Nokia Training Academy is an initiative from Nokia for strategically delivering cost effective and value added training aligned with Nokia Academy for sales and product information. UCS was given the task of providing a mobile application to allow product trainers to plan and update their schedule in offline mode.
Nokia had an established web based planning tool for its “always-on-the-move” training staff. These employees were responsible for visiting the hundreds of retail locations across the Middle East and conducting product and sales presentations for retail staff and customers.
As the planning tool was web based it required connectivity to the Internet in order to plan or update a schedule. Trainers who are extremely busy were facing difficulty completing these tasks as data or WiFi based connectivity was not available always, such as when the trainers had time during flights. Also, the web interface was not optimized for mobile devices and therefore required the trainers to use the planning tool from a laptop which was a cumbersome process.
UCS offered Nokia a solution in which UCS would rewrite the web based planning tool to remove its existing inefficiencies as well as create mobile apps for Nokia’s Symbian “Anna” based phones and the new Nokia Lumia 710, Windows Phone 7 smartphone.
The updated web application would provide better management and planning for users that wanted to access the full featured interface to plan and update their training activities while the mobile client would synchronize and download training information to the local storage of the smartphone so that the trainers could work on their schedules in an offline mode and then re-sync the updates to the server when connectivity was available.
The web application was developed using PHP, MySQL , and jQuery, whereas the mobile applications were developed using Symbian Web RunTime and .NET for the Symbian and Windows Phone 7 platforms respectively.
The Windows Phone 7 mobile application was developed to use latest features of the Mango update and to use WCF web services to help the planners prepare their schedule in an offline mode and connect and update data to the web planning application whenever an online connection is available.
Using the mobile applications, the trainers were able to add events to the calendar, search for events, review calendars for other trainers, and update the completion of their training activities. Most of these activities could be done in online or offline mode.
UCS worked closely with the client to understand the requirements of the trainers and the mobile features that would simplify their planning process and grant them flexibility to plan whenever and wherever they are.
The activity of updating schedules, cancelling or rescheduling events become a less complicated task and reduced the stress on the training staff.
Trainers were now able to update their schedules via the web application and all of their colleagues using the mobile application in online mode would be able to see the latest updates. When new training sessions were added in offline mode the trainer was able to synchronize at his convenience and update the web based planning tool.
The applications worked well for both Symbian based N800 and the Nokia Lumia 710.