Energy Industry Sees New Opportunities With Mobile Apps

According to ExxonMobil’s report ’2012 The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040′, the global energy demand will be about 30% higher in 2040 compared to 2010, and the quantity of the population will go up to nearly 9 billion people from about 7 billion today.

To successfully tackle the existing challenges the energy sector requires a wide array of innovations. Mobility is one of the fastest growing and most exciting trends today. The mass adoption of smartphones and tablets is creating new opportunities for energy companies to boost efficiency and profits.

Here one should bear in mind that the energy industry encompasses a variety of subindustries, including the petroleum industry, the gas industry, the electrical power industry, the coal industry, the nuclear power industry, the renewable energy industry, etc.

Early adopters of mobile technologies have quickly recognized the value of enabling their workforce with fast, mobile data access via an easy-to-use interface. In addition to internal purposes, mobile devices are being used by energy businesses also through application development as a way to connect with customers. Therefore, mobile apps from such companies can be roughly categorized into two main groups: apps for in-house use and apps for consumers.

In-house apps

Naturally, any business wants to keep expenditures down and profits high. Industry-specific in-house apps can range from monitoring and diagnostic tools to business intelligence collection resources. Mobile applications can be specifically designed for energy industry field workers, including drilling crews, maintenance technicians, mechanics, supervisors, instrumentation techs, safety managers and others. Such apps for mobile devices, primarily for tablets, like the iPad, can allow inventory managing, diagnostic information collection, data acquisition, remote telemetry control and other support functions.

The major benefits of mobile apps for energy businesses may be the following:

Easy and quick access to information and key performance indicators;
Standardization, simplification and automation of operations and business processes;
Easy flow of information;
Increased quality in the level of services;
Greater productivity and improved operational effectiveness;
Higher integration of fragmented and delocalized processes;
Automatic synchronization with corporate systems;
Improved data exchange;
Employee professional growth;
Higher quality of real-time measurements;

The ability to zoom in from a global map to a specific industrial object or section.

Mobile apps imply a step-by-step approach to ensure that each job is done in accordance with the company’s guidelines, safely and correctly. In addition to the increase in individual productivity and performance, mobile apps provide value to the entire organization through the timely collection and delivery of accurate field information to the corporate office. Furthermore, field workers instead of multiple software systems can use a single, field-specific application to seamlessly interact with corporate systems.

As early as 2011 General Electric reported about distributing 2,000 iPads internally and developing a series of applications both for its employees and customers. One mobile app allows employees to approve purchase orders on the go, while another one allows utility service personnel to monitor the company’s transformers in the field.

Apps for consumers

Energy companies in their relationship with customers can emphasize energy efficiency rather than simply focus on price and tariffs. With the help of mobile applications consumers can cut wasteful energy consumption and hence their expenses.

Certain research studies have proved that homeowners who are able to check how much electricity they are using in real time save on the average more than 10% of energy almost immediately by turning off unnecessary lights and appliances. Improving consumers’ access to data about how they use energy in their homes will allow them to use mobile devices to calculate potential savings on their energy bills, increase energy literacy and reduce energy consumption.

Consumers can, for example, determine personalized lighting scenarios, control room temperature settings and the heating system in order to ensure that the home isn’t utilizing unnecessary heating while unoccupied. A mobile app in this way turns a smartphone, like the iPhone or Android, or a tablet, like the iPad, into the remote control for the home energy system. This also provides a unique way for homeowners to get more comfort and enjoyment from their homes, devices and appliances.

In general, consumers may benefit from the following features of energy companies’ apps:

Improved efficiency, transparency and visualization of energy consumption;
Detailed energy usage information per device in the home;
Automation and control of electronic home devices;
Integration with social platforms;
Updates on tariffs and prices;
Hints and tips on saving energy.
Mobile applications thus raise consumers’ awareness and increase the growing market of home automation customers.

Conclusion

In combination with the unique capabilities of mobile devices themselves, custom mobile apps allow businesses to translate their creative and innovative ideas into new opportunities. Tech-savvy energy business leaders are using iPads and Android tablets to arm mobile workers, improve internal efficiencies, reach out new customers and build customer loyalty.

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Learn All About Home Buyer’s Expenses

You might be aware of most of the expenses related to the process of home buying. Yet there could be quite a few expenses which you might not be aware of and need to plan to avoid last minute slippages. It would be prudent on your part to plan all the expenses relate to home buying. This financial discipline would not only help you save but also help you close the sale in a smooth and hassle free buyer. First time home buyers need to be extra diligent and careful detailing these expenses.

Home Mortgage Costs
When you avail a home loan from a lending institute, it is obvious that you need to organize your contribution towards home purchase in the form of a down payment as well as the recurring mortgage payments towards servicing of your home loan. More importantly, there are several expenses payable to the lending institute towards administration and processing of your home loan. It is worth the exercise to compare the various fee charged by the institutes before you decide on your home loan agency.

o Credit Report Fee – Depending upon the lending instate, they may or may charge fee related to your credit appraisal.
o Processing and Originating fee – These charges are also not levied by a few lenders.
o Underwriting fee- Make sure you minimize the fee charged towards the review of your credit worthiness to determine if you are eligible for the loan
o Home Inspection Cost – it is advisable to incur these expenses because it is worth it and helps you arrive at the fair value of your purchase.

Legal Fees
Check out the legal fee payable based on the nature of property transaction that you have entered into and the state in which you have purchased the property. These legal expenses could be as high as 1.5-2% of the property value.

State Taxes
Different states levy transfer registration fee at varying rates. There would be certain other taxes as well depending upon the state like the sales tax and the stamp duty charges. First time home buyers would be getting certain tax concessions you must check out the property laws applicable to your state.

