How to Build a Comprehensive Mobile Workforce App
Mobile workforce apps are communications tools that help people connect based on specific circumstances.
By Josh Whitaker
Mobile workforce apps are essentially communications tools that help people connect based on specific circumstances. GPS and text-based communication is often enough to get the job done, but in order for a mobile workforce app to be a comprehensive platform, it needs complete communications functionality.
Voice Calling Within Apps
Voice calling is an important communication medium for a mobile workforce app to handle natively, without too much work from the user. However, because voice calling is so innocuous, it often gets overlooked, or takes a back burner to SMS and GPS during the development stages of a mobile workforce app.
This leads to something that users find super irritating: unreliable or unintuitive voice call functionality. Since voice calling is so omnipresent on our phones and laptops, users expect any voice calling to ‘just work.’
All of this means that mobile workforce apps need reliable and precise Voice API . Voice API is the technology that enables an app to manage call flows based on the state of the call. An app with programmatic call control can detect changes in the call state—when a call is initiated, answered, ended, or transferred—and take specific actions based on these factors.
Call control also enables apps to make changes to the call state, which automates much of the calling process, and apps can embed the calls directly in the application, which keeps the app in control of the experience for the entire flow. For mobile workforce apps that need to be used while driving, think Uber or Lyft, this is critical functionality, since the user often won’t be able to manually manage the call. For example, an app like Uber could be configured to automatically answer a call if it is from the rider the user is looking to pick up, and it can update the interface depending on the call status ("Your rider is attempting to reach you").
Here’s the flow for an automated call using call control:
- Call control detects the call initiated webhook for the incoming call.
- Mobile workforce app identifies that the user is driving and that the call is from the client.
- Mobile workforce app uses call control to auto-answer the call.
- When the call is complete, call control detects call ended webhook from the rider, and auto-ends the call for the driver.
In situations where the user can manage the call manually, call control can be used to display information about the call status in the user interface for more responsive app design. Call control is also used to initiate call recording, to play an audio message or to manage in-call menus.
If you want to build programmatic call control into an application, there are two ways to do it:
You can develop a call control system in-house. However, this lengthens the development process, sometimes causes reliability issues, and adds one more module that has to be continuously maintained.
Or, you can get a call control API from your VoIP carrier, if they offer one. An API offers plug-and-play call control capabilities, and reduces app maintenance time and costs. This method delivers the sort of ‘just works’ reliability that users expect from voice calling.
Both methods work. But either way, a good mobile workforce needs reliable and precise call control.
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