The one iOS7 Feature that Changed the Way I Use my Device

So before I let you know what it is I need to give you some backstory.  This goes way back to early Windows day.  From the start I have always been trying to organize my apps (programs).  In early Windows it was Norton Desktop then is was constantly managing my Start Menu and eventually this spread to bookmark madness.

At some point search engines and browser bars came along and they worked so well that you really stopped worrying about bookmarks because search can just find what you need.  At this point on my desktop I really don’t care where my apps (programs) are; key ones are in my dock or page one of the start screen, and for others, I just use search to open them.

But the on my mobile device things have been a bit of a mess.  Until recently I had pages of apps and folders (100’s of apps).  Many of these I hardly used but did not want to uninstall; and when I needed one that I did not use often I would have search each screen and folder until I found it.  In iOS 7 they made a simple change to spotlight search making is accessible from any page with just a ‘pull down’ on the screen.

This has completely changed the way I use my phone and tablet.  First off no folders on the first 2 pages, just the apps I use most often.  Really the apps on my first page cover 90% of my use, and I rarely have to search.  For other apps, new ones, and ones I rarely use; they just go anywhere and when I need them I just pull down and search.  What a relief to not have to deal with shaking icons, folder naming, and trying to move items around only to realize I just have too many apps.

This also applies to how I get to my BI content.  I use search all the time and really never browse for content.  I am often connecting to servers that have, frankly, out of control catalogs, and this make it even more valuable. Really, the same concept as above applies.  Key reports I use all the time will be in ‘Recent’ or ‘Favorites’, and aside from that I will just search.

Goodbye folders.

So You Want to Build a BI Mobile App…

If you were at Oracle Open World BI Mobile App Designer may be old news, but either way you need to read on.

So here is the scenario; you are BI author and you have built some great dashboards and maybe you are even deploying those dashboards using the BI Mobile HD app

Now you want to build a purposeful mobile app to meet the specific needs of some of your BI consumers, but custom, Objective-C, Java, HTML5; OUCH, not quite ready for that.  Well, give BI Mobile App Designer a try and leave all that crazy coding to us.

http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/middleware/bi-foundation/mad-trial-2019918.html

With the trial edition you can give this simple authoring and mobile deployment experience a try on your desktop and device prior to getting IT and other approvals.  This way you know the amount of work it takes and the types of app you can create prior to doing a full deployment.

So why not give it a try!

Did You Know?

Did you know that using the BI Mobile HD security toolkit you can ‘code’ your organizations servers so that end users do not have to worry about setting them up manually.

Look it is super easy to for end users to add a new server to our iPhone and iPad application but why not make is so they just do not have to worry about it.

Keep in mind this requires some Xcode skills and you have to be deploying our application in your companies enterprise application store.

Here is the code for the method:

// To add a server you can do the following: [super createServer:@“<Provide server name>”

host:@“<Provide host>”
port:<9704>
enableSSL:FALSE
enableSSO:FALSE
username:@“<Provide username or blank (user will be prompted)>”password:@”<Provide password or blank (user will be prompted>“ setAsDefaultServer:NO]; 

For more details refer to the appendix in our Building the BI Mobile HD application for enterprise deployment guide.

Here are additional details on the security toolkit.

5 Things I Would Rather do on a Mobile Phone

A lot of us, especially those in the business world and those born before 1990 still cling to the desktop; and when in the office I use my laptop most of the day.  However there are some specific things I would rather do on my mobile phone regardless what situation I am in.  Here are my top 5:

Weather:

This is my number 1 for sure.  In fact I only check the weather on my mobile phone.  There are some great applications for this, and my current favorite is Yahoo Weather.

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Maps:

Honestly, I rarely need directions sitting at my desk and when you combine location services, bluetooth car integration, and the portability of a phone it is no brainer.  I personally switch between Google Maps and Apple Maps (it seems to work fine where I live).

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Discovering Where to Eat:

This is a pretty broad category that includes discovery, ratings, and reservations as far as I am concerned.  Between Yelp, UrbanSpoon, and OpenTable I can pretty much do what I need.  My options here are using these apps on my mobile phone or asking friends and co-workers, I really hate deciding…

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Task Management:

Lists are a big part of my work and personnel life and I have tried just about every task management program out there.  I have found that I use 2 types of lists; good old pencil a paper and now WunderList.  WunderList gets a most of its’ use on my mobile phone but I do love that they have versions for just about every platform so when I am at my desk I can easily and seamlessly manage my day.  There are a bunch of other great task management apps out there and it seems to me to be a very personal choice.

I will admit, I still use my favorite pencil pretty often.

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Social Networking:

Facebook, Twitter, Path, Google+, it really does not matter these apps are used on my mobile phone at least 95% of the time.  I don’t know too many folks who pull out their laptop do do a check-in or to post pictures.

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So that is my top five and most of those are pretty ‘consumer’ but what about business?  Well until recently most of our BI or Analytics was trapped on the desktop and tablet.  With the re-introduction of BI Mobile HD on the iPhone and with the launch of BI Mobile App Designer I think you will start to see a trend towards mobile phones in the business data space.  

Why not have quick and easy access to key analytics or metrics that drive your business?

http://bimobilelabs.com/post/59621459927/purpose-built-app-for-the-phone

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Breaking News iOS7 is out Today…

OK that was a joke and of course you know this.  The real question is how will the BI Mobile HD and the BI Mobile App Designer apps handle this. 

The answer is ’just fine’.  We have been running and testing our BI Mobile HD app on iOS7 for months now and things work just fine.  

For BI Mobile App Designer you have even less to worry about.  The end user experience is a responsive HTML5 experience that will work across iOS versions and across different mobile OS’s like Android or Windows Mobile.  BI Mobile App Designer even has a built in ‘white’ skin so your apps can match the lighter ‘iOS’ look and feel.

So short answer is upgrade!  I know you cannot resist the power or parallax…

Fitness Apps and their Impact on Enterprise BI

Folks who really know me outside of work know that I am a bit of a fitness freak.  In fact ‘obsessed’ has been used to describe me, and to fuel this obsession I love to collect personal fitness data and have been doing it for years.  There are a ton of tools for this and recently I have been using 2 that are making me think differently about the business data I consume.

The first one is Fitbit. http://fitbit.com  Fitbit is a wearable device that tracks things like steps, stairs, and more depending on accessories and your level of input. 

The device syncs all the data to your smartphone and lets you do BI style analysis on your smartphone or your desktop.

You might look at this app or dashboard and be able to point out flaws, in fact I think the smartphone app needs a lot of work; but with that said, the data is presented a in simple way that is compelling to look at and analyze.  The key is that it is social, always up to date, and at your fingertips at all times!

The second app I am using heavily these days is Strava http://www.strava.com.  Strava is a service that allows cyclists and runners to track, analyze, and share data.  It also allows athletes to have virtual competitions using something called segments. (Tons of fun!)  

The Strava mobile app is even better than its’ desktop counterpart, it lets you not only record your rides and runs but it lets you analyze them as well.  They also have a cool metric (KPI) called suffer score that combines metrics like heart rate, power, and more to come up with a score.  This score becomes a great indicator on how your fitness is tracking.  

Other indicators are shown equally well in the app and are great for ride or run analysis.

There is a saying in triathlon about transitons “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” and the simplicity of the visualizations in these apps reminds me of that.  Maybe we are overdoing things; and maybe trends in data, thoughtful KPI’s, and accessibility outweigh features on a chart or dashboard?