Where our best product ideas come from
We just released version 6.X of our flagship iMarq™ cloud-mobile suite for Asset Integrity and Field Force Management. Like any major release, there are several features that will be covered elsewhere – and our customers have already had the benefit of using some of these features.
As iMarq™ has evolved over the young history of Connixt, one thing has stayed constant: the source of our best product ideas. Each product idea, enhancement, or new feature has always, without exception, come from our most important customer: the end user. The workers in the field or at the controls, the people who use iMarq every day to complete their inspections, update Work Orders, maintain equipment, respond to emergencies or service requests and ensure safety and compliance.
So, thank you linemen, mechanics, facility inspectors, HVAC techs, and operators.
We have always talked to the “boots-on-the-ground” to enhance iMarq. Two of the most popular features on Connixt iMarq product came from these interactions: hands-free technology and automated corrective work orders.
Hands-free mobile apps seem an oxymoron until you talk to the rail line inspector who is in a tunnel or a utility employee up on an electric pole. Safety is the number one priority in these situations, and they still need the ability to enter data without compromising safety. This conundrum led to enabling speech-to-text capabilities in iMarq where workers simply speak to the device to update Work Orders or record comments. That further led to audio-memos: the ability to record voice commentary or that strange transformer/engine noise that needs further investigation. And our users have found unexpected benefits beyond their initial expectations. These features are particularly useful when their hands are greasy or encased in thick gloves, because it is easier to speak out observations rather than punch into a tablet screen.
One of our most interesting conversations was with a maintenance supervisor who complained that their “new and improved” EAM/CMMS system simply made it harder for his crew to work – they needed to create approximately 17 new work orders per inspection. Each defect or service action not on the original work order required a new work order to be manually created, assigned, updated, and closed. Faced with real deadlines of getting vehicles back on the road at the end of the shift, they made difficult choices: do the work, worry about recording it later, or not record it at all. This resulted in serious dips in productivity measures, no auditability for the work completed/corrective action taken, and no way to make meaningful decisions about asset performance, time/material consumed, and more.
In keeping with Connixt tradition, this challenge led to one of the more nuanced features in iMarq – automatic creation of corrective Work Orders (WO) from the field. Now when specific line items are marked on the iMarq as requiring corrective action, iMarq can automatically generate corrective WOs. Not only that, if the repair was performed at the time of inspection, the user can record the time and material spent on the original WO, leading to the automatic creation of a corrective WO in the back-end system, which is then automatically closed with the time/material record. The time saved? 20% to 40%. And an auditable record of work done, time spent, and corrective action taken – all available readily as a consolidated audit report, whenever needed.
So, end users, we tip our hats to you. You are the ones that told us that you just want to do your jobs well and would love it if the technology could help you do it without you needing to become technologists.
To each of you, we say thank you.
See iMarq 6.X in action at CalACT 2019.