Google Introduces Google Maps Coordinate
Google has added a new app to its product range, called Google Maps Coordinate. The app is aimed at enterprises with a mobile component in their workforce, and helps businesses direct and oversee employees on duty who are out of the office.
What the App Offers
The new app takes advantage of Google's extensive work in mapping and geolocations, and utilizes the infrastructure to provide a mobile tracking and interaction service for businesses with workers in the field or on the road. The app is designed to be operated by a manager or dispatcher, with all mobile employees logged in to give and receive data.
The app allows a manager to see the location of their in-field staff, communicate with all or select employees, send notifications and updates to employees in the field, assign jobs and send details to employees, and collect data from jobs and assignments in real time. Coordinate also allows a manager or dispatcher to review past jobs, divide employees into teams to follow through the app, and create customized data collection fields, all through either a smartphone or web-based version of the program.
Users are able to go on "invisible" mode when they want the app's tracking system turned off, such as when a shift ends or on a lunch break; there is also a timer option that will automatically log users out at the end of their working day.
What's in it for Midsize IT?
For midsize businesses with employees in the field, this offers a low-investment entry into creating a connected, mobile workforce through one streamlined application. CNET reports that the app will initially be offered for $15 per month, with a possible price rise in September 2012, which is a very reasonable price for the kind of functionality that the app can offer.
While Google Maps Coordinate is certainly functional and affordable, making it attractive for IT managers at smaller firms, other more comprehensive services are also available that provide more sophistication and a larger number of features than the Coordinate app. GeoOp and geoAMPS are some of the other providers offering similar connectivity to a mobile workforce, with perhaps more finesse and integration that Google's offering. Either way, the burgeoning field of mobile workforce applications is good news for any midsize IT manager trying to streamline a mobile workforce through more dated and clumsy means.
The next step up from the Coordinate app, which some of Google's competitors have reached for, is to create workflow management tools that can be integrated throughout an entire business, not just for employees out of the office. This creates a seamless connectivity throughout the business that will help to streamline work processes and make not only IT's job easier, but create a synergistic work environment for employees and managers alike.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.