Technology

The Top 4 Advantages of Field Service Management Software

Field service software is a valuable software tool that allows a company to keep track of job scheduling and employees in real time either en route to a site or on the site itself. Many companies take advantage of the ease, convenience, and real time-efficiency of such systems, including but not limited to: telecommunications, cable installation and repair, the mobile health care industry, engineering, and mobile technicians who perform repairs, maintenance, and installation of equipment for residential and commercial customers.

1. Schedule Jobs More Easily and Efficiently

When technicians and other employees are out at job sites, it is crucial that they are aware of their job schedules for the day. A good FSM tool allows for easy communication between those workers on site and those back in the office so that a more accurate map of the day’s jobs can be scheduled in real time.

For example, this type of system allows for on-site workers to report back with any delays or other concerns and for the managers back at head office to adjust the day’s job schedule accordingly. This real-time communication from site back to head office is at the heart of FSM tools and makes all daily operations easier and more efficient.

2. Keep Track of Stock Levels Accurately

Companies of all sizes need to know at any given time what their stock levels are. When technicians are on site for repairs and maintenance to equipment, be it residential or commercial, they will use parts that they are carrying with them.

It is important for head office to know how many parts are being used, what they are, and the rate at which they are being used by their technicians. This allows them to accurately keep track of stock levels and order them accordingly from their suppliers. This also allows them to manage their cash flow more easily and stay on top of their finances.

3. Locate Workers and Vehicles in Real Time

Companies that use FSM software tools also need to keep track of where their technicians and vehicles are at any given time during working hours. This provides an accurate and real-time map of worker movements in the context of job scheduling but also allows them to manage vehicles, manage driver safety, and locate workers in the case of accident or injury en route to a site or on site.

4. Take Care of Customers

Good communication with customers is crucial to the ongoing success of any business, large or small. Built into the heart of every FSM software tool is real-time communication at all levels. This means that technicians can accurately record their interactions with customers. While this system certainly allows for head office to ensure that each job is not overstepping the line in terms of service, it also means that work details can be shared with other technicians.

For example, a technician records the progress of a job and his or her interaction with the customer, including any complaints made by that customer. This shared record provides other technicians with enough information so that they can provide ongoing service to that customer with accurate and up-to-date information at any time in the future with full knowledge of the history of that customer and the nature of the service.

Five Reasons Why Field Service Management Software Can Help Your Business

Field service software can help a business stay organised. It can be used to schedule work, dispatch technicians, track employee vehicles, and support driver safety, among other functions. Finding the right software can be crucial for your business’s success and can help your business to grow.

1. Solves Scheduling Issues

Software can help you manage where your technicians are and plan your day. As your company grows, it is crucial to get your scheduling straight so that jobs and taking on new customers don’t get overwhelming. Additionally, the more technicians you have out in the field and the more time spent out there due to an increase in jobs means that more customers could fall by the wayside or get forgotten. Field service software can actually track where your technicians are located and some can even give you a visual map. Many platforms will also allow you to speak with your technicians in real time so if the schedule changes, you will easily be able to get in touch with them and make any necessary switches.

Software can also be used to help your technicians get to a job in the fastest route possible. This helps to maximise the time spent out in the field and be sure that the most jobs are being completed in one day. If your technician is running early or late, there are even platforms that will help to notify customers of expected arrival times.

2. Keeps Accounting up to Date

Spreadsheets to keep track of payments are outdated. Not only are they time-consuming but they can also be inaccurate. Spreadsheets are updated by employees and are therefore prone to human error. The larger your business grows, the more chances there are for errors. To avoid this, field service software often keeps track of your accounting for you. Billing, invoice creation and mailing, and payment reminders can all be sent automatically, saving your company time and money.

3. Makes Timekeeping Simpler

Timekeeping on timesheets can also be inaccurate and a waste of time. Software can help to automate this process, making it simpler for businesses. It can also help you to see how much time is devoted to what parts of the job. Are technicians spending plenty of time with customers or are they spending a lot of their time driving or fixing broken equipment? This will help you get a good read of where your business practices can improve and maximise working time. Field service management software even has space where technicians can take notes on the job. This prevents time being spent on this task later, which saves money for payroll.

