UK-based Rare Management shares how the bring-your-own device (BYOD) movement is helping the company reduce costs and boost reliability when it comes to testing out the latest ski equipment.
As a company that specializes in events management, it could be said that tablets and iPhones are a good fit for Rare Management. After all, many competitors in this space are utilizing mobile devices to improve logistics, and one firm (ORM London) has even developed a product for checking people into events with Apple’s iPad.
That said Rare Management is nothing if not unique when it comes to using mobile devices; case in point, its use of iPhones and iPads at its annual SIGB industry Ski Test.
This event has been held for the past ten years in the United Kingdom and sees a host of UK journalists and photographers head to Rare Management’s ski slope facilities in Edinburgh, Scotland, to test out (and rate) the latest ski equipment.
Given last year’s test attracted 191 testers from 32 different organizations, all of whom were testing 761 pairs of skis from 18 brands, it’s clear this could make for a data entry headache.
Fortunately, that is not the case for Rare Management, which now relies on FileMaker Go and the testers’ own iPhones and iPads to input results, with the numbers of mobile users ramping up quickly.
“This year we had over 3,000 test results, of which 20-25% were done on iPads or iPhones”, company director Mike Jardine told TabTimes. “The aim is to ramp that figure up year on year to make pen and paper redundant.”
Using tablets and smartphones to save money and get reliable results
Jardine explained that testers previously scored their products using pen and paper, but said that – with testers being forced to score across 11 different categories in adverse weather conditions – the firm started to transition first to computers and then to mobile.
The Rare Management exec said that the move to digital lessened the likelihood of errors, but also saved the company some money too.
“A few years ago we decided to move forward a bit so we had someone develop a test [FileMaker Go] app for iPhones and iPads, which made our life a lot easier with data input," said Jardine, who added that the app allows testers to enter SKUs and enter scores before pushing their report to the FileMaker database.
“From our point of view it’s much more efficient and much more accurate too, because entering all this data by hand opened up a quite significant opportunity for errors.”
Jardine said that before the boom of mobile devices, he was forced to hire someone just to input all the data.
Testers embrace BYOD, with iPhones and iPads leading the way
Most testers at this time are using their iPhones with Rare Management's FileMaker Go app to hook into the firm's FileMaker database, but Jardine believes there could be more room for new iPads going forward.
“It’s mainly iPhones at the moment. We do have a few iPads but in an ideal world we would have more.”
“At the moment it relies on the testers having their own devices, but we’re hoping to next year have some iPads at a test center so they can camp in there and put their results in straight away when they come back from testing.”
Jardine said that the firm is currently toying with either hiring or loaning some iPads for this center, but says that it will continue to rely on BYOD iPads for the meantime.
“It all makes for a very seamless operation," he added.