There’s no question that mobile apps are popular, and while no one knows exactly how many are out there, analysts estimate the number of app users is growing by nearly 30 percent annually, with 4.4 billion expected worldwide in the next few years.
So it’s not surprising that mobile apps are flourishing in the pool and spa industry. There are apps for everything from remote control of pool and spa automation equipment to water testing, pool measuring for safety covers and liners, and more.
Following is a sampling of industry-related apps; if your favorite isn’t here, we’d like to hear about it. Now let’s take a look at some popular ones. …
Builders Sales tool: Coverstar
In talking with pool builders around the country, Coverstar learned that the No. 1 reason automatic safety covers are not sold with a pool is because the builder does not feel confident discussing the product’s benefits with the homeowner. So the company decided to develop the Coverstar App.
The app includes the Cost Savings Calculator, which shows homeowners how much money they can save by investing in an automatic safety cover. There’s also a design tool that displays photos of pools with similar features, to help homeowners sort through various cover options.
Since the app was introduced in 2012, it has received several updates, the most significant being the addition of the Mesh & Solid Safety Cover module that highlights the covers’ features and benefits. Another update involved the photo gallery, which now allows pool builders to showcase their own projects.
For more info: www.coverstar.com
Service Techs Time saver: Evosus
This app lets service technicians view their schedules, their last five service calls, equipment history, and customer details such as contact info, equipment on file, warranties and balances due. They also can find troubleshooting info about the equipment being repaired.
In addition, the office staff can add tasks to the techs’ schedules throughout the day — and all information syncs back to Evosus Business Management software, which reduces paperwork and time spent manually keying in data.
Those time savings are significant, say company officials. In addition to fewer hours of data entry, the app gives techs the necessary information to complete more jobs on the first visit. Another plus: Information collected by the tech at each stop can be printed on a service invoice, so the customer knows what work was completed.
For more info: www.evosus.com
For a while, AquaConnect users have been able to monitor and control pool or spa conditions from a distance. Now there’s the new, free AquaConnect Mobile App. It’s designed to streamline the process and enhance the visual display on phones, making for easier reading of diagnostics, settings and adjustments. It also allows quicker platform access from smartphones and tablets.
With AquaConnect, homeowners can access their pools from near or far, and it gives service professionals the ability to remotely monitor and manage all the pools on their routes.
From the app, users can manage pH and sanitization; turn lights on and off; activate waterfeatures; and enable, disable or set the temperature for any heater — all while conserving energy.
For more info: www.hayward-pool.com
Service Techs Flexible: Pentair
Remote control of pools and spas isn’t new, but the technology behind it is always evolving. Take Pentair’s latest ScreenLogic interface app. It enables users of smartphones and computers to control pool and spa functions from anywhere.
This app is only one piece of the remote control picture, though. ScreenLogic interfaces were introduced for PCs, PDAs and in-wall touch screens in 2006, and they worked with the IntelliTouch pool/spa automation system. In 2009, the company introduced its first app for accessing ScreenLogic on iPhones or iPods. ScreenLogic2 was released in 2011 and works with EasyTouch and IntelliTouch systems.
Because the app has been on the market for a while, Pentair has had the chance to respond to feedback and enhance its performance, say company officials. ScreenLogic for Android debuted last summer.
Filter finder: Pleatco
The Pleatco Pool & Spa App is for service professionals who need information on replacement filter cartridge products while in the field. But that’s not all it can do.
The app, which comes in iPhone, iPad and Android versions, was launched in 2010. This year, the company released a new 3.0 version that includes the Pleatco Pool Mate Job Tracker, which allows service technicians to index all of their customers’ details, record pressure settings, filter types and service dates — and sets alerts to remind them when it’s time to call or visit the customer.
The app was designed to make the identification of replacement parts easy and accessible, and to ultimately link customers and products via an authorized partner network. Company officials say that many regard the app as a “master dictionary for filter cartridges.”
For more info: www.pleatco.com
Complementary pair: ITS
It all started on a long car ride to a trade show. As the Industrial Test Systems team brainstormed, the idea of a sophisticated, handheld photometer emerged. “Our team loved the concept of developing a photometer that worked with a smartphone app,” says Mike McBride, marketing manager at ITS.
Now service technicians have ITS’ eXact iDip photometer and complementary app at their disposal. The photometer uses the patented iDip4 Reagent system to analyze water samples, and the new app enables data to be transferred between the photometer and mobile devices using Bluetooth. Techs also can store the test result histories of numerous pools and spas, as well as customer data.
All this didn’t happen overnight, of course. It took two years to develop the app, and along the way service techs tried it out, offering feedback that helped the company improve the end-user experience.
For more info: www.sensafe.com
Dealers/Installers Accurate: GLI Pool Products
Anyone who’s ever measured a pool for a cover or liner only to find that they made an error and must return to re-measure will appreciate this mobile app, which debuted in January.
With the “AB My Pool” app, dealers collect data at poolside and submit it via mobile devices to GLI Pool Products, where the measurements are imported into the manufacturer’s CAD system. That means quicker turnaround time and superb drawing accuracy.
The interface is designed to be simple, instantly drawing the cover or liner when the points are entered. This significantly reduces the risk of mistakes in the field, note company officials. All data is stored electronically, which adds efficiency.
The AB My Pool app is available in the Apple and Android stores; in addition, the company plans to launch a website (ABMyPool.com) this spring. Soon the app and the Web-based program will be available free of charge.
For more info: www.glipoolproducts.com
Quick access: Loop-Loc
This app lets users submit pool measurements for safety covers, order products, check on orders and estimates, request sales tools, and obtain measuring and installation guides — all from the job site.
It’s designed for dealers measuring pools in the field, allowing them to be able to render the cover at the job site, thus ensuring that measurements are correct. This saves time because by catching mistakes, dealers can avoid having to go back to the project to re-measure.
Launched in 2011, the Loop-Loc app is password-protected and can be accessed through any device with a Web browser. “Making a cloud-based app allows greater compatibility across platforms [such as] Mac, Windows and Linux,” notes LeeAnn Donaton-Pesta, CEO of Loop-Loc. She adds that it also makes it easier for people to access the app, and to retain older data.
For more info: www.looploc.com
Efficient: RB Control Systems
Launched four years ago, the RB Mobile Live app ensures that service pros have what they need in real time so they can operate more efficiently, says Corinne Kraft.
The partner at RB Control Systems explains how by running down the list of app features, including its ability to provide immediate access to service tickets and customer profiles, calculate chemical dosages, and record water problems and test results. Plus, the tech can start new orders, use Inventory Look Up, and do physical inventory with UPC codes in the field.
One of the best things about the app is how it streamlines the process, allowing techs to take payments at the job site, email customers customized virtual door hangers about the work performed — and the office staff is instantly updated as work is performed in the field.
Because it’s a Web-based app connected to your POS system in real time, Kraft says that you can improve response rates and resolution time with immediate access to dispatched jobs, service details, product specs and up-to-the minute parts inventory.
For more info: www.rbcontrolsystems.com