How will it save me time? TOTAL for Mobile cuts an entire step out of your workflow process. You never have to manually type your inspection data into the form or redraw your sketch on the desktop. You get all the formfilling and sketching done in the field so you can focus on valuation. Appraisers have said it saves up to an hour on reports.
What all can I do with the app? Is it really paperless? We know you’ve heard it before, “the end of the clipboard!” But most devices never lived up to the hype. The old tablet PCs were expensive, too big and clunky, and had poor battery life. The old Pocket PCs were too small and not versatile enough for many people. The multitouch screen changed everything.
Whether you choose a smartphone, iPad or Android tablet, or even a modern Windows tablet PC you’ll find things have changed. These devices are lightweight, have excellent battery life, and can do everything your clipboard can plus so much more. Using TOTAL for Mobile, you can fill out all of your inspection data, draw your entire sketch, take photos, add comparables, pull up maps, and more like voice notes. You’ll never need a scrap of paper again.
Do I need an Internet/phone connection in the field? No. Once you’ve downloaded the app on your phone or tablet you can use it to collect data and draw your sketches anywhere, even without a data or Internet connection. You will need a wireless Internet connection (like WiFi or 3G/4G) to sync your data back and forth with your desktop at the office though.
Will TOTAL for Mobile work with my forms software (e.g. ACI, Bradford, etc.)?
Despite the fact we’ve offered free integration with our TOTAL for Mobile apps to other software vendors, none have made the effort to make it happen. You can download any of our free TOTAL for Mobile apps and use the time-saving features in the field. Then, you can export your data to copy it into your forms software. But remember, TOTAL for Mobile works seamlessly with WinTOTAL and TOTAL 2011. All the data flows right into your forms, saving you the most time. Call 1-800-ALAMODE to learn more.
Mobile Device Questions
Which tablet or smartphone should I get?
It all depends on personal preference and your workflow. We recommend going to a local electronics store and getting your hands on a variety of devices to help decide which is right for you.
You’ll want to choose which operating system you like better: Android (version 2.1 or later) or Apple’s iOS. The two operating systems are different in look and feel but similar in usability. Whichever you choose, TOTAL runs virtually the same on each. You’ll also want to determine whether a phone or tablet is right for you.
Of course, with Android there is a wide variety of hardware (phone and tablet brands) to choose from. Be wary of ultra cheap tablets with little-known brand names as these often don’t have a complete Android operating system and lack the Android Market, which you’ll need to download TOTAL. The old adage is usually right, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Remember, Android tablets also come in several sizes ranging from 5 inches to over 10 inches. Some appraisers like the 5 to 7 inch tablets because they easily fit in a pocket, while others prefer a bigger screen for sketching. Some like using a smartphone because it means they only need to carry around one device.
You'll also want to consider if the device has hardware features like a camera, microphone, Bluetooth, and GPS. Within TOTAL for Mobile you have the ability to get maps with GPS, take photos of the property and comps, and make voice notes. You'll need Bluetooth in order to connect TOTAL for Android with a DISTO device. So those features may be important to you.
No matter which device you finally decide on, you’ll save time in the field with your TOTAL for Mobile app.
What about TOTAL for Tablet PC? There are two big features that make TOTAL for Tablet PC stand out compared to our other TOTAL for Mobile products: Form View and ink recognition in sketch.
Form View allows you to edit the actual full major form in the field just as you would in WinTOTAL or TOTAL. Think of it as a true mobile formfiller. Sure, you can fill out the entire report from the data collection screens, but you can also pop straight over to the form itself if you'd like.
Within the sketch, TOTAL for Tablet PC has the ability to use "ink" in the sketch. You just draw your sketch by hand using the stylus and watch it snap instantly into exact lines and calculated areas. It's just as easy to edit a line. You can literally write the new value on top of the line and watch as the line is modified to the value that you entered. Tasks such as renaming an area from first floor to second floor are as simple as writing "2nd floor" on top of the label. And, on the data entry side, instead of using a keyboard, a screen pops up after you tap into a field that lets you write and it converts your handwriting into text.
