Mobile workforce management – allowing for remote worker control

Duty of care is a primary concern of enterprise-class businesses, especially at the executive level, due to the prevalence of corporate manslaughter cases in lone worker situations in Europe.

Instant communication at the press of a button (push to talk) is primarily a productivity and duty of care function. However, it is also a platform for time-dependent up- selling and cross-selling of offers to customers. For example, an extended warranty or additional product offer can be initiated from a control centre in one-to-one or one-to-many preset groups, through instant talk or instant message, as an offer becomes available. The natural result is an increase in revenue generation, if the customer commits to the additional product or service.

An integral benefit of real-time communication enabled by a mobile device is the ability for the field worker or agent to receive an approval signature at the point of work and process the transaction in real time.

Taking worker presence into account, supervisors can also instantly speak to a group of workers in a particular location or geography, to inform them of traffic issues, incidents, or specific task-related instructions, all at the touch of a button, eliminating the wasted time associated with dialing up multiple address book entries. This again leads to greater workforce efficiencies and reduced operational cost.

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Worker safety is a primary concern of professional organisations. To increase mobile worker security, instant communications, including talk and alert, removes the need for and cost of separate mobile phones, pagers, PMR (walkie-talkie radios) and panic alert devices, as all these functions are unified in a single, pocketable in many cases, mobile computer.

This convergence of technologies into one platform increases call speed, reduces cellular network costs (by using data rather than voice channels), and provides instant alerts with worker location confirmation in the event of a lone worker incident.

Ensuring compliance with lone worker duty of care legislation and obligations, incidents can be recorded by an open voice channel if a panic button is pressed. Additionally, stealth listening can be used to put remedial actions in place if an assailant is involved. This recording can be used as evidence in a court case, which is particularly relevant to organisations that can be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter or homicide as a result of serious management failures. In the United Kingdom and several other countries, courts can impose unlimited fines, a publicity order and up to two years in prison.