Friday, April 22, 2011

iPhone Time Clock

Customers have been asking for a Virtual TimeClock iPhone app for some time. I'm happy to announce that we're now in the position to make this happen. In fact, engineering is finalizing the user interface specifications as I type this. Those of you who use our employee time clock software on a regular basis know we work really hard to make the user interface intuitive and the steps needed to perform routine activities efficient. That can sometimes be a challenge with a desktop app. It can be an even bigger challenge with an iPhone app because you're trying to maximize functionality in a limited amount of screen real estate. "What's the big deal?" you ask, "You just gotta clock in and out. There are a dozen time tracking apps in the App Store that already do that." That may be true, but here's one of the things that will set ours apart from the competition.

Most time tracking apps fall into two different categories. They're either a mobile replacement for a paper timesheet, which means you manually enter a start and stop time for each day and then the app will calculate the hours for you. Most of these can't handle overtime rules, and some of them won't even let you make multiple entries per day. I'm not entirely sure what you gain by using a timesheet app like this. The second group of time tracking apps function like timers. You select a task and then start the timer. You stop the timer, pick a different task, and then start the timer again. This can be especially handy when you're billing time for different customers, but what do you do with the data you've collected?

The new iPhone time clock app for Virtual TimeClock will have the advantage of connecting to your existing time clock server. This means the data will be collected from a mobile device, sent to your time clock server, and be instantly available to other time clock clients, both desktop and mobile. You'll be able to capture payroll hours and labor hours per job or activity from a mobile time clock, and that data will be instantly available to those who need it for processing payroll or billing your customers. How's that for our first foray into iOS development?

Jeff Morrow
Virtual TimeClock Product Specialist