User Manual: NIVY Watch extension for Dynamics 365 Business Central

This document is a simple user manual for users of the NIVY Watch extension for the Dynamics 365 Business Central system.

1. Tables

After installing the NIVY Watch extension for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, new tables have been added to Business Central. These are necessary for both System Configuration and Task Management. All tables are accessible in the “Lists” menu.

1.1. System Configuration

The following tables are used for configuring Task Management:

Response types

This table defines the type of response that a user can input on the watches. Response types can be:

  • List: A list of values from which the user can select one.
  • Number: The user can input a numerical value.
  • Text: Prepared for future use with the VoiceToText function.

Task templates

This table defines the type of task, which can be:

  • Simple task: Consisting only of a task name and an estimated duration. When using a simple task, the user sees the task name on the smartwatch, and clicking on it displays a task timer with an option to finish the task.
  • Complex task: In addition to the name and estimated duration, it includes a list of subtasks. Each subtask consists of a name, response type, and order of appearance. When using a complex task template, the user can start subtasks during the task timer. Subtasks are displayed on the smartwatch in the order defined, with each subtask showing its name and allowing the user to fill in a response according to the response type. Complex tasks can be used, for example, as checklists.

Message templates

This table defines the type of short message. It consists of a message text that is displayed to the user on the smartwatch and a response type, specifying the required type of response.

1.2. Users and Devices Configuration

The NIVY Watch extension for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central supports Contactless Equipment Identification system (CEI). This system allows optional use of specialized Bluetooth devices called Beacons. These devices enable contactless identification of operational devices where the NIVY Watch task management solution is in use. Identification can be for individual devices (e.g., forklifts) or areas (e.g., workstations within a production line). The smartwatches can automatically determine which device the user is currently near and offer tasks related to that device.

The following tables are used for device configuration:

Areas and beacons

This table defines physical areas covered by one or more beacons. For each beacon, a different radius can be defined, allowing the definition of areas of different geometric shapes. To identify a single device, an area with one beacon is sufficient.

Note: Distance measurements based on Bluetooth may have some inaccuracies, so it’s advisable to calibrate the placement and radius of beacons.

Watch settings

This table allows various settings for smartwatches, such as data synchronization interval, beacon scanning interval, and more.

Users

The Users table displays a list of all authorized users for the NIVY Watch extension for the Dynamics 365 Business Central system.

1.3. Task Management

The following tables are used for actual task management:

Tasks

This table is the fundamental data object for NIVY Watch Task Management solution. Each record contains the task name, task template, user, scheduled date and time, estimated duration, actual start of task execution, actual task completion, and actual duration. If the task template defines subtasks, the task record also includes a list of Task responses, with each task response containing a name, response value, and order within the list.

Messages

This table allows quick communication from Business Central to users with smartwatches. Each record in the table includes the smartwatch user, a text message, a response value, the time the message was received by the smartwatches, and the time the response was sent.

2. Working with Task Management

Work with Task Management continues with active updating of the Tasks table. In the case of short messages, it is the Messages table. The NIVY Watch extension for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central system ensures that all changes that occur in these tables will be delivered to the relevant smartwatches. The application on the smartwatch will then ensure the execution of the relevant functionality and interaction with the user. All data changes on the smartwatch will then be transferred back to Business Central.

Task Management can be operated in several ways.

2.1. Task Board

The Task Board is the central hub of the NIVY Watch Task Management solution for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. It’s a custom HTML component that is fully integrated into the Business Central environment. It serves for the management of tasks and activities for deskless workers. It’s essentially a table that provides a clear overview of task completion for a specific (selected) day. In the rows of the table, all users of the NIVY Watch system are listed, and for each user, all tasks assigned to them for that day are displayed on a timeline. Each task can be in one of the following states:

  • Planned – light green color,
  • Currently in progress – orange color,
  • Completed – dark green color.
Direct integration to Business Central

The first row of the table is reserved for tasks that have not yet been assigned to any specific employee.

