Movie Mondays: 5 Similarities Between The Terminator and Mobile Apps

By katie simpson on March 24, 2014

Who can forget Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator? Thirty years later, it's still a powerful movie. While in the film he plays a force for evil, this technological foe is not to be underestimated.

Arnold Schwarzenegger as the deadly terminator from 2029 (MGM). 

Today, we may not have artificial intelligence, but our technology is more powerful than ever. In fact, there are similarities between mobile apps and the terminator. Here are 5 reasons mobile apps are a powerful force today for business. 

1) Powerful 

In one of the first scenes, we see the power of the terminator: He kills a man with his bare hands. Without any resources (or clothes), the terminator is a deadly machine.

While not a deadly force, mobile apps are a powerful tool. Mobile data collection apps allow organizations to access information in real time. Every time information is filled out and submitted, it goes straight to cloud storage online. This allows organizations with remote or field employees to communicate instantaneously with their home offices. 

Mobile apps provide a powerful tool in distant communication. Information that once took days or weeks to process and collect is now available in seconds. For instance an oil rig inspection in the gulf coast becomes available for offices in Kalamazoo or Shanghai. 

2) Remote Orders

The movie begins with the terminator and Kyle coming back through time in clouds of lightning. Both men are sent back in time with different orders: one to kill Sarah Connor, one to save her. 

The future is a bleak and harsh reality, showing the cost of war (MGM)

While time travel seems like less and less of a physical possibility, mobile apps allow businesses to dispatch work to field workers.  The office can send partially pre-filled forms such as work orders or inspections to remote employees. The employee will receive a notification on their smartphone or tablet that a dispatch has been sent. The employee will get necessary information about a job, such as address, work needed, etc. When the employee arrives, they have less of the form to fill out, making their job faster.  Mobile apps can't travel through time, but they help organizations save time and do remote work more efficiently. 

3) Accurate

When he gets women in sight, the terminator always shoots her in the head multiple times. He doesn't just attack, he ensures that the job is finished with deadly accuracy.The terminator's deadly process shows he's accurate and thorough.

He always aims for the head (MGM)

Mobile apps, while not deadly, provide a new level of accuracy to businesses. Previously, human error weakened data on paper forms. Illegible handwriting, missing information, or inaccurate math could lead to various issues for companies. It slowed invoices, led to inaccurate quotes, and just an overall slower business. 

Today, mobile apps reduce all of these issues. Illegible handwriting is replaced with easy to read text. Missing information can now be made required inside the mobile app. Even if an employee forgets to put down the information, the mobile app won't allow them to submit their form. Finally, the mobile app can do all the math calculations, such as price quotes and adding on tax or other complicated functions. Mobile apps gather precise and accurate information to give businesses a competitive advantage.

4) Resourceful 

The terminator eventually finds Sarah Connor's apartment. When she's not there, he uses her own data: finds a photo ID and her address book. Later, he steals a police car to overhear the police chatter and help him search for Sarah. He even mimics her mother's voice to find where she is hiding out. Over and over again, the Terminator finds ways to use the environment to his advantage. 

Mobile apps create a new opportunity to collect information from the environment. Mobile apps make it easy to collect photos. For businesses that need to explain equipment issues or a safety issue on a work site, photos can help show a problem far more easily and quickly than descriptive text. With one click, your employees can easily capture visual information and share it in real time.

Beyond photographs, mobile apps also allow business to capture other new types of data. With one click, they can capture the location of a work order or delivery with GPS. This provides external validation that not only did an inspection or delivery occur, but that the information was taken down where it was supposed to be. 

5) Resilient

Cut, shot, hit by an 18 wheel truck, burned in a fire, it doesn't matter: the Terminator lives through it all. He even takes out his own eye in front of the mirror without even flinching. Only being crushed by metal does the terminator finally die. 

Even when his skin burned off, the terminator survives (MGM). 

Paper forms are certainly not this resilient. They are susceptible to liquid, dirt, tears, even the grease of food. Every office has had to deal with forms half recognizable from one or more of these hazards. But their fragility is actually a problem for businesses. More than 70% of businesses today would have to close within three weeks if they had a catastrophic loss of their paper forms due to fire or flood. Could your business survive that?

Business with mobile apps have a far more resilient method for collecting information. All forms filled out on their mobile apps go straight to the cloud. There, they are safe from the hazards of life. With rugged devices, or strong cases, smartphones and tablets can also be protected from liquid, grease, even dirt and shock. 

Mobile apps may not survive a gasoline fire, but they are far more resilient than the paper forms businesses have been using previously. This simple switch will protect your business no matter what Mother Nature brings. 

6) Low Cost

The whole reason the Terminator goes back in time is to prevent human resurgence. In the future, John Connor encourages humans to fight back against the machines, resulting in a costly and drawn out war. Sending one terminator back in time, from the machines perspective, is a cost effective measure to prevent the high toll of war. 

For business, mobile apps are a cost effective measure as well. First, they reduce labor costs. With checkboxes, auto-populated fields, and calculations, businesses find it takes them less time to fill out forms than it does on paper. This allows employees to get more work done in the day. 

Another huge saving in labor costs is removing the need for data entry. With paper forms, that information has to be entered a second time into the database. Mobile apps allow organizations to download their forms as an excel or csv file. Thus, the information can easily be integrated into their systems like Salesforce or Quickbooks. Data entry isn't necessary. One australian plumber was able to save $40,000 a year by no longer needing an employee just for data entry. 

Secondly, organizations spend less time searching for documents with mobile apps. Today, businesses spend on average 18 minutes looking for a paper document. If one worker only looks for 5 documents a week, it's still an one hour lost from other tasks. 

Mobile apps make finding documents easy: simply type a search. With mobile apps, you can even have your files named by certain information inside it. For instance you can name forms by customer name and date. This functionality makes it even easier and faster for businesses to find the forms they need, and spend time on more important tasks. 

Finally, paper storage costs businesses thousands of dollars each year. One four drawer filing cabinet can cost up to $1,500 a year. With just two filing cabinets for three years, a business can spend $9,000 to use and maintain these alone! 

Mobile apps provide unlimited cloud storage for companies. Whether a company has a thousand forms or a million, the cost remains the same. Mobile apps remove the need for costly storage and frees up space in the office for other uses. 

30 years later, The Terminator's technology is still very much a thing of science fiction. Mobile apps share similarities to the powerful machine, but are a tool that benefit a variety of businesses. Faster communication, streamlined processes, all while lowering costs to give businesses a strong competitive advantage.

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