A mobile solution to capture asset data in the field

Gloucester Shire Council achieves efficiencies in asset management, resulting in cost savings and a technical and skill platform that can be leveraged for mobile information delivery and business process mobilisation.

Business need

Gloucester Council had extensive road assets which required urgent maintenance. Council did not have adequate data on the state of these assets, so it needed to collect and store data on the road assets as efficiently as possible. Council had recently installed Civica’s Authority as its central business system, and the data needed to end up in Authority’s Asset Register. The data required was relatively simple but there was a lot of it and it needed to be collected in the field. A further need was to provide a solution for ongoing auditing and reporting of the condition of road assets to allow a better process for managing these assets.

Key challenges

  • Meet tight delivery deadlines to enable early commencement of data collection

  • Achieve a return on investment by reducing the cost of the business processes

  • Enable data collection both when connected and when disconnected from a mobile or Wi-Fi network

  • No existing API for easy upload of data from the Blink forms to Authority, and handling upload of data if collected when disconnected from a network

  • Less flexibility than required in the existing Authority asset register

Solution

Multibase used a rapid prototyping methodology to implement an in-field data capture solution based on the Blink Mobility Platform, a Mobile Enterprise Application Platform. Using mobile devices (iPads), authorised Council staff can add and maintain road and related asset data whether connected or not to a mobile network. Instead of a bespoke systems integration with the Authority system, it was decided to deliver data securely to a temporary data store. Data is periodically transferred to Authority using an existing Authority data load module. The integration will be reworked when Authority’s yet-to-be released webservices API is delivered.

Results

The solution was delivered faster and less expensively than building a standalone app for the iPad. The system as developed enables rapid collection of very detailed data, cost less than it would have to employ a staff member for a year. Council can meet its deadline for collection of asset data to feed into its budgeting processes. As an added benefit, Council has commenced other projects to leverage the Blink Mobile platform in the future to achieve Council’s broader information mobility and business process strategies. Firstly, there will be more business process mobilisation and automation, such as work time recording, customer request management integration with Authority’s CRM. Secondly, the platform can be leveraged for information mobility needs such as a mobile web site.

Customer information

Gloucester Shire Council is one of NSW’s smallest local government councils by population, a rural community located about 2.5 hours north of Sydney. Famed for its scenic beauty, the area also hosts increasing mining activity which has brought Council a range of community and asset management challenges.