Alpha Software Corporation today announced the beta launch of new capabilities in the Alpha Anywhere mobile application development and deployment environment which will allow enterprises to quickly develop offline-enabled tablet-optimized forms for workers who primarily work standing up and moving around. Recent research estimates the number of these workers worldwide to be 2.5 billion. The new capabilities remove the challenges associated with “mobilizing” paper forms and workflows, while providing new benefits such as reduced time lag between capturing and utilizing field data, increased accuracy and speed of data entry, and richer data capture along with flexible ink and voice annotation.
“Alpha Software is always looking ahead to the next big disruptor that will transform business – whether supporting offline mobile capability, prototyping for new devices like the Apple Watch, or, most recently, the enterprise push to use tablets in place of paper and clipboards,” said Dan Bricklin, Alpha Software Corporation CTO,” said Dan Bricklin, Alpha Software Corporation CTO. “We focus on capabilities that speed development of richer, more productive mobile apps. Electronic forms replacing paper forms will drive enterprise business use of tablets, and our tablet-optimized forms initiative will enable organizations to rapidly transform business processes and leverage all the enhancements mobile devices offer.”
Working with customers on real-world mobile business apps since the 2013 launch of Alpha Anywhere, Alpha Software identified the frequent use of tablets to replace paper forms — particularly for people who work standing up. The company assembled a Tablet Advisory Group of early adopters working on these types of apps, which require advanced data integration, security and tablet capabilities. This group helped define the challenges in building and deploying these applications and Alpha Software has enhanced Alpha Anywhere to address these use cases. For example, in order for tablet apps to truly transform the business, developers need capabilities beyond simply replicating a paper form on a tablet. Forms apps must take full advantage of the device hardware (from GPS and mapping to capturing photos, video, audio and bar codes), must offer real-time integration with corporate data and processes, and must solve time lag issues and dramatically streamline work processes while ensuring better accuracy. In addition, tablet operating systems can cause usability problems that must be addressed, including keyboards that pop up and obscure critical data and fields on the form.
“Tablets have the potential to revolutionize business processes, especially in enterprises with many mobile workers,” said Britt Whitaker, implementation consultant at Manufacturers ERP Services LLC. “Alpha Anywhere helps us create tablet-optimized forms that enterprise users want to adopt – which provide the familiarity of a paper form, with added functionality and the ability to improve workflows.”
After its most recent Tablet Advisory Group meeting, where product engineers showcased the latest features in Alpha Anywhere that enable the new tablet-optimized forms capabilities, Alpha Software released a beta version of the new technology. Alpha Anywhere customers will now be able to take advantage of the following capabilities when building tablet-optimized forms:
- Robust offline capability with storage of large media files;
- Easy-to-incorporate designs which do not require graphic designers to have knowledge of Alpha Anywhere;
- Custom editors to improve usability during data entry compared to normal soft keyboards;
- Ink, video and voice annotation;
- Full database CRUD support.
These new capabilities and the power provided by Alpha Anywhere to quickly develop an application, customize workflows and respond to user feedback, empower an organization to rapidly switch from paper to tablets while addressing the issues of time lag and lack of responsiveness around field data, and improve organizational responsiveness through escalation or event triggers within workflows. In addition, Alpha Anywhere easily integrates graphic design and application development, enabling Alpha Anywhere developers to leverage any designer, or templates designed for popular frameworks like Bootstrap, in the development of their applications. App users will now be able to easily capture and save large numbers of photos or videos even when their device has no connectivity and will also be able to add comments using powerful ink annotation along with voice comments.
Alpha Software is offering a free beta of its tablet-optimized forms capabilities to Alpha Anywhere customers. For more information, visit: http://www.alphasoftware.com/tablet/.