Relocation costs
Plan for the costs related to your physical movement into your new home. The expenses would off course depend on the distance involved. In case you are planning for professional re-locators, ask for a couple of quotes before deciding. There are many utilities for which you need to pay an upfront security deposit. You may end up incurring cost on a few repairs as well as some home improvement initiatives as you step into your new house.

Even though you might have taken majority of the home buyer’s expenses in your estimation exercise, it is highly probable that there could be still a couple of unplanned expenses likely to arise and a contingency fund would always help. Experts suggest an amount of app. 2% of the property value to be reserved towards contingencies related to home buying.

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Need Help Designing Your Remodel? – There’s an App for That

Home remodeling, even when you have a good general contractor on board, can be tough. Trying to get across to the contractor you are considering hiring exactly what you have in mind can be a challenge. “I want a bedroom in my attic” is, after all, a little vague.

If an architect is not in the picture and if your drawing talents stopped developing after third grade, a tool to help you envisage what the home improvement ideas in your head will turn into in real life would be really handy. Especially if you could do it all right from your phone. Well, guess what? There is an app for that – Home 3D for the iPhone and iPad.

Home 3D is rather different to other remodeling software aids you may have seen in the past. Using pre-set room dimensions that can be adjusted if needed, it allows you to alter the layout of any room within seconds. Want to see what your bedroom would look like minus the dividing wall? Done. Want to put it back again but this time with a built in closet? Results in seconds.

Home 3D also differs in that not only does it let you design – and then redesign – the layout of the rooms you are considering remodeling but virtually decorate them as well. It allows furniture to be moved, wall art to be hung, and an overall design scheme to be established-anytime, anywhere.

That means that when you do meet with your remodeling contractor for the first time all you will have to do is take out your Apple gadget of choice and they will instantly have a clear picture of what you want them to aim for. Planning and negotiation, then ultimately the remodeling work itself, can thus begin far more quickly.

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Frugal Home Design – “There’s an App For That”

So, you’re sitting in your favorite easy chair and the home decorating bug bites you. It’s time to stop procrastinating and paint that room or hang that picture.

But, as soon as the bug bites, you begin to feel its sting, because now you have to leave that cushy comfy easy chair and hit the hardware store to get the supplies you need.

Well this is your lucky day because – “There is an App for That”!

Say you want to paint the room, but you are unsure of the color. If you have a cell phone that supports Internet applications then snuggle back in and find your color through that fabulous phone!

Yes, there is an amazing App that will take you from general colors to the specific color hues, so you end up with just the right color combination for that home decorating paint project.

To get started of course you must first download the App (it’s only $1.99) and then start by creating a file for the room you want to paint. Next, you touch the screen and begin browsing through every color under the sun as they scrolls by based on the selected and related coordinated pallet collections.

Touch the colors you like and drag them to a work area to manipulate them to see how they look together. Once the choice has been made, the App will identify color names and the manufactures (from the top 6 in the industry) and you’re done.

No more hours wasted starring at the color swatch sampler wall at the home improvement store.

So, what if your home decorating inspiration is a simple wall shelf or art hanging project, but once again, you are short a ruler, level or plumb bob to get the shelf level and the display plumb. No worries because “There’s an App For That”!

This little App is super cool (also $1.99). It contains 5 handy home decorating tools: plumb bob, bubble level, steel protractor, ruler and a surface level. Inaccurate, eyeball measurements is a thing of the past. These tools are now as close as your phone and they are so fun you’ll want to dig up everything and anything to hang, just to play with this addictive little toy.

The ball moves, the plumb bobs and when you get it “just right” it will beep with smug satisfaction. These measuring tools look and feel amazingly real. It leaves you feeling like you are not using your phone at all – You gotta try it.

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Home Planning Insight Starts With Web Applications

Innovation in technology has created homeowner benefits that no one is talking about. Home planning insight starts with web applications. Most people design their home renovation or new construction only considering present family size and living arrangements not planning for retirement.

Why not consider some form of a “Universal or Lifetime” design.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

A design that will suit young, middle age or empty nesters. One home, but design revisions as the years go by allowing Lifetime living stability..

Example – A bonus room design used for entertaining suitable for young couples.

Example – Later convert bonus room for teenagers to couple of bedrooms.

Example – Elderly can use a shelf by the door for packages, also better outdoor lighting to get you from your car to the door.

Focusing on the thought of staying in the same home for many years is difficult. But the facts are moving in that direction.

According to research by the American Association of Retired Persons:

The American Association of Retired Persons says that nearly 90 percent of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age.

The National Association of Home Builders, NAHB predicts that “aging in place” remodeling market to be $20-$25 billion. That’s about 10 percent of the $214 billion home improvement industry.

WHEN SHOULD YOU START ORGANIZING THIS PLAN

Too early to think this should apply? Consider how many folks struggle with bouts of arthritis at an early age. If you fell and broke a leg, how easy would it be to get up and downstairs in your house? Perhaps you have aging parent or relative who is facing these challenges who may need to move in with you.

Innovation in technology now allows us to study all these different scenarios by using computer applications.

Imagine having a home that a certain living space could be enjoyed as a nursery, then designed into a bedroom, then into an office or into a bonus space, or other possibilities.

Primary consideration should remain to capture the view of your family 5, 10, 20, 30 years in the future.

Nothing is perfect but planning and designing for the future is a gigantic step.

THIS IS WHERE TODAY`S TECHNOLOGY IS IMPORTANT.

Besides normal building technology such as computer systems, wireless, home high speed internet, etc.

We now have a number of simple to use personal home building web apps.

From design apps to construction apps to expense apps, let your imagination go wild. If you are going to spend 30 to 40 thousand on a remodel or 200k on a new home you need to spend 100 dollars on a web app remembering that planning insight starts with design web applications.

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