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Need help with request from a client

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by srhoades, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. srhoades


    Jul 14, 2000
    I have a client that is a roofer. Apparently he saw some other company in his industry using a tablet to fill out forms, take pictures and then "automatically sync it with the home office". So of course he wants to rub the lamp and have me snap my fingers and just create this.

    I know they were using a tablet of some sort, but my inclination is they were using a custom designed app that could attach photos to a single file and then upload it using a 3G connection to the cloud somewhere. I asked him why don't you call company X and find out what they use but he doesn't want to do that for some reason.

    So what are my options here? Can this be accomplisehd with something a simple as a Samsung Galaxy tablet with an Adobe fillable form and dropbox? Or is there a ridiculously expensive company out there that sells customizable service software?

    I may sound a little cyncial but I have been pushing this guy to replace his again 2003 SBS server for almost a year now and he thinks it is took expensive, so I'm not real confident that he will be all that serious once the cost of doing this is fully known.
  2. It's fairly simple & easy, or can be, but as always and particularly with IT, it really depends on precisely what he wants to accomplish.

    Does he want the forms/photos to be integrated? How much info is he looking to capture?

    Need more info on exactly what he's trying to achieve.

    Until you post that, here are a few ideas:

    - He can take pictures with the iPad (and I'm assuming Android devices too) and email or text them anywhere. (iCloud is an option with Photostream to automatically sync them to a PC, but for now it only works over wifi)

    - He could upload the photos via Photobucket, create albums and caption photos right from his iPad. Those would obviously be accessible to anyone he chooses.

    - As for a form, there are many options. I'd lean towards creating a web-based form (I've used FormStack) and when you hit the "submit" button, you can program it to email it to anyone you designate, in his case, the home office.

    - He could create a fillable/editable PDF and use a $5 app to fill the info into the PDF and email it to whomever he likes.

    ETA: I would opt for a web form over PDF because you can make a change to the web form in one place & it's instantly available to anyone who uses it; with a PDF, you'd have to edit the PDF and get it back onto the device, for each person who uses it. I guess with one person it's not too tough, but for more than one person, I'd definitely go web form.

    Just a few ideas, need more info from you. :cool:
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2012

  3. srhoades


    Jul 14, 2000
    Formstack looks like it may work. He does want the photos integrated or attached to the form, does formstack have the ability to do that?

  4. Yes formstack sure can, but the limit is going to be the device; I'm just about positive the iPad has no way to upload an attachment to a web form, and would be surprised if android offered that either.

    Formstack has an app, perhaps it could happen that way... not sure.
  5. srhoades


    Jul 14, 2000
    I was just looking into that. They have both an iPad and android app.
  6. Yep, pretty sure you can submit text/forms you've created through the app, just not sure about attaching the photos.
  7. Pierre!

    Pierre! NRA Life Member

    Jun 20, 2003
    Lovin Sparks Nv!
    Check out Evernote - Syncs to cloud for access via PC/Mac, smart phone... and I haven't had to check into the various Pad OSs yet.

    Easy to use, whopping $45/year for unlimited use (up to 60Megs per month is free - would be useful for testing)

    Setup a doc with your own layout, fill in data at the appointment, embed picks in the form or 'notebook' and it's done.

    Time for another appointment? Sync the Masterform to the next 'client', visit and fill it in, same deal with the pics...

    Hope that helps.

  8. Linux3


    Dec 31, 2008
    Google "POS system for Android".
    Lots of options.

    I assume you want Android so images can be loaded into the tablet.
  9. srhoades


    Jul 14, 2000
    The application is for roof inspections. Images do not have to be loaded onto the tablet. Basically the guy can walk around, take pictures with the tablet, fill out his report and send it off.
  10. Toyman


    May 6, 2003
    West Michigan
    I just looked at the Formstack iOS app, they added iPad file upload functionality in august. It explicitly states "Upload images to your form using the iPhone camera" - which would also work on iPad.

    So Images are not a problem.

    I believe iOS 6 now allows file uploads through web pages now.
  11. kc8ykd


    Oct 6, 2005
    edit, it's been a long day, i got confused.

    if you want, have your roofer guy check out Aerial Sketch by Xactimate,

    and Eagleview.

    those will probably save him some time in the field estimating.

    as for the forms, i dunno, probably some custom thing the other guys had written. Adobe might offer something for the forms and digitally signing them, but the auto-upload as a single package is outside my sphere of familiarity with anything i've worked with.

    you might call that competitor as a 'sales guy' cold call and offer services, when they deny you, inquire about what software they're using currently and ask about their satisfaction level with it.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012
  12. srhoades


    Jul 14, 2000
    Thanks guys, as usual you have been very helpful.
  13. Hef

    Hef Stop Obammunism

    Sep 12, 2004
    Hilton Head, SC
    Look at Canvas Apps. We use them as a GC for daily reporting by site supervisors. The forms are totally customizable and allow photos to be attached. The forms are submitted to the Canvas server and then sent to an email (or emails) as PDF reports. The server is accessible through a web portal.

    Canvas makes client apps for iOS, Blackberry, and Android smartphones, as well as Windows PC's.