Monday, 23 December 2013

The MobiCloud Star is Shining!

We are delighted to announce that the MobiCloud project has won in all four categories for which it was nominated for Enterprise Mobile Solutions at the 12th annual Mobile Star Awards. So many thanks to everyone who voted to us! You can see details of all of the results here.

The Mobile Village Awards honor both industry-leading mobile products and cutting-edge new solutions in categories covering software, mobile devices and success stories as chosen by readers of MobileVillages bi-weekly newsletter GoMobile.
MobiCloud won in the following categories of the awards:
  • Mobile Workforce Management – Shining Star
  • Mobile Application Development – Rising Star
  • Mobile Field Service – Rising Star
  • Mobile Secure File Access / VPN – Rising Star

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The human side of the MobiCloud Site Diary

It is very easy to talk about the benefits of mobile technology, but it is often hard to really understand them. The decision to invest in a mobile solution is inevitably a financial one, but any improvement in efficiency or cost effectiveness is ultimately due to the behaviour of the employees using it. For those individuals an improvement in efficiency is also an improvement to the quality of their working life.

Katie is a site engineer working for Costain and has first-hand experience of the difficulties of keeping accurate records in the frenetic environment of a construction site. Such records are important for many reasons, but not least to ensure the accountability of all parties and their adherence to a safe and assured method of working. Katie is one of the engineers who has been testing the MobiCloud Site Diary App and knows all too well what it is like working the “old way”...
"Typically I arrive in the office before the sun is up, determined to get a hot drink before venturing out onto site.  After a manic half hour ensuring all the paperwork is in place including permits, inductions, briefings, drawings and check sheets I finally get out onto site...without a brew.  Suddenly, it dawns on me that I didn’t write up my site diary last night for yesterday’s activities! I had been working late and by the time I got back to the site office getting home to bed was all I could think of. Its ok, I say to myself, I shall write it tonight along with today’s when I get back in.  I can still remember what happened yesterday...can’t I?"
“So the day starts…concrete deliveries, reinforcement deliveries, muck away wagons, excavator breaks down, fitter arrives to fix excavator, oil spill on site, clean up oil spill on site, take photos with camera, weekly SHE [Safety Health & Environment] inspection completed, actions from weekly SHE inspection handed out, problem with the design on a drawing, speak to designers about the problem, wait for a response, order in make-up load for the concrete pour, fill in inspection and test last morning break!”
"I frantically brew up during the half an hour ‘break’ whilst responding to the raft of emails that have come through during the morning.   In what feels like 5 minutes, the morning break is over and off I go out onto site again…"
"Arrive on site, speak to Foreman about works being carried out, check reinforcement schedule to make sure all the reinforcement has been delivered, realise there is reinforcement missing, ring supplier about missing reinforcement, subcontractor claiming setting out is incorrect, check setting out, back into the office for engineers lunch."
"Again, eat over the computer whilst responding to queries and placing more materials orders for future works.  Half an hour up...back outside!" 
"The setting out is now ready for tomorrow’s work, check setting out and make sure it is all correct, confirm concrete orders for the following day, dumper breaks down, fitter out tomorrow to fix dumper, make sure subcontractor is happy with setting out ready for works tomorrow.  It’s now getting dark...head back to the office to close out all the paperwork." 
"After half an hour of completing paperwork and another sending out emails and uploading photos I’m exhausted and hungry...definitely time to go home!" 
"I leave the office after the sun has gone down, wave to the security guard to wish him good night...and then I remember...I haven’t done my site diary for today...or yesterday!  It’s ok, I tell myself, I will do them tomorrow.  Now what happened yesterday again...? Hmm…hang on...what happened today?!”
Site engineers typically work long unsociable hours – a twelve hour day is not unusual and when things go wrong the hours get longer. Any time that can be saved, especially on mundane tasks that are a waste of an engineer’s skills, is a blessing. An extra thirty minutes in the day can make the difference between a well-run site and a happy engineer and a chaotic site with an engineer headed for a breakdown.

