Handheld Devices

HANDHELD DEVICES FOR INSPECTION AND COMPLIANCE

Revisiting the Question of Handheld Devices for
Natural Gas Line Inspection and Compliance

 
WHY AREN’T ALL COMPANIES PROVIDING THEIR FIELD TEAMS WITH HANDHELD DEVICES FOR RECORDING INSPECTION AND COMPLIANCE INFORMATION? COSTS FOR THE DEVICES AND SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT HAVE DROPPED BY AN ORDER OF MAGNITUDE. DATA COLLECTION IS FASTER, MORE ACCURATE, AND TIMELIER THAN PAPER-BASED WORKFLOWS AND IT PROVIDES UNPRECEDENTED DATA MINING OPPORTUNITIES. AYAWORKS, THE LEADING PROVIDER OF NATURAL GAS INSPECTION AND COMPLIANCE SYSTEMS INVITES YOU TO LOOK AT THE ISSUES SURROUNDING TODAY’S HANDHELD TECHNOLOGIES AND WORKFLOWS.
 
Handheld devices are dropping in price — both for the hardware and for the cost of development. Early generations of handhelds cost $2,500 to over $10,000, making them unaffordable for most field crews. No longer. Devices now range from as low as $250 for a field-grade GPS-enabled smartphone platform to $3,000 for a ruggedized tablet. While some fieldwork still requires specialized equipment in the old price range, most inspection and compliance tasks can be executed with devices that are a fraction of the cost and are capable of sharing data on existing cellular and Wi-Fi grids. And the cost of developing software? Rather than locking into pricey custom development groups that specialize in niche applications, the current crop of handhelds often run on industry-standard operating systems like Android, the Windows family, and iOS. Programmers taking advantage of off-the-shelf app tools can develop graphically rich, intuitive programs in weeks, not months.
 
So the prices are much lower but are the results better? If the issues are data quality, timeliness of reporting, reduced audit risk, operational compliance, and lower inspection costs the answer is a powerful Yes. At AyaWorks, we see a handheld not as a piece of technology but as a part of a reliable workflow. Smartforms on the device ensure field technicians collect all necessary data before moving to the next task. GPS marking, time/date stamping, field notes, and digital photos ensure a complete inspection with information pre-packaged for conformance with your compliance and GIS systems. Handhelds are convenient but their greatest value is complete, timely reporting while ensuring proper processes and standards are followed in the field. No more paper-based surveys entered weeks after a technician has scrawled notes on a stained, wrinkled map. No more repeated surveys and audits triggered by incomplete or delayed data.

With all of these benefits, why are some pipeline companies still not using handhelds for inspections? Some see mass-market handhelds as too fragile for fieldwork. Stronger construction coupled with military-grade enclosures make today’s devices nearly indestructible. Some managers see the devices as a novelty or distraction but, coupled with AyaWorks services, field technician time and efficiency is directly tracked and displayed in easy-to-use dashboards that provide a simple mechanism to dramatically increase productivity.

Two of the biggest objections to adopting handhelds for tracking field work are the perceived cost of adoption and an organizational fear of change. Fortunately, AyaWorks effectively addresses both of these concerns. Our pilot programs make it simple and inexpensive to try our services without committing capital or valuable IT cycles. Additionally, AyaWorks services are tailored to your existing processes so the only changes necessary involve technicians following workflows on a handheld versus completing paperwork. Of course, our automated syncing eliminates the need to manually file and route paperwork, and information that the technician enters in the field is automatically validated  — both changes that most organizations are comfortable adopting.

Interested in discussing the use of handhelds for your inspection? Please get in touch.
The AyaWorks team will be happy to:

  • Demonstrate our inspection and compliance solutions for leak survey, ILI, ROW management,
    work request management, and cathodic protection.
  • Share our experiences regarding handheld workflow, data management, reporting,
    and evidence-based compliance.

Download the ‘Revisiting the Question of Handheld Devices for Natural Gas Line Inspection
and Compliance’ PDF

 

For more information, contact Susan Friedman at 720.837.9500 or visit www.ayaworks.com.
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