Contributed by Ric Hattabaugh, VP Sales at FieldConnect

When designing a mobile field service solution, the developers quickly reach a crossroads. Do I build a “Web App” or a “Native App”? There are strengths and weakness of both. Which is right for you?

What’s the difference?

A Web App works using a web browser such as Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, etc. A Native App, on the other hand, is a dedicated piece of software residing on a mobile phone or tablet.

Which is better?

A Web App may be better in a mobile workforce environment if:

  • You have a variety of mobile devices in the field: Samsung, Apple, Windows, etc.
  • You don’t want to be stuck with one or two possible hardware choices.
  • You want field workers to be able to switch to a different device and pick up where they left off on the previous device.
  • You don’t want to deal with App updates and keeping current on each field device.

A Native App may be better if:

  • Your workers spend a lot of time not connected to the Internet and periodic synchronization is OK.
  • You want the mobile device to ONLY be used for your work.

Until recently, the only way to give data access to your field workers when not connected was to use a Native App. That changed when FieldConnect introduced Offline Mode on its Web App-based systems. Offline Mode works by downloading data in the browser cache so a field employee gets the same data whether or not there is an internet connection.

Obviously, FieldConnect is partial to our architectural decision – and it’s worked amazingly well for thousands of users in the USA and Canada.

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