13,000 network rail staff to be issued i-phone 4

Status
Not open for further replies.

Tin Rocket

Member
Joined
24 Nov 2008
Messages
210
Location
midlands
Had the letter this week,13,000 nwr employees to be issued i-phones in the near future,seems a touch extravagent in these supposed lean times.
Whats the reasoning behind this? how is it to make nwr more efficient?
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

MidnightFlyer

Veteran Member
Joined
16 May 2010
Messages
12,828
Well, they could receive up to the minute info on various things, and it can also be used to check rosters etc AFAIK.
 

Hydro

Established Member
Joined
5 Mar 2007
Messages
2,204
Supposedly to streamline the flow of information to the man on the ground. There's a big shake up about how maintenance teams get their information on faults and incidents. A GPS enabled web connected smartphone makes sense. How they will make it work remains to be seen.

I use my personal iPhone to access certain data and emails available externally, and it's very useful. To have one that can tap into internal company networks would be even better
 

455driver

Veteran Member
Joined
10 May 2010
Messages
11,332
Can I be the first to ask for a log in please! :lol:

Only joking chaps, I dont have an I phone.

What methods of communication are used at the moment, if there are several different methods then it probably makes sense to streamline everything into 1 system, it might look extravagant but over time it will probably be more efficient and cheaper.

SWT are issuing their guards with Blackberries so its only similar to that, easier and quicker to get the information out and "they" can keep a check on where you are by using the GPS signal.
 

Hydro

Established Member
Joined
5 Mar 2007
Messages
2,204
Pre-2000 Nokias, Blackberries, handheld devices that use the Ellipse database (asset/work register), all sorts of devices used by different departments for different purposes.

A phone that can use GPS/maps, email, Internet, a camera for taking pics of incidents and faults (I once used my personal phone to video some severe voiding for evidence) would be very beneficial. My department is already working on ways to directly email immediate action track defects stamped with GPS coords direct to maintenance teams on the ground.
 

Ploughman

Established Member
Joined
15 Jan 2010
Messages
2,453
When I worked for a renewal contractor we used XDAs to transmit signed documents dealing with site handbacks back to the office on completion of work.

Obviously things have moved on since but it did save a lot of hassle at the time.
 

Nym

Established Member
Joined
2 Mar 2007
Messages
8,275
Location
Somewhere, not in London
And they could have also gone for somthing with a much more open development platform... Name any Android based device and you can depoy software about 100 times quicker for it than for an iPhone. The devices are also half the price.

I get the feeling this is some idiot in an office deciding iPhones are best because they have 'apps' rather than getting somone knowlegable about mobile software development to recomend an appropriate unit. (PS. My dissertation is in Mobile Application Development...)
 

Hydro

Established Member
Joined
5 Mar 2007
Messages
2,204
A smaller number of iPads are also rumoured to be issued to managers and team leaders presumably for use as more portable laptop substitutes. A couple of DBS DTM's I know have them and can't fault them for having access to up to date information almost constantly. Perfect screen for viewing a few .pdf's of track traces/fault reports on the go.

It's still to be seen how any custom apps will be developed and pushed through Apples distribution network. Hopefully some kind of corporate model of software distribution can be developed so that apps can be made specifically for NR issued devices and issued without problem.
 

Nym

Established Member
Joined
2 Mar 2007
Messages
8,275
Location
Somewhere, not in London
And they could have gotten an even more knock down price on any Froyo or Ginberbread devices...

I've seen them knocking about at £80/unit wholesale...

iPhone4 only every gets as low as £145/unit wholesale.

iOS devices might have shineyer software, but if you want somthing to intergrate with anything with a database or web services, you can do it 100 times easyer with Android OS, API 8 (Froyo) Onwards, libraries are there for direct interaction, and it's written atop of J2SE, so any massive J2EE servers that NR have kicking about, or SQL servers, ASP etc. Can all be interacted with in real time, in a natively supported manner. Therefore more reliable and easyer to update.
 

Hydro

Established Member
Joined
5 Mar 2007
Messages
2,204
And they could have gotten an even more knock down price on any Froyo or Ginberbread devices...

I've seen them knocking about at £80/unit wholesale...

iPhone4 only every gets as low as £145/unit wholesale.
I've edited, but I don't disagree. Then again, I'm not going to turn my nose up at an issue iPhone. They are good devices still. I don't think any hardcore database interaction will be necessary for maintenance teams.
 

Nym

Established Member
Joined
2 Mar 2007
Messages
8,275
Location
Somewhere, not in London
They are, but the're too closed for development and just not right for what NR want to use them for, if you want to run custom software, such as interacting with TRUST or any other NR systems, you can write software to do that, I'll bet on the iPhone you need to go through the browser (that by the way uses a compression server so will violate a number of security issues)

EDIT For Hydro's EDIT:

For iPhone it has to go through the app store or somthing else equally stupid, Android you can just change a setting in the kernel (that will be done at the time of or before issue) and then download it from a private NR Site, I know you can, because thats how I'm distributing software for the university...
 

ralphchadkirk

Established Member
Joined
20 Oct 2008
Messages
5,764
Location
Essex
Apple have specifically developed a corporate system for companies to create their own apps for their systems:
You can also securely host and wirelessly distribute or update in‑house apps to employees, keeping them current anywhere, anytime.
http://www.apple.com/iphone/business/#whatever

Enterprise iPhones also support SSL VPN.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Good Lord, using TRUST on an iPhone? It's bad enough on a laptop!
I'd love to see TRUST working on an iPhone!
 

