FNG with Dumb questions

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface General Discussion' started by Blackhatch, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. Blackhatch

    Blackhatch New Member

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    Just thought I would label the thread accurately from the start.

    In that vein, I appreciate all the feedback and information that any persons who take the time (I do appreciate your time) to provide.

    Background:

    I run a construction company and we currently use Excel contract to calculate estimates. I have looked at dedicated software solutions for estimate preparations but they seem to be lacking and I am not convinced of their long term viability and updates as the technology continues to move.

    I am looking for a single source tool that my salespeople can use in the field to do the following (kind of in order or priority):
    • Prepare the estimate and have the customer sign it and all required documentation
    • Take pictures and make notes on the pictures for production department
    • Present the electronic presentation
    • Take notes
    • Take pictures for before and after
    • Take testimonial videos
    I am a self-admitted MAC person with a Macbook Air, iPad, etc. I think they have done a bunch to move the technology but it seems like they lack a bunch of stuff or maybe I am just too damn IT dunce to see it.

    I very much appreciate any feedback you can provide. I bought my installation manager a Surface 2 but not the pro model. Is the Pro model they one that allows you to use the stylus to make notes and edit pictures.

    Questions:
    • Do I need to opt for the pro model in order to have the ability to edit and sign documents
    • What robust covers and protection is there available (read construction sales guys abuse)
    • Is a solution, other than Surface that would work or that you would recommend?
    I am not married to this machine but I want to make a decision on what will most cover my needs and get the required number of units for the field personnel.

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    The Pro adds the Active Stylus Support (smoother Inking), the Surface 2 is a great machine but would need to use the same type of Stylus you would use on the iPad.

    The latest Surface Pro model is the Surface Pro 3 and there are ruggedized cases for the Surface Pro, made by UAG, Incipio and others...I would also consider getting no-glare screen protectors for out door use.

    Other options you could deploy are the new HP Business Tablets, the Elitebook G1000 is semi-ruggedized.
     
  3. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't think you will find tablet cameras in the same class as phone cameras especially the Fixed focus Surface Pro 3 camera.

    Some phones have great cameras, you might be better off having them use a phone to take photos/videos with although you might get passable shots with the Surface 2. Editing, annotating might depend on the level of detail and accuracy you're looking for.

    I think a lot of this depends on your specific needs, if you've been doing this kind of thing then a field test should reveal pretty quickly how well it will work for you.

    I don't know if you'll find much or any construction software in the store to help.

    Re Excel Contract, is that an Excel add-on module? or something you created? You might need the Pro if there are Macros or 3rd party add-ons.
     
  4. Telstar1948

    Telstar1948 Active Member

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    Regarding your question about construction software, it depends on what you are looking for. I'm an adjuster and I use PowerClaim (Hawkins Research out of KY). I've used Xactimate, but I really don't like it as well as PowerClaim; however, Xactimate has its adherents too. Both of these products are Windows programs. To me, PowerClaim is more intuitive and easier to use. Xactimate has a higher learning curve, but may offer other advantages. I suggest checking their websites and probably running demo units to see what you think.
     
  5. Blackhatch

    Blackhatch New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback.

    I realize the stylus on the non-pros is the rubber tipped and therefore less detailed marking.

    Will all the Pros (i.e. 2 and 3) come with the nicer and finer point stylus?
     
  6. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    Yes, the Pro devices all have the Active Digitizer, the first two Generations use Wacom and the 3rd Generation uses N-Trig...
     
  7. sharpuser

    sharpuser Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey, @Blackhatch ,

    I am a geophysicist, and take my Surface Pro 3 out into the field - sometimes even on 2 wheels due to twisty and narrow mountain roads. I use my SP3 for mapping, land plats, rock and radiation data entry, and other stuff. I have an Apple a day, also, since I still like my MacBook Pro Retina, and other Apple devices.

    But the Surface Pro 3, with the case shown here, has become my vocational companion.

    Check out Surface Pro 3 in the Wild,
    and Rugged Case...
     

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