J ust to cast you mind back to 2009, the iPhone had been released but not widely available and Android was not invented yet. In fact Apple had only allowed programmers to develop their own “Apps”.
The only people who used “PDA” (Personal Digital Assistance) in the general public were the likes of Fex Ex and UPS.
In saying that, we were not the first to launch a “paperless inspection” system in the UK. Speedy hire used PDA’s for recording inspections and posting online for a number of years at that time. The software was originally built by Lifting Gear Hire UK whom Speedy acquired in Nov 2006.
This technology gives Speedy a significant advantage over competitors as inspection costs were reduced and customers had online access to certificates.
We wanted to make this technology available to everyone in the lifting industry and hence why we developed Sitecert.
Sitecert was developed for Windows Mobile which was the standard platform for enterprise software for over 15 years.
As paperless inspections systems are very expensive and painful to develop, we decided to build Sitecert in the “Cloud” which was a new enough term at that stage.
This ensured we had only one version of Sitecert to develop and everyone would receive upgrades together. This is what the industry calls “SaaS” (Software as a Service) and it enables companies to have access to software that was only available to large multinationals previously.
Our customers pay a monthly subscription to use Sitecert and we guarantee that the will have access to all upgrades across all devices.
SaaS also keeps us on our toes, with customer satisfaction being of prime importance to us as customers are not tied to long contracts.
Initial sales & development history
We made a number of sales at LEEA’s Liftex in 2009 and luckily for us the Rossendale Group was one. Rossendale is a well-respected member of LEEA and a leader in the Lifting Industry in the UK.
We listened intently on their requirements and built future versions based on this. All developments and addition to the system were based on our customers’ requirements, with new sales adding to the “list”.
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) was always embedded in to Sitecert but never utilised! The reason is that RFID is a means of automating the identification of an asset.
Therefore, if your software is very good at identifying assets very quickly, the need for RFID is negated. We still included RFID as a means of identifying assets as I’m a technology geek! it is also an impressive technology to onlookers at tradeshows!
Our competitors promote RFID heavily, but the main reason for this as it takes a lot of time to identify an asset on their systems. The reason for this is that they have one level of product categories with many assets contained within (eg Chainsling) – making it difficult to pick out one.
Sitecert has 3 levels of categories, eg “Chainsling” is top Category, “2 Leg” is second and “8mm” is the third. Selecting those categories only displays assets contained within reducing the number of assets to pick from significantly.
Of course you can search by text on all systems but this is inefficient compared to picking from a list.
Windows V Android and Apple.
Our customers in 2012 started to ask if Sitecert was available on Apple Devices and Android.
We had to make a decision on whether to continue with development in Windows Mobile or start afresh and develop it for Apple and Android. Microsoft were hesitant about their continuing support for Windows mobile which was worrying for us.
We took the plunge and started development in Android and Apple as the latest devices being released for industry were Android based – so that is the future.
This time round we built an “Inspection Platform” that other 3rd party inspection companies can utilise so it’s not just limited to the lifting sector.
We learned a lot from our initial development and customers and kept the inspection platform very flexible so companies can build their own checklist and fields for adding equipment.
Having system available on Android & Apple enables us to give trials of the software so potential users can see first hand the savings Sitecert brings.
Other 3rd party inspection companies have seen the savings that Sitecert brings and wanted to get in on the action.
We have companies who use Sitecert for the inspection of water assets belonging to Thames Water in London to the inspection of safety lines on buildings.
Our solution is actually ideal for Non Destructive Testing (NDT) as the long form reports/videos can be embedded on the inspection report.
At Sitecert, we are all about making be process more efficient, whether that means using technology or not. Typing into a tablet or smart phone is a slow process – hence why we are such big fans of categories and dropdowns.
We advise NDT companies to capture the short snappy info on the tablet and result. The longform report with annotated pictures/video etc can be attached afterwards from your PC as a lot of text may need to be added which is inefficient on tablets.
We have some very exciting upgrades in the pipeline for 2015.
Our last update enables examiner profiles to be uploaded so your customers can rest assured that the inspections were carried out by competent persons. We will keep you posted on how this beds in with our users.
The Sitecert Team is looking forward to the next 5 years and the changes it may bring.