Smartphone apps have become increasingly popular as the number of people owning a smartphone rises year on year. As of July 2013 72% of UK people owned a Smartphone – approximately 7 in 10 people. The release in the last few days of the Iphone 6, should increase that figure even more with extended capabilities including wireless technology, mobile video and a whole host of new services to feed a speed hungry market.
Mobile web out – Apps are in
Back in April 2014, the Guardian published an article challenging the use of Apps over mobile web usage. Their research showed that people use their smartphones for an average of 2 hours 38 minutes per day and most of this time is made up of App usage. Use of the mobile web continues to dwindle despite technology advances like the introduction of 4G. According to research company ComScore, people are spending just 22 minutes each day using mobile web.
These findings do not come as a surprise, after all Apps are fast and keep all your information to hand. There is no need to log in and wait ages whilst the screen loads up. From popular apps like Facebook to an app which can promote your own electrical business, they all meet three essential requirements:
Satisfaction of needs
Cheap – many are free or low cost
Using Apps at work
Using an app to help with electrical work may have raised a few eyebrows years ago, however electricians are now increasingly using Apps which are fast replacing bulky and cumbersome books. Apps provide answers and clarification quickly enabling the job to progress more smoothly and quickly.
Many big names in the electrical industry including Schneider, Electrical Safety First and Legrand have been producing apps designed to make working life easier. We also came across some other interesting apps such an Ohms Law calculator, Electrical Toolkit app and even an iHandy level app where you can turn your Smartphone into a spirit level!
For our August survey, we asked electricians what they rated as their top app and indeed, whether an essential app is missing from what's on offer currently.
Electricians Top 3 Rated Apps
Free to download and offering in-app purchases, icertifi was our top pick amongst UK electricians. Offering the ability to produce electrical certificates without the need for expensive desk top software, the app also acts as an 'assistant' monitoring and checking test results and calculating data making electrical safety testing accurate and more productive.
The App is free to use although a subscription is required to send and save certificates.
2. EasyCert Mobile
EasyCert works in conjunction with EasyCert desktop software by allowing electricians to record and input results directly into a smartphone ready for importing to the desktop software. The information only needs to be entered once saving time and effort. The EasyCert mobile wizards guide you through each part of the certificate avoiding mistakes.
The complete range of electrical certificates is supported on the EasyCert App.
3. Megger Cable Calculator
The cable calculator tool app offers a comprehensive cable selection and volt drop calculator tool for installations up to 25KW 100A. Most cable types can be calculated with the app recently updated to include calculations of up to 400mm SWA. MICC light and heavy duty cables have also been added.
There is a wide range of reference methods and videos within the app and a handy guide to the use of electrical test instruments.
Other Electrician Approved Apps
From VitalSource Technologies Inc, the app is free to download and allows the downloading and access of VitalSource e-books. E-books contain exactly the same information as the printed versions and can be leafed through in full colour exactly like the books. Note taking and zooming in of images is possible as well as the option of jumping straight to a specific page.
Downloads of essential publications such as BS7671, guidance notes 1 to 8, on-site guide, design guide and code of practice for electricians are all available to download.
Calendar – better than a paper diary, easy to use and one less thing to loose!
AseePro – Shows CCTV live
Signeasy – A convenient way to sign documents, worksheets and the filling in of forms which can then be signed electronically.
Sumup – Get paid quicker by turning your Smartphone into a card terminal and accept card payments.
Simplenote – An easy way to sync notes and 'to do' lists to your desktop
Ohms Law Calc – great for reference
Apollo Fire HD – Contains a version of the BS5839 Guide to help you stay within the rules and regulations when installing fire detectors and devices.
What electricians would like to see
On every electricians wish list is a fault finding app! Unfortunately it is unlikely that one will ever exist! If you're a budding inventor, you might like to start developing the impossible dream now......
Although the fault finding app will be forever absent, the Smartphone is still definitely a saviour when it comes to space saving and time saving. Imagine the resources you would have to carry around with you without one! Come to think of it, we wonder how the 28% of people without a Smartphone manage. We're assuming they can't be electricians!