One of the major benefits of the Site Diary App is that it allows records to be made as and when events occur and in a way that does not require writing up or transcribing later. This saves time, reduces the need for hastily scribbled notes and removes the stress of trying to recall events retrospectively. It also improves the quality of the record and provides something that has never been available before – a verifiable electronic audit trail. This can be extremely valuable to a construction company when it needs to prove a particular sequence of events, for example as part of dispute resolution or an investigation into an accident or unsafe occurrence.  However, on a day-to-day basis the greatest benefit to the site engineer is time…
“I arrive in to the office before the sun comes up. Brew up to ensure I get a hot drink before venturing out onto site. All the paperwork is in place including permits, inductions, briefings, drawings and check sheets from the night before. I pick up my iPad and head out onto site. 
The usual activities ensue, however I am now able to record each one in real time as they happen. Not only can I record the plant and labour used, I can record where it’s happening, how it’s happening and more importantly if there are any delays or issues with subcontractors! As well as these extremely useful features, the efficiencies don’t stop there! 
For each entry I can take photos and attach them directly to the information so they will be there as reference when reviewed (no downloading from a camera and trying to match them up later!). Also, I don’t need to remember the weather forecast! The app is directly linked to the local weather and records it automatically without me having to think about it!

The same goes for emails too...I can respond in a more timely fashion directly from my ipad!

I leave the office before the sun goes down, wave to the security guard to wish him good night...and I think...paperwork done, site diaries complete...bring on tomorrow!”
For more information about the MobiCloud Site Diary App, please visit our website. If you want to try out the benefits of the App within your own organisation then it is currently available on a free trial basis.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Report from ICT2013 - Vilnius

As we reported a while ago the MobiCloud consortium was selected by the European Commission to present the latest advances in mobile cloud technologies at ICT2013. This event was held  in Vilnius, Lithuania on 6-8 of November. It was an excellent opportunity to network with researchers and industrial partners, as well as to disseminate the first year project results.

MobiCloud booth in Hall4, Xone R3 industry & business for tomorrow
From left to right. The MobiCloud Team: Vladimir Bataev & Patrick Okkersen (EsperantoXL),
Maria Tsakali (EC project officer), Xavier Aubry (Appear) & Manu Auch (Nettropolis)

An impressive turnout of almost 5000 attendees was present as the president of Lithuania took to the stage to introduce the event.

On the MobiCloud booth, the team showed demonstrations of the ongoing trials: a mobile site diary application for the construction industry built in collaboration with Costain in the UK and a suite of workforce apps for the public transport industry built for Tågkompaniet in Sweden.  

Around 100 visitors expressed interest in following the MobiCloud project results and accessing the MobiCloud SDK, now available publicly. It is also possible to try out the site diary app for free for 30 days in your own operations. A large Polish construction group took advantage of this opportunity to test the power of mobile cloud applications for their own business.

MobiCloud was also represented in the networking sessions, with Xavier Aubry, MobiCloud project coordinator, speaking at the CloudWatch networking session. This session presented examples of existing cloud apps success stories and discussed how Europe can boost the competitiveness of its industries and SMEs with cloud computing. Thank you to our colleagues at CloudWatch for inviting us!

Xavier Aubry (MobiCloud project coordinator) presenting at the CloudWATCH session
at ICT213,  illustrating how the power of the cloud can be leveraged by SME's to serve
large customers in the construction and public transport industries

The MobiCloud was actively networking with other projects and was recruited during the event to join the beta program of E*Xelerator , a virtual eccelerator initiated by the European Alliance for Innovatioin.

Finally the event was a great opportunity to discover the ICT work programme 2014-2015 of Horizon 2020. The first call call has a deadline on April 23rd 2014 and features key topics in the field of mobile and cloud. The team is already thinking about a new project developing the results of MobiCloud further, so if you are interested to work on joint proposals, contact us!

