Collecting field data? Lose the laptop, go mobile!

mobile forms

Mobile devices are good for some things that laptops just aren’t and vice versa. When it comes to collecting field data, it makes sense to use mobile forms on your mobile device. Here are a few reasons why:

Lower operating costmobile forms

Using mobile forms can help your company reduce costs in ways that laptops can’t. ProntoForms eliminates duplicate data entry and streamlines field data collection, allowing companies to save thousands of dollars every year. As an added benefit, the data will be cleaner as you’ll avoid typos and other manual data entry errors. To show you, we’ve created an ROI calculator that demonstrates how much your business can save.

You can even try out ProntoForms for free by downloading it from the mobile app store.

Mobile forms are portable

Odds are, your field technicians already have mobile devices to keep in touch with the office. It doesn’t make sense to have them carry around laptops to collect field data when they can do it with their mobile devices. Bulky laptops are awkward to carry around job sites and need to be set down on a flat surface for data entry. Mobile devices are slimmer and more portable, allowing field workers to fill in data without a flat surface. Leading mobile forms vendors like ProntoForms make the process even simpler, offering a vast array of features and input controls designed for quick field data entry.

Better web connectivity

mobile formsLaptops require Wi-Fi access to send information to the office, and many inspections take place away from buildings with Wi-Fi networks which can lead to delays before you can send the information to the office. On the other hand, field workers equipped with mobile devices can submit forms from most places
in real time using a 3G/4G connection. And if you happen to be in a VERY remote area without even a cell connection, a mobile form running as a native app on your device allows you to collect the data offline in the field and the app will automatically submit the form the moment you’re back in an area with 3G/4G coverage.

Spreadsheet synch-able

Many field workers just input data into spreadsheets on their laptops. ProntoForms can easily convert field data into a .CSV (i.e. spreadsheet) file, or sync field data collected with Google Sheets. You can even create a 2-way workflow, where a spreadsheet in Google Docs is used as a data source for dropdown menus for field workers. Someone in the office can update the spreadsheet with a new item, e.g. a new part, with the price and part number. Once saved, the updated form is dispatched to the staff in the field – making the new part available to them automatically in the app. This seamless workflow is only a realistic proposition with forms running on mobile devices.

Finally, all field data can easily be converted and exported into a wide range of desired formats, or used for advanced analytics tools.

Collect better data

As if all these reasons weren’t enough, mobile forms are designed to collect higher quality field data than laptops. Field workers using ProntoForms can capture, draw on, and attach pictures to their forms that better illustrate site findings. Mobile forms can also quickly capture signatures, barcodes, sketches, GPS and timestamps that enhance the quality, authenticity, and accuracy of that data. For data collection in the field, a full-featured, native mobile app beats a laptop every time.

These are just a few of the many reasons why it makes sense to lose the laptop and start using mobile forms. If you’re still not convinced, reach out to us and let’s talk about it.

Garfield Cummings contributed to this article.

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