Timeline: 7 Years of ASD Mobile
Dec 12, 2018
Today marks the 7 Year Anniversary of when ASD released the first version of ASD Mobile to the Apple App Store. It is hard to believe that only seven years ago, funeral directors were given the freedom for the first time to take their mobile communications on the go. ASD Mobile provides directors with a constant and reliable link back to the office, allowing funeral professionals to manage their telephone communication and conduct business from anywhere. Since it was first introduced on December 12, 2011, ASD Mobile has been downloaded more than 20,000 times and has received over 100 5-star reviews – far exceeding any other mobile app created for the funeral profession.
Over the past seven years, our app has been updated numerous times to provide more features and tools to help improve the lives of funeral professionals. To celebrate ASD Mobile’s birthday, we thought it would be fun to take look back at our app’s history.
Below is a timeline of the evolution of ASD Mobile
Early 2011: The Early Stages
A select group of ASD clients volunteer to beta test our company’s new mobile app and provide feedback on their experience. The suggestions received from these directors helped ASD’s Technology Team to create a user-friendly and intuitive interface that was fully integrated with ASD's answering service system.
October 2011: First Look
ASD demos an early beta version of ASD Mobile at the 2011 NFDA Convention.
ASD Mobile’s first promo image featuring the waiter, ASD’s retired logo mascot.
December 12, 2011: The first version of ASD Mobile is introduced.
ASD clients begin downloading ASD Mobile from the Apple App Store and utilizing it to access their messages, update service information, change on-call information and more.
December 15, 2011: ASD Mobile receives the first of many 5-star reviews on iTunes.
ASD Mobile’s first reviews on iTunes
April 12, 2012: ASD introduces ASD Mobile 2 enhanced with Push Notification Technology.
The addition of Push Notifications allowed directors to control how, when and why they are contacted for messages. For the first time, clients could respond to their messages from ASD with just a quick tap on their phone, saving time and eliminating unnecessary phone calls. With ASD Mobile 2, directors could also manage their own individual contacting preferences, set up specific notification schedules and choose from a selection of sound alerts.
July 10, 2012: ASD Mobile Selected as Finalist for 2012 NFDA Innovation Award.
In July 2012, ASD received word from the NFDA that a distinguished panel of judges had selected ASD Mobile as one of five finalists for the Innovation Award. An online voting site is set up for funeral professionals to cast their vote for the winner of the award.
ASD is grateful to all of the directors who voted for us to win the NFDA Innovation Award
July 17, 2012: ASD Launches Beta Testing Program for ASD Mobile for Android.
Funeral directors who expressed an interest in an Android version of our app were given exclusive access to test out and provide feedback on ASD Mobile for Android. Our technical team discovered that creating an Android app was much more complicated due to the sheer number of different devices that exist on Android platform and problems caused by fragmentation. We relied upon our beta testing group to help us evaluate and troubleshoot the earliest versions of ASD Mobile for Android. Their assistance and patience made it possible for us to create the best version of our app for the Android platform.
October 8, 2012: ASD Mobile Receives the 2012 NFDA Innovation Award at the 2012 NFDA Convention in Charlotte, NC.
ASD was honored and humbled to be named the recipient of the 2012 NFDA Innovation Award. The award represents the pinnacle of achievement for a funeral service vendor. Everyone on the ASD team felt extremely grateful to the NFDA judging panel and to the funeral service community for recognizing the value our mobile app delivers to directors.
Winning the 2012 NFDA Innovation Award was one of the proudest moments in ASD’s company history.
Late October, 2012: ASD Mobile Receives a Surge in Downloads.
By the end of October 2012, the ASD Mobile app had been downloaded more than 3,000 times and had received more than 40 five-star reviews. This increase was brought on both by ASD winning the NFDA Innovation Award and the large number of funeral professionals who heavily relied upon our service during Hurricane Sandy.
November 12, 2012: ASD Mobile for Android Launches
After gathering feedback from more than 200 beta testers, ASD was able to enhance the app’s performance and ensure it was fully functional on all Android devices. ASD Mobile for Android delivered all of the features iPhone users appreciated about the app, giving Android users one-touch access to hear and read all aspects of their messages, utilize push notification technology, update service information, change on-call details, and provide feedback in seconds.
With the help of our clients, ASD was able to build an Android version of our app in less than a year.
2013: New Mobile Tools Added to App
Throughout 2013, ASD’s Technical team was busy at work creating new features and options within both versions of ASD Mobile. After launching the Android app, our tech team wanted to implement many of the great ideas suggested by our app beta testers. Throughout the year, many new solutions were added, including:
- The ability to create a detailed on-call schedule through the app
- Our re-dispatch feature, which allows clients to tap a button and quickly notify ASD to contact a different director with a message.
- New share tools that enable clients to easily send both a call recording and written message to any contact on their phone.
- Sound settings that give ASD Mobile users the flexibility to switch between their headset and speaker.
- A new mapping tool that helps clients navigate to addresses obtained by ASD Call Specialists by tapping on the address within the app.
