New Android Features Ideal for Remote, Field-Based Workers

Samsung for mobile field service

Key Features Make Android More Reliable and Productive for Technicians and Other Remote Workers

Android Smartphones came out in 2007, and many versions have been released over the years. Many field techs these days take their Smartphones at customer sites to perform work duties. This could range from taking photos, capturing signatures or recording full work orders with a field service mobile app. Luckily, Android has useful features for multitasking, documenting, and recording work orders.

Are you a field service technician who uses Android, or are considering switching over? These features can improve your job performance!

Doze and Space Saving Features Ensure Longer Battery

Field service workers often work overtime to visit customer sites. Between calling and texting customers and their bosses, and using apps, Smartphones are their lifeline to productivity and safety. At minimum, the call, text, and camera features must work effectively. Techs who use field service apps to view their schedules, contact information, customer history, and payment data need extra-long battery life.

Smartphone users may dislike having to delete apps to save storage space. The latest Android OS version limits app activity in the background, which saves battery life. This OS also identifies why an app uses too much battery, and how to address the issue. The solution could be as simple as disabling notifications. The app in question would display with a red symbol and shows the reason behind excess consumption once tapped on.

Android Doze feature keeps the battery drain low when the phone isn’t in use. First introduced in 2016 with the 6.0 OS, Doze activates when the phone screen is off, stationary and not on the charger. Wakelocks and network access is off, unless if it’s in the maintenance time window. The Nougat 7.0 OS refined Doze feature to while in motion, perfect for mobile workers. Wakelocks, GPS and WiFi still work. However, the OS disables network access unless in the maintenance windows, which will prevent apps from draining battery life. If technicians need an app to always work, they can simply visit the battery settings page, and turn off the optimization setting on the desired app.

Split Screen Mode Enables Multitasking

Split screen mode has allows users can switch between apps and use two apps at once. In field service, this could mean logging a work order and viewing a schedule or text message at the same time. Many field service apps these days have scheduling features that sync from the back office to the mobile version so technicians can see schedule changes and additions immediately. Marshmallow OS reportedly had a bug that Nougat has addressed. Simply go to the Recent Apps/Intents button and select the desired app to add to the screen. With this feature, users can view apps side by side or one above another.

Syncing Reduces Need to Re-Enter Data

Android has been providing data syncing abilities for a while, but Oreo 8.1 has an Autofill feature upgrade. Just like with Google Chrome, Autofill asks the user for permission to sync logins, credit card numbers, addresses, contact information, etc. between apps and devices. This way, repeat customers don’t have to keep re-entering their information.

LastPass is one Autofill compatible app that allows users to tap on the screen to unlock and display stored data. Although LastPass has worked on other Android OS’s, the Oreo OS does not need any extra permissions other than from the user.

Password and Fingerprint Scanners Ensure Security

Field technicians who use their Smartphones to store customer sensitive data need to be careful not to lose their phones. Once data is transmitted over a Cloud system, the wrong person could access the information without the right security measures. Thankfully, Android offers both fingerprint and password recognition. The Marshmallow OS pushes the fingerprint scanner to the front and center of the screen, which makes it compatible with third party apps. This way, an unregistered user won’t access sensitive information over an app. The Oreo 8.1 OS even disables the feature all together if an unregistered user fails multiple times to log in.

Android fingerprint recognition adds security

Why to Stay Informed on OS Updates

The Android powered field workforce accomplishes a lot thanks to a long battery life, security recognition, and compatibility with many FSM apps. Field service work isn’t always easy, with the long hours, constant traveling and safety risks. But a Marshmallow OS at minimum will serve as a lifeline to it all. To protect a phone from rugged environments, there are many Android rugged accessories to choose from as well. Overall, Android devices are popular among BYOD workplace cultures and field service in general. Each company’s needs vary when it comes to picking the “right” OS. That is why mobile workers and their managers should learn about all OS updates to best evaluate their workforce needs.