Alpha Software Blog

Collect "Rich" Multi Faceted Data with New Mobile Forms Builder

Mobile Forms that collect data in new ways The natural world provides "rich" multi-faceted information that transcends just letters and numbers. Isn't it time that this information was captured and used by business for better management and greater productivity?

Now with Alpha Anywhere's new Mobile Forms capabilities it is not only possible, but it is quick and easy.

When modern tablets were first introduced a number of  years ago by Apple, people thought that tablets were primarily for information consumption (take a look at the Steve Job's tablet intro - it was all about consumption - reading magazines/newspapers, watching videos/movies and playing games.) However, there is an another incredibly valuable area of usefulness for mobile devices that was not promoted by them at the time, and it turns out that this area may be even more important to business!
What is this other area? Data collection, and by that we mean "rich" multi-faceted data capture that encapsulates the totality of information that needs to be captured in order to get a fuller and more complete picture of a situation! Time was that as far as a computer was concerned, data was letters and numbers and data input focused on information that could be typed on the keyboard i.e. letters and numbers. In this world, a traditional paper form sufficed and got the job done.
Now fast forward to today. The situation is vastly different! Real world information/data is clearly much richer and requires the following kinds of data to be captured if you want to get the "full" story so that you are equipped to respond to situations more intelligently.
  1. numbers
  2. letters
  3. pictures
  4. video
  5. sound
  6. GPS location along with date plus time stamps
  7. digital ink for free-form drawing and annotation of pictures and video
  8. sketches and schematics and blueprints
  9. bar-codes and QR codes
All of the above can be thought of  multi-faceted "rich" data And this is where the power of mobile devices kicks in for business - namely the ability quickly, easily and accurately capture this kind of information - especially  for the 2.5 Billion workers (world wide) who work standing up or walking about in industries and job functions such as:
  • Health Care (in medical facilities and in the home)
  • Construction
  • Maintenance
  • Inspections
  • Field Sales
  • Mining
  • Oil and Gas
  • Hospitality
  • Manufacturing, Quality Control and Quality Assurance
  • Warehouse
  • Delivery and Logistics
  • Transportation
  • Market Research
  • Retail
  • Sports Coaching
  • Field workers in financial services
Businesses want to work with rich data for more complete, holistic and fundamentally better information, but the first thing they need to do is capture this information in the field! That is why we felt that it was time to take a fresh look and re-think data capture and go beyond traditional 2-d "flat" computer forms (whose goal was to simply replicate paper forms.)
As a result of this effort at Alpha, we have built new no-code app builder. This new kind of mobile form creator is designed to make it super quick, efficient and easy to capture the kind of rich data that tablets and mobile devices have finally made possible.
To achieve this, we rely on some core technologies that have been deeply embedded into the Alpha Anywhere app maker over the last 18+ months; such as:

The ability in minutes to include robust offline support and be able to handle data synchronization challenges flexibly and easily. Alpha has also recognized that workers who work standing up are often going to need to work with large amounts of data, video, images and sound while disconnected. Through a number of built-in methods, Alpha Anywhere handles these situations seamlessly with no coding required (coding is possible if you want even further customization.

The ability to offer data input into the device through a new class of editors that had to be designed to dramatically increase the speed and accuracy of data entry. An example would be a left swipe for indicating a failure or a right swipe indicating a pass when filling out a checklist. Another example is having a stop-watch serve as the input device for measuring time on a mobile optimized form.

The ability to take full advantage of what the camera makes possible in terms of capturing pictures, video and voice and acting as an enabler of barcoding.

The ability to take advantage of the benefits of electronic ink for drawing, note-taking and annotation.

The ability to incorporate any arbitrary designs from professional graphic artists without these artists having to learn Alpha Anywhere.

Try Alpha Software's mobile forms builder today.

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About Author

Richard Rabins
Richard Rabins

Co-founder of Alpha Software, Richard Rabins focuses on strategy, sales, and marketing. Richard also served as CEO of SoftQuad International from 1997 to 2001, when it owned Alpha. In addition to his 30 years with the company, Richard played a key role as co-founder, and served as president and chairman of the Massachusetts Software Council (now the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council), the largest technology trade organization in Massachusetts. Prior to founding Alpha, Richard was a project leader and consultant with Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), and a management consultant with Management Decision Systems, Inc. Richard holds a master's degree in system dynamics from the Sloan School at MIT, and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and master's degree in control engineering from University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has served on the boards of Silent Systems, Legacy Technology and O3B Networks, and is co-founder of Tubifi

The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.