4. Easy Access to Reports

Reporting is particularly useful for certain chemical or pest industries. Field service management software can help automate reports, simplifying the task. Reports can be easily tracked and this can be a major time saver for companies.

5. Improve Customer Relations

Finally, field service management software can improve relations with customers. The software tracks scheduling, timekeeping, and accounting, which can increase customer satisfaction in these areas. If your customers are complaining about rushed jobs, late invoices, late technicians, or other problems, software can help minimise these issues. Customers typically have access to their own portals related to these areas where they can leave feedback or make immediate payments. It also allows for ease of communication between your business and your customers.

Five Examples of Enterprise Mobility’s Growing Importance

Enterprise software is essential for businesses, including small businesses. Without software programs tracking workflows, collecting data for analysis or keeping communications secure, businesses quickly lose their competitive edge. Field service industries are no exception. Here are a few examples of enterprise mobility’s growing importance and the need for integrated field service software.

1. Industrial Internet of Things

While consumer-facing internet of things technologies haven’t received a great deal of popularity, industrial internet of things, or IIOT, has been making steady gains. Industrial manufacturers and industrial service personnel have been collecting field data for decades. Handheld devices are nothing new. But integrated tech possibilities are new.
Field service software solutions bridge the gap between data collection and data analysis by channeling field data into the cloud where it is stored and shared with multiple end-users in real-time. This means that goods are tracked, inventory data is up-to-date and equipment maintenance is more efficient and timely.

2. End-to-End Security

Personal mobile devices are often used by field service personnel because downloadable, consumer-facing apps are easy to use and manage. This kind of lax use of personal devices for business can lead to data breaches and hacks. Mobile-ready software programs provide field agents with the digital tools they need. When loaded onto handheld devices, the software provides a secure platform for all users.

3. Digital Transformation

Complete digital transformation occurs when all core business processes are completed digitally. With mobile-ready software solutions, technicians in the field are able to keep track of their hours for invoices, order parts as needed and stay up-to-date with service requests that are often submitted via online customers. An updated digital record of all transactions, one that is accessible to every team member as needed, helps keep field service employees productive and competitive.

4. Compliance and Regulations

Aside from privacy concerns, compliance and regulations include response times to urgent field problems and documentation of procedures. Field service software tracks agent progress and steps followed. Data entered is automatically kept in tabulated form for rapid inspections and regular updates keep software in compliance with changing regulations. In addition, these tools are able to provide real-time alerts to agents and facilitate communication between team members. This results in faster response times.

5. Geolocation

GPS upgrades keep track of vehicles in a fleet and field service agent locations. Knowing your work force’s location helps managers co-ordinate service area coverage more efficiently and reduce customer wait times.

Field service software helps keep businesses competitive by providing low-maintenance solutions to common field service problems. After installation, customer information is kept secure, field service agents remain productive and regulations are easily maintained.

4 Ways Field Service Software Benefits Inventory and Invoicing

Automating route delivery and field service operations through use of software applications may be of benefit to far more than just the dispatch process. Systems that automate invoice generation or that may be used to track and manage inventory and sales figures more easily and with greater accuracy could prove to be of immense benefit. Investing in the right field service software may allow businesses to enjoy any of the following four benefits.

1. Fast and Easy Invoicing

Documenting each sale or service call through conventional methods may require time, attention and effort that might already be in short supply. Dispatch and route management applications that generate an invoice automatically in response to a scheduled delivery or upcoming service appointment may offer a superior alternative. More accurate invoice generation can eliminate many accounting and bookkeeping errors that may be caused due to oversight or simple operator error.

