Tuesday, 29 October 2013

MobiCloud visit to London Bridge

Back in September MobiCloud held a meeting in London, which was hosted by MobiCloud partner Costain. As part of the event Costain arranged a visit to their construction site at London Bridge.

Costain were awarded the £400m contract to redevelop London Bridge Station in late 2011 by Network Rail. The redevelopment is part of the Thameslink programme, which will significantly increase the number of trains passing through the station.

Costain are carrying out the detailed design and delivery of this five year project (due to complete in 2018). It will include a new concourse at street level and redeveloped entrances with improved ease of access to and from the station. Capacity will be increased from approximately 50 to 70 million passengers per year.

The project raises a number of challenges, not least the need to keep the station open and fully operational throughout the duration of the project. Costain will utilize a number of new technologies to help in the process, including advanced BIM, augmented reality and the MobiCloud Site Diary app which is being deployed on iPads.

The Site Diary app is one of the MobiCloud trial applications. It is designed to make it easier and quicker for site engineers to record information about events on site, which historically has been done manually. It can include photographs and GPS location and to makes relevent records much easier to locate at a later date.

MobiCloud to be Showcased at ICT 2013 Vilnius

The MobiCloud project is to be showcased in the CloudWATCH Networking Session at ICT2013. This is the EU's annual ICT event which this year is being held under the Lithuanian EU presidency in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 6-8 November 2013.

The CloudWATCH interactive networking session is a showcase for cloud success stories from SME users and providers. It is intended to show the tangible benefits to SMEs of adopting cloud technology and to promote those small businesses led by talented and creative thinkers that are adapting quickly to changing market conditions.

Among the invited speakers will be Xavier Aubry, project coordinator of the MobiCloud project (CIP 325195). The MobiCloud project was initially started in 2012 by a group of European SMEs with the objective of supporting the emergence of a European Corporate Appstore and creating a vibrant ecosystem of SMEs focusing on innovative mobile applications for business. 

The project released its SDK in June and at Vilnius will demonstrate the four pilot projects that have already been implemented using the MobiCloud framework. These are in four different European countries and focus on city transit, rail transport, field service and construction. 

SMEs wishing to join the MobiCloud ecosystem are encouraged to sign-up for the early adopter program where they will gain access to a MobiCloud testbed and MobiCloud best practices to run their own trial projects.

Event: November 7, 16:00-16:45 
Location: Room H1C, Litexpo, Vilnius 
More information on ICT2013

Thursday, 24 October 2013

FREE trial of the Site Diary App

One of the target industries of the MobiCloud trials is construction. Costain and Appear have developed a Site Diary application that is intended to dramatically improve the way that engineers record the events that occur on site. Traditionally these events are recorded on paper, which is fraught with difficulties.

Costain are currently trialling the Site Diary app on a number of sites in the UK using Apple iPads. If you work in the construction industry and have site-based staff then you may be interested to know that for a limited time the app is being made available free of charge on a trial basis.

The free trial is being facilitated by MobiCloud lead partner Appear and you can find out more about the Site Diary app and the offer on the MobiCloud website.

Friday, 18 October 2013

MobiCloud in Korea

The MobiCloud project was selected to take part in the first EU-Korea technical workshop in Seoul at the end of September.

The two-day workshop, hosted by Korean universities as well as representatives of the private sector, highlighted the current research activities in all participating countries in the field of cloud computing. In addition, multiple areas of collaboration between Korean and European partners were defined.

The MobiCloud project and the trial case studies were presented by Vladimir Bataev, the product portfolio manager from EsperantoXL. The presentation attracted substantial interest, particularly from enterprises that are looking into mobile solutions for their workforce.

In particular, the context-enabled features of mobile applications running on the MobiCloud platform resonated well with ongoing research and development around ubiquitous computing, "wearables", machine-to-machine communication and the internet of things (IoT).

MobiCloud was viewed as the perfect platform to bind these technologies together and deliver them to market, helping to meet the need for enterprises to find more innovative mobile solutions.

Other subjects covered during the workshop included advanced federated clouds, heterogeneous cloud computing and open source cloud developments.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

User Conference Karlsruhe

Mobicloud partner Nettropolis held its user conference in Karlsruhe on the 10th and 11th of October this year. As well as the team from Nettropolis the event was also attended by Mobicloud's Kelly Pauw from Appear. 

Kelly is based in the Netherlands and so he had a 6 hour drive across country to get to the offices in Germany. Fortunately the hospitality at Nettropolis is legendary and alone is worth the trip!

The user conference was well attended by over 80 existing and potential customers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. They were briefed on the new developments from Nettropolis by CTO Holger Kammerer and project manager Christian Barth. 