In summary, ICT2013 delivered over and above all our expectations!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

COMIT Mobile IT Conference - London

Martin Wilson from Appear presented MobiCloud at the COMIT Mobile IT Conference at the Institute of Physics in London on 7th November to an audience of around 100 delegates. The guests included representatives from software companies, integrators, government bodies and engineering organisations focused on the use of mobile technology in the construction industry. 

Aside from Martin's update on MobiCloud and the applications that would comprise the Enterprise Appstore for Construction, other keynote presentations were delivered from Cross Rail (who are using mobile to improve the efficiency of their ambitious project to build a major rail link across London), Costain (using Building Information Modelling in their operations) and the UK government - on the implementation of BIM in a number of UK central government departments.

Martin Wilson

At the start and end of the day delegates also saw two perspectives on the evolution and future of the mobile technology applicable to civil engineering and construction - from Phil Jackson of the Institute of Civil Engineers and Franci Rabuck (Technology Research Analyst and Futurist).


The content of the keynotes and speeches which included device evolution, new technology and working practices confirmed that MobiCloud's approach of using cloud, cross platform and context would be key to the future success of construction at implementing mobile technologies for the workforce.

For more information about the conference, including more photographs and the presentation slides, see COMIT's website or their blog.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

MobiCloud visit to London Bridge

Back in September MobiCloud held a meeting in London, which was hosted by MobiCloud partner Costain. As part of the event Costain arranged a visit to their construction site at London Bridge.

Costain were awarded the £400m contract to redevelop London Bridge Station in late 2011 by Network Rail. The redevelopment is part of the Thameslink programme, which will significantly increase the number of trains passing through the station.

Costain are carrying out the detailed design and delivery of this five year project (due to complete in 2018). It will include a new concourse at street level and redeveloped entrances with improved ease of access to and from the station. Capacity will be increased from approximately 50 to 70 million passengers per year.

The project raises a number of challenges, not least the need to keep the station open and fully operational throughout the duration of the project. Costain will utilize a number of new technologies to help in the process, including advanced BIM, augmented reality and the MobiCloud Site Diary app which is being deployed on iPads.

The Site Diary app is one of the MobiCloud trial applications. It is designed to make it easier and quicker for site engineers to record information about events on site, which historically has been done manually. It can include photographs and GPS location and to makes relevent records much easier to locate at a later date.

MobiCloud to be Showcased at ICT 2013 Vilnius

The MobiCloud project is to be showcased in the CloudWATCH Networking Session at ICT2013. This is the EU's annual ICT event which this year is being held under the Lithuanian EU presidency in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 6-8 November 2013.

The CloudWATCH interactive networking session is a showcase for cloud success stories from SME users and providers. It is intended to show the tangible benefits to SMEs of adopting cloud technology and to promote those small businesses led by talented and creative thinkers that are adapting quickly to changing market conditions.

Among the invited speakers will be Xavier Aubry, project coordinator of the MobiCloud project (CIP 325195). The MobiCloud project was initially started in 2012 by a group of European SMEs with the objective of supporting the emergence of a European Corporate Appstore and creating a vibrant ecosystem of SMEs focusing on innovative mobile applications for business. 

The project released its SDK in June and at Vilnius will demonstrate the four pilot projects that have already been implemented using the MobiCloud framework. These are in four different European countries and focus on city transit, rail transport, field service and construction. 

SMEs wishing to join the MobiCloud ecosystem are encouraged to sign-up for the early adopter program where they will gain access to a MobiCloud testbed and MobiCloud best practices to run their own trial projects.

Event: November 7, 16:00-16:45 
Location: Room H1C, Litexpo, Vilnius 
More information on ICT2013

Thursday, 24 October 2013

FREE trial of the Site Diary App

One of the target industries of the MobiCloud trials is construction. Costain and Appear have developed a Site Diary application that is intended to dramatically improve the way that engineers record the events that occur on site. Traditionally these events are recorded on paper, which is fraught with difficulties.

