Missionary Tablet

So you have the BIG idea that the Church or community needs to develop. Discuss that idea here. Maybe you just want to make a suggestion on a new forum topic. Let us know.
sammythesm
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Missionary Tablet

Postby sammythesm » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:07 am

The missionary program of the church would greatly benefit from a small, tablet computer that each missionary companionship could carry with them. Imagine the possibilities!

- There could be an "app" for tracking proselyting - using the GPS, elders could make annotations of street contacts, knocking doors, mark where members live, etc. Would help make decision making on where to tract much easier. The data could even have a 'lifespan' where, over time, it would decay and be lost so that missionaries would be incentivized to retract the same streets again.

- More immediate communication between missionaries, mission office, and church HQ. Imagine if I could immediately send a street contact to the neighboring area, such that those missionaries could follow up while it was still a 'hot lead'. In my foreign mission, references that came from the MTC call center or from Temple Square took months to arrive, and usually the individual was un-contactable at that point. Anyone in sales knows the value of a "hot lead"

- Track missionaries schedules, with integrated reporting. Missionaries could mark which appointments fell through, which resulted in teaching a lesson, which resulted in baptism commitments, and which resulted in new appointments/lessons. Stats could come into mission office in real time.

- Reporting. Missionaries could do all reporting from the device (mostly as noted above) but also other reporting, i.e. writing letters to their mission prez.

- Specialized email client that only downloaded email on P-Day - missionaries could write email from their apartments. (Docking station/keyboard at home for faster typing?)

- Include library of images and videos, similar to "flip charts" of old - to help teach lessons. Offer video on demand of the Prophet - Imagine if you are an investigator in a far-off country - how cool would it be to not only learn there is a prophet, but actually hear him speak too - right in the middle of the lesson!

- No web browser, games, etc - device could be centrally managed by the mission office/CHQ. Keep those missionaries focused! :)

- Could even use the GPS to locate missionaries in case of emergency, distress, etc.

- The device would ultimately be the "area book", passed down from missionary to missionary in the area holding all the data about that area. (Area books were never maintained in my mission)

Would be simple to build this device based on available merchant silicon and Android. This is definitely within the grasp of the church. Could be a great device!!!

jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:13 pm

This same type discussion occured four years ago with the iPhone and smart phones in the thread Missionary Smart Phone/PDA Ideas. I think post 13in that thread has some good points.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

TeddJohnson
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I agree whole heartedly!

Postby TeddJohnson » Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:49 am

Hello!

I am a current missionary, serving State-side.

This past week I spent about 4 hours going through the area book and old records trying to make sense of things. Prior to coming out, I was a Senior Systems administrator for 4 years. During my P-day, I wrote out some basic design specs for it.

In our mission, we have cell-phones, GPS units, and access to computers at the public library. I believe that a lot of this could be modernized.

Some ideas to add:
-Online journal (use the new LDS.org study journal perhaps? or maybe a specific missionary journal?)
-Replace "dailly planners"

I didn't think to bring my design paper with me, but I would be happy to write up the specs. My current plan was to wait until I got home (still have roughly 20 months left) and do a complete design, but if there are others who are working/thinking about this, there should be a project made. I can certainly give some insight from out in the field as to what would work (because honestly, back home I had no idea what would work and what would).

Sincerely,
Elder Johnson

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Postby dwsmith2 » Fri Oct 28, 2011 1:06 pm

Word on the street is that missionaries will be getting iPads (or a comparable device) within the next couple of years.

TeddJohnson
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Postby TeddJohnson » Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:01 am

I think there is tremendous potential in creating a device that is specifically for missionaries, instead of just giving them an ipad. This could also be cheaper, and more durable. I am still working on updating my written project, and I do hope that by the end of my mission I will have something coherent to present. Since this is hardware AND software based, do you think LDSTech would be a good place to bring this up, or should it be brought up with the missionary department directly?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:21 pm

TeddJohnson wrote:Since this is hardware AND software based, do you think LDSTech would be a good place to bring this up, or should it be brought up with the missionary department directly?


It might be helpful to bring up the topic here on LDSTech, so that you can get some feedback that might be helpful. But it's unlikely that anyone will see your suggestion here, so once you have gotten some feedback, you'd need to try some other avenue to get the attention of the Missionary Department.

As for the idea, I don't know just what you are planning, but I really doubt that the Church wants to get into the hardware business. The startup costs would be significant. If the Church were to do this, it seems to me to make much more sense to use a standard hardware platform and OS, and then put custom applications on it.

The Church uses tens of thousands of computers, but you don't see them going into the computer manufacturing business. I would think the same logic would apply to tablets.
Questions that can benefit the larger community should be asked in a public forum, not a private message.

sammythesm
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Postby sammythesm » Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:50 am

The church doesn't necessarily need to get into the hardware manufacturing business to have a custom solution - it just needs to work with existing vendors with existing platforms. It wouldn't be that hard to put a custom build of android with specific apps on an existing, commodity piece of hardware bought directly from the manufacturer in quantities that allow for significant cost reduction.

I think the greatest limitation of a program like this would be the costs of the hardware, cost of hardware replacement (when the 19 year olds destroy the device), the cost of ongoing wireless service, and security of the devices (security meaning theft, not necessarily hacking).

exspyguy
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Postby exspyguy » Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:57 am

I am a Systems Engineer for mobile systems integration into the Enterprise. Projects I have been involved with include TabXP devices and iPads into financial institutions, mobile handsets into a popular chain of home improvement stores, I have put iPads into the cockpits of airlines replacing paper maps and flight checks and documentation...etc

We architect the solution, especially in mission specific (no pun intended) applications, configuration, deployment, support, security and monitoring, tracking logging (ota) and data recovery, repair and return with rapid redeployment.

If anyone is interested how a missionary iPad/Tablet deployment would work from a logistics and program management standpoint, I would be more than happy to teach that person how.

TeddJohnson
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Postby TeddJohnson » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:27 am

sammythesm wrote:The church doesn't necessarily need to get into the hardware manufacturing business to have a custom solution - it just needs to work with existing vendors with existing platforms. It wouldn't be that hard to put a custom build of android with specific apps on an existing, commodity piece of hardware bought directly from the manufacturer in quantities that allow for significant cost reduction.

I think the greatest limitation of a program like this would be the costs of the hardware, cost of hardware replacement (when the 19 year olds destroy the device), the cost of ongoing wireless service, and security of the devices (security meaning theft, not necessarily hacking).


yes, exactly. I have heard rumors that some missionaries have ipads now, and both from the price standpoint and the proprietary standpoint, I thought "what a waste!".

I would be very interested in hearing what you have to say exspyguy! I am just writing it all out on paper (since I am in the field as a missionary right now), but would love ideas/advice so I can present this clearly one day.

Currently I've seen tablets as cheap as 100$. Given that in my mission, each companionship has:
-a cell phone
-a gps
-a portable DVD player


it seems like cost would be the same in the end. I agree with the problems you mentioned (hardware replacement, wireless service, and security) hence why a CUSTOMIZED device would be better (IMHO) than an ipad.

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Re: Missionary Tablet

Postby sbradshaw » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:53 pm

I just learned about "Apple Configurator," which would make configuring and keeping track of missionary iPads really easy:
http://www.apple.com/education/resource ... nfigurator


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