More on construction site tablet software

My husband was reading more about the FIeld2Base’s ConstructConnect application that he pointed out to me about a month ago. He is really fascinated by this technology. In addition to the fact that you can use the tablet pc on a construction site to redline blue prints and send them back to anyone who needs them, there are some other pieces of the inking and mobile technology that have really piqued his interest.

One seems to be that inkable forms are created by scanning the existing paper forms that people are already used to filling out. The other is that cached data, documents etc. are automatically uploaded whenever the user/tablet is in range of a wireless or cell connection. That means that the unit has to be always on and always polling for a connection. The connection is actually to Field2Base servers which then either emails or faxes the forms or sends the data to the client’s processing system.

I remember seeing a wireless pocket pc demo from MobileDevCon 2002 where the pocketpc would go in and out of range of a wireless connection to a company network. It knew when to persist data, when to upload data and when to leverage a live connection to the network.

The application I have written for my client does not work quite in this way. The data entry portion of the app is explicitly designed to be used off line with persisted data (xml files). When the user has a connection to the internet or the network, they can then upload their data through a web service and also download the info they need for the next day.

The more I learn about this technology, the more I want to rewrite entire chunks of the application. Hopefully I’ll have an opportunity to do that sooner than later.

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