The holiday season is upon us and many will be giving or receiving an iPhone 7 or the new Google Pixel phone – some to replace their combustible Galaxy Note 7s. Smartphones continue to grow in popularity and are being integrated into the workforce more and more.
Here are a few (potentially) surprising stats about smartphones rounded up by Mobile Business Insights…
- In 2014, mobile devices outnumbered people on the planet (Independent)
- The majority of growth in digital media time is now being generated by the use of mobile devices, with desktop computers increasingly becoming a secondary device (Marketing Land)
- By 2018, 8 in 10 email users will likely access their email accounts from their mobile devices (emailmonday)
With the mobile nature of accreditation surveys and quality assessments, it makes sense to incorporate a mobile strategy in your auditing practices.
There are plenty of options out there when choosing smartphones and you should expect accreditation management software to work properly on any of them, not to mention larger format tablets. Many insist that the size or form-factor of even the largest smart phone is not adequate for the data collection activities that are necessary for an audit. It may be true that utilizing a smartphone to type up a full audit findings and recommendations report is less than ideal, but its usefulness in collecting information during the physical walkthrough or inspection should be considered.
Your smartphone likely supports Voice-to-Text
During a typical audit or inspection, most surveyors need to take notes quickly that will be critical to finalizing and producing a report. While some individuals prefer a clipboard to jot notes down, others may carry a laptop and type everything they can remember once they sit down.
One advantage of using a smartphone during an audit is the ability to dictate the notes you want to reference in your report in any text field. If your audits are already conducted online, this voice-to-text feature can be useful in any comments or free-text sections of your inspection. While it’s not perfect, the feature has definitely improved over the years and is able to note spoken punctuation and offer suggestions if a word or phrase was not as clear.
If you currently conduct audits with pen and paper, you can use this feature in a simple word document or excel template to incorporate in your report after the inspection. By using Google docs, you can bring up an online Word document or create an online excel template with your inspection and an area for comments.
Your smartphone has a camera
When auditing or surveying physical structures, the camera on your smartphone can deliver more information in one, easy step than a paragraph of text. The advantage of sophisticated accreditation management systems is the ability to take this photo and associate it with a question or incident within the same app. That being said, with a little organization you can use images from your phone and associate them after an audit when using pen and paper. There are helpful apps you could use like Annotable (Apple App Store) and SnapMarkup (Google Play) that allow you to annotate your photos with words, shapes and drawings. You could include the incident or question number on each photo to remind yourself.
Your smartphone is connected
An important aspect of any audit is to share findings and collaborate to reach a final report – whether that’s issuing a certificate of accreditation or providing corrective action. By conducting audits online, users are able to share findings in real-time. In ideal systems, the audit doesn’t have to be completed before information is being sent to relevant parties. When accrediting organizations that deal with the health and safety of others, this is critical. The second a nonconformity is uncovered and submitted, corrective action can begin.
Even when conducting an inspection in a facility in a remote location with no wi-fi connection, it is likely that a cellular data connection is available. In the event that no internet connection is available, the audit can be conducted on your phone and once a connection is regained, the information is then sent.
Your smartphone is exactly that — yours
It’s already in your pocket and you are probably already on a plan that supports voice and data. Modern audit management software should offer native apps that can be easily installed for free from the app store, windows store, or google play store. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is the new normal for many industries with increasingly more workers conducting business and personal activity on the same device.
Some organizations don’t like mixing business and personal devices so they opt to issue devices to employees. When dealing with sensitive information, security is top of mind. When determining which devices to issue, it may be helpful to read our company’s post Which Mobile OS is Most Secure; iOS, Android or Windows? [Updated 2016-2017].
So if you happen to be the recipient of a shiny new smartphone this holiday season, consider the many ways it may, in fact, enhance your audit productivity and accreditation operations. But make sure you load it up with your favorite games, news, and shopping apps first 😉 — Happy Holidays!!
If you would like to test some of these methods on your own, click here to get set up with a free trial of CompWALK mobile audit and inspection tools.