There was also a mobile workshop and presentations from customers such as VAG Nürnberg and Verkehrsbetriebe Karslruhe on how they are deploying the products developed by Nettropolis. This included a presentation from ASEAG on how Nettropolis helped them with an iPad mobile solution for evaluating their freelance bus drivers.

Kelly presented the Mobicloud solution and took questions from the audience. The feedback from the crowd was very good and people were positive about the possibilities that Mobicloud offers.

The evening a was spent dining at Karslruhe castle followed by a tour of the museum. It was an interesting tour and a good way to get to know more about the needs of the transport industry from Nettroplis's customers in an informal setting. 

The last day included a visit to VBK Verkehrsbetriebe Karlsruhe, the home of the famous train-that-becomes-a-tram. There was a chance to get a close look at their newest tram and to see the very impressive control center.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

MobiCloud in the Spotlight at ICT2013 in Vilnius

The EU's annual ICT event will be held under the Lithuanian EU presidency in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 6-8 November 2013. More than 4000 researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, industry representatives, young people and politicians are expected in Vilnius. 

The MobiCloud consortium has been selected by the European Commission to present the latest advances in mobile cloud technologies. The MobiCloud booth will be in Hall4, Zone R3 industry and business for tomorrow, Stand 4D2.

We will showcase live demonstrations of the mobile solutions developed in Sweden, UK, Germany and the Netherlands in construction and public transport. 

We will also present the MobiCloud partner program, aiming at supporting the emergence of a European ecosystem of mobile cloud application developers. The MobiCloud consortium has released a new software development toolkit (SDK) that enables developers to create cross-platform and context-aware mobile workforce applications in the cloud.

The toolkit contains a number of predefined application templates to kick-start implementations of use cases in transportation, construction and field service enterprise mobility projects. The platform includes a mobile web SDK for creating HTML5 application components, native SDKs for creating cross-platform containers, as well as Java and REST SDKs for integration enhancements with back-end systems.

If you sign up as an Early Adopter, the use of the MobiCloud platform is free and the latest release of the SDK now enables the implementation of cross-platform hybrid HTML5/native iOS and Android applications.

If you sign up as a Community Member, you will receive updates from the MobiCloud consortium to help you build your enterprise mobility strategy, based on the technical guidelines and case studies developed for MobiCloud.

Sign-up now on our website if you would like to book a one-on-one meeting in Vilnius (please indicate "ICT2013" in the topic) or to join the partner program (please indicate "partner program" in the topic)

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Gartner Catalyst Technical Forum on Mobility & Cloud validates MobiCloud's technical approach

On Sept 25, Gartner held its first Catalyst Event in Europe, focusing on the area of mobile cloud technologies. The event provided detailed, tactical guidance on technical architecture, policy, and implementation approaches for enterprise mobility initiatives.

The MobiCloud consortium was invited by Gartner to present the lessons learned from ongoing mobile cloud technologies deployments in Sweden, UK, Germany and the Netherlands in industries such as construction and public transport.

Patrick Okkersen (EsperantoXL), Mark Collier (Costain) and Xavier Aubry (Appear) took the stage in front of 100 key decision-makers and described how to create a mobile strategy that overcomes enterprise silos, how to adopt cross-platform technology that supports BYOD models and how to deliver great user experience based on context-aware interfaces.

A quick poll with the audience showed that 90% of the organizations present at the event were leaning towards a hybrid approach (combining a native "core" with HTML5 apps) when it comes to client-side technologies, which demonstrated that HTML5 has progressed enough to support the development of high performance enterprise applications, provided that it can rely on native interfaces for local device storage and sensors.

The presentation also showed in detail the advantages of continuous integration and deployment. With cloud-based infrastructures it becomes very easy (and cost-effective) to deploy and upgrade mobile services iteratively. This allows for direct and rapid user and usage feedback as the system evolves. This "lean" development approach is saving millions of Euros for the organizations implementing their mobile strategy using MobiCloud.


Your organization can benefit too!

If you sign up as an Early Adopter, the use of the MobiCloud platform is free and the latest release of the SDK now enables the implementation of cross-platform hybrid HTML5/native iOS and Android applications.

If you sign up as a Community Member, you will receive updates from the MobiCloud consortium to help you build your enterprise mobility strategy, based on the technical guidelines and case studies developed for MobiCloud. 

