Mobile Technology And The Pipeline Sector
There are striking similarities between the pre-dot com period and today’s growing use of mobile technology. That is not to suggest now is the time to contemplate a new stock market boom. It is just that today’s mobile technology resembles what was then the Internet - much discussed, used en-masse by consumers and watched but yet to be widely adopted by business. In this article we discuss mobile: demystify it and look at current practices in the pipeline sector and how mobile can potential improve process and efficiency.
There remains much confusion around mobile. A turf war is being waged between rival hardware and software companies with new mobile devices regularly released and apps launched. Smartphones are now owned by over 50% of mobile phone owners, with tablets - like the iPad - becoming ever more popular. Last month’s HP announcement of an 8% staff cut was directly attributed to the growing tablet market. Disagreements continue over software. Last year’s spat between Adobe and Apple over the Flash player, being but one notable example.
But slowly the dust is clearing. For platforms; Android and Apple are increasingly more popular, with Blackberry and Windows some way behind.
Many organizations have staff who own mobile devices. Often it is a mix of Apple and Android products. When thinking about developing a mobile app targeted at these workers, from a software perspective, there are a number of options. First build a mobile web application. These apps are similar to those running on a PC. Accessed from a mobile browser, they are simplified, modified versions of traditional web pages or applications. Second build an installed mobile app.
These are the apps you can find in the Apple App Store and Android Market. Two types of installed apps can be built; native and hybrid. Native apps are those built in the language supported by the platform. So Objective C for Apple, Java for Android. Native apps are fast and are able to access all functional elements available on that platform. Native apps are those written in languages such as HTML5 and converted to something which runs on the specific platform. Performance is not quite equal to native, and there is a lag before new platform additions (rear facing cameras for example) are available for inclusion in an app.
So what determines whether a mobile web, installed native or hybrid app is best? All depends on the type of mobile app which needs building, budget available and required functionality. Simple apps are well-suited for the mobile web - viewing maps, discovering who or what is nearby and getting directions. But what if the app needs to work with no wi-fi access, or requires access to the camera on the device? An installed app, then, is required. But, should we go the native or hybrid route?
Let’s look at two apps. The first is only targeted at Apple’s iPad. App performance is a key concern and we need access to a new feature available on the iPad. A native app makes sense in this case. The second app needs to be cross platform, meaning we have a mix of devices used by our workforce, and we want to make the app available to all. Our budget is limited so one code base which runs across all devices would be ideal. The app uses a number of the mobile devices standard features, nothing unique. A hybrid app would work well given this requirement.
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- Coatings, pipe joint
- Compressor components
- Contractor, pipeline
- Contractor, river crossing/ directional drilling
- Directional drilling rigs, large
- Fittings, valves: plastic
- Meters, flow
- Pigs, cleaning
- Pigs, intelligent
- Pigs, scraper/ sphere launchers/ traps
- Scada systems
- Ultrasonic inspection
- Vacuum excavators/ potholing
- Valves, ball
- Welding systems, automatic