The Spex Field App - Features
Distributing the right information to your field inspectors can be tricky. Most companies we talk with before they move to Spex still use email as their primary means to communicate complex inspection details. There are several challenges with email including reliability and difficulty with attachments. Email, as a communication tool, can quickly become a recipe for disaster.
Spex alleviates this pain by allowing desk agents to generate reports and push them directly to the Spex Field App. Field inspectors receive notification of these new reports and are able to immediately review all pertinent information. Prior to starting an inspection, field inspectors can tap on the map feature and get directions to the property right from the Field App. If needed, inspectors can contact a homeowner by tapping on the phone and email information to review in-line attachments. Attachments sent to inspectors are divided into documents, photos, and diagrams. The home office can provide special notes for their inspectors, directing them to specific call-outs regarding a particular inspection.
If inspectors are provided limited information in more unusual circumstances, they can always create an inspection straight from the Field App.SpexReport® How-To Video Tutorial
Every property is unique and requires a flexible tool to accurately capture its state. Tools that traditionally have been used are generally unsophisticated and unhelpful in organizing information. Spex typically replaces the pencil, graph paper, and a basic digital camera. When the iPad launched in 2010, our founders were using those same outdated tools to perform inspections. They immediately recognized the power of combining a larger, tablet touchscreen with technologies such as a camera.
One of the most powerful features to spring from this epiphany was the ability to organize inspection content at the point-of-inspection. With Spex, you don’t have to sort through your day’s notes and photos from inspections throughout the day. Once a Spex-enabled inspector starts their inspection, the first step is to build out the layout of the report. They add the first structure, then the first area for inspection--perhaps a house's front elevation. Once they complete their inspection of that area and move to the left elevation, they add the left elevation. In doing this, all captured information is immediately deposited in the right location of the report; there is no need to ever go back and sort through hundreds of photos and dozens of pieces of paper.SpexReport® Layout How-To Video Tutorial
Since the advent of the camera, photos have been the primary way to capture property data. In the last 20 years, digital cameras have enabled people to take significantly more photos. In the world of property inspections, photo content exploded. With this amazing freedom came new complications: how do you transmit those photos from a remote location? How do you label digital photos so multiple inspection photos are not confused for each other? What happens if you lose a memory card storing those photos?
The Spex Field App enables inspectors to capture photos without concern. SpexReports® are transmitted digitally and wirelessly (photos and all other types of content) allowing desk agents to review the SpexReport®, in many cases while the inspector is still on site. Photos are automatically labeled by client, structure, area, entry type, and count. If an inspector chooses, they can add additional information to the caption, such as “damaged”. There is no concern about losing those photos you took--Spex automatically deposits a copy of each photo you take in the Field App into the native Photos App for the device (which can be setup to sync wirelessly to a secondary cloud backup service).
Now, what if you wanted to highlight something specific in a particular photo? Good luck doing that on a digital camera. With Spex, you can quickly edit and annotate any photo within the Field App. Drawing directly on top of the photo enables field inspectors to quickly and accurately point out specific information to desk adjusters, improving speed and accuracy in reviewing property data.SpexReport® Photos How-To Video Tutorial
After photos, no other tool is more important to an inspection than a useful diagram. After capturing the “what” of a property with photos and video, it’s important to know the “where” and “how much”--that’s where a good diagram comes into play. Traditionally captured on graph paper with a pen or pencil, learning to accurately diagram has long been a benchmark in the making of a great field inspector. The reality is, however, that not everyone has the ability to draw effectively.
We feel your inherent drawing ability shouldn’t dictate the quality or usefulness of your diagrams, or hold you back from becoming a great field inspector. We also know that different circumstances call for different types of diagrams. Because of this, we chose to take an alternative route to diagramming. Instead of building a single diagram tool and forcing inspectors to learn how to use it, we take a bring-your-own-diagramming-tool approach (and that includes traditional graph paper and pencil if that’s your preferred diagramming method). We have a few options: First, we’ve integrated our product with the outstanding Spike laser measuring device--it’s a great solution for measuring and documenting hard-to-reach elevations and point-to-point locations. Next, we hand picked a few apps from the app store that we really love: Photo Measures--a quick and easy elevation measurement documentation; Bosch Floor Plan---a detailed floor plan drawing tool; Penultimate---a digital graph paper with excellent touch sensitivity (especially on an iPad Pro with Apple Pencil). If you don’t like those options, we have built several tools to bring in diagrams from any other app. Still not happy? Draw your diagram on graph paper and launch the camera feature in diagrams to deposit the diagram in the right location of your report.SpexReport® Diagrams How-To Video Tutorial
Our clients have worked hard to develop the best internal processes to capture the right data. That’s why we work with our customers individually to develop custom forms and protocols that meet their specific needs. Your “tick-sheet” can transform into a dynamic set of digital forms, directing inspectors each step of the way and expanding your process well beyond a few pieces of paper tightly packed with check-boxes. Capture specific photos in-line with the questions that are pertinent to that part of the inspection. In concert with the rest of the platform, your inspectors will efficiently produce thorough documentation in a highly organized SpexReport® that you can view, edit, and share while your inspector is still on-site.SpexReport® Forms How-To Video Tutorial
The first digital camcorder came out in 1982 but video still has limited adoption with property inspectors. Why? If a photo is good, wouldn’t video be better? The reality is, it has been historically challenging to accurately capture specific data points and easily reference them, let alone trying to store or share this information, using video. That said, what better format is there to show how two areas of a property are tied together? Our approach is to limit videos to 30 seconds and use these short clips to help provide context to other aspects captured through notes, photos, or diagrams. Because it’s already in the right spot and correctly labeled in the SpexReport®, video suddenly becomes a quick and useful tool that can help describe information in a way no other solution can.SpexReport® Video How-To Video Tutorial
Sometimes you need to communicate information beyond a tick-sheet, photo, diagram or video. If that’s the case, SpexReports®, notes, and audio notes are the catch-all features for taking down any and all additional information not already described in your SpexReport®. The notes feature goes beyond a pad of paper, in that you can save your own custom templates (like a test-squares template for a hail roof inspection) and you can dictate notes using the voice recorder on the keyboard. Audio notes are just what they sound like--an audio recording of your comments.SpexReport® Notes & Audio How-To Video Tutorial
Perhaps the single most important feature of the Spex Field App is the ability to send and receive feedback of an inspection in real-time. Once the field inspection is complete, all that’s left for the inspector to do is press “sync”--the SpexReport® and all of its content are sent back to the desk agent. We’ve designed sync to save battery life, extending the device's power as much as possible. Now, to be clear, we haven’t solved connecting the field user to the desk when there is no internet available just yet. As long as your field inspector has a decent internet connection, though, you should be able to collaborate in real time and, if need-be, capture additional information before the inspector ever leaves the property.SpexReport® Sync How-To Video Tutorial
Many insurance carriers require a PDF Photo Sheet as a supplement to Estimates on an insurance claim. The production of this deliverable can often be time-consuming and frustrating.
Spex now enables the creation of PDF Photo Sheets from within the SpexReport®. It’s as simple as clicking “export” from the the SpexReport® and we do all the heavy lifting to make sure every shared photo is correctly exported, labeled and laid out in a familiar format. We also include every piece of information a carrier might want as they review submissions.
And yes, the SpexReport® PDF Photo Sheet accommodates size restrictions by carriers - averaging less the 5MB. If the carrier would like higher fidelity images, they have but to navigate to the custom link to the SpexReport® provided on every page of the PDF Photo Sheet. Check it out by tapping the export button in the upper right hand corner here!Spex PDF Photo Sheet Feature Highlight Video