Collecting data from the field
In May 2010 Logan City Council's Information Services (IS) team and its City Standards branch began working together to try to solve a problem common among many councils: How to provide a mobile data collection capability so that Council inspectors could spend more productive time out in the field rather than being back in the office attending to paperwork?
It was a problem that the Council had tried to resolve in earlier years but pilot programs had repeatedly failed due to issues such as poor technology performance, cumbersome or too heavy laptops, poor battery life and lack of reliable disconnected-mode operation.
In each instance the pilot had focused on technology and had been designed to replicate the processes that would have been used when working within the office. This time however, IS was determined to try something different.
They began by reviewing and documenting the business processes involved in inspections before approaching a number of vendors with two key requirements. First, the chosen mobile data capture solution would need to work with any mobile device, anywhere, any time, even when the device is away from the data networks. Second but just as importantly, the solution must make it easier to conduct business with, and within, the Council.
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