Going remote: Where is FaceTime for onsite surveyors?

Ryan Parke
January 13, 2022

Why must surveyors remain on-site in a world going remote?

Remote work and work-from-home (WFH) have become pandemic work-life slogans. So much so that WFH is now a near-universally recognised abbreviation, alongside the likes of LOL.

However, professional surveyors remain road-bound on a daily basis. “Remote” is not an option for surveying construction sites, factories and infrastructure. The time spent on commutes can often involve several hours’ drive each way – severely limiting the number of surveys one can get through per week.

Luckily, there are ways of changing that reality.

Upgrading mobility

Whereas time on-site cannot – and should not – be eliminated, it can be limited and made more efficient.

Say you need to do a one-hour on-site survey, but it’s a three-hour drive to get there. And another three hours back. That’s the whole workday gone. Furthermore, you have to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road, meaning that you cannot even sort out your notes and photos on the way back. If you aim to write the surveyor’s report on the same day, it will be very late before work is finished.

The above scenario is very real for many surveyors, and the hours on the road severely limits surveyors’ productivity. In some cases, there is an option of carrying out inspections remotely.

Let’s talk about doing inspection work remotely. The solution offered by Captego is called Captego Remote Inspection.

What is Captego Remote Inspection?

Captego Remote Inspections works and feels like a live phone call between two people. One person is on-site while the other person can be… well, anywhere with an internet connection. The person who’s not on-site is the “remote surveyor”.

Captego Remote Inspections works and feels like a live phone call between two people.

Captego Remote Inspections works like a FaceTime or Zoom call optimised for collecting surveyor’s notes and photos. It works by turning the on-site person’s mobile phone into the camera input on the remote surveyor’s phone. Like a drone camera where you can see the video feed on your phone, but the feed comes from another person’s mobile phone.

With Captego Remote Inspections, the two parties initiate a video call. During the call, the surveyor can guide the on-site person around the site, asking them to point their phone’s camera at various construction parts. In addition, the remote surveyor can snap and categorise photos directly from the call.

It’s all handled in one app (Captego), and captured photos are managed just like any other photo taken using the Captego app. Without using different systems, remotely captured registrations can be added to automatically generated reports saving time and effort.

Remote workflow

In finer detail, the flow is as follows:

  1. The remote surveyor makes a call through Captego to the on-site person. This is a call much like FaceTime or Zoom.
  2. The call is answered by the on-site person in the Captego mobile app.
  3. When the on-site person picks up the call, they accept sharing images and video feed from their mobile phone’s back-facing camera.
  4. This creates an interactive video call from the site to the surveyor. The remote surveyor interacts in real-time with the on-site person, continually guiding and discussing how to best perform the inspection.
  5. While watching the live feed and talking with the on-site person, the surveyor can capture photos, categorise these photos and add notes just like any other photo taken in Captego. In this way, a complete registration can be captured remotely.

The feedback we get from users is that it’s very similar to having a voice-controlled camera assistant.

What are the use cases?

Captego users report multiple use cases for remote inspections. For example, recurring factory inspections, where on-site personnel and surveyors already know the factory well. This makes remote data collection easier and often revolves around on-site personnel following a checklist.

Other cases include pre-inspections for physical installations (like electrical and drainage) in private homes. In many cases, a pre-inspection is needed to estimate what work needs to be done. It’s often too technical for homeowners to inspect by themselves. With real-time, remote guidance, it’s not only doable but easy. Simultaneously, it saves the installation companies at least one on-site visit, cutting hours’ of driving off the week’s schedule.

In rental properties, we’ve seen renters do remotely guided interior inspections.

We’re looking to add many more cases to remote inspections in 2022. So contact us if you believe you have a use case that can make surveying remote, easier, and more efficient, and we will quickly set up a pilot or a demo with you.

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