Not that many years ago, companies with field employees were limited to tracking time using paper timesheets. The first time clock was actually invented on November 20, 1888, but in most cases, stationary time clocks are not a good fit for the construction industry. Then along came laptop computers equipped with Lotus 123, Microsoft Excel , or other similar products that allowed the user to enter labor hours in spreadsheets which could be then submitted to the payroll staff in the office. By the end of the 20th century, digital remote devices were being introduced into the field as part of the first line of mobile time tracking systems.
Today, construction companies have a plethora of choices when it comes to remote time tracking. Most of these choices can be narrowed down into 2 groups – mobile applications and web applications. The thrust of today’s blog is to discuss three important items that should be given serious consideration before making your choice.
Internet Connection Availability
This is probably your most important factor to consider. Web apps need a stable, constant Internet conection. If you have jobs in isolated areas where connectivity is spotty or unavailable altogether, a web application is not an appropriate solution. Native mobile applications reside on the device along with any associated database infrastructure so the user can continue to run the program when no connection is available. These apps only need a connection during the sync process.
Because the program’s database doesn’t reside on the device when a web app is used, all data must be retrieved over the web from the host server and transmitted back to the device. The speed of these transactions can be affected by data transport time, any network latency, and the processing time on the device. Obviously, desktops, laptops, tablets, and even netbooks will have much faster device processing times that can significantly narrow the gap with processing times for native mobile applications.
Installation and Upgrades
Web apps, especially for larger companies, do not require any long and involved “roll-out” deployment procedures. The only thing required is a compatible web browser. And an even bigger advantage is no requirement for performing periodic software updates. All new features are implemented on the server and automatically delivered to the users
Application usage on mobile devices has exploded due to the increasing popularity of smartphones and tablet devices like the iPad, along with near ubiquitous network connectivity. Still, the factors discussed must be carefully taken into consideration before making your decision.