Why you need to start unifying and automating your inspections
September 18, 2023
The way we do inspections has changed for the better. That said, businesses across industries often find themselves juggling between outdated legacy systems and cutting-edge modern tools. Despite the critical role inspections play in ensuring safety, compliance, and operational efficiency, businesses are inundated with problems stemming from fragmented data and the slog of manual processes.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. Recent innovations have allowed companies to take advantage of solutions that both unify and automate the way they perform inspections. Gone are the days of manual walkthroughs and sifting through a seemingly endless collection of photos.
As a result of this streamlined approach, many companies are better able to eliminate rework, improve worker safety and realize finished results faster. In this blog, we’ll walk you through why you need to unify and automate your inspections as well as help you get started. Let’s dive in.
360 cameras are the bread and butter of on-the-ground interior capture. These cameras can generate comprehensive 360-degree walkthroughs of a site. These 360-degree photos are particularly useful for detailed assessments, especially in construction management where every angle matters. When these photos are uploaded into a reality capture platform, you can seamlessly share these walkthroughs with team members and key stakeholders.
Drones are invaluable tools for any industry as they can provide an aerial perspective that previously would’ve been difficult to obtain. Drones excel at inspecting areas that are either inaccessible or pose safety hazards and provide high-quality imagery that can be turned into detailed maps or 3D models. This technology is revolutionary for many industries, helping companies reduce inspection time and keeping workers out of harm's way. One case study showed that drone technology could make bridge inspections up to 40% more efficient.
Robots can automate your entire ground inspections workflow. These robots are designed to perform complex tasks on a repeatable basis, unlocking the potential for companies to perform weekly or even daily inspections. Robots can do more than just take pictures too, as they can be equipped with sensors and cameras to capture thermal data, detect methane leaks and read gauges at a distance.
The pains of fragmented inspection data
Unfortunately, many organizations are still stuck sifting through Excel spreadsheets, PDFs, and even outdated software with cumbersome user interfaces reminiscent of Windows 95. This fragmentation leads to a host of issues:
Lack of visibility
Scattered data sources hamper the ability to glean actionable insights, making it challenging to assess the overall health of an asset effectively. This lack of visibility can compound into other issues, leading to avoidable mistakes, rework, or even putting worker safety at risk.
The absence of a centralized data repository increases the likelihood of errors going unnoticed. The failure to cross-reference information can also result in overlooked issues. For example, when performing a concrete pour on a construction site, failing to have access to all of your inspections data in one place can lead to errors that may result in costly rework.
Increased time for inspections
Sifting through an Excel spreadsheet or performing the same inspection multiple times due to a lack of access can just increase your inspection time. More time spent in your inspections workflow, means more money spent out of your budget. Not only that, retrieving data from multiple systems also pulls your team away from other tasks that might be more crucial to the success of your project.
Unifying your inspections data
Fortunately, your inspections data doesn’t need to stay fragmented. With a unified reality capture program, like DroneDeploy, you can bring all of your inspections data under one roof. With a unified approach, you can forget about scouring through spreadsheets or flipping through a variety of platforms – all of your photos, 360 walkthroughs, videos and orthomosaics on your site is in one place.
By unifying your inspections data, you can seamlessly view the entire history of your project from the moment you started to the last inspection. As a result, you can track changes, catch and remedy errors early and build a workflow that allows you to perform inspections on a weekly or even daily basis.
The pains of manual inspections
While manual inspections are unlikely to ever be eliminated by tech entirely, they still have some significant drawbacks. For one they are time-consuming, even with a 360 camera, on the ground manual inspections require that members of your team walk the entire site. More manual walkthroughs means you need more labor, and it is incredibly difficult to perform two manual inspections the exact same way leading to a potential for errors to arise. As a result, manual inspections make it hard to track changes and compare data overtime.
Fortunately, innovations in automation technology have changed the game for inspections.
Automation addresses the challenges of traditional inspections head-on. Instead of relying on a person to walk your jobsite on a weekly basis, you can deploy a robot that can perform the same detailed inspection, daily. By equipping your robot with a suite of sensors and thermal cameras you can check gauges, identify methane leaks, and create a detailed 360 photo map in a single walkthrough.
Drone-in-a-box solutions can help you scale up your drone program, by automating the entire aerial inspections process. Alternatively known as ‘docked drones’ these aerial robots can be left on-site in a charging dock and be activated at any time to perform automated flights. The data captured from these flights can then be uploaded into DroneDeploy automatically, allowing you to empower one pilot to monitor multiple sites at once.
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About the Author
Content Marketing Manager
Conner Jones currently manages content marketing at DroneDeploy. Conner helps tell the DroneDeploy story across a wide array of social and web channels, showcasing the power of drones and reality capture in a diverse range of industries.