New City of Richmond Mobile App Will Enhance Building Inspection Efficiency

City of Richmond Building Inspector Using Metro Grove App

The City of Richmond, British Columbia, launches Metro Grove, 14 Oranges’ mobile-first app service for managing field workers. Part of Richmond’s innovative Digital Strategy, the app will drive increased inspection efficiency making for a more business friendly and smarter city.

PRWeb: Richmond, B.C., March 9, 2017

The City of Richmond has launched a new mobile app to increase the efficiency of its building inspectors. The mobile application, based on the Metro Grove Mobile Workforce Management Service provided by Richmond-based 14 Oranges, allows inspectors to perform and file an inspection from their smartphone instead of the current mixture of paper and interactive voice response (IVR) based systems.

The new app is part of a broad initiative rooted in Richmond’s innovative Digital Strategy, which was approved by City Council in 2015. The goal of the strategy is to integrate the Cities’ systems using a middleware approach, dubbed the Digital Nervous Ecosystem and enhance customer service and improve efficiency through the use of new digital technology. This application is one of a part of a series of initiatives that will help improve the way the City of Richmond meets the needs of the public and businesses operating in the City.

Metro Grove Inspection App

The app provides a simple, straightforward way for Richmond’s building inspectors to view their respective inspection task list for the day on their smartphone of choice and input, post, and synchronize their results and comments to the existing inspection management system. This app simplifies the current approach of handwriting inspection results in the field that in-office clerks input later or navigating IVR trees to feed the information back into the City.

“Contractors and trades will be able to get almost instantaneous feedback of the inspection results and remediate any reported deficiencies sooner,” said Malcolm Brodie, the Mayor of the City of Richmond, “Overall, this enhances the customer experience and satisfaction, demonstrating that Richmond is a business-friendly city.”

The smartphone technology, developed against the 14 Oranges ( Metro Grove Mobile Workforce Management Service, delivers a persistent and stable connection to the legacy backend systems for data retrieval and updates enabled by Richmond’s Information Technology Department. As well, the mobile platform provides easy and uncluttered navigation between screens. This enables the inspectors to complete their assignments quickly and efficiently.

About the City of Richmond
The City of Richmond is BC’s fourth largest municipality with a vision “to be the most appealing, livable and well-managed community in Canada.” An Official Venue City of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Richmond is internationally acclaimed for its cultural diversity, healthy lifestyles, and natural environment. Home for Vancouver International Airport, deep sea port facilities, and the Canada Line, Richmond is a global centre for transportation, trade and distribution. The City of Richmond has received numerous provincial, national and international accolades for innovation and excellence in service delivery and local government administration.

Media Contact: Ted Townsend
Director, Corporate Communications and Marketing, City of Richmond
Tel: 604-276-4399, Cell: 604-516-9585
Email: TTownsend(at)richmond(dot)ca

About 14 Oranges
14 Oranges is a leading provider of turnkey mobile application services to support the efficient management of mobile workforces. Headquartered in Richmond, BC with offices in Ottawa and Halifax, 14 Oranges sells its services to government agencies and medium to large enterprises who are dependent on mobile workforces. 14 Oranges’ mobile application services brings a mobile-first design approach, allowing mobile workers to use their own smartphones to stay on-task, minimize drive time and increase valid data capture. Managers realize an immediate ROI both in terms of worker efficiency and the ability to manage more workers from a single interface.

Nearshoring: The Best Alternative to Offshoring for North American Companies

The digital business environment is incredibly competitive, so organizations rely heavily on cost cutting measures to affect their bottom lines. With engineering costs of application development ever increasing, offshoring technical work can look like an attractive option for many corporations in Seattle and Portland.  However, offshoring presents many challenges such as language barriers, time zones and cultural differences that can easily cost a business more in the long run.  Instead of spending money offshore, companies in Portland and Seattle should be taking advantage of the nearshoring opportunities and knowledge capital just across the border in Vancouver, BC.  

Overall Cost Savings

The value of the Canadian Dollar is great news for American companies providing a real opportunity.  The talent pool north of the border is world class and currently deeply discounted at upwards of 25%. Analysts are predicting that the Canadian dollar will remain low for the rest of the year and into 2016.

Agility Through Proximity

For a company located in Seattle or Portland, nearshoring to Vancouver is a logical way to maximize value and efficiency.  Vancouver, BC shares the same time zone which allows for very easy collaboration and rapid response times.  For example, if there’s a bug, it’s easy to simply pick up the phone and call the Vancouver team instead of waiting for a response from a developer many time zones away in India or China.  

At first it may appear that the per hour rate for offshore developers is cheaper, but the turnover rates are incredibly high and quality issues stemming from miscommunication regularly push this hourly rate higher and higher.

Here’s what one of our clients had to say about nearshoring:

“We initially went overseas for our app development needs in order to save costs. The savings were quickly overshadowed with wasted time, missed meetings, buggy software, and lost code. After meeting face-to-face with 14 Oranges, we decided to make the switch and they were able to pick up where the previous developer left off without a hitch. They are highly responsive and have been able to mentor us throughout the app development project. It has been a pleasure working with 14 Oranges and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them for app development projects.” 

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Also, if onsite work or collaboration is required, travel from Vancouver to Portland or Seattle is incredibly fast, simple and cost effective.  For example, our Seattle based client Arris scheduled an in-person meeting at their office.  Sylvain was able to drop his children off at school in the morning, drive to Seattle for the meeting and make it back home in time for dinner.  Proximity allows both parties to operate in real time and communicate face to face whenever it’s necessary.   

Cultural Identity

The cultural business landscape along the US-Canadian border is virtually identical; therefore, communication and understanding between organizations will not be impeded by language differences, learning curves or growing pains.  Speaking the same language may seem like an insignificant detail, but when phone and email are the primary methods of communication, language is critical. Existing expectations for how business is conducted will lead to better working relationships and a similar understanding of issues because Vancouver is aware of the political, cultural and social landscape of the West Coast. This understanding is intangible and cannot be taught to companies overseas because it is implicit.

Business Regulations

It bears reminding that with NAFTA, US companies nearshoring to Canada can rest easy knowing their intellectual property is respected and will remain private.  For some companies that have engaged in offshoring, once they have paid their bill, they had no idea the fate of their documents and proprietary information.  As such, nearshoring to Vancouver reduces risk and will save you money on legal fees and the hassle of determining where your intellectual property has ended up.  

In Summary

The allure of offshoring can be tempting to organizations looking for a quick fix to cost savings; however, it is a short term solution.  Offshoring saddles companies with long term risks and headaches which could be easily avoided by choosing nearshoring to Vancouver.  For a fraction of the price, American companies can take advantage of the incredible technical talent pool available in Vancouver.  Our talent understands the West Coast culture and professional expectations that will eliminate miscommunications and allow you to get down to business.  When it comes to technical work, proximity is key.  If business travel is required, Vancouver is just a one hour plane ride to Portland and the same time zone which makes conference calls and emails easy to execute in real time.  As the digital transformation continues, more and more American companies will nearshore development work to Vancouver to capitalize on