People often ask us, “What choices do I have for getting my mobile time tracking data from the field back to the office? Do the options depend on what type of device I’m using? What are the costs associated with each?
These are all excellent questions, and we’d like to list our responses by type of device as follows:
Mobile Hand-held Devices Using Wi-Fi Communication
• Using any available public wireless network including McDonald’s, Starbucks, hotels, airports, cafes, restaurants, and other public establishments. Some charges may apply.
• Through companies offering high speed wireless Internet through Wi-Fi “Hot Spots” nationwide such as Boingo or iPass. Currently, their plans start at $7.95 month,
• Through your own wireless network if you have one. No additional costs are involved.
Mobile Hand-held Devices With Cellular Data Plans
• Through a cellular data plan anywhere or anytime cellular service is available (be sure to check with your cell service provider). Cellular data plans can vary widely by carrier and usage, so be sure to do your homework. At last check the cost of these plans ranged from $25 to $40 per month for data only. Adding texting will increase the cost fairly substantially.
• Using Bluetooth to connect an otherwise disconnected device to the internet via your cell phone. The cell phone must have a data plan. You can pair the device with the phone and relay the sync data thru the phone. However, this scenario requires Phone-As-Modem service on your phone or smartphone, and these plans can range from $30 to $80. Also, T-Mobile does not support its phones as a modem.
PC Workstations, Netbooks, Laptops and Tablet PCs
• Utilize any internet connection available to sync – high-speed, pay as you go dialup, or the Wifi plans mentioned above,
• Mobile broadband aircards or built-in access cards enable a connection to the internet via the cellular provider’s network. A data plan is required. Be sure to shop around for data plans and aircards for each carrier. Aircards retail for around $250, but with special pricing can be much less expensive or even free!
Wall Mounted Time Clocks
• Connect the device via serial (RS232/RS485), modem or Ethernet
• Download your data to any portable laptop, netbook, etc., and then sync thru any of the sync methods mentioned immediately above
Which Option is Best?
Which method you select will be determined in large part by the dynamics of your particular situation. If your employees report to the office at the beginning and end of the day, then easily your best choice would be to sync through your own wireless network or via a cable connected to a workstation on your local network.
If they go directly to a jobsite or other location, and a public wi-fi hotspot is readily accessible during the day, then that would probably be the optimal solution. If no hotspot is available, then your choices would probably come down to either employing a cellular data plan, or a utilizing a plan through a wireless communication services provider like Boingo or iPass.
If you are considering a mobile time tracking application like mJobTime and have questions regarding syncing or any other issue, please feel free to contact us at 800-387-1109 or at