“We use iPhone everywhere from the boardroom to the shop floor.”
DOER VP of Operations
Taking iPhone to new depths.
iPhone is helping these engineers deploy submarines and subsea rovers all over the world — without breaking the bank.
At DOER Marine, a California company that designs and builds subsea vehicles, engineers are working on the near-impossible: creating a manned vehicle that can explore the ocean floor. With orders like that in the pipeline, DOER needs to stay nimble, creative, and on the cutting edge of technical innovation.
DOER CEO Liz Taylor and VP of Operations Ian Griffith credit iPhone for keeping their team responsive, nimble, and available to clients — no matter where they are in the world.
“The iPhone accelerates how we perform as a team,” Griffith says. “I can be having a discussion with an engineer about how large a hatch could be. And we send an email to whoever happens to be on the boat. They take a measurement, snap a couple of photographs, and email back instantly.” The design process continues without a snag.
Rudy Schlepp, DOER’s Lead Tech, is often the guy on the boat, sending the images back, or requesting data from the engineers at home. “Recently in France, we lifted a submarine onto a dry dock,” he explains. “I used my iPhone to take a picture of where I’d landed the sub, and the engineers emailed me back drawings to verify that this was the correct placement.” With an offshore crew deployed to assist Schlepp, the instant back-and-forth saved DOER, and their client, a considerable amount of time and money.
Offshore with iPhone
The executives and engineers at DOER spend a lot of time at sea, on the large research vessels that launch their submersibles. Engineering Director Tony Lawson finds that iPhone keeps him connected on any ship, anywhere in the world. “Sometimes we’re on a vessel with a satellite link with an internal Wi‐Fi connection,” he explains. “So there’s no cellular service, but without even turning on a computer, we’re still receiving email, and I can manage certain IT needs remotely. I can literally administer an email account: add, remove, reset, whatever, from the deck of a ship while recovering a submersible in Bermuda - with little interruption to the task at hand. I couldn't do this with other devices.”
“Since we’ve been using the iPhone, our reputation as a sub-sea concierge has continued to grow.”
Rudy Schlepp appreciates his iPhone most when he’s traveling abroad. “The Wi-Fi makes it easy to call home. I like having my photo album to see my daughters. It’s nice having music and games for entertainment. The GPS helps me figure out where I am and get directions in a foreign country, and with Safari, I can search for anything I need. Everything is with me on iPhone.”
Staying home, saving money
For DOER, sometimes the best way to save money is not to leave the office in the first place. Taylor explains: “With iPhone, we don’t have to fly halfway around the world just to inspect a crack in the concrete. Someone in the field can snap a photo with iPhone, and we can get the critical information we need to make a decision.”
iPhone saves DOER money in other ways, too. “From the IT perspective,” Lawson says, “iPhone has allowed us to do things we weren’t capable of before. Using my iPhone, I can literally manage our servers through the web‐based interface of Safari, even without a Wi-Fi connection. And that’s crucial for someone who travels a lot, to solve server issues on the road, without having to carry extra gear. So the iPhone has paid for itself just in its capabilities as an IT management tool from afar.”
Ian Griffith has found that iPhone pays for itself in other ways — and within 6‐10 months of deployment. “We had to pay additional charges for Blackberry, and we don’t have that with iPhone. And then we found an even greater advantage. On offshore vessels, because we use Wi‐Fi, we don’t have to pay roaming charges or any additional fees. Our monthly bills are already about a third of what they used to be.”
Up and running, seamlessly
For DOER, the transition to iPhone has been a breeze. “Because the iPhone supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, we were able to seamlessly transition from other devices,” says Systems Administrator Gus Romo — and still keep everyone connected with contacts, calendars, and email.
Romo has enjoyed watching DOER employees take to iPhone. “I have a high level of satisfaction, as the IT Administrator, to see the users fully embracing the iPhone in their day-to-day use,” he says. “I think almost every user has their moment where they think, ‘Oh, the iPhone does that?’ And once they start playing with the app store, they find the apps that make their lives and work easier.” And maintenance has been a non-issue. “I used to get help desk calls,” Romo says. “With iPhone, there are no help desk calls.”
iPhone has been so revolutionary for DOER that Engineering Director Tony Lawson puts it in a category by itself. “It’s just a good product. It fits in my pocket, and it’s multiple tools in one. It’s changed the way we do business and the way we work.”
The CEO Mom
DOER CEO Liz Taylor not only runs the company; she’s also married to Ian Griffith and is the mother of their two boys. For Taylor, iPhone has made a big difference in balancing work and life. “iPhone gives me the gift of time,” she says. “I'm able to run here and there, take care of my two kids, not miss their ball games or their practices, and always stay connected to the office. With iPhone, I can open up all kinds of forms and spreadsheets, PDFs of invoices, anything that I need to look at. And I can deal with it immediately and not have to come back to the great mountain of paperwork on my desk. So it's very liberating, and it helps me to be effective both as a company owner and a mom.”
The morning routine, enabled by iPhone
Every morning, DOER VP of Operations Ian Griffith ramps up his day with iPhone. “Waking up, turning on the iPhone, and checking messages is my normal routine. From there, I go to the calendar and look at what’s coming up for the day. And then I go to the clock to check the different time zones for our projects, to see who I have to deal with before lunch, and who I can deal with after. And then I check the weather, stocks, and then head to work. I do all of that without starting up the computer. The iPhone makes the job easier because it’s so many tools in one.”
From Google Dirt to Google Earth
At a conference, Dr. Sylvia Earle, DOER’s original founder, met John Hanke, one of the founders of the company that created Google Earth. She joked with him that Google Earth should be called Google Dirt, because it didn’t include the ocean. That got him thinking — and inspired him to work with DOER Marine to add the ocean to Google Earth. The latest release of Google Earth, available on iPhone, includes the ocean.