Just like you know your workers’ level of digital literacy and objectives, you should know what type of learners they are: Visual, (2) determining how to best structure the app with the right modules and features. in Magpi data is stamped when a new form is begun, when it is completed, when it is transmitted to the server, and when it is subsequently edited). ensure all the effort you put into the implementation of the program Your workers need to know what they can use the as well as how those surveys will reach your beneficiaries, will help ensure that you follow a systematic process collecting data With mobile devices, if you are planning to buy an Android phone to send a few texts and keep your electronic calendar, that's the equivalent of the grocery shopping: an inexpensive model may do very well. A good MDC system, on the other hand, automatically "pushes" any form updates over the network to each mobile device being used for data collection. and battery life are all key considerations for the device your application will run on. Device Magic. much trouble preparing their devices for the field, but preparing a device for field use is still a tedious job and there are have proper resources and supervision, incentives to continue their Another option, however, is to utilize an SMS based MDC system. An often cited example of this real-time supervision involves looking at the location where each data point was collected, but it's just as useful to look at how long each interviewer is taking to fill out a complete form, and how long they are taking between interviews. which allows you to build interactive mockups that look and feel like a real, functioning app. Here are some of the top mobile data collection solutions in 2020. Your workers need to know how the app will help them do their job better. Lun et al. There are, of course, many other security concerns when in remote locations, including personal safety, but these don't usually impact the choice of MDC system or equipment. smoothly and collects the clean data you expect of it. Digital Diversity: National Geographic reports on different examples of how innovative technologies and mobile phones are being used throughout the world to improve, enrich, and empower lives, including:. A clear view of the entire process, including both program and worker performance metrics, is crucial for your supervisors to keep Are there any documents, videos, On the other hand, if you'll be deploying a 500 question form that includes lots of photos, complex logic, etc, you should plan on a device with more RAM memory and more storage – from a well-known and reputable manufacturer. Post-training reinforcement helps a great deal in retention of newly-learned skills and knowledge by filling any gaps that remained from This enables the use of very inexpensive devices that are unlikely to draw unwanted attention. If your activity is for the long term, keep in mind that use of the system over time will, in itself, provide a kind of training. The proper planning and setup can be tricky, though, which is why we pulled together this guide. Device Magic changes the way businesses collect data in the field. For more advice on how to run your training sessions, check out these tips from our global services team. Just like your app, this is an Show them results from the pilot or data from similar efforts and challenge them to beat it. Now that their program runs on a mobile device, this information should already be at their fingertips, allowing them to focus their Advanced modern MDC systems like Magpi can provide instant feedback for submitted data. Whether it’s a one-pager, comprehensive For those who are collecting mostly non qualitative data on the move, mobile data collection offers many benefits compared with paper. This can be feedback from your end uesrs to understand which workflows make sense and which they are confused by. So it stands to reason that MDC is a good fit for most organizations, right? 1. Are those changes addressing pain points and improving workflows, or just complicating things. and some key features of mobile data collection tools you'll want to include. If you plan to be collecting data either long-term or short-term in an area with substantial risk of petty theft, you will probably not want to use attention getting devices like large, expensive tablets – unless you have budgeted for security personnel. SCHEDULE A DEMO. questions with our team. Make sure that your confidential data is not being stored on, or backed up to, someone’s laptop computer! For example, if the people who'll be providing your data are all sitting at desks in front of internet connected desktop computers, an electronic but not mobile solution may make the most sense – whether it's Survey Monkey, or simply Microsoft Excel or Google Forms. Data collection … original objectives of your program. Notice that we didn't say "minimum", but "optimal": it is a common error for teams to choose the absolutely least-expensive device available, often from little-known manufacturers. Each mix of available devices enables a different data collection strategy. You need to know what devices your app will run on and the network they'll use to transmit data. the program running. We remember things we repeat many times, and ongoing data acquisition itself becomes a self-reinforcing training activity for the people involved. requried questions, mode of communication, etc.). Systems like Magpi's iSMS ("interactive SMS”), use SMS exchanges to collect and provide information with a data collector, or a member of the public (the latter is called “crowdsourcing"). It also provides a good opportunity to notify workers of new features or for workers to share advice and feedback. For 15 years, Magpi mobile data collection has been the leading cloud software tool powering the transition from “big paper” to big data, allowing our users to utilize: Apps for mobile data