Sign-up now via our website

Friday, 4 October 2013

London - Breakfast Seminar

On Friday 27th September the MobiCloud team hosted a well attended breakfast seminar event in central London. Attendees at the event represented developers, integrators and organisations in industries such as rail and construction that were interested in the topic of cloud mobile enterprise applications. Xavier Aubry, CEO of Appear shared some experiences and presented a strategy for implementing mobile technology for workers in industrial environments and also illustrated some of the real-world user cases of MobiCloud.

Katie Swanick from Costain presenting
Katie Swanick from Costain gave some insights around their involvement with MobiCloud and gave a live demonstration of their Site Diary application and how it can be used in the civil engineering and construction industry.

Watch this space for upcoming events in other European cities soon - in particular Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Stockholm (Sweden).

Thursday, 3 October 2013

London Meeting - trial updates

Last week we had a MobiCloud Consortium meeting in London, organised by Costain and kindly hosted by Bentley at their office in Gracechurch Street. The event took place over the Thursday and Friday and included the Breakfast Meeting on Friday morning for those new to the MobiCloud project and a visit to Costain's site at Tower Bridge in the afternoon.

We turned up on Thursday morning to find the occupants of the Gracechurch Street office standing in the street outside and two fire engines in attendance. Fortunately it was a false alarm! While the building was being evacuated the more dedicated members of the consortium began the meeting on the pavement while those less hardy (or sensible) souls relocated to a pub across the road.
Outside Bentley's offices in London
Once we were allowed into the building the meeting started in earnest. The MobiCloud project has been making rapid progress and there were trial updates from Costain, Nettropolis, EsperantoXL and Appear.


Costain has launched the first version of their MobiCloud Site Diary app and has been testing it in the field. Mark Collier of Costain gave an overview and demonstration of the app and how it is being used to save time and to improve the quality of recording events on site. 

Costain Site Diary

Mark Collier from Costain
Initially Costain has chosen to trial the app on iPad’s and it was interesting to hear how different sites had different device preferences. While the iPad works well in many situations, some sites expressed a preference for smaller devices like the iPad Mini or Google Nexus, which are easier to carry around (they happen to fit in the pockets of the standard protective clothing worn on site). Some also preferred Android to iOS. 

The cross-platform support and device agnostic nature MobiCloud means that Costain will be able to experiment with these variations as the trial progresses. 

City Transit

Nettropolis reported progress on the development of their City Transit solution for use by the Karlsruhe Transport Authority in Germany. This is the authority that has made a name for itself world wide with the “Karlsruhe model”. This is where the same vehicle that runs as a fast light train in the region becomes a tram as it enters the city.

Karlsruhe Tram / Light train
Manu Auch from Nettropolis
The app described by Manu Auch from Nettropolis will be used to help the authorities coordinate their extensive mobile workforce and for recording or alerting them to incidents that occur on the network. The first version is due to be released in November this year.

Field Service

Vladimir from EsperantoXL described the Flex@lly app they are developing for their client Tence in the Netherlands. Tence are an employment agency that provide flexible workers to companies and employ thousands of people. They are part of the international group Vebego.

User consultation at Tence

Vladimir Bataev from EsperantoXL
MobiCloud uses the Agile development model and Vladimir described how they were using very fast iterations and a close involvement with end-users to develop the application. They were carrying out checks with 1 or 2 users daily and holding weekly validation sessions. He commented that users never knew what they wanted but always knew what they did not want when they saw it!

Tence is an interesting case for user adoption since the flexible workers will be using the app on their own personal mobiles. It therefore has to work well on low-end devices that will be predominately Android smart phones. EsperantoXL aim to complete development of the first version of the solution by the end of the year.


Swedish rail operator Tågkompaniet (TKAB) have been trailing a MobiCloud solution developed by Appear since the end of May this year. Xavier from Appear gave an update on its use to date. The app called Kompis 2.0 is designed to replace an older mobile system running on obsolete hardware that had low user acceptance and satisfaction.

Xavier Aubry from Appear
The new app is currently being used on both Andriod and iOS devices and will soon be made available on Windows Phone as well. The device ecosystem at TKAB is complex, BYOD is allowed but there are also enterprise owned devices in use as well.

The app gives access to timetables and operational information as well as the companies internal directory and is also used for fault and status reporting. It makes extensive use of context to simplify the user interface. It is currently being used by 350 mobile workers, mainly train drivers, plus 15 back-office workers who are traffic controllers or IT administrators and who access the system via a web application rather than a mobile device.

Appear have learned a number of useful lessons from the TKAB deployment which have been applied to other trials. One of these is that you cannot always rely on the suppliers of the back-end systems with which the app integrates to tell you when they make breaking changes!

New applications for TKAB are under discussion, including the migration of an external "ticket control" application into Kompis 2.0.