These features are made possible because tablet PCs run a full version of the Windows operating system. We've also added specific functionality to TOTAL for Tablet PCs that takes advantage of handwriting recognition. The recognition features worked pretty well in Windows XP, but have really come a long way and work extraordinarily well on Windows 7. Being a Windows-based computer also means that your tablet PC can run any other program that you can run on your desktop or laptop. You can actually run Aurora or TOTAL 2011 on a modern tablet PC and it performs very well.
Many modern tablet PCs are slate-style so they have touch screens and behave similarly to an iPad or Android tablet. However, you'll find most tablet PCs to be priced quite a bit higher than their Android and iOS cousins, and most don't have as long of a battery life.
What size (how many Gigabytes of storage space) will I need to use this app?
On average, most TOTAL for Mobile reports are about 6 megabytes. To give some perspective, even if you had 20 reports at that size on a 16GB device, you’d still be using less than 1% of space. Of course, much of the size of your files is determined by the number of photos and voice notes in your reports.
Regardless, the amount of space on your device is not a big factor for using a TOTAL for Mobile app. However, you should always consider what else you will be using your smartphone or tablet for when deciding on size. If you plan on storing a lot of music or photos on it, then you may consider getting more space.
Are the devices weatherproof or fragile?
Like any electronic device, you’ll want to be careful with your smartphone or tablet. However, they’re tougher than you might think and with a proper case you’ll be protected from most bumps, drops, and rain. There are a number of fantastic cases out there to keep your mobile device safe from the elements and everyday oops. OtterBox is one especially popular brand amongst appraisers. They make tough, protective cases for a variety of mobile devices. You can also buy a stylus that works with your device so you can continue using it even when you have gloves on in the winter.
Can I send measurements from my DISTO to TOTAL for Mobile? TOTAL for Android and TOTAL for Tablet PC each have DISTO integration, so long as the device and DISTO are each Bluetooth-enabled. Unfortunately, because of Apple's rules regarding third party product integration they will not allow DISTO integration with TOTAL for iPad and iPhone at this time.
DISTO integration allows you to use a laser measuring tool to gather your measurements for the sketch and shoot them straight to your device wirelessly. There's no measuring tape, traipsing through muddy flower beds, or getting scratched up by trees and bushes. You just "shoot" walls with a laser-accurate DISTO and the measurements automatically transfer to your sketch. Learn more about Leica DISTO laser measurers here.
Questions About Getting Started
What forms does TOTAL for Mobile have?
The below form layouts are currently available. Look for more options, including custom forms, in the future.
1004, 1004 [full], 1004 [Legacy], 1004 [UAD], Condo, Condo [Legacy], Land, Mobile Home, and Mobile Home [Legacy]
What are the legacy forms?
Forms labeled "legacy" are still your standard 1004, Home, and Condo forms just with the fields in a different order. Some people find the order on these forms more in sync with their workflow. The data will still flow into your reports just like it would with the other form layouts.
Can I use my QuickLists? Yes. With TOTAL for Mobile you can import your QuickLists directly from WinTOTAL or TOTAL 2011 or create new QuickLists within the app itself. QuickLists make data gathering in the field even faster. Simply tap in the field, then tap the response from your list.
Is the data UAD compliant?
Yes, simply choose the forms marked [UAD] when creating a new report. The GSE-required specific data and ratings for fields like View, Condition, and Quality are then just a tap away. Dates and addresses are automatically placed in the correct format. And fields with special formatting like View and Bathroom Count are converted when you sync with WinTOTAL Aurora or TOTAL 2011. No retyping or reformatting required.
How do I sync with WinTOTAL/TOTAL 2011?
Establishing a pairing between the device and desktop and then syncing is how you get your data and sketches from your TOTAL for Mobile app into your forms, and vice versa. The following are helpful step-by-step guides for syncing your TOTAL for Mobile app with WinTOTAL Aurora or TOTAL 2011.
Should I start my reports on the desktop or my device?
It all depends on your workflow. While you can start your reports either on your mobile device or your desktop computer, if you deliver your reports with any XSite plugin (e.g. Mercury Network, AppraisalPort, or CoreLogic) you’ll want to sync your report from your XSite into TOTAL 2011 or WinTOTAL like you normally do, merge any templates you want to use, and then move the new file to your paired folder for synchronization with the mobile device.