- Author: The Field Eagle Team
- Published: 11/18/2021 3:10:41 PM
The world is constantly changing and evolving, and while some of these changes are driven by technology, others are driven by necessity. A good example of this is the changing ways in which companies are collecting data in their respective industries, whether they are mining, forestry, or IT.
Data collection can be a costly and time-consuming process, but it must still continue to be done with accuracy to make the most out of the information gathered for decision-making purposes.
With recent societal changes impacting many businesses in their face-to-face interactions, data collection has had to evolve and change. For example, it's more difficult for an employee to physically get to a site where data must be collected and returned, but there's also the issue of making sure that no errors occur in the process. The best solution here is digital data collection methods.
One of the easiest steps to take in data collection is creating an app for field staff members that will allow them to enter information while out in the field. It gives them a tool that doesn't require access to additional materials while still providing a single unified location for all information. However, for this app to work, there are some considerations you must keep in mind.
Is an Internet connection available in the field?
The first thing you need to consider when creating a field data collection app is the connection. Don't assume that just because your staff have access to smartphones on-site, they'll have an internet connection at all times. In many locations, data connections are spotty or completely non-existent.
Even if using Wi-Fi, the signal may be weak in certain areas, which can cause serious problems when using the app. Fortunately, many well-designed apps can collect and store data locally so that it can be loaded onto the server when a connection is next available.
What will your data collected in the field be used for?
Collecting data is essential, but it's just as critical to understand how the data will be used.
Data that's intended to be used within internal systems might not need to have the same formatting as data that could end up in a presentation.
For example information about a specific part that's failing might be acceptable as a simple image when the information is being shared internally. However, if that information needs to be shared with a vendor or even customers, perhaps a more detailed video file is suitable?
Data collection needs to cater to the different purposes data will be used for.
Is the platform flexible?
Is the platform flexible? Does it need to export data in a specific format? Many data collection apps are integrated with other applications, but if your use case is highly specialized, you might find yourself running into issues.
There are times when a highly specialized tool is the only option. However, sometimes a tool that does only one thing won't suffice when it comes to data collection. A tool that can do many things well is often the better option because one size may not fit all.
Other features may not be vital to some data collection projects but can become important should you need to do something outside the scope of the app's original purpose. For instance, if your project requires photos or videos, does the app offer dedicated buttons on the user interface designed specifically for photo and video captures.
On what basis is the pricing established?
Consider the context of your data collection project. Are you primarily concerned with making it easy to transfer large files, or are other factors more important? Some apps offer free versions, while other apps are ad-supported or are only released with a per-seat user license.
The costs vary depending upon what version is chosen, how many devices the app will be on, and how many users are using the app.
There are many different pricing models available for apps, and you need to understand which one applies to your app. Don't get caught by surprise with high costs that you can control yourself.
What is the quality of the support and resources available around the application?
The quality of support available for an app is dependent upon what service you've purchased. Most app providers offer free basic customer service, but if the desktop, web, or mobile app needs to be customized for your specific company's needs, then there may be additional costs involved.
Paid versions will likely include more than just technical support - they may also include training sessions and video tutorials that can help the user better understand the application. Some apps even provide an online community where users can share best practices and ideas.
It's important to realize that even the best apps could have issues when in the field. A mobile app can run into issues with connectivity or lack of power. Features such as GPS may not work properly without constant cellular service, and a web-based solution requires high-speed internet access at all times.
Having access to technical support resources for the app can be critical in such situations. Technical support can be available through email, phone, and online channels. While the availability of these resources may vary by the development company, users should look for a combination that's most appropriate to their situation.
Field Eagle is the Data-Collection application you've been looking for
Field Eagle is a data-collection and mobile inspection application that can be customized to fit the needs of your particular field of work.
We have spent years developing Field Eagle, to make it the most powerful, and most flexible inspection application on the market.
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