2. Inventory Management

Automatically tracking inventory levels with each delivery or following a service call or appointment can also help to improve operational efficiency. Maintaining enough inventory to handle future demand without placing unnecessary strain on storage space and warehouse processes may be all but impossible for organizations that lack the right resources. Digital applications that serve to automate the data entry and record generation efforts required help to ensure that an inventory management process is able to be more effective.

3. Route Planning and Dispatch

Outlining a more effective service area and ensuring that the dispatch process is being properly handled should be concerns of paramount importance for any fleet vehicle operator. Full-featured field service software can help to overhaul and modernize an outdated route planning method or a dispatch process that may be far from efficient. Automating multiple logistical processes and tying route and service-call information into invoicing and inventory management processes may provide business owners with a more complete understanding of their day to day operations.

4. Confusing and Adapting Software for Future Use

Businesses may expect to find themselves fave with numerous new challenges and opportunities as they grow and expand. Field service software and other digital resources that may be more quickly and easily adapted to meet new challenges can help to ensure that businesses are able to stay ahead of the curve. Allowing outdated management systems and resources to limit their options could wind up costing businesses a great deal.

Choosing the Right Software, Applications and Resources

Not all digital applications and management systems may be of equal value to each business or organization. Staying focused on the features that make the biggest difference can help businesses to find and select applications with more to offer. Cost-effective software that will allow businesses to upgrade their workflow process with greater ease may prove to be a key resource.

IPv6 Adoption Continue to Vary Across Nations

IPv6 adoption is a major issue in the world of information technology. Each device that connects to the Internet needs a unique IP address, but the current IPv4 standard simply does not have enough of them to keep up with demand. IPv6 can solve that problem, but transitioning to it is a significant project. The effort involved has kept many people from switching over, but that is starting to change. However, the rate of adoption varies significantly from one nation to the next, and some parts of the world are falling behind.

Top Performers

Europe is leading the way when it comes to IPv6 adoptions. Belgium has been leading the adoption efforts by a significant margin, but several other nations are close behind it. Greece, Switzerland, and Germany have also made significant efforts to adopt IPv6, although none of the nations have managed to have an adoption rate of at least fifty percent according to the majority of sources.

While Europe is home to the majority of leading countries, there are a few in other parts of the world. The Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago has managed to keep pace with the leading nations and has surpassed many European countries in spite of its small size. The United States has done just as well, Brazil is doing comparably to many of the European nations in the middle of the pack, and Canada only falls outside of the top ten rapid adopters by a small margin. The majority of the rest of the countries in the Americas have significantly lower rates of adoption, largely due to their relative poverty. Asia shows lower rates of adoption than Europe and the Americas, but India has still managed to earn a place in the top ten. The experts at www.bluecatnetworks.com are capable of providing you with further information.

African Support

Africa has fallen behind many other parts of the world in regard to IPv6 adoption, but there is evidence that suggests that will change in the near future. Chris Ujawe, a leading technological executive, recently spoke on the topic as part of a IPv6 panel at a recent conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ujawe took the opportunity to emphasize the importance of IPv6 adoption for the development of the African economy. His position is that any African nation which fails to adopt the new standard will fall behind the rest of the world and suffer a serious disadvantage during economic competitions. Some African nations, such as Nigeria, are making efforts to adopt the new standard, but Ujawe does not believe that they have been sufficient so far. To the contrary, he believes that the current situation should be considered a technological emergency. It remains to be seen if his plea for a greater focus on IPv^ will be heard, but it may lead to rapid adoption in Africa’s future.

What You Need To Know About The DNS Firewall

DNS: The Connective Tissue Of The Internet

Canadian businesses are typically fairly knowledgeable and savvy when it comes to technology. By necessity, however, most businesspeople do not have intimate knowledge of the behind-the-scenes processes that make the internet work. Hopefully, more Canadian businesspeople will learn about the salutary advantages of using a DNS firewall. To fully explain what you should know about the DNS firewall, it is helpful to start with a quick primer on DNS. Also called the domain name system, DNS is essentially the connective tissue of the internet. A kind of virtual address book, DNS is the fundamental technology that allows your browser to find your favorite websites. To a layperson, using the web is as simple as typing in something like “MyFavoriteWebsite.Com.” On a basic level, however, internet IP addresses look like this: 4.382.43.99. DNS is the system that converts the alphanumeric URL you type into the numeric IP address that truly identifies a remote server in the network.

