The past several years have seen an explosion in the proliferation of powerful mobile devices. Most recently low cost consumer-oriented devices powered by Google's Android OS have made mobile data collection available to organizations and groups who are taking advantage of this technology and empowering themselves by reducing the gap between real-world events & information and meaningful analytics. Evidence abounds of the possibilities afforded by mobile technology and we couldn't be happier about it!
Whether in the developing world or the business sector, the majority of mobile data collection efforts parallel the processes set down by their largely paper-based predecessors. In traditional data collection systems information is collected from a variety of sources, funnelled to a single point and eventually compiled, sorted and (hopefully) acted upon. In many cases this workflow meets the basic needs of data consumers and in some cases is preferable, however we believe that there is more to the story.
Let's consider some of the challenges posed by traditional one-way data collection systems and the majority of available data collection solutions.
The people performing data collection (usually referred to as "mobile workers") don't have access to the wealth of raw information available to data consumers. This makes mobile workers outsiders to the big picture and lessens their potential contributions to the overall data collection effort.
Solutions pull collected data into a black hole: once it's submitted there's very little the mobile worker can do to access it for review or to make corrections.
Implementations often force knowledgeable team members to work in a void. If data cannot be easily and seamlessly shared between team members collaborative efforts will be impeded and their overall effectiveness reduced.
When team members cannot "see" what others in the group are doing, the chances of double-entry and redundant information are all the more likely.
When aggregated data finally returns to mobile workers it is often severely outdated.
Solutions are not really mobile if they require workers to access desktops or laptops to complete tasks essential to the data collection process. This is also true if the tools make it impossible to take pertinent portions of the data set with them for online & offline use.
Group Complete is our answer to these issues. We've coupled the proven Open Data Kit system and XForms standards with the reliable data replication of CouchDB to provide truly mobile and collaborative data collection. With Group Complete you can...
Transparently and seamlessly share collected data between mobile team members and data consumers in real-time
Allow team members to collaborate on data entry and review collected data, regardless of their locations
Reduce double entry, increase team cooperation and still employ more traditional workflows when needed
Perform all of the major functions of data collection from the convenience of your smartphone or tablet
Use Inform to work offline and take your entire data set with you
Integrate with Open Data Kit and XForms workflows
Enhance your overall data collection experience with ease of deployment and many other great features!
We're excited about our upcoming technology preview and encourage you to take the Group Complete tour and consider the possibilities!