Costain are currently trialling the Site Diary app on a number of sites in the UK using Apple iPads. If you work in the construction industry and have site-based staff then you may be interested to know that for a limited time the app is being made available free of charge on a trial basis.

The free trial is being facilitated by MobiCloud lead partner Appear and you can find out more about the Site Diary app and the offer on the MobiCloud website.

Friday, 18 October 2013

MobiCloud in Korea

The MobiCloud project was selected to take part in the first EU-Korea technical workshop in Seoul at the end of September.

The two-day workshop, hosted by Korean universities as well as representatives of the private sector, highlighted the current research activities in all participating countries in the field of cloud computing. In addition, multiple areas of collaboration between Korean and European partners were defined.

The MobiCloud project and the trial case studies were presented by Vladimir Bataev, the product portfolio manager from EsperantoXL. The presentation attracted substantial interest, particularly from enterprises that are looking into mobile solutions for their workforce.

In particular, the context-enabled features of mobile applications running on the MobiCloud platform resonated well with ongoing research and development around ubiquitous computing, "wearables", machine-to-machine communication and the internet of things (IoT).

MobiCloud was viewed as the perfect platform to bind these technologies together and deliver them to market, helping to meet the need for enterprises to find more innovative mobile solutions.

Other subjects covered during the workshop included advanced federated clouds, heterogeneous cloud computing and open source cloud developments.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

User Conference Karlsruhe

Mobicloud partner Nettropolis held its user conference in Karlsruhe on the 10th and 11th of October this year. As well as the team from Nettropolis the event was also attended by Mobicloud's Kelly Pauw from Appear. 

Kelly is based in the Netherlands and so he had a 6 hour drive across country to get to the offices in Germany. Fortunately the hospitality at Nettropolis is legendary and alone is worth the trip!

The user conference was well attended by over 80 existing and potential customers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. They were briefed on the new developments from Nettropolis by CTO Holger Kammerer and project manager Christian Barth. 

There was also a mobile workshop and presentations from customers such as VAG Nürnberg and Verkehrsbetriebe Karslruhe on how they are deploying the products developed by Nettropolis. This included a presentation from ASEAG on how Nettropolis helped them with an iPad mobile solution for evaluating their freelance bus drivers.

Kelly presented the Mobicloud solution and took questions from the audience. The feedback from the crowd was very good and people were positive about the possibilities that Mobicloud offers.

The evening a was spent dining at Karslruhe castle followed by a tour of the museum. It was an interesting tour and a good way to get to know more about the needs of the transport industry from Nettroplis's customers in an informal setting. 

The last day included a visit to VBK Verkehrsbetriebe Karlsruhe, the home of the famous train-that-becomes-a-tram. There was a chance to get a close look at their newest tram and to see the very impressive control center.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

MobiCloud in the Spotlight at ICT2013 in Vilnius

The EU's annual ICT event will be held under the Lithuanian EU presidency in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 6-8 November 2013. More than 4000 researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, industry representatives, young people and politicians are expected in Vilnius. 

The MobiCloud consortium has been selected by the European Commission to present the latest advances in mobile cloud technologies. The MobiCloud booth will be in Hall4, Zone R3 industry and business for tomorrow, Stand 4D2.

We will showcase live demonstrations of the mobile solutions developed in Sweden, UK, Germany and the Netherlands in construction and public transport. 

We will also present the MobiCloud partner program, aiming at supporting the emergence of a European ecosystem of mobile cloud application developers. The MobiCloud consortium has released a new software development toolkit (SDK) that enables developers to create cross-platform and context-aware mobile workforce applications in the cloud.

The toolkit contains a number of predefined application templates to kick-start implementations of use cases in transportation, construction and field service enterprise mobility projects. The platform includes a mobile web SDK for creating HTML5 application components, native SDKs for creating cross-platform containers, as well as Java and REST SDKs for integration enhancements with back-end systems.