A New Type Of Firewall That Works

A DNS firewall is a tool that harnesses the power of DNS routing for your benefit. Normally, you would rely on your internet provider to handle all DNS routing. In most respects, ISPs are authoritative institutions that you can trust. However, most ISPs still treat all DNS requests equally and without discrimination. This means that your ISP will not interfere if you accidentally direct your browser to a known malicious site. Neither will the ISP normally take action to stop incoming DNS traffic from suspicious hosts. Hopefully, ISPs will learn how to better balance impartial traffic management with the security needs of clients. You may be able to learn more at the www.bluecatnetworks.com website.

Using a DNS firewall, you can proactively introduce selectivity into the way your system interacts with remote servers. Available as a hardware device or a software solution, the DNS firewall automatically blocks all incoming DNS requests from known bad actors. Just as importantly, the DNS firewall (DNSF) provides you with the tools you need to identify and block intrusions from malicious sites that were previously unidentified.

DNS-Based Hacking: A Growing Threat

Securing a DNSF could represent one of the most important investments you’ll ever make for your business. Because security researchers have closed many of the loopholes that previously abetted hackers, DNS-based attacks are increasingly important components of the hacking toolbox. DNS signalling is one off the most alarming ploys in DNS-based hacking. Put simply, DNS signalling is a kind of false messaging that can allow malicious parties to literally take control of your DNS requests. Hackers can use DNS signalling to direct you to malicious, counterfeit web servers. With a DNSF, you can protect yourself from this and many other related hacker tactics.

Why The World Needs More Open Source DNS Servers

Introducing Collaborative Software

By now, domain name system (DNS) servers have achieved a fair amount of exposure in the public eye. This is largely due to the fact that unknown hacker groups have brazenly used distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks to bring many DNS servers to a crashing halt. Since these hacking attacks regularly make front-page news, the general public is more aware than ever that DNS is the backbone of the Web. However, far fewer people realize that the Internet needs more open source domain name service if DDoS is to become a rare occurrence once more.

Although for-profit DNS providers work hard to foil hackers, certain aspects of corporate governance stand in the way of unfettered technical innovation. For-profit tech companies naturally tend to be secretive about the inner workings of their infrastructures. Since commercial DNS providers and security firms compete directly, each company sees only a small part of the larger picture when it comes to cybersecurity. Even including major national governments, nonprofits only provide a small part of the overall pool of cybersecurity expertise. Since open source software is released to the public free of charge, open source development attracts idealistic cybersecurity experts who would otherwise remain in the shadows. Anyone is free to edit or add to open source software. In a unique and powerful way, open source programmers share crucial information about security risks.

The open source movement could do much to reduce the Internet’s vulnerability to DNS hijacking and DDoS attacks. This massive collaborative effort unites people from throughout the world. Whether one operates a true domain name server or a virtual one, open source provides a incomplete but welcome answer for insecurity. You can find more information at www.bluecatnetworks.com.

Using Open Source Domain Name Service To Counter ISPs

Although ISPs have every legal right to redirect users to any sites they wish, many users have complained about the way some ISPs brazenly hijack misspelled URLs. Some ISPs have partnerships with promotional sites and receive some financial rewards for redirecting users to their partners. Needless to say, this troubling occurrence is rare. Most ISPs engage in fully ethical and praiseworthy behavior.

Open source domain name servers allow people to take control of their online lives. It is highly possible that these open source servers will greatly multiply over time. While using one of these alternative servers requires altering a few router settings, most people of average intelligence can easily make these alterations with proper instructions. At least in North America, it seems clear that for-profit domain name software will remain completely dominant into the foreseeable future. However, every person who uses open source domain name software helps reverse this trend in a small but important way.