The future of mobile was a huge topic of discussion at last week’s GTEC 2013. Scott Ball, country manager of Motion Computing, said that mobile devices can be hugely beneficial to emergency response and field workers in the public service.

“Pen and paper is still our biggest competition,” he said. “But what you can’t do with a piece of paper, is you can’t ask it a question. It’s the delivery of knowledge and information at that point of care or service that becomes really important.”

Ball pointed out, for example, that a paramedic can use mobile to access a patient’s health records – like allergy information – to deliver the best care possible at the scene.

Field workers in departments like Natural Resources Canada can also input their data directly into their devices, eliminating the need for travel between the field and the office. It provides opportunity for workers to be as productive as possible by decreasing the duplication of effort.

“What we don’t want to do is turn field people into typists,” he said. “So if they have to sit there and do a lot of [typing] in their vehicle, all we’re really doing is moving the typing pool out to the field.

“That’s where the integrated solutions – the right applicaton, the right device, the right infrastructure supporting it – leads to proper adoption.”

Have you ever had experience using mobile in the field? Do you think it’s a resource departments should rely on more frequently? Let us know in the comments.

Amy Allen
Amy Allen is a staff writer with Canadian Government Executive magazine. You can connect with her at