Having recently joined the ARInspect team, I’ve begun to deeply study the growing waves of challenges that the regulators and the regulated entities face day-in and day-out when it comes to using the data their organizations collect to assess and mitigate potential public risks as they work to keep communities and consumers safe from harm. Coming into this position I knew inspectors likely had a thankless job, people never look forward to having to stand back and have someone else take a look at their work, but I had no idea the number of challenges they face in simply completing their work. Further, I did not understand the sheer gravity and weight that their work carries regarding my safety and the safety of every person reading this post. Simply put, inspectors touch almost every aspect of life, but are forced to use technology decades old. Coming from my previous work with technology companies, I was floored to hear how prevalent the use of pen and paper were in the field and the subsequent need for daily data entry, laborious office processes, and Everest like mountains of repetitive tasks.
My view of how ubiquitous the work of inspectors is to our daily life is growing by the day. From the water, we use to brush our teeth to the assurance that the eggs we cook for breakfast are edible, to the safety of our cars, roads, and buildings – nearly every aspect of our life is touched by the hands and eyes of an inspector. Now understanding the ever-growing list of entities needed to be inspected, it’s clear there is no way we can adequately build a workforce to meet this demand. So, combining my knowledge of the efficiencies that can be gained with data-driven technology solutions and my newfound understanding and appreciation of the inspection community I get more excited each day to help get the ARInspect platform into the market.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA), a cornerstone of the ARInspect solution, has nothing to do with robots (much less having robots replace humans as many read into the phrase). Rather, RPA is a software solution that uses automation to free up people to do innately human things while using the computing power of machines to take over repetitive, programmable, administrative tasks. For inspectors, this means auto-filling forms with data already available in systems. It also means using AI technology to flag problems more quickly so that inspectors can immediately begin working toward solutions including setting up follow-up tasks via an automated workflow system.
Moving off pen and paper and onto a data-driven solution that leverages simple tablets introduces a remarkable set of next-generation tools that can help speed workflow. With this tablet-solution, inspectors can take a photo, annotate it and immediately send or upload it to a file for supervisors to view. They can have a conversation about that image over a video conference using that same tablet. Voice to text options can also be used to reduce the time it takes to complete inspection notes.
In addition to these efficiency tools, mobile solutions should be more than just digitized versions of checklists, they should enable inspectors and the teams that manage them to collect, access and analyze data at scale. Simply enabling inspectors to gather information quicker in the field means little if you are never able to do anything with that data. ARInspect’s focus is making all these digital tools work together not only to automate workflow but provide a new way of looking at and working with information to understand and even predict issues with regulated entities. For example, using built-in AI functionality, inspectors and their supervisors receive automated recommendations on smart routing based not only on traffic patterns but also anticipated inspection times at each location based on past history. Similarly, heat maps and customized checklists are delivered to ensure time is spent on the items most critical to a specific inspection site or task.
The data-driven approach using RPA and digital tools can reduce the time to complete an inspection by 40%. This not only means that inspectors can complete more inspections, but that they can devote their full attention to each one with the administrative aspect of their job now mainly automated. I am thrilled to be part of a team that is dedicated to making sure that the inspectors who do so much to keep us safe have modern tools and processes that can not only make their day-to-day easier but have a real impact on how effective the inspections can be in spotting problems before they become crises.