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There’s an App for that

As the number of people owning a smart phone increases year on year, so the popularity and use of apps continues to rise. Marie Parry, group marketing director, Scolmore Group, looks at some of the statistics and how apps are making life easier for contractors and installers.  

In 2015, 52.7 percent of the global mobile phone population accessed the internet from their mobile phone. This figure is expected to grow to 61.2 percent in 2018. In 2020, the number of smart phone users worldwide is projected to reach 2.87 billion, up from 2.1 billion in 2016.

It is estimated that globally in 2017, a total of 178.1 billion mobile apps were downloaded to connected devices. In 2022, this figure is projected to grow to 258.2 billion app downloads. In the first quarter of 2018 Android users were able to choose between 3.8 million apps and Apple’s App store had 2 million available apps.

The fact that mobile apps are relatively easier to create than computer apps, as well as their considerable lower price has translated into a growing industry.  

Using an app to help with electrical work may have seemed unlikely a few years ago. However electrical professionals are now increasingly using Apps that deliver quick answers, manage and customise information consumption and hasten communication. Now, with information at their fingertips, they are armed with ever more powerful on-demand IT capabilities. Tasks that used to demand laborious hand calculations or time-consuming diversions to consult hefty code books – and the conveyance of information via face-to-face meetings, phone conversations and emails – have been sped up and simplified.

With so many Apps and so much information available, electricians will be looking for those that bring as much material as possible to their fingertips to make their working life easier, rather than having to search through a number of different sources.

When developing an app the most important consideration is the end use and what they want and need to get the best experience.

When we set out to produce the original Scolmore app back in 2016, the first task was to talk to electricians to get a first-hand account of what features and information they would value in an App to help them at work. Once it was developed we were keen to ensure that it worked exactly how electricians wanted it to, so we put the App to the test and prior to launch solicited feedback and suggestions from the industry, with a competition targeting a dedicated Facebook forum of 7,000 electrical contractors.   This feedback has been taken on board and the original app updated to incorporate a number of tweaks and improvements, as well as some valuable additional features

The aim when we launched the App was to bring valuable information on products and their applications, as well as the latest company and industry news, into the hands of both qualified electricians and apprentice electricians, to provide them with the vital tools and knowledge that will help them perform efficiently and quickly on the job.

We believe what sets the Scolmore App apart is the FREE ‘Tool Kit’ feature, which includes a selection of valuable calculators, designed to make it quick and easy for electricians to make essential calculations on the job.   Included are Zs values; Cable Selection and Voltage Drop; Power Factor; KVA Convertor; Cost Saving Calculator; Downlights Number Calculator; Resistance Calculator; Voltage Calculator; Current Calculator and Power Calculator.

No other competitor App has everything in one place like the Scolmore App and none have a tool kit that is as comprehensive and you don’t have to be part of any special scheme to log into the App and you are not restricted to quoting only using Scolmore products.

In the same way that manufacturers are continually developing new products and making improvements to existing ones, so in the fast paced technology-driven world we all operate in, it is important that Apps are also reviewed and improved to ensure they keep up to date and further enhance the experience of the user.

The very latest version of the Scolmore app replaces the previous one to bring even more features and access to information, to help contractors and electricians carry out their everyday work on site.

A new ‘Quick Quote Calculator’ has been added - designed to let electricians/contractors create a quick quote as they are walking around the site. As well as the ability to create a quick quote while on site, the new ‘Quick Quote Calculator’ also has an advanced setting which allows installers/contractors to set up the unit cost of each item and how much they would like to charge for labour. It is also set up so that if a double socket for example is added to the quote, it will also automatically add a double back box.

The App is free to download and features a complete range of searchable products (9,000 in total), product and tutorial videos, catalogue downloads and all the latest news and events to keep users up to date with what’s happening in the company and the industry.

As well as browsing the complete range of products, users can add them to their Favourites or the Quote Basket. Electricians have the facility to email the contents of the basket for future reference, or straight to the wholesaler providing all the information needed to obtain any quotations or make a purchase. With over 9000 products currently available, the search facility makes it easy to locate the products required and if further information is required, there’s an option to email Scolmore. Product videos and tutorial videos can be viewed whilst on a job, to facilitate the installation process.

With contractors under increasing pressure to complete projects within tight deadlines and budgets, it is vital that they make the most of the tools that are out there to help them make product selections, specifications and purchases quicker and easier. Time saved by the ability to access vital product information, installation instructions and operating manuals via an app for example, can mean money saved.

This article can be found on Page 38 of ECN's August magazine.