Scaffold safety inspection using Android tablets and smartphones

by FM Media
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NAAMAN SHIBI of Techs4biz Australia talks about Android devices and scaffolding inspection, and shares his version of a ‘dream’ scaffold safety inspection mobile application.

Android-based smartphones and tablets have changed the market with approximately 15 million monthly activations of Android devices at the middle of 2012. Regardless of the popularity of those devices, just a few Android applications appeared to be focused on requirements; in specific, scaffold safety inspection software.
When using ‘proper’ implementation of the scaffold safety inspection based on an Android application, the procedure for collecting information in the field is simple, efficient and captures all of the required info. Scaffold safety inspection software operating on Google Android devices has increased because of the low price and accessibility to these devices, compared with other mobile phones. Since nearly all scaffold inspectors already have phones, using their Android phones for performing scaffold safety inspections doesn’t require any large capital expenses.
The scaffold safety inspection app should be simple to use. Since it is used within the field, safety inspectors must have the ability to quickly ‘master’ the app and learn to navigate to their desired screen/function. I am a powerful proponent of the ‘offline mode’ when it comes to scaffold safety inspection software, by which inspectors may use their safety inspection app without having to be dependent upon Internet connectivity. The scaffold safety inspection is, therefore, replacing paper forms with a significantly better tool – but without the need for continuous Internet connectivity and increased costs.
So, how might an ‘offline’ scaffold safety inspection application work with no need for online connectivity? The safety inspector can send and receive all of the required info, including photos and pictures wirelessly anytime; but as soon as data is actually sent or even received, users may record all required info directly on to their mobile device although it is ‘offline’. Much like an email client manages when and how information is sent to the actual server. This eliminates reliance on constant online connectivity and reduces telecommunication expenses since data may also be transmitted using Wi-Fi.
Picture-taking and integrating the actual image together with the scaffold safety inspection information without extra ‘manual’ procedures is also essential. Safety inspectors must have the ability to take pictures, ‘doodle’ on the pictures as required and allocate the picture to the appropriate item with a minimal number of ‘clicks’.
Speech to text capabilities on most new mobile phones and tablets allows the safety inspector to record audio notes direct to the application and have them ready as text in real time.
Simplifying information collection through standardising features and drop-down lists and speech to text are important. The safety inspector must have the ability to select results or defects from drop-down lists and consequently minimise information entry.
Based on current trends and the fact that Android operation system powers a large range of computers and mobile devices, I suspect that there will be many more Android devices than any other smartphones in the near future. As such, expanding the use of Android devices to support scaffold safety software is already happening.

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