October 21, 2013: ASD Hosts Innovation Appreciation Celebration Cocktail Party
To thank all of the directors who helped us to win the 2012 NFDA Innovation Award, ASD held a client cocktail party during the 2013 NFDA Convention in Austin. It was a wonderful evening with our clients and a great way for us to show how much we truly appreciated everyone who voted for us and helped us spread the world about the benefits of our app to the funeral service community.
A few of the photos taken during the Innovation Appreciation Celebration. Click here to see the full album.
March 13, 2014: ASD Mobile Demo Video Released
ASD created our first Video Demo highlighting all of the benefits of using the ASD Mobile app.
Summer 2014: Early Stages of ASD 3
With the introduction of the iPhone 6, ASD began beta testing an updated version of ASD Mobile for iPhone to introduce a redesigned look and several new game-changing features.
October 15, 2014: ASD Mobile 3 Released During NFDA Convention
During the 2014 NFDA Convention in Nashville, ASD Mobile 3 was released to the iTunes store. The updated version introduced a fresh new look and slide out menu that allowed directors to maneuver through the app quickly. The update also introduced many new tools, including a home page summarizing account activity, a new First Call form section, the ability to easily block any number via SolicitorShield™, Web Chat integration and much more.
The ASD Mobile 3 update integrated many solutions specifically requested by ASD Clients
With the release of ASD Mobile 3 came one of ASD’s most advanced and revolutionary features. MobileFH™ gives funeral directors the ability to call any number from their cell phone and display the funeral home’s office phone number as their outgoing Caller ID. This ensures that funeral directors can keep their personal cell numbers private, families always have the correct number to call back, and directors do not have to worry about answering business calls when they are off duty. Calls placed using MobileFH™ are also recorded, giving funeral home owners a chance to use these call recordings as training tools for their staff.
During the 2014 NFDA Convention, Matt Fiorilla of Ballard-Durand Funeral Home became the first ASD client to use MobileFH™.
December 2, 2014: ASD Mobile 3 Demo Video Released
ASD created an updated ASD Mobile tutorial video to demonstrate all of the new features and options available through the new, enhanced version of the app.
August 9, 2015: MobileFH™ Selected as Finalist for 2015 NFDA Innovation Award.
ASD was notified by NFDA in August of 2015 that our company’s MobileFH™ app feature had been selected as a finalist for the Innovation Award. To be recognized as a finalist for the second time was truly an honor and a wonderful surprise.
August 16, 2015: MobileFH™ Demo Video Released
To help funeral directors understand the benefits and convenience of using MobileFH™ to keep their cell phone number private, ASD created a tutorial video explaining how this unique solution works.
October 19, 2015: MobileFH™ Selected As Winner of the 2015 NFDA Innovation
On Monday, October 19, ASD – Answering Service for Directors was named the winner of the National Funeral Directors Association’s 2015 Innovation Award, making ASD the only company to receive this prestigious award twice. ASD Family-Member Owner, Kevin Czachor, was on stage to accept the award from NFDA Past President, Robert Moore, at the Opening General Session of the NFDA’s International Convention & Expo:
“We are honored and humbled by this recognition from the NFDA and by the many funeral professionals who took the time to vote for our MobileFH™ feature,” said ASD Family-Member Owner, Kevin Czachor, after accepting the award. “It truly is an incredible honor and we would like to dedicate it to all of the hardworking funeral directors who spend so much time on-call. Knowing that we have built a solution that makes life easier for our clients is the greatest award we could receive.”
ASD is honored to be the only funeral service company to recognized multiple times with a NFDA Innovation Award.
October 19, 2015: ASD Debuts App Demo Wall at 2015 NFDA Convention
The 2015 NFDA Convention was a very special event for the ASD team and for our mobile app. In addition to winning the NFDA Innovation Award for our MobileFH™ feature, the convention also marked the unveiling of our ASD Mobile demo wall. We invite our clients to contact us 24/7 if they need ever need a demo of our technical features or an explanation of a specific mobile tool. However, we understand how helpful it is to have visual aids when learning. This is why ASD’s convention booth was upgraded to include a large television monitor connected to an iPhone, allowing funeral directors to see the ASD Mobile app in action.
January 18, 2016: ASD Mobile updated with New Deep Archive and Message Search Tool
ASD’s Technical Team enhanced the Archive section of ASD Mobile for iPhone to include a search tool to help directors find old messages, call recordings and dispatch logs. Clients can also narrow their search to specific types of calls, such as preneed or price shopper calls, to easily keep track of their most important messages and follow up when necessary. The updated Deep Archive now stores messages for a much greater length of time, allowing directors to access messages up to 5 years old. These new features will also be added to ASD Mobile for Android in the coming months.
Click here to learn more about ASD’s Deep Archive and Message Search Tool
October 24, 2016: Innovation Appreciation Celebration Part 2
ASD hosted our second Innovation Appreciation Celebration to once again thank our clients for helping us take home the NFDA Innovation Award. With the 2016 NFDA Convention right in our back yard in Philadelphia, we were able to treat our clients to a fun and relaxing night above the city on the 52nd floor of the Pyramid Club. More than 400 funeral directors were treated to unparalleled views of the city at sunset, flavorful cocktails (including our signature “ASD Blue Mortini”) and delicious food. So much of ASD's interaction with directors is over the phone, so events like this are very special to us because they give us a chance to really get to know our clients and their families.