Hydro

Established Member
Joined
5 Mar 2007
Messages
2,204
If you had access to TRUST you'd give up getting it to work on mobile devices and start on how to make it....well, work. It's not the most user friendly of systems.
 

Nym

Established Member
Joined
2 Mar 2007
Messages
8,275
Location
Somewhere, not in London
Not user friendly, compared with the system I have just had to develop for, anything is user friendly, even Windows Vista!

And btw. iOS Development is very closed and a pain, and will not talk to certain types of servers easilly, done delibrately by apple to sell their servers! When you write for somthing thats open source, it's incredibally easy to interact with any kind of server.
 

tbtc

Veteran Member
Joined
16 Dec 2008
Messages
15,935
Location
Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire
No doubt the media are gonna have a field day?

It's a sensible idea and in reality the cost is negligable, but you know how it goes..
I agree.

Smartphones are very valuable bits of kit, in terms of what they can do, and save employers needing to give field workers a separate "tool", given the number of different functions you can get out of them.

The fact that you can have all staff synchronised/ easily updated and with access to the same data (etc) is very valuable.
 

Greenback

Emeritus Moderator
Joined
9 Aug 2009
Messages
15,376
Location
Llanelli
I agree.

Smartphones are very valuable bits of kit, in terms of what they can do, and save employers needing to give field workers a separate "tool", given the number of different functions you can get out of them.

The fact that you can have all staff synchronised/ easily updated and with access to the same data (etc) is very valuable.
Indeed it is, particularly in light of the constant demands for communication to be improved and for passengers to receive more accurate and faster information in times of disruption.

Perhaps it's fair to say the industry can't afford NOT to have them!
 

tbtc

Veteran Member
Joined
16 Dec 2008
Messages
15,935
Location
Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire
Indeed it is, particularly in light of the constant demands for communication to be improved and for passengers to receive more accurate and faster information in times of disruption.

Perhaps it's fair to say the industry can't afford NOT to have them!
I agree!

I remember the fuss made a few years ago when Midland Mainline were issuing all staff with "synchronised" watches, and that was seen as a Big Leap Forward.

Technology nowadays has come on a long way...
 

Aictos

Established Member
Joined
28 Apr 2009
Messages
9,333
Every company has their own different requirements - Network Rail decided that the Blackberry/Android products were not for them so looked elsewhere.

I think it's a good move from Network Rail simply because of the many benefits that it will be able to deliver which I'm sure Hydro would be only too happy to explain at some point.
 

Hydro

Established Member
Joined
5 Mar 2007
Messages
2,204
NR uses plenty of Blackberry products, mainly at the management level for access to emails on the move. iPhones at least seem to be more general purpose.

I'm not sure how it's going to be played, no one apart from the project team does presumably. The proof of the pudding and all that, but it's a pretty admirable step in embracing new (ish) tech to get information flowing between the many moving interfaces in the corporate structure.
 

HSTEd

Veteran Member
Joined
14 Jul 2011
Messages
11,043
They should be using a generic Android based product rather than an iPhone, its going to come back to bite them eventually.
 

ralphchadkirk

Established Member
Joined
20 Oct 2008
Messages
5,764
Location
Essex
They should be using a generic Android based product rather than an iPhone, its going to come back to bite them eventually.
Why? What's your basis for saying that? I imagine the project team will have researched this in great detail and come to the conclusion that they wish to have iPhones.
 

Nym

Established Member
Joined
2 Mar 2007
Messages
8,275
Location
Somewhere, not in London
Why? What's your basis for saying that? I imagine the project team will have researched this in great detail and come to the conclusion that they wish to have iPhones.
I really really dowbt that hun, most of the time senor managers spec iPhones because they like theirs, not because the're the best equipment...

I've seen many a public and private sector companies have that happen because managers like iPhones, even through the engineering dept says the a different product is better. Or the investment in pointless technology (Interactive white boards come to mind)
 

ralphchadkirk

Established Member
Joined
20 Oct 2008
Messages
5,764
Location
Essex
I really really dowbt that hun, most of the time senor managers spec iPhones because they like theirs, not because the're the best equipment...
I highly doubt ANY company would place an order for 13,000 iPhones without thoroughly making sure that they fit the spec.

(Oh, and I am not your 'hun').
 

Nym

Established Member
Joined
2 Mar 2007
Messages
8,275
Location
Somewhere, not in London
I highly doubt ANY company would place an order for 13,000 iPhones without thoroughly making sure that they fit the spec.

(Oh, and I am not your 'hun').
You've never delt with senior managers and executives then have you? It will fit the specification of what they think they need, not what they actually DO need, even if they did check.
 

ukrob

Established Member
Joined
15 Jan 2009
Messages
1,811
Can't help but feel some pro and anti Apple bias has crept into this thread.

But as for facts, as someone else mentioned, there are corporate setups for iPhones with private apps which can be pushed to the devices. You aren't going to find Network Rail apps alongside Angry Birds for gods sake. Corporate has a whole different system.

Also a small point, but the iPhone 4 is no longer the top of the range model. I bet they have got a fantastic deal with this being the case.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top