- About FEDA
- How to Join
- Meet the Board
- Locate a Dealer
- Selling to FEDA Members
- Buying Groups
- Industry Links
AutoQuotes on the iPad
By Kent Motes
The popularity of mobile devices and the expansion of WiFi and cellular connectivity has made Apple and its I-series of products the largest company success in economic history. Last week Apple sold their 100 millionth iPad. Dealers, Reps, Manufacturers, and Consultants are beginning to adapt their workplaces to the mobility of tablets.
We understand why our Users want to access business content and want to use a wide range of devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. But corporations are not people, and deployment in our industry is more complicated. Hardware investments, sales force training, new OS’s, and full IT support are a big ticket commitment for FEDA dealers. And there is no yellow brick road.
We believe tablets like iPads should be in every FEDA member’s short term business plan. Here are the reasons why.
Tablets will replace most laptops. At about the same price, they are faster, lighter, more mobile, and a much better tool for sharing product information with a customer or for taking photos for a punch list. For business activity after hours, on sales calls, on weekends, and or on business trips, iPads are a convenient info-expediter.
Tablets are not a desktop replacement. Word documents, Excel, and PowerPoint are apps designed for the desktop. You can view CAD drawings on your iPad, but can do only minimal annotations and editing. Access is not an option. And connecting to your LAN, or using a VPN connection to send stock orders to your AS400? Not now, not yet.
Tablets today are more related to the smartphone family. The screen has an interface based on touch rather than a keyboard and a mouse. The pop-up keyboard is not great for writing long documents, but is OK for email and editing. Navigating applications with taps, flicks, long presses, and pinches is a bit organic and messy at first but becomes more naturally familiar and intuitive than a mouse click. (For tips on iPad gestures, tap this link to a gesture reference guide). Tablets open instantly and navigate easily. They can be viewed in landscape or portrait mode, with the screen automatically changing based on the angle that it is held.
AutoQuotes now has an app in the Apple Store (search 'AutoQuotes' or 'AQ'). AQ is a fast and light version of AutoQuotes. It is not the desktop replacement but is reasonably complete. Not all the reports and the report options are finished. You won’t be editing PO’s, changing discounts in Manufacturer Setup, or modifying Admin functions in AQ. But the Catalog content, your Customer list, your Discounts, and all of your Projects are complete. It opens instantly and navigates easily. Searching products is surprisingly fast.
The FEDA membership has been the core of the AutoQuotes community for 22 years. A big positive for us is to share ideas with you about mobile apps and about how they will benefit your sales force, your engineers, and your IT staff. Shared content delivered efficiently to multiple apps, mobile or desktop, is a business model that we want to assist and to help define. There is no direction but up.