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

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by Tin Rocket, 27 Nov 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Tin Rocket

    Tin Rocket Member

    Messages:
    209
    Joined:
    24 Nov 2008
    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?
     
  2. Registered users do not see these banners - join or log in today!

    Rail Forums

     
  3. MidnightFlyer

    MidnightFlyer Veteran Member

    Messages:
    12,775
    Joined:
    16 May 2010
    Well, they could receive up to the minute info on various things, and it can also be used to check rosters etc AFAIK.
     
  4. Hydro

    Hydro Established Member

    Messages:
    2,202
    Joined:
    5 Mar 2007
    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
     
  5. 455driver

    455driver On Moderation

    Messages:
    11,332
    Joined:
    10 May 2010
    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.
     
  6. Hydro

    Hydro Established Member

    Messages:
    2,202
    Joined:
    5 Mar 2007
    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.
     
  7. Badger

    Badger Member

    Messages:
    617
    Joined:
    17 Oct 2011
    Location:
    Wolverhampton
    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..
     
  8. Ploughman

    Ploughman Established Member

    Messages:
    2,083
    Joined:
    15 Jan 2010
    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.
     
  9. devon_metro

    devon_metro Established Member

    Messages:
    7,560
    Joined:
    11 Oct 2005
    Location:
    London
    Could have picked a lower priced option.

    iPhone is about the most over inflated price wise smartphone you can get!
     
  10. Nym

    Nym Established Member

    Messages:
    8,032
    Joined:
    2 Mar 2007
    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...)
     
  11. Hydro

    Hydro Established Member

    Messages:
    2,202
    Joined:
    5 Mar 2007
    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.
     
  12. Nym

    Nym Established Member

    Messages:
    8,032
    Joined:
    2 Mar 2007
    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.
     
  13. Hydro

    Hydro Established Member

    Messages:
    2,202
    Joined:
    5 Mar 2007
    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.
     
  14. Nym

    Nym Established Member

    Messages:
    8,032
    Joined:
    2 Mar 2007
    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...
     
  15. Hydro

    Hydro Established Member

    Messages:
    2,202
    Joined:
    5 Mar 2007
    Good Lord, using TRUST on an iPhone? It's bad enough on a laptop!
     
  16. ralphchadkirk

    ralphchadkirk Established Member

    Messages:
    5,761
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2008
    Location:
    Essex
    Apple have specifically developed a corporate system for companies to create their own apps for their systems:
    http://www.apple.com/iphone/business/#whatever

    Enterprise iPhones also support SSL VPN.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I'd love to see TRUST working on an iPhone!
     
  17. Nym

    Nym Established Member

    Messages:
    8,032
    Joined:
    2 Mar 2007
    Location:
    Somewhere, not in London
    And how much are apple charging for this licence that costs nothing on Android?
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    If I had access to trust within a week i could get somthing working on an Android device ;)
     
  18. Hydro

    Hydro Established Member

    Messages:
    2,202
    Joined:
    5 Mar 2007
    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.
     
  19. Nym

    Nym Established Member

    Messages:
    8,032
    Joined:
    2 Mar 2007
    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.
     
  20. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

    Messages:
    14,828
    Joined:
    16 Dec 2008
    Location:
    Sheffield
    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.
     
  21. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

    Messages:
    15,359
    Joined:
    9 Aug 2009
    Location:
    Llanelli
    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!
     
  22. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

    Messages:
    19,169
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2010
    Location:
    Work - Fenny Stratford(MK) Home - Darlington

    Well 13,000 of the things should ensure a decent discount!
     
  23. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

    Messages:
    14,828
    Joined:
    16 Dec 2008
    Location:
    Sheffield
    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...
     
  24. ajax103

    ajax103 Established Member

    Messages:
    4,277
    Joined:
    28 Apr 2009
    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.
     
  25. Hydro

    Hydro Established Member

    Messages:
    2,202
    Joined:
    5 Mar 2007
    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.
     
  26. HSTEd

    HSTEd Established Member

    Messages:
    9,413
    Joined:
    14 Jul 2011
    They should be using a generic Android based product rather than an iPhone, its going to come back to bite them eventually.
     
  27. ralphchadkirk

    ralphchadkirk Established Member

    Messages:
    5,761
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2008
    Location:
    Essex
    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.
     
  28. Nym

    Nym Established Member

    Messages:
    8,032
    Joined:
    2 Mar 2007
    Location:
    Somewhere, not in London
    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)
     
  29. ralphchadkirk

    ralphchadkirk Established Member

    Messages:
    5,761
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2008
    Location:
    Essex
    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').
     
  30. Nym

    Nym Established Member

    Messages:
    8,032
    Joined:
    2 Mar 2007
    Location:
    Somewhere, not in London
    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.
     
  31. ukrob

    ukrob Established Member

    Messages:
    1,811
    Joined:
    15 Jan 2009
    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.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page