collection on Android and iOS devices Two kinds of SMS-based mobile data collection … Create as many apps and forms as you need for data collection, dispatch, surveys, workflows and more. When your original data is paper, on the other hand, there is always the possibility of losing the originals – either after or even before "data entering" them into an electronic system for analysis. We cannot stress enough the importance of the connection between trainer and trainee. they think. They can also be encrypted, increasing the security of the system. quality of the data collected, while also ensuring adherence to data collection and care protocols. Explain to them how it will help them reach more beneficiaries or This includes a clear understanding of how you will approach development, an outline of what functionality each version of app will incorporate, When a new device is opened, it takes a few minutes for the initial setup. hybrid approach. But the payoff will be that in healthcare, global health, and many other fields, we’ll be able to use that faster data flow to react more quickly and achieve better outcomes. Fortunately, we have experience working with over 500 projects to help inform the answer. devices for and how to refill their data when they run out. A last consideration is to use device settings to minimize power consumption: turning off bluetooth and other transmitters when not needed, and reducing screen brightness, will add battery life. whether the solutions you have developed will have the impact you hope for. In the old days, every time a new version of a mobile form was created, someone would need to manually remove the old version from each device, and then download the new version. Scan-IT to Office is the efficient solution for mobile data acquisition with Google Chrome. How much time and budget is available for training? Effective adult learning involves specific techniques. you identified during scoping? look at how the structure of your program or the characteristics of the region you work in might affect your platform needs. While some, like Magpi, keep costs very low by eliminating the need for programmers or technology consultants, others require programmers for every aspect of setup and refinement of the system. Sometimes it makes sense to introduce a certain feature set that you know the user will be able studies, best practices, and other updates. No … Another situation in which MDC might not make sense is when the respondents are … not mobile. Ideally, an MDC that is cross-platform and flexible in implementation is ideal. Of course, some types of MDC can be used with no training at all. Content design focuses on developing a survey of clear questions that avoid bias, maintain consistency in phrasing, and are But first let's talk about when MDC might not be right for you. download our comprehensive guide to mobile data collection. Cost: Free. and determine what data access privileges you may need. impact-driven organizations subscribe to our newsletter for case usage, and, if they have thoughts or suggestions about the program, If you already have an IT policy in place for maintaining mobile hardware, integrating new software will be easier, but if this is all new to your organization, make sure there is someone responsible for this process. to build trust in the system. MDC really shines when you're collecting numbers, multiple choice questions, dates, photos, etc. Mobile data collection tools have immense potential but here isn't a single solution that will work for everyone. If you're collecting data in an area with network coverage, your data can flow in just seconds from the point of collection into a database online – and just as quickly can trigger a variety of actions, including messages to key personnel, instant report generation, automated backup, or forwarding of all or some of the data to another system. Features of mobile data collection, such as decision support, form logic, and checklists, improve the Join them today! It is not about putting all the questions you can think of in the survey and sending it to everyone you can. Documenting your use cases and all the 2. And all of our data collection tools integrate with more than 1,000 other online systems, without programming — so we’ve got modern, electronic data collection covered! With regard to data privacy/security, as when you are collecting valuable sensitive information that may put you at risk, you can consider using Android or iOS devices and enabling full-device encryption. Field data collection was never that easy! This means that it is now easy to automatically flow your data from the field to an SQL database, or a Google spreadsheet, or to DHIS2, and add automatic analysis in whatever analytic software you prefer. to understand quickly and wait until they are comfortable before introducing new functionality. MOBILE DATA COLLECTION CUSTOM TO YOUR TEAM'S WORKFLOWS--SCHEDULE A DEMO. waste time typing data into a spreadsheet or worry about not being able to read your chicken scratch after the fact When it comes to implementing mobile data collection, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. As you might expect, different tools offer different features. user manual, or in-app training module, the idea is to provide your team with the tools they need to troubleshoot any issues on their own. Over 32,000 leaders from WHO, Save the Children, the World Bank, A paper training manual can be a useful tool on programs trying out mobile data collection for the first time. For more tips and examples, Your app should not only function on its device — it should thrive. So while these user stories are an important start, you still need to map out how they actually look in your app, in the form of Deciding between a feature Not necessarily. Here's our advice on how to collect all the feedback you will need to make sure your mobile data collection program launches If you need to collect location data, you’ll have to keep the GPS setting on, but this will negatively impact battery. Precisely what these policies cover will depend on the nature of the project, but they will help in setting expectations with your users to One tip: try Googling “best cheap Android devices” to find some well-reviewed and less expensive smart devices. KoBoToolbox is a free, open-source tool for mobile data gathering developed by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.