Nokia's Windows Phone-based devices are finally making some headway in the enterprise, with UK estate agency Foxtons replacing an existing fleet of Symbian-based Nokia E Series devices with around 900 Lumia 820 smartphones.
One of the main reasons for Foxtons' switch to Nokia Lumia was its tight integration with Microsoft Outlook, allowing agents to check emails, make targeted calls and prepare for their next appointment between viewings.
The built-in Microsoft Office applications on Windows Phone 8 also mean that agents can work on Excel spreadsheets and edit Word documents while away from their office PCs. This option is not currently offered on Apple's iPhone.
Foxtons' in-house development team was already familiar with developing applications in the Microsoft Windows environment and has now begun deploying its own apps for the Nokia Lumia 820.
“In a fast moving business with many staff movements across departments and locations, keeping an accurate, up-to-date contact list is a challenge for us,” said Dan Rafferty, IT Director of Foxtons.
“We've developed an app integrating our personnel system with our active directory and phone system so all the information is accurate and can be accessed directly from our agents' Nokia Lumia 820s.”
With agents covering large areas, the mobile navigation features of the Nokia Lumia 820 were also an important factor in the switch to Lumia, providing turn-by-turn navigation with live traffic updates and offline maps, and removing the need for separate satellite navigation systems.
When showing prospective clients around a property, agents can use Nokia City Lens to show live information on the local area, showcasing points of interest and amenities including leisure centres, cinemas, restaurants and shops.
“Foxtons is a great example of how a company can empower its workforce to work effectively on the move, with their smartphones integrated with its existing Microsoft infrastructure,” said Adrian Williams, director of Business Sales UK at Nokia.
Nokia swung to a net profit during the fourth quarter of 2012, as it sold a growing number of Windows Phone-based Lumia smartphones. The company reported fourth-quarter sales of €8.04 billion (£6.77bn), down 20 percent year-on-year, making a net profit of €202 million, compared to a net loss of €1.07 billion a year earlier.
The company sold a total of 86.3 million mobile phones during the fourth quarter, of which 6.6 million were smartphones (including 4.4 million Lumia devices). That compares to 113.5 million phones, including 19.6 million smartphones, during the same period in the previous year.
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