Engineering projects typically require a large amount of data collection and surveying. A civil engineering project such as the Channel Tunnel between England and France needed extensive reports on environmental effects, terrestrial ecology, coastal hydrology and energy consumption. Similarly, engineering disciplines such as aerospace engineering or agricultural engineering projects necessitate widespread data collection.
In past decades, engineers would record this survey data onto paper forms, which were transported to a central office. The data would be manually transferred onto a computer by office employees, sorted and formatted into a report that would summarize the findings for upper-level executives.
Although this method of data collection is functional, it has its drawbacks. Paper forms in the field are vulnerable to damage from rain or contact with dirt, making them more difficult to understand. In addition, the data from the forms is vulnerable to accidental typing mistakes as it is transferred from paper to an electronic format. As a result, the overall accuracy of the data is adversely affected.
With the development of smartphones and tablet computers, however, mobile data collection has become more accurate and faster. These electronic devices allowing instant reporting and analysis while engineers are still in the field, enabling businesses to be operated with greater efficiency and fewer expenses.
A March 2013 article by Adam Hartung in Forbes, “Small Business Is Missing The Digital/Mobile Revolution,” pointed out that many small to medium businesses (SMBs) are being left behind in the digital revolution because they are reluctant to adapt new technology. However, it is increasingly clear that the benefits of mobile technology to SMBs are well worth the investment since they significantly accelerate business processes such as data collection and two-way communication between field engineers and executives. And since 1.4 billion smartphones will be in use by the end of 2013, adopting smartphones and table computers will be necessary to ensure survival.
By using mobile technology such as smartphones and tablet computers, civil engineering businesses can enjoy increased functionality with a properly designed mobile computing platform. Ideally, that platform should have features such as:
- A user-friendly design that enables engineers who are first-time users of the platform to quickly comprehend it
- Easy recording and editing capabilities to ensure data accuracy
- Seamless integration with existing legacy software tools
- Multi-tasking capabilities to allow different job responsibilities to be performed with ease
- Geo-tagging capability to enable corporate office employees to track field workers’ progress in real time
- High-level security features to protect data integrity
- Ease of use in both connected and non-connected network environments
COMMANDmobile® is a versatile mobile data collection and workforce management system that encapsulates these features and is ideal for any size of business. For more information on COMMANDmobile, ask for a demo account or watch our video.