Connecting a remote workforce is no easy feat.
It’s a challenge that many of us have become all too familiar with over the past year. Remote collaboration tools such as monday.com, Slack and Zoom saw adoption skyrocket through 2020 and helped to smooth the transition to online working.
No matter your preference it’s hard to deny that there are some things which just feel more efficient when you have immediate access to the people in your team. A recent study on the state of HR found that the most common action companies felt had been impactful for remote employees was frequent and efficient realtime communication.
So what about businesses who have considerably more complex working arrangements to take into account when deciding on the best tools for people and project management?
The challenge: Managing a fully remote workforce
An estimated 80% of the world’s workforce is deskless; these workers are in industries such as construction, agriculture, healthcare, transportation and other field services. Despite the differences in setting and working systems, the communication requirements for individuals and teams based in the field are just as critical, perhaps more so. These organizations are already seasoned experts in negotiating the complications of managing not just remote, but fully mobile workers; 48% are already using Field Service Management software to assist their workers and smooth operations, with many more looking to adopt more modern tech-based solutions for their services.
Timeero is an FSM app which provides job scheduling, mileage tracking and timesheet management services to businesses with mobile and offsite workers, giving them insight into employee activity and an efficient and accurate means of reporting.
Originally designed to dramatically reduce the stress of managing mobile and remote employees by making messy paper timesheets obsolete, the platform has been extended to make realtime communication between businesses and their workers as simple as pressing a button.
Event-driven push notifications for flawless communication
Timeero’s CEO Barima Kwarteng told us about their build using Pusher Beams, and how adding valuable notifications has inspired them to explore more opportunities to incorporate realtime functionality.
“We were originally using Twilio to send out notifications, however we needed more. There were certain actions being performed inside of our app – for example, whenever a user was assigned to a job – that we needed to be able to send a notification to update their list of jobs on their mobile device.”
When any updates are made to their schedule, workers are updated via a transactional push notification sent to their device while out in the field, meaning they can stay on top of new job requests in realtime. Event-driven notifications have made a big difference to experience for Timeero’s users. “Before we were using Pusher, they would get assigned a job and it wouldn’t reflect on their smartphone right away. We would get calls from admins saying, ‘I just assigned this job to an employee and they haven’t received it.’ What they would then have them do is to go in and push a sync button in order to refresh the server. Now, with Pusher, the moment the admin assigns them or makes a change on the job, we push that job right to your smartphone without them having to push a sync button.”
After hitting some snags using Twilio, the Beams implementation was a big time saver for the team. “Using Twilio took much longer than we expected it to. It really wasn’t working out on grid for us. After using Pusher, the biggest cost savings came from a massive reduction in support issues after people stopped reaching out to us with sync problems.”
Beams notifications are triggered automatically by events which occur in Timeero’s system, such as a new job being assigned to a user. By having these transactional push notifications programmed into their app, admins can be confident that their updates were passed on without having to follow up. The Authenticated Users feature lets Timeero apply their existing authentication identification system to provide a record of devices through which individual workers can be notified with personalised information via Beams.
A solution from the experts
“The experience was phenomenal with the team from Pusher. They were super responsive to our needs. We were even able to hop on a Zoom call. The problems we ran into were mostly problems to do with the way that iOS handles notifications, but the Pusher support team was super helpful and we couldn’t have asked for more.”
At Pusher we are used to dealing with the complex infrastructure and breaking changes which make maintaining FCM, APNs and web notifications a headache. Using Beams has allowed Timeero to dodge the gateway labrinth and concentrate on creating valuable notification experience for their users.
The team are now looking at ways they can take advantage of more Pusher tools to enhance realtime functionality for the app. “We’re looking forward to utilizing Pusher in many different aspects of our software and services.”
One of the key features on the roadmap for Barima’s team is live location tracking. Though the app currently offers location updates on a periodic basis, extending the functionality using Pusher’s WebSocket-based API Channels to provide a live location will be a significant step to a more modern realtime platform. “We love the ability to build real realtime updates with Pusher. Today’s user expects more out of an app: they expect to have realtime data and updates and have them now. Pusher was able to help us solve that need.”
Advancements in AI mean we are well on the way to super-smart field service management systems which enable smart scheduling and planning based on workers’ availability and location. By building top tier realtime features the Timeero team have been able to disentangle many of the issues field service administrators face, and when it comes to new feature development they are game ready. Demand for system modernization in field service industries means their user base is set for serious growth. 89% of FSM users wanting to see modern, realtime, on-demand technology applied to their scheduling, and most also willing to pay a premium for the service.
We are thrilled by the praise offered by Barima and his team and are looking forward to helping them continue to meet the demanding needs of their niche with the best possible implementation for feature-rich realtime updates.
“If your app has a need for realtime updates, you would definitely want to go with Pusher. If I had known about it earlier, I would have never wasted my time with Twilio. I truly believe that to build any serious app that needs offline architecture, you need Pusher.”
Barima Kwarteng – CEO, Timeero
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