Satisfaction and Construction Solutions Dan Conery answers that question and others in a quick conversation.

Q: So, why release on the Android platform first?

Dan: We knew an application for disconnected information capture at the jobsite would require apps for both the Android and iPad platforms. Since this is our first solution on the 10.1 inch form factor, we wanted to make sure we nailed it before we scaled it. So we had to select one to start. Two reasons drove the decision:

  1. We have many customers who either have standardized on the Android or who had not made a decision on which tablet platform to roll out within their organization.
  2. The 8 megapixel camera on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 allows for more detailed images than the iPad camera, which is less than 1 megapixel.

Q: So, you plan on support both iPad and Android?

Dan: Of course, one cannot be serious about supporting our industry and not support both of these platforms.

Q: Why would the camera resolution matter?

NewformaPunchlist_FINAL_122Dan: After talking with several of our existing customers, pictures came up over and over again as a critical component of a Punch List solution. You know the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”? One senior executive with extensive field experience told us that he wanted to be able to read the label on an electrical outlet on a picture of an entire wall. This expectation means camera resolution is important.

Q: Will Punch List work on a phone?

Dan: Our first release will not scale down to the phone. It quickly became clear that access to the floor plans and detail drawings was an important part of the punch process. Trying to review a floor plan on a phone is not a good experience. The 10 inch tablets are a perfect combination of mobility and screen resolution.

Q: Will you be releasing phone applications in the future?

Dan: We will evaluate all form factors: phone, tablet, laptop, and desktop, as we continue to develop field solutions.

Q: So, when will the iPad version of the Newforma Punch List app come out?

Dan: Although it is too early to provide a specific release date, I can tell you we are already in the development process with our iPad solution.

Q: What has the reaction been so far in our early testing of Newforma Punch List?

HOK punch list field trip 14Dan: Better than I could have imagined. In field tests with one of our early customers, their informal comment was that they were moving through a building with our Android tablet app twice as fast as they were using their current electronic punch list process.

Q: How do you compare yourself to other Punch List solutions on the market?

Dan: We went for simplicity. As with all of our solutions, folks like to use them because they are quick to learn. It takes less than 30 minutes to get up and running, and that includes the time to learn how to use the tablet.

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