If you sign up as an Early Adopter, the use of the MobiCloud platform is free and the latest release of the SDK now enables the implementation of cross-platform hybrid HTML5/native iOS and Android applications.

If you sign up as a Community Member, you will receive updates from the MobiCloud consortium to help you build your enterprise mobility strategy, based on the technical guidelines and case studies developed for MobiCloud.

Sign-up now on our website if you would like to book a one-on-one meeting in Vilnius (please indicate "ICT2013" in the topic) or to join the partner program (please indicate "partner program" in the topic)

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Gartner Catalyst Technical Forum on Mobility & Cloud validates MobiCloud's technical approach

On Sept 25, Gartner held its first Catalyst Event in Europe, focusing on the area of mobile cloud technologies. The event provided detailed, tactical guidance on technical architecture, policy, and implementation approaches for enterprise mobility initiatives.

The MobiCloud consortium was invited by Gartner to present the lessons learned from ongoing mobile cloud technologies deployments in Sweden, UK, Germany and the Netherlands in industries such as construction and public transport.

Patrick Okkersen (EsperantoXL), Mark Collier (Costain) and Xavier Aubry (Appear) took the stage in front of 100 key decision-makers and described how to create a mobile strategy that overcomes enterprise silos, how to adopt cross-platform technology that supports BYOD models and how to deliver great user experience based on context-aware interfaces.

A quick poll with the audience showed that 90% of the organizations present at the event were leaning towards a hybrid approach (combining a native "core" with HTML5 apps) when it comes to client-side technologies, which demonstrated that HTML5 has progressed enough to support the development of high performance enterprise applications, provided that it can rely on native interfaces for local device storage and sensors.

The presentation also showed in detail the advantages of continuous integration and deployment. With cloud-based infrastructures it becomes very easy (and cost-effective) to deploy and upgrade mobile services iteratively. This allows for direct and rapid user and usage feedback as the system evolves. This "lean" development approach is saving millions of Euros for the organizations implementing their mobile strategy using MobiCloud.


Your organization can benefit too!

If you sign up as an Early Adopter, the use of the MobiCloud platform is free and the latest release of the SDK now enables the implementation of cross-platform hybrid HTML5/native iOS and Android applications.

If you sign up as a Community Member, you will receive updates from the MobiCloud consortium to help you build your enterprise mobility strategy, based on the technical guidelines and case studies developed for MobiCloud. 

Sign-up now via our website

Friday, 4 October 2013

London - Breakfast Seminar

On Friday 27th September the MobiCloud team hosted a well attended breakfast seminar event in central London. Attendees at the event represented developers, integrators and organisations in industries such as rail and construction that were interested in the topic of cloud mobile enterprise applications. Xavier Aubry, CEO of Appear shared some experiences and presented a strategy for implementing mobile technology for workers in industrial environments and also illustrated some of the real-world user cases of MobiCloud.

Katie Swanick from Costain presenting
Katie Swanick from Costain gave some insights around their involvement with MobiCloud and gave a live demonstration of their Site Diary application and how it can be used in the civil engineering and construction industry.

Watch this space for upcoming events in other European cities soon - in particular Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Stockholm (Sweden).

Thursday, 3 October 2013

London Meeting - trial updates

Last week we had a MobiCloud Consortium meeting in London, organised by Costain and kindly hosted by Bentley at their office in Gracechurch Street. The event took place over the Thursday and Friday and included the Breakfast Meeting on Friday morning for those new to the MobiCloud project and a visit to Costain's site at Tower Bridge in the afternoon.

We turned up on Thursday morning to find the occupants of the Gracechurch Street office standing in the street outside and two fire engines in attendance. Fortunately it was a false alarm! While the building was being evacuated the more dedicated members of the consortium began the meeting on the pavement while those less hardy (or sensible) souls relocated to a pub across the road.
Outside Bentley's offices in London
Once we were allowed into the building the meeting started in earnest. The MobiCloud project has been making rapid progress and there were trial updates from Costain, Nettropolis, EsperantoXL and Appear.