The Task Board is an efficient tool designed for work task/activity coordinators or shift managers. In the Task Board, they can create tasks for employees, assign them to specific employees, or move them along the timeline. This can be done by simply dragging and dropping tasks directly within the Task Board environment.

Another important function of the Task Board is monitoring the completion of work tasks. The Task Board ensures the delivery of planned tasks to employees’ smartwatches (or smartphones). An employee can then accept the task on their smartwatch and mark it as completed after performing the planned activity. The smartwatch automatically sends all recorded data back to Business Central, and the Task Board reflects these changes. This way, the manager has real-time oversight of all completed activities (light green), activities currently in progress (orange), and activities that have been completed (dark green). In case an employee falls behind on essential activities, the manager can take immediate action, either by rescheduling them or assigning them to another employee. Alternatively, the manager can address the situation through text or voice communication with the employee, who is lagging in task completion (we will explain this functionality later, in a separate blog).

2.2. Creating a New Task

There are several ways to create a new task and assign it to an employee:

  1. Manually by the manager: In the Task Board, by selecting “New Task.” After clicking, a list of all available task templates, which define the task’s character and the feedback employees must provide during task execution, will appear. The task is created in the “Unassigned” row for the current time. The manager can then assign it to a specific employee at a specific time using drag and drop.
  1. Through workflows: Tasks can also be created automatically by workflows running in the background of Business Central. For instance, if Business Central detects low materials needed for production, it can automatically create a new task for a warehouse worker, which the NIVY Watch system will deliver to their smartwatch. The manager can see this automatically generated task in the Task Board and verify its completion.
  1. By deskless workers: Every employee using NIVY Watch can create new tasks. They can do so by either selecting ad-hoc tasks on their smartwatch display or using the Contactless Equipment Identification system. This system, based on specialized Bluetooth Beacons, can initiate new tasks when an employee is in proximity to the equipment where the task needs to be performed. If, for example, an employee comes close to a forklift on which the Beacon is placed, the smartwatch will automatically identify this device and offer the employee a new task — “Operate forklift”, which the employee can start performing.

Task creation and execution can be managed directly by the shift manager, or through a combination of events that occur during work operations. The shift manager can use the Task Board to monitor task completion and address any exceptional situations.

2.3. Creating a new message

Short messages can be sent to the shift manager directly from the Business Central environment. After clicking on the user’s name, a window with a list of messages to the selected user will be displayed. A new message can be created by clicking on the Message>New menu.

3. Smartwatch Application

The Smartwatch application is simple and requires minimal user interaction. When the watch is turned on, the display shows a Watchface like this

Watch home screen

3.1. Scheduled Task

If a scheduled task has been delivered to the smartwatch and the planned date and time have arrived, the smartwatch automatically displays the task name on the screen and starts vibrating to get the user’s attention. By clicking on the task name, the user initiates the execution of the task. A timer starts, and the user can perform the corresponding activity. After the expected task duration elapses, the watch vibrates again, prompting the user to finish the task. The user can finish the task by clicking the “Finish” button or continue the activity and finish the task later.

In the case of a complex task consisting of subtasks (e.g., a checklist), the user enters all values for each subtask during the execution of the corresponding activity, following the task template definition. After completing the task, all filled-in data is sent to Business Central. The same process is followed for all other scheduled tasks.

Start new task
Finished task

If the user cannot perform a planned task (for example, due to engaging in another activity), they simply do not take over the task. Such a task is automatically saved in the queue and can be started at any time by clicking the “Tasks” button on the main Watchface screen.

3.2. Task Activated by Beacon

To use this functionality, the implementation of the Contactless Equipment Identification (CEI) system is required. For more information, see the section: Tables, Areas and beacons.

If the user approaches a device marked by the CEI system, the smartwatch automatically vibrates and offers to start a task assigned to this device. The user can start this task by clicking on the task name. The subsequent process is the same as in the previous section.

If the user does not want to take over the task, they simply do not respond to this prompt.

3.3. Ad hoc Task

The user can also initiate an Ad hoc task, a situation where such a task was not planned but is unexpectedly needed. Ad hoc tasks are accessible by clicking the “Tasks” button on the main Watchface screen.