Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The hosted time tracking software we've been using for a few months has an option to log in through a simple app on an iPhone, so I came up with this box to secure it on our job sites.

Field testing one now, and if it's successful we'll hopefully have one on each site. After working out a few initial bugs, it's looking good after just one week!

Guys sign in with a numeric username and password, select their job site, and it automatically enters the time and gps coordinates into the system wirelessly and in real time.

The box itself is really tough plastic I got from an outdoors store, and then cut out a 1/4" aluminum plate to hold the iPhone in. The lock on the top allows the plate to be removed for access to the phone. The usb outlet on the top is for charging while in the case, and a 10' cable for that manages to fit under the lid. With the lid closed it's waterproof. On the bottom is a u-bolt for chaining it up so it doesn't grow legs.

Anyways, just had to share my excitement over this project! Let me know what you think and if you have any questions.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks. Yeah, the iphone to usb cable is with the phone under the plate and exits where you see it in the channel (to stop it getting snapped off). Then the usb extension cable gets plugged into the ac adapter.

Yes it would go in the customers home I suppose, we do mostly exterior when it comes to residential work, otherwise commercial interior/exterior. I don't see issues with affecting their electric bill here compared to running and charging power tools, is that what you're getting at?

If there wasn't somewhere close to plug into, the phone should last for several days since it's not getting used for calls just a few minutes of data per day, and I could just charge it with the power converter in the truck when I'm at the job.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Bs

This whole story is BS. I thought I have seen this product on the market.

See us tactical supply as only one of several vendors for it.

Mercy!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Also

A company that makes these and many more is Otter Box. Go to their site and click "weather proof cases". There are many designs for phone applications including the iphone and virtually any phone. On their site you will see this box with an iphone on dsiplay.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
dgswfla, yes, I am trying to pass an off the shelf plastic case as my own design and sell it to you guys. [/sarcasm] Did you actually look at the pictures and read my initial post about the modifications I made to the case?

I am well aware of the options out there, having done a fair amount of research on both cases and job clocks. However, I didn't find an option that met our needs, which were to lock the iphone in the case, and lock the case to a fixed object on site. Perhaps I am jaded, but we don't have the budget to be buying a new iphone each week when it disappears.

bconley, to add to the above reason, if we gave all the guys iphones, that would be a significant additional upfront and monthly cost compared to just having one per site.

Sorry if I'm over reacting, I realize I have a low post count so some skepticism is perhaps fair. I have no interest in trying to market this as a product right now (though if someone runs with the idea I'll probably be kicking myself!). But I have read a lot of useful info on this site over the years, and thought I would give back by sharing a solution to a business need that I'm sure we aren't the only ones facing. That is, to more closely control the hours employees submit and streamline the payroll process.

As happy as I was with how the case turned out, it's really what it allows us to do that is important - automatically integrate the employees' hours in real-time into the back-end system for tracking hours to budget for each job and for processing each pay period. Take it or leave it.

***As an update, there were a few weeks of getting bugs worked out with logging in through the iphone, but the company was very responsive in resolving those issues. Since then the only problem has been people forgetting their username/password. Can't eliminate the human factor, unfortunately! Also, it can be a bit annoying to set it up for smaller jobs, but employees can still log in through the website at home to enter hours, so we just have them do that when the iphone isn't there. When things get busy again next spring, will probably roll out a few more to cover multiple large sites.

Cheers, D.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
What made the post suspicious was #1; half the post was talking about the program of clocking in workers. #2; I knew I had seen the product before. My memory may be off but thought I had even seen the actual photo’s before. Even in your reply you seem to be promoting the program and not the case. If I am wrong my apologies but my bet is that if someone were to ask what the program was you were using it will be the same company that spam / self posted under 2 different names a while back on here from Utah.
Looking closer I do see a c-clamp on the bottom of the case. I don’t see anything stopping one from simply opening the case however. If someone were to steal anything it would be what is in the case and not the case itself. It would be like chaining a gang box to a pillar but leaving the lock off. Sorry but it just didn’t look right to me. In addition with all the various tools on a construction site a c-clamp would have little chance of survival if one wanted what was inside. Do I even have to discuss the value of c-clamp in a “plastic” case? One good tug and the plastic would lose anyway. If you are for real good luck to you, if not good luck with your software company as there are many players in that field.
 

·
Painting Contractor
Joined
·
1,881 Posts
I have recommended this over and over.
It works, it is simple,
we have been using it for 1.5 years and keep using it.
A hard case?
It doesn't have to be in a treasure box on a jobsite,
or it would be the jobclock.
Job managers, field managers have them installed on iphones.
Simple, simple, simple.....

It can be done through any webphone,
or texting if iphone is too expensive.

Who doesn't have access to text these days?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It is not the same program from what I can tell. I posted about it here contractortalk.com/f17/operations-software-62618/ (not letting me link, add www) a while back.

There is no lock on the lid, rather the aluminum plate locks the iphone under it. The lid is just to keep dust and moisture out. The lock on the top of the case goes into a bracket that is screwed to the backside of the plate (not shown in these pictures, though you can see the ends of the screws in tapped holes), and there is another bracket on the other end of the plate that clips under the bolts from the u-bolt, or c-clamp as you called it. Will grab a picture of that sometime to make it more clear.

However, you have a valid point about the overall strength of the design. I would have loved to make a solid steel case, but I don't have a machine shop or the budget to have someone make it when we were just testing the system for the first time. Also, we are a painting company and don't do new construction, so the number of other trades and people/tools around are much less than what other contractors here would face.

But it does stop someone from just slipping it in their pocket and walking off, which I saw as the primary risk. The iphone is also very close to all edges of the case, so you would have to extricate it carefully to avoid damaging it - not impossible, but it would take time which acts as a deterrent.

George Z, I was in fact trying to make something along the lines of the jobclock with the addition of wireless for a fraction of the cost. Cost aside, are you saying an onsite clock isn't the way to go?

So you provide one person on each site with an iphone, then do they punch the rest of the people in, or give them the phone to do so? What if the designated person is late, or has to be at a different site, or... Just trying to understand how you make that work, it seems like it may limit flexibility of staffing.

And texting/browsing from their personal phone doesn't work or they could do so from anywhere, defeating the purpose of the system.

Without trying the demo, that hosted software sounds similar to what we are using, so I'm interested in the details of how you use it.
 

·
Painting Contractor
Joined
·
1,881 Posts
George Z, I was in fact trying to make something along the lines of the jobclock with the addition of wireless for a fraction of the cost. Cost aside, are you saying an onsite clock isn't the way to go?

So you provide one person on each site with an iphone, then do they punch the rest of the people in, or give them the phone to do so? What if the designated person is late, or has to be at a different site, or... Just trying to understand how you make that work, it seems like it may limit flexibility of staffing.
Trust still has a part in this.
We have 4 people that can access it, there is almost always one on site.
Job manager is late, they can call someone else to sign them in.
In reality someone can cheat the system, but they wouldn't dare.
It is tied to our fixed compensation/bonus system so they would only cheat their co-workers and that of course wouldn't fly.
A week or two later you can tell who does what,
because of all available data and different people entering data.
As I said, we like the simplicity.
Also the iphones have the job budget and work order, which is great.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top