Costain has launched the first version of their MobiCloud Site Diary app and has been testing it in the field. Mark Collier of Costain gave an overview and demonstration of the app and how it is being used to save time and to improve the quality of recording events on site. 

Costain Site Diary

Mark Collier from Costain
Initially Costain has chosen to trial the app on iPad’s and it was interesting to hear how different sites had different device preferences. While the iPad works well in many situations, some sites expressed a preference for smaller devices like the iPad Mini or Google Nexus, which are easier to carry around (they happen to fit in the pockets of the standard protective clothing worn on site). Some also preferred Android to iOS. 

The cross-platform support and device agnostic nature MobiCloud means that Costain will be able to experiment with these variations as the trial progresses. 

City Transit

Nettropolis reported progress on the development of their City Transit solution for use by the Karlsruhe Transport Authority in Germany. This is the authority that has made a name for itself world wide with the “Karlsruhe model”. This is where the same vehicle that runs as a fast light train in the region becomes a tram as it enters the city.

Karlsruhe Tram / Light train
Manu Auch from Nettropolis
The app described by Manu Auch from Nettropolis will be used to help the authorities coordinate their extensive mobile workforce and for recording or alerting them to incidents that occur on the network. The first version is due to be released in November this year.

Field Service

Vladimir from EsperantoXL described the Flex@lly app they are developing for their client Tence in the Netherlands. Tence are an employment agency that provide flexible workers to companies and employ thousands of people. They are part of the international group Vebego.

User consultation at Tence

Vladimir Bataev from EsperantoXL
MobiCloud uses the Agile development model and Vladimir described how they were using very fast iterations and a close involvement with end-users to develop the application. They were carrying out checks with 1 or 2 users daily and holding weekly validation sessions. He commented that users never knew what they wanted but always knew what they did not want when they saw it!

Tence is an interesting case for user adoption since the flexible workers will be using the app on their own personal mobiles. It therefore has to work well on low-end devices that will be predominately Android smart phones. EsperantoXL aim to complete development of the first version of the solution by the end of the year.


Swedish rail operator Tågkompaniet (TKAB) have been trailing a MobiCloud solution developed by Appear since the end of May this year. Xavier from Appear gave an update on its use to date. The app called Kompis 2.0 is designed to replace an older mobile system running on obsolete hardware that had low user acceptance and satisfaction.

Xavier Aubry from Appear
The new app is currently being used on both Andriod and iOS devices and will soon be made available on Windows Phone as well. The device ecosystem at TKAB is complex, BYOD is allowed but there are also enterprise owned devices in use as well.

The app gives access to timetables and operational information as well as the companies internal directory and is also used for fault and status reporting. It makes extensive use of context to simplify the user interface. It is currently being used by 350 mobile workers, mainly train drivers, plus 15 back-office workers who are traffic controllers or IT administrators and who access the system via a web application rather than a mobile device.

Appear have learned a number of useful lessons from the TKAB deployment which have been applied to other trials. One of these is that you cannot always rely on the suppliers of the back-end systems with which the app integrates to tell you when they make breaking changes!

New applications for TKAB are under discussion, including the migration of an external "ticket control" application into Kompis 2.0.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The MobiCloud Blog

Welcome to our new blog. MobiCloud is an EU supported project developing the technology to deliver a European Corporate Appstore. The project website is

The aim of MobiCloud is to develop a cost-effective platform for making existing company back-end systems available to mobile workers, without the complexity and up-front cost that is normally associated with traditional mobile application development.

The project is utilizing existing cloud-based and web-based technologies to deliver a service-based model for a new kind of mobile application, that is intrinsically cross-platform and context-aware.

The project is initially looking at four case studies - city transit, rail, construction and field service. For each of these sectors we are looking to transform the way they currently work.

As the project is now in the last quarter of its first year there will be an increasing amount happening and this blog will be used to help disseminate our activities.