A few of the photos taken during the Innovation Appreciation Celebration. Click here to see the full album.
February 22nd, 2017: ASD Releases Enhanced Version of ASD Mobile to Android Platform
In late February of last year, ASD released a completely rewritten version of our Android app. The update introduced a multitude of new tools and efficiencies to help OS users better manage their funeral home’s communication from anywhere. From improving the app dashboard display to introducing features such as Web Chat integration, Solicitor Shield blocking and expanded on-call options, this update greatly enhanced ASD Mobile for Android users.
February 28, 2017: MobileFH™ Feature Awarded Patent from U.S. Patent Office
It was a banner week for the ASD and especially our Tech Team when we received word that the U.S. Patent Office had awarded an official patent for our MobileFH™ feature just a few days after we released an updated version of our Android app. The patent identifies the unique and revolutionary technology introduced by MobileFH™, which gives funeral directors the ability to display their funeral home number as their outgoing Caller ID when making calls from their cell phone. MobileFH™ is registered under Patent No. 9,584,663. In addition to MobileFH™, ASD also holds patents for three other telecommunication solutions: First Call Connect™, Solicitor Shield™, and an Aural Volume Feedback tool that is used internally for quality control.
May 23rd, 2017: ASD Mobile Updated With New Call History Feature
One of the most exciting features introduced by ASD in 2017 was our Call History mobile tool. This feature was designed to work in conjunction with our Deep Archive, making it easier for funeral directors to easily located related messages within ASD Mobile. If you’ve ever received a message from ASD and thought to yourself, “I think I have spoken to this person before, but I can’t remember when or why” you can now eliminate those questions with this feature. A quick tap on any phone number within ASD Mobile with display several options, including the Call History. If you see a red number next to ‘Call History’ that means that ASD has handled a call from this same phone number in the past. App users can tap on this button to see a complete call history for that phone number dating back up to 5 years.
November 2nd, 2017: ASD Mobile Audio Selection Updated
In late 2017, ASD released an update to ASD Mobile for iPhone to provide better compatibility with Apple’s major iOS 11 update. This included a new audio selection button for message playback, making it easier for funeral directors to switch from their handset audio to speaker when listening to messages. While this may not have been a major app enhancement, it demonstrated ASD’s commitment to ensuring our app is consistently in sync with the latest software.
October 7 2018: ASD Releases App Update With New ReAlert Feature and Enhanced Support for Push Notifications
ASD’s most recent ASD Mobile update enhanced support for directors who receive messages via push notification and introduced ASD’s new ReAlert™ feature. With this feature, ASD will send out a reminder push notification to alert on-call funeral directors when there is an outstanding message that has not been acted upon. This is especially useful if the director is in a sensitive environment and cannot be interrupted by a phone call. ReAlert™ can be controlled within the ASD Mobile’s Push Notification settings. Clients can utilize the app to control how often they are re-alerted for urgent messages when on-call. In addition to the introduction of ReAlert™, our latest app update also included some exciting new upgrades including keychain support, group push notifications, support for iPad multi-tasking and more. Click here for more details on this update.
Coming Soon: MobileFH™ Texting
The next stage in the evolution of the ASD Mobile app will be coming in 2019 with the launch MobileFH™ Texting, a game-changing feature that will allow funeral directors to send and receive text messages on their cell phone using the funeral home's business phone number as the sending number. This smartphone tool is an extension of ASD's MobileFH™, which enables ASD clients to call any phone number through the ASD Mobile app on their cell phone and display the funeral home business phone as their outgoing Caller ID. By introducing this patented, unrivaled technology to text messaging, ASD has made it even easier for on-call funeral directors to be responsive to families without sacrificing their privacy.
Here are some of the numerous benefits this new feature will offer:
- Ensures families and business associates are using the right contact phone number when sending sensitive information to your funeral home via text message
- Gives on-call funeral directors more freedom to conduct business on the go without giving out their personal cell phone numbers
- Allows funeral home owners and managers to easily review their staff's text message exchanges with families
- Provides a log of all text messages that can be easily accessed anytime within ASD Mobile
MobileFH™ Texting will be released to iOS users first with an Android-compatible version coming soon after. Be sure to check our website for announcements related to this exciting ASD feature!
Our goal here at ASD is to offer technology to funeral professionals that delivers freedom and convenience to their lives. Be on the lookout for more mobile solutions from ASD in the future as we continue working on ways to enhance your experience using our service. What mobile tools would you like to see added to ASD Mobile in the future? Please share your suggestions in the comment section below. So many ASD features were created after we learned about different communication issues from funeral directors. We welcome and appreciate all feedback.
About The Author
Jess Fowler is a Public Relations Specialist and Staff Writer who has been a part of the ASD team since 2003. Jess manages ASD's company blog and has been published in several funeral trade magazines. She has written articles on a variety of subjects including communication, business planning, technology, marketing and funeral trends. You can contact Jess directly at Jess.Fowler@myASD.com