… Or it can be feedback from your tech team explaining how and why certain aspects of the way you built your app just aren't quite working. The more types of mobile devices that can be used, the more likely you can find devices that meet your specifications and your budget. The larger your data activity on paper, the more unwieldy it becomes and the more likely some of that paper will be lost. One-time activities require more training. Some are outside of the app, like sending reminders, showing them Once you understand the structure of your app, it's time to begin the building phase. to just accept the challenges that might come with the new way of working -- you have to empower them. Who will you be relying on to do the data collection? Align with your team on your approach to app development — we recommend Agile. Any good MDC system will allow you to impose certain quality controls at the point of data collection, thus reducing "data cleaning" later. Now it’s time to build! Digital records are easy to store and easy to copy, meaning that once they are in the system you have safeguards against data loss. It's been estimated that a single survey of 5,000 households consumes twelve trees, thousands of gallons of fuel (to transport the paper), and tens or hundreds of thousands of gallons of water (to produce the paper). The right metrics will be easy to track and help incentivize users to improve their own performance. Our field managers often use some of these tricks (and they’ve often found bringing some candy helps to sweeten the sessions). It's robbing you of time & efficiency. If you’d like to get a personal tour of Magpi, you can book a free demo with one of our data-collection specialists here. It’s also worth reading any online reviews of the devices you’re considering to see if they have unusually long (or short) battery life. Start YourFree Trial. unbiased as possible. workflows you designed will make designing your test plan that much easier and even help you prioritize which tests to run Sure, but it’s also much more, as data collection – for example, of heart rhythms – and data analysis – to diagnose a problematic rhythm – and data utilization – to potentially administer a shock to correct that arrhythmia – all begin to happen seemingly at once. pays off, you must set up a system to support your users. platform you plan to use or in a tool like Moqups , This can save hours or even days of configuration work – as well as the headaches that result when you discover that not all field workers are using the same version of the data collection instrument. many pitfalls Such encryption, layered on top of a password-protected MDC app, provides more layers of protection than just using SMS. Real-time mobile data collection and barcode scanning for Excel and Word Scan-IT to Office is the efficient and secure solution for mobile data acquisition and remote barcode scanning. If using a cloud-based system, you will also need to know where your data is being stored online, what safety measures are in place, if it is automatically backed up and how often, is it monitored 24/7/365, etc. Is this a watch or a doctor? you are staying focused on your project priorities, and validating along the way. Our trainings have been most successful We'll review the key benefits of mobile data collection depending on the type of data being collected and the purpose it will serve, the impact that your available resources might have on the decision making process, and how to start the process of choosing the right option for your needs. Still, there are many pitfalls, particularly around cost: many organizations fail to consider the ongoing costs of support and maintenance, and are then saddled with an expensive system dependent on programmers or technology consultants for each modification or adjustment. Testing is a key way to ensure that after selecting atool, designing the structure of your app, and building a prototype, techniques is the best fit. Mobile DatA collection How Big Data Is Collected, A brief history of mobile data collection, Mobile data collection for your organization, Benefits of mobile data collection compared to paper collection, Choosing a Mobile Data Collection system and devices, What’s coming (and fast): Mobile data collection and big data. ArcGIS Collector works … It’s worth checking to see if the MDC system you are considering has built-in integration with Zapier and OpenFn. By now, you know what data you need to collect, but the way you actually solicit it might still be in question. in emergency settings, or with time-critical equipment checklists). If you will be collecting data in the far field, this may mean you'll need backup batteries and/or solar chargers and/ or car chargers. Mark questions as required, so you don’t miss any critical information. Most versioning plans will start with a prototype for some initial testing. ArcGIS Collector, a mobile data collection app, makes it easy to capture accurate data and return it to the office. Digitize mobile data collection Replace paper and spreadsheets with iOS and Android apps that collect rich location-based data and eliminate transcription errors — even offline. These policies determine device handling, including what should be done in case of lost or broken devices and theft, or which Classroom work won't be sufficient to prepare for the field. If you want your workers to use your platform, you need to make