The offer in the field of mobile data collection technologies is increasingly diverse to meet growing demand from the inspection industry. This business sector covers several areas such as:
- Street furniture,
- Public works, etc.
More and more companies specializing in field inspections are migrating to digital technology to increase their productivity and reduce their costs.
We’re here today to introduce you to the concept of using mobile apps to improve data collection methods when it comes to field surveying.
How do mobile apps improve inspections?
Mobile apps can improve inspections in several ways:
- Elimination of redundant tasks
- Digitization of forms
- Transcription and data processing
- Geolocation of data
- Access to inspection history
- Real-time data and operations planning
- Better communication within an organization
- Quality report
Digitization of forms
Firstly, digital migration is notably reflected in the abandonment of paper forms in favor of digital forms found in field data collection applications.
Transcription and data processing
Going digital for your fieldwork and data collection eliminates the re-transcription of data from the paper form into a database and of the manual management of photos taken with a camera in the field. The mobile app automatically replaces these tedious and time-consuming steps.
Elimination of redundant tasks
Mobile apps can improve inspections by eliminating redundant tasks like manually creating reports and databases. Using an app allows you to create digital forms and export the form completed in the format that is most convenient for you.
Geolocation of data
Another significant benefit is the geolocation of data. Exact coordinates are available through the app and phone GPS system, which can save many steps when it comes to charting the data locations.
Indeed, when carrying out inspections it is especially important to take the geographical position of the surveys. With the traditional paper form method, field staff typically use a GPS device to obtain lat-long coordinates during the inspection. The mobile application automatically captures this information and links it to the statement.
Access to inspection history
Mobile technology allows the inspector to have access to data from previous inspections directly on their mobile devices. Thus, they can see the evolution of the condition of the inspected equipment and update the survey in the database directly in the field.
The data collection tool allows for better communication between the members of your inspection team and prevents lapses of information because everything they need to know is available right in the app.
Real-time data and operations planning
Another benefit of using mobile apps for data collection is in the inspection route planning tasks. It is a laborious task when done in the traditional way as the schedule of daily inspections to be performed has to be manually entered on a list or map.
The data collection application displays real-time inspections that have been performed and are accessible to all team members. Managers save precious time to optimally plan routes while minimizing the risk of error.
Better communication within an organization
Mobile data collection apps allow for better communication between inspection and repair (maintenance) services. These apps facilitate the sharing of information in real-time, so there is no administrative lag.
Let’s take standpipes, for example.
With the traditional method, the inspection team must manually forward the position of the fire hydrant to be repaired to the repair team. This process of sharing information is laborious and can lead to errors and delays.
The field data mobile application tells the repair team in real-time which standpipes to repair. Thus, maintenance teams can find their way easily and directly access georeferenced surveys.
When the repair has been carried out, the information is automatically entered into the database. It also becomes accessible in real-time to project managers.
Finally, there are some huge benefits to using a mobile app here, including automated report creation (preventing further administrative lags). The mobile application also helps prevent errors when handling data. It can instantly create a PDF or Excel report seconds after the end of the operation. The visual interfaces often help both surveyors and clients to make better decisions more quickly.
The quality of this report and the speed with which it is provided to the client represents an advantage for the inspection company over the competition. Indeed, this may promote better customer retention and, even, an increase in the leads conversion rate.
Finally, depending on the mobile application you choose, you will have an integrated online map on which the inspection data you have collected in the field will be displayed.
You can use app properties like filtering and adding color codes to your various inspection reports and access visuals that will allow you to make better decisions faster.
When considering mobile data inspection tools, one of the most comprehensive solutions that come to mind is Coral Collect.
Coral Collect is a solution that allows us to collect, save and share data in the field in a collaborative way. This solution encourages the involvement of all levels of the organization in the management of field data.
Users can use Coral Collect’s features to create digital forms with an online form builder, fill out forms in the field with the mobile application, and view/export data onto a dashboard for comprehensive reports accessible to the entire team. All levels of your team from technicians to analysts to managers will benefit from using Coral Collect.
To learn more about the benefits of using a field data collection app, please read Automation of Field Data Collection Processes: The Key to Being Effective