The increasingly common practice of workers using their own personal devices — and apps — on the job has been a tough sell for field service companies. But service technicians are clearly doing it, as evidenced by this LinkedIn discussion, “What Smartphone Applications Do You Consider Must-Haves?” Techs and experts alike weighed in, revealing a fondness for a host of consumer-focused apps. Here are their top picks:
GasBuddy: Gas is a huge cost of doing business for field service companies. With prices high, some field techs recommend GasBuddy, a free app, generates a list of the cheapest and closest gas stations based on users’ location data.
TurboScan: For technicians who need to upload receipts and manage lengthy paper trails, there’s TurboScan. The $3 app turns users’ iPhones into a multipage scanner for documents, receipts, notes, whiteboards and other text. Users store or email documents as multipage PDF or JPEG files.
Waze: Unexpected traffic jams and roadblocks are major headaches for service techs on a tight schedule. Waze is a community based mapping and traffic app 70 million users whose job it is to report traffic snafus. Does it work? Google bought Waze in 2014 for $1.1 billion.
Dropbox: File-sharing apps like Dropbox help service techs share pictures of equipment, look up client data and even store service manuals — all via the Internet. The Dropbox app is free, and users can pay to add more storage space.
Skype: There’s been a lot of talk about what video can do for field service tech, thanks to Google Glass and the tech industry’s obsession with high-priced wearables. But why spend all the money? Some service techs say they’re doing just fine with Skype, the free Microsoft-owned video chat service. Similar services include FaceTime and Google Hangouts.