February 27, 2015 in Mobile Devices

How Mobile Devices are Taking Over Report Writing—Part Two

This is Part Two of a two-part post. If you missed Part One, read that first here.

In Part One, we looked at how technology—and subsequently, report writing—has changed over recent years with the increased use of mobile devices and home inspection software. Let’s continue looking at how this can make your report writing quicker and easier.

What Does This Mean for Home Inspectors?

Hands-free inspecting is now possible. Many home inspectors are using their phones as notepads, cameras, and in some cases, report writing tools. Cell phones have become sophisticated field data collection devices, packing incredible power into the inspector’s pocket.

What is the Best Way to Inspect?

There are several ways to leverage this technology. Our favorite is to use mobile versions of report writing software that allows the inspector to eliminate taking notes altogether. Best practice in our opinion is to use the phone to make entries and take photos on the fly during the inspection. It is easy and quick to put these into the right place in the report.

A Field Data Collection Tool

Since inspectors often have clients with them, it doesn’t make sense to fill out all the report details with the phone during the inspection. The phone acts as a field data collection tool. The time savings are huge, since after the inspection there is no need to transcribe notes or move photos from the camera to a computer, and then into the report writing software. The raw data entry is done in the field in one step.

Dictation is Amazing

Another incredible feature of modern smart phones is their voice-recognition software. You can dictate notes straight into your report on the fly. There’s no learning curve for you and no training needed for the software. It’s truly remarkable.

Work Off-line

We are often asked whether you have to have an internet connection to use your smart phone as a field data collection tool. The answer is, “No!” Although you may have internet access wherever you have cell phone service, you don’t need it to use the software on-site. You can sync your work orders down to your mobile device, work off-line, and then connect to sync them back up to the web when you are finished.

Finish the Report After the Inspection

At the end of the inspection, details can be added to flesh out the report. Some inspectors do this on their phone, but many move the core report to a tablet, laptop, or other device with a full-size screen and keyboard to complete the report.

More Speed and Fewer Mistakes

This approach is convenient for the inspector, allowing hands-free access to the home and other inspection tools. It eliminates the need for taking notes and transcribing them later. This saves time and reduces errors. Spellcheck is a lifesaver!

Make Your Life Easier!

Home inspection is a demanding profession, and report writing is a difficult, high-stress exercise that has to be completed within a short timeframe. Modern technology makes a difficult job significantly easier and faster. If you haven’t considered it, you owe it to yourself to consider how mobile devices can help make your life easier.