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Keep Your Inspectors in the Field with Mobile Tech

06/25/2019

It’s hard to think of a technology more ubiquitous than cell phones. Even my children instinctively know how to operate my phone. So why do so many in the construction industry - who eagerly embrace future tech like drones, 3D modeling, laser scanning, BIM etc. - fail to implement mobile technology at their job sites? Downloading an app on your phone isn’t as buzzworthy as sending a robot hundreds of feet in the air to capture data, but the fact remains that there a number of low-hanging fruit that inspectors and the whole project team can knock out by simply using mobile devices at the job site

Too often we still see the Orange Field Book for daily inspection. And even as we move to online construction management systems, the field book remains. Field personnel and inspectors who are still handwriting reports open themselves up to inaccurate calculations and mistranslations when the data is transcribed in the office. The field and office are also often times working with different sets of data. There’s no point in taking advanced, laser-guided measurements or utilizing drones for inspection if there’s a risk the data will lose integrity in transit and not be used. So, what are the main advantages of embracing a mobile field data capture tool?

Accurate Data Capture at the Source

A single point of data entry where the work is actually being done eliminates the need for transcription and ensures the data is truly accurate. Item quantities, measurements, onsite personnel, site conditions, and more are easily communicated directly from the site.

Limited Training and Implementation

Everyone is - or at least should be - comfortable with using a cell phone. It’s a familiar, trusted technology that people intuitively understand how to operate - meaning people are less likely to gripe and groan when they have to use it.

Standardized and Secure Data Capture

Implementing a universal tool for mobile data capture in the field will help to standardize the data entry process for organizations struggling in that area. Since most mobile platforms are cloud-based and data is encrypted in-transit and at-rest, this method is much more secure than outdated paper processes. This also allows for improved job transparency and stakeholder communication.

Maximizing Field Personnel

We’ve heard many a tale of inspectors traveling back and forth from sites to the office, wasting time, gas, and ultimately hindering productivity. Mobile tech allows field personnel to work in the field - exactly where they’re supposed to be.

Expedited Identification of Potential Issues

When your data capture method is integrated with your construction management system, information transfer is near instantaneous. Project managers and consulting engineers can quickly detect and handle potential issues to keep projects on track.

I’d love to know more about where your organization stands on implementing mobile technology. We’ve worked with multiple construction owners, AEC firms and contractors who tell us we’ve been able to automate their construction inspection process and provide a more collaborative environment. Just because it has helped many construction teams doesn’t mean it can help you. So, we’d like to better understand the issues you’re experiencing to see if we can help. If you are looking to improve in this area, I’d be happy to chat. Feel free to reach out to me at chad.schafer@infotechfl.com.

Authors

Chad Schafer
Director of Account Management and Sales
A proud graduate of Michigan State, Chad started at Infotech in 2001. As the Director of Technical Sales & Account Management, his expertise leads new product development and customer retention efforts.
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