FOCUS ON: PDAs and PDA Software
Designed to take the difficulty out of running your business, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and their compliant software are everywhere and are probably the most compact piece of equipment you own. The following software and programs allow you to be on the go and manage your jobs and crews without having to stay in one place. They also showcase the various ways you can use your PDA to increase productivity and decrease your stress levels. If you need more information about the following PDAs and PDA software, use the circle numbers provide at the end of each product description.
QX Mobile, from Alocet Inc., allows your staff to take a mini-version of QXpress out in the field with full read/write capabilities of adding new customers, services and other items remotely. QX Mobile can be as simple or as advanced as you want it to be. For example, crews in the field may only need basic features to record start and stop times, but supervisors might require a more detailed account of each customer's history and crew's location. Features include synchronizing wirelessly from the field; add/edit/view of customer information; and view customer history and contact events. It requires the Pocket PC 2002 or 2003 operating system and at least 32MB RAM.
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ARBOR COMPUTER SYSTEMS
Arbor Computer Systems introduces the Estimator and the Arbor Pocket Office, software modules for its Arbor Office line. The Estimator is designed to determine job cost before an estimate is given. It allows you to choose all the different labor, material and equipment required to perform a job and choose a percentage of profit, which allows estimates to be based on known costs and determines the estimated price. Arbor's latest program can be used on a pocket PC and even cell phones that support Windows mobile solutions. The Arbor Pocket Office is a robust database with the capability of managing hundreds of thousands of records with minimal memory requirements. It has full synchronization with your office computer and it can fit in your shirt pocket.
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HydroPoint Data Systems, Inc. introduces the WeatherTRAK ET pro irrigation controller and WeatherTRAK.net Internet management service. The WeatherTRAK.net Internet service enables central online management of WeatherTRAK ET pro controllers to provide landscape professionals with maximum efficiency and precision in commercial landscape irrigation. From any location with Internet access, WeatherTRAK ET pro customers log in to the secure WeatherTRAK.net Web site to gain a central view of all ET pro controllers under their management. Via two-way wireless communication, WeatherTRAK customers receive real-time controller status readings and adjust the irrigation programs of single controllers or groups of controllers. It also includes the built-in Scheduling Engine, which customizes irrigation schedules according to landscape-specific parameters and regional water usage requirements.
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CLIP Software introduces eRouter, a software program that allows a company to upload all of the data for the day onto a PDA (either Palm or Windows CE) and give the crews “paperless” route sheets. The work is uploaded to the PDA and the crews can see all the customers, jobs and notes on the device. They record the jobs as they are completed. This information is then synchronized back into the CLIP software through the cradle of the PDA device and the work is marked with all of the information about times, crew members and job costing. The eRouter can be used in English or Spanish.
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Exaktime Inc. introduces The Jobclock System, which is designed to eliminate inaccurate, handwritten timecards and help contractors manager their business more efficiently. The battery-powered Jobclock locks down anywhere at a jobsite. Workers clock in and out with green and red Keytabs that are carried on their keyrings. Nine additional colored Keytabs permit travel time and specific activities to be tracked, which increases the accuracy of job costing. Using a Palm Pilot, the attendance records are collected from each of the Jobclocks prior to payroll and transferred to a PC. With the software, you get accurate timecards and detailed reports summarized by employee, jobsite and activity.
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PlantFind is a business solutions provider for the green industry. PlantFind's products and services are designed to efficiently connect buyers and sellers, suppliers and retailers. The site offers an automated solution for the acquisition, sale and management of the goods and services necessary to operate your growing business. PlantFind's solutions lower costs, increase margins, speed up transactions and streamline your overall business, with benefits to all trading partners. PlantFind's business-to-business e-commerce site offers a wide variety of services that can benefit your business by taking full advantage of the power of the Internet. PlantFind can be used from a PDA and your paid membership gets you automatic electronic notification (wireless or email) when items are bid on or if requests are received.
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Homelogic introduces the OneHome IrrigationBrick, which is a stand-alone, embedded IP-enabled controller for leading irrigation panels that provides a clear and easy-to-use interface for scheduling and controlling landscape watering. The IrrigationBrick is designed to let an irrigation contractor set watering schedules based on plant requirements, time of year, town ordinances and weather patterns. The IrrigationBrick provides access to easily customized watering schedules from any PC, PDA or other networked device, and can be accessed remotely via the Internet.
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Rain Bird Corporation introduces Rain Bird Pro Version 6.0, which is designed specifically for the irrigation industry and improves the efficiency of contractors' businesses by utilizing handheld devices or PDAs to electronically transmit crew schedules, work orders and materials used to the office. The information displayed on the scheduling screen can now be customized to allow users to attach documents to a customer's history and to enter contact relationships to better sot customer account information. Among other features, Version 6.0's PDAs have been upgraded to allow users to customize their work order screens, allow for signature capture capability and change orders while in the field.
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REAL GREEN SYSTEMS
Real Green Systems introduces the Pocket LA.Net handheld device. The new handheld Pocket PC gives you the ability to empower your workforce in the field, providing easy data flow between workers and the home office. This handheld device is used in conjunction with the Lawn & Pest Assistant software to streamline the data entry process for both production and estimating. This also includes built-in GPS for easy navigation, voice guidance and truck tracking capability.
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TRIMS Grounds Management Software is a complete software system that will help you to save time and money by closely monitoring costs, spare parts inventory, facility and equipment maintenance, chemical applications, daily workload and employee productivity. TRIMS features budget and expense tracking, personnel and labor activity records, chemical and fertilizer application records, inventory and purchase order reporting, equipment maintenance and PDA device connectivity. Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) such as the Pocket PC and Palm O.S. Compatible devices may be used in conjunction with TRIMS. PDAs can be used to collect and edit information relating to daily activity schedules, preventative maintenance check lists, equipment usage, fuel usage, work orders, labor activities and tree inventory.
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VISUAL IMPACT IMAGING
The GPS Designer from Visual Impact Imaging replaces the need for old-fashion tools such as distance wheels and measuring tables to measure properties for creating site plants. Instead, a Thales Mobile Mapper hand-held unit marks your position wherever you go on the property and then automatically calculates the required measurements. You can use the GPS Designer to mark objects on a site such as trees, shrubs, beds, lampposts and fences. Once you return to your office, you can download this information into Corel Design 12 and watch as your site plan is instantly drawn for you.
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