sure they know how to address the questions that come up. Field proven across 9,000,000 parcels, 1,500 users, and 8 years of innovation. Mobile data collection ensures your employees are performing the … While mobile is more available, decreasing in cost, and increasing in connectivity all the time, different organizations have different access to resources, and work in different settings, and this will affect which approach you take, and which devices you need. phone and a smartphone, metrics used to monitor worker performance. A user manual is a good place to start for troubleshooting, but make sure your users are aware of and encouraged to use all of the support These systems are sometimes called “chatbots” because using them seems like you are chatting with another person. and they all have different strengths and weaknesses. The chronicity of your actives will affect your budget, the cost of maintenance, and other factors. A Magpi user with no programming or technical skill could set up the system so that a Google to-do item would be created to “Review Site A” and assigned to the correct supervisor. If your MDC system incorporates reliable automatic backup, this makes it harder to lose all your data, and easier and much less expensive to store for long periods of time. Some MDC providers choose to work with local servers to store data, but very frequently those local systems are not adequately maintained or monitored. Data Collection Mobile Optimized for modern devices, the newly released Data Collection Mobile Software is bigger, better, responsive, and user-friendly! The metrics used to monitor worker performance See how it works Deploy … Beyond the features that deal with what data you collect, In addition, if any changes need to be made to the data collection form, paper becomes a nightmare of cost and logistics, as all previous blank versions of the form need to be tracked down and destroyed, and new versions need to be printed and transported to each and every data collection operative. QR Mobile Data is more than a collection of the mobile forms and checklists. Make sure to ask if this feature is incorporated. MORE INFORMATION. Go beyond simple data capture with Flowfinity mobile apps. Content and delivery design are how you determine the phrasing and actual delivery of the questions you need to ask. Dimagi's User Engagement Manager Marshall Daly recommends evaluating your data needs before you start looking at different market offerings. from the beginning to the end of data collection period. questions, please don’t hesistate to reach out to [email protected]. Using Magpi iSMS to collect data without going to the field. As more and more applications move to the cloud (that is, they are located on servers shared over the internet, and typically accessed via a web browser or mobile app), it is becoming easier and easier to connect one with another. help with this is Agile (also known as Scrum), whose principles of incremental development and constant iteration help ensure Magpi’s web interface to build highly customizable forms. Work through your test plan to ensure your most important workflows are functioning properly. Your app might be built and the first version tested, but before you can press "deploy," there are few final pieces to iron out. Phone usage policies are crucial, and we recommend them for all of our projects. Qualitative data collection may require typing long free-form text, or recording interviews and later transcribing them from the recordings, or some other approach – and the outlook is constantly changing as new technology, like voice-to-text transcription, becomes more widely available. Device setup isn't so bad on a small program. FLOW: Field Level Operations Watch - supporting communities to monitor their own water and sanitat… They are when we establish and test processes that are required for the long term success of a program. Whatever methodology you choose, make sure roles, responsibilities, and processes are very clear to the team, and that With the proper implementation, each of these issues can be minimized with the use of a mobile data collection tool. Or designing an ongoing system to bring in data from mobile or field sites into a central level for years? But with the explosion of mobile devices, and the drop in their cost, the un-ecological use of paper is giving way to a greener approach. The immediacy of MDC data availability allows for a higher level of supervision – hence a higher level of data quality – than was ever possible before. Ensuring that responsive channels exist for users to flag issues they might face – related to the application, device, or data – is important mobile phone, tablet, etc.). How will this app change existing processes and roles? You can’t assume your work is done after the last training session. These should be centered around the biggest pain points and opportunities for impact you identified in scoping—not just the loudest voice in the room. Mobile Data Collection with 100% Return On Investment in less than 1 year. as well as a process to get us ready to scale and succeed in that same final program. Receiving consistent feedback throughout the app building process (in both the design and build phases) is vital to building an app As tempting as this can be, you need to make sure that the feedback you collect is as – and you're doing it on the go. Depending on the circumstances, what works for one program may not work for yours, Check out a sample form structure in our Guide to Survey Design. There are many MDC options on the market, and accessibility is quick and easy thanks to the proliferation of cell phone technology and cell networks around the globe. iterative process. interactions and supervision. While it is an effective medium, it is also important to treat mobile data collection the same as any other data collection program. Does that count as MDC? phone and a smartphone, determining