Last week Google unveiled a new service for businesses, Google Maps Coordinate, which is a workforce management application that can help companies share location data, collect work-related data on the go, and help companies organize mobile workers.
Relying on Google’s map data, which has proven to be highly sophisticated and accurate, employers and employees are able to use the application as a productivity tool on a daily basis. Dan Chu, the project manager for Google Maps Coordinate said, “in a demo conducted via a Google+ Hangout that IDC’s prediction of 1.3 billion mobile workers by 2015 helped motivate Google find a way to simplify workforce coordination,” and can be used “to track the resolution of a customer call in real time.”
There are three roles supported by Google Maps Coordinate: administrator, dispatcher, and worker, with workers able to be put into teams who then can access their tasks through their Android-based device, with plans in place for it to be released for iOS in the future. Chu, in response to questioning about corporate data security, emphasized that Google Maps Coordinate encrypts application data at rest and that the service was created to protect the privacy of the workers in three ways: “users must consent to activate Google Coordinate; they can disable it; and they can schedule it to stop reporting their location at particular times, such as the end of the work day.”
The implications for such a service in the market is incredible, offering companies a way to track, in real time, where their employees are, where they are heading, and as a means of communication. While there are some negative implications — big brother is always watching with an app like this — companies could better organize their teams, better control time management, and resolve customer-related problems quicker. It also allows businesses the ability to see exactly where their employees are, if they are supposed to be at a work site but are not there, the employer is able to correct the problem, thus saving money and increasing productivity.
3 ways Businesses can use Maps Coordinate
On the clock!
Prevents workers from taking extended lunch breaks. Or any other form of wasting work hours. Maps Coordinate, which costs $15 per user per month, would prevent employees from taking that extra long lunch, or that long way back to the office or client’s location since the employer then can track the moves of the employee. While not the intended usage of the applications, it could be a motivator for employees to remain faithful to their job and cut back on wasted time, wasted productivity and thus wasted revenue.
Helps to locate employees, so if a power line is down, the electric company can send the closest utility truck. With real-time tracking of employees, and the ability for management to see where on a map employees are, they can then be dispatched to where they are needed most. Police departments nationwide could utilize this program and instead of calling over a scanner which requests the closest officer to respond they could directly contact the squad car and direct them quicker to the people in need. Or, with the recent storms that tore across the Mid Atlantic states and have left millions without power, they could contact their electric company, give their address, and through Maps Coordinate utility workers could be dispatched to very specific areas, and go from section to section systemically repairing the power lines more efficiently.
Real-time employee tracking
Helps Comcast, Verizon, Cox, or Time Warner keep track of their technicians, while allowing companies like UPS and FedEX to track, in real time, the locations of their trucks to ensure optimum delivery routes. The costs associated with running delivery vans or large cable service vans are quite high, especially with our record-breaking gas prices and with little hope of prices ever rebounding below the $3 mark, it is imperative for corporations to keep prices low by maximizing the routes their employees use and their order of delivering packages. For instance, if a Verizon employee is at a customer’s house making repairs and another call comes in that is in close proximity to where they are, efficiency is made by sending the employee already nearby to the next call instead of sending out a new truck. By removing duplicity the workers can be more efficient and effective.
Real-time customer service
Real-time customer service support, not only to get the technician there quickly, but to remain in contact with the company to ensure optimal results. By offering real time customer support, companies are able to ensure a higher standard of service. Maps Coordinate can better support corporations that utilize a multitude of vendors by ensuring they can get the help quickly when they require it. For instance, a large firm that has a problem with their network would need the immediate assistance of a technician from the company that provides the service. With Maps Coordinate, the vendor could quickly dispatch their service team to the business and maintain contact with them to ensure that the problem is fixed quickly and effectively. While many might think that the application is very “Big Brother,” it in-fact is a great way to ensure that employees are doing the work that they need to, focusing on the customer and ensuring a great product is supplied.
Increased efficiency, which every business strives for, can be reached with the proper utilization of Maps Coordinate. When employees get to their destination quicker, refrain from taking extra-long lunch breaks, or going home early, companies stand to increase their revenues. When customers feel as if they are taken care of and their problems solved in an efficient manner, the reputation of the business is viewed in a good light, which can help garner business. Meanwhile, employees who violate workplace rules can be identified and retrained, or after continued inability to follow guidelines can be replaced with an employee who desires to do the job correctly.
While the initial outpour of opinions towards Google’s Map Coordinate has been quite negative, after the initial shock of a “Big Brother” type program wears off, businesses and employees alike will be able to see the true value in an application such as this. With measures such as a turn-off feature and the ability to program in the working hours which should be encouraged by management, the application stands to increase the ability of the employee and employer to better offer a positive customer experience.