APPlying the latest technology…

Worcester Bosch app
The Find a Boiler tool provides installers with on-the-job access to information about the Greenstar boiler range
Listen to the ever-increasing number of new generation “smart phone” or “computer tablet” users, and you will persistently hear that “application software” is the future.

Perhaps better known as an “app”, each sophisticated piece of application software is individually designed and created to help the user to perform a specific task… play the perfect round of golf, learn about exotic far-away places, master a musical instrument, or even select the right oil-fired boiler for a particular situation.

Although the app is a relatively new phenomenon – the earliest current generation version was produced in 2008 – the thirst for them is proving unquenchable, to the point where there are already upwards of half a million available to download.  A handful of those apps have been specially created for those people involved in the plumbing and heating sector – and some specifically for oil installers.

Worcester, Bosch Group has developed an app to give access to information whilst on the go. The iPhone app comprises the company’s popular ‘Find a Boiler’ and ‘Find an Installer’ search programmes, as well as contact and company information. The Find a Boiler tool provides installers with on-the-job access to information about the Greenstar boiler range. Free to download from iTunes, the app does not require the user to have mobile reception, as all information is pre-loaded and inherent to the app itself.

Worcester has also launched a mobile phone version of its UK website for the increasingly-popular iPhone. The company’s full website contains a vast amount of information, so the mobile version has been refined to focus on Worcester’s product gallery, “Find an Installer” search tool, company information and contacts, and latest news. If more information is required, a link to the main desktop version is available.

Martyn Bridges, director of marketing and technical support, said: “This year we’ve become increasingly aware of the importance of having an easily accessible presence on smart phones. Many of the installers and specifiers we speak to on training courses and at events now have iPhones in particular, not to mention the take-up of smart phones by consumers. The digital age has seen everyone change their habits – how they read the news, how they shop, pay their bills and even choose a new heating system.

“We place huge emphasis on keeping up to date with the latest trends and always aim to be at the forefront of new technology… whether that’s within our products or through the communication tools we use to keep in touch with and inform our customers.”

A huge success…

Harlequin’s “Pro App” – for iPhone/iPad and iTouch users – offers installers a convenient and easy-to-use tool to help with the installation of oil tanks anywhere in the UK or Ireland, where a risk assessment (OFTEC T/133) must be carried out in advance. Installers are able to complete a risk assessment form digitally and email a completed copy when finished.  “So far the app has been a huge success, with hundreds of downloads, since its launch in April,” says marketing manager, Ciara Cox.

Plumb Center and Parts Center both have apps containing a branch locator, branch directory, manufacturer directory with technical helpline numbers and web links, current promotions and special offers, and latest news.  With more than 11,000 in use, the apps have been live for just over a year, and are currently undergoing further development to enable customers to link to the company’s websites and to place orders via their mobile phones.

Heating engineers and plumbers can also purchase a non-company-specific Ventilation Calculator app which provides a calculator tool for ventilation area, and size requirements for checking and installing new boilers.  As with other apps, this is available to download from The App Store.

And finally, on a lighter note, check out the Boiler Blast from Netistry Corporation. Perfect for budding boiler technicians, this game app involves a bungled boiler job in urgent need of repair. The pipes must all be connected before the boiler blows… Sound familiar?