In line with a growing corporate trend toward flatter, quicker intra- and intercompany communications structures and the need for on-the-spot data recording and reporting capabilities for supervisory and field workers, a number of mobile computing platforms—along with individual, industry-tailored specific apps—are popping up in the marketplace, aimed at highly regulated, data-intensive industries such as mining.
A few recent examples of these include the Scoop Enterprise Mobile Platform, developed by Vancouver, B.C.-based Trusterra Technologies, which noted in a recent press release that the advent of powerful, user-friendly mobile phone and tablet devices in conjunction with reliable, always-connected cloud computing services has given rise to a new category of enterprise IT solutions, such as its Mobile Awareness and Engagement (MAE) product, Scoop. With these services, workers can use any iOS or Android device, anytime, to access their company’s appropriate data and customized apps.
According to Trusterra, operations personnel using the Scoop platform are able to quickly and cost-effectively build, deploy and maintain their own mobile apps without the need to hire developers or endure long project lifecycles and tech obsolescence. The apps are configured and run within the Scoop environment, allowing security and flexible access control. The common platform also enables managers to easily run reports by cross-linking and analyzing data pulled from multiple sources. Some of the customers mentioned by Trusterra as using the platform include Kinross Gold and Oldcastle Building Products, among others.
“Over the years, I spent a lot of time working in the field and witnessed firsthand how overwhelmed teams were with juggling all of the tools needed to properly capture and share information with their home offices,” said Babak Sardary, CEO and co-founder of ScoopMAE. “It became clear what these teams really wanted was a new way to record, share and collaborate together.”
Some of the functions and benefits offered by the Scoop platform, according to Trusterra, include:
- Ensuring real-time reporting of hazards and unsafe working conditions across mine properties and work areas.
- Optimizing incident management with customized forms that allow users to monitor, manage, respond and track incidents as they happen.
- Easier data analysis with graphical ana lytics that allow recognition of incident patterns and trends.
- Quicker incident reporting response times with instant mobile reporting.
- Minimizing compliance risks with effec tive reporting and incident management.
- Operating without a network connection to record issues and add media and comments and synchronize when a connection is available.
Canvas, an online marketplace for apps, said it enables mine operators to quickly build apps that replace forms for mine safety and other mining business processes, while functioning as the world’s largest mobile business app store, including a sizable mining app inventory.
As described in a blog post on the company’s website, Canvas is a self-serve platform that enables drag-and-drop app creation and customization. It has about 14,000 apps to choose from in its application store. Every Canvas app, according to the company, is customizable by the end user and can incorporate functionality such as GPS, image capture, dispatch, barcode scanning, electronic signatures, push notifications, and access to business data such as parts catalogs, price lists and other types of records.
The list of industries served ranges from accommodations to utilities, with mining-specific apps that include, among others, a Mining Operations Plan Checklist, described as “a detailed list of items that need to be addressed when submitting a mining operation plan including the following mining operations plan information: application documents, general requirements, mining operations plan review, reclamation plan review, reclamation surety deposit, soil boring report and setbacks and buffers. Mining regulations and criteria vary from state to state, as well as city and counties.”
Another customizable app—Mobile/Portable Drilling Rig Initial Inspection Form—includes equipment inspection of tracks and outriggers, moving parts, drill rig, fluids, fuel and hydraulics, fire safety, brakes, emergency stop function, operational gauges, and warning light functionality.
Canvas also offers a “Send Us Your Form” program, in which it will convert individual paper reporting forms into Canvas applications.