an operating system, and choosing the right internal memory 833-285-7176 . If using SMS-based data acquisition, you can use literally any mobile device with SMS capability, no matter how inexpensive. integrating the more detailed content and logic into your forms. In this article, we'll be discussing whether the powerful tool of MDC is right for your organization. Or are you planning to collect data from the general public or others that don't work for you (visitors to a facility, perhaps)? Or is the data extremely time-sensitive (e.g. But to realize these benefits, mobile marketers have to collect, analyze, and interpret user data … With paper forms, most of their time would be spent on tracking down data and following up with users. Usability (or user acceptance) testing is the process of putting a functioning app in front of your end users and seeing what The first paper on the use of mobile electronic data collection in the health context was written almost thirty years ago, in 1989: “Revolutionising health data capture: use of hand-held computers” by K.C. Fieldworkers use web maps on mobile devices to capture and edit data. You can use mobile apps for data collection – or you may decide that simple SMS may suit your purpose better, even on a smart device. If you're managing a field workforce of 25 or 50 or 100s of workers, though, it can easily become a nightmare. you can encounter. or messages your app will need to share at certain times? The quality assurance (QA) process can often be the most headache inducing phase of testing, but at the end of the day, you Your data requirements will indicate whether you need an app that can capture GPS coordinates or video. need to map out a versioning plan to identify what modules and features will be included in each version of your app. You can build your prototype in the data collection For more advice on how to compile a training guide for your app, check out our guide. Keep in mind your participants’ backgrounds while choosing which of these If you are going to buy a car to drive across town to the grocery store once a week, an inexpensive subcompact might work very well. See Data Collection Mobile in Action Check … consult them faster. That very early work, almost twenty years before the iPhone introduced us to modern smartphones, was based on the use of primitive electronic devices like the Psion, and later the Palm Pilot – which was the first Magpi mobile platform (under the original name “EpiSurveyor”). smartphone vs SMS vs voice vs paper) to level of connectivity available to your teams in the work locations. Tailor your approach to their needs, just like you did with the app, and they will be better for it. To make sure you’re ready, check out our guide to data collection. do before you start building to ensure your vision is possible with the set of features at your disposal. That said, before purchasing in bulk, you will want to test out the device you're considering to ensure that, for example, it allows the language or alphabet you want to use for your text data. With the overall structure and workflow that you designed and validated in the design phase, start The tension is that pilots are meant to be both a special, focused program effort that may differ from the final program, USAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and many other Think carefully about what is time sensitive or a priority and the level of effort associated with including certain criteria. You'll also want to make sure that certain characters like # (the pound or hash mark), commonly used to separate data fields in structured SMS systems, are easily entered by the user. If users are not given sufficient incentives to use the application, then you should expect usage to decline once the novelty of the program Add them in! Considerations like the scale of your program, the digital literacy of your team, and the mobile connectivity in Once your devices are ready for action, it's time to introduce them to your team. As an example, when the cost of smartwatches comes down, we’ll begin to see them used first for tracking bio-data in their wearers (like heart rate, but potentially including much more), and then later for the diagnosis of illness. If you have any Budget both time and resources for device preparation accordingly. Mobile devices need to be charged. opportunities to be heard. channels available to them. These quality controls can take the form of multiple choice questions (which are enforced on an electronic device, unlike on paper), numeric questions with enforced range checks, and automatic logical branching ("skip patterns") that lead a user through a form based on their responses. Often, there is a mandatory operating system update, Apple and Google both provide good tools to configure and manage large deployments of iOS or Android devices, and there are many other commercial options (read more). Even if you're collecting data offline, in the far field, you still get the benefit of near-instant analysis and response to your data – once you get to a network and upload it. The importance of a good support system to sustaining a mobile data collection program cannot be overstated. Of course, these cost savings don’t apply to every MDC system: if the one you’re looking at requires programmers or tech consultants, all the savings will be lost to salary and other personnel-related costs. Everyone learns in a different way, so tailor your training to your workers – and sometimes that means taking a This can save hours or even days of configuration work – as well as the headaches that result when you discover that not all field workers are using the same version of the form. Key data collected in the build phase is that not everything will fit! You might expect, different tools offer different features the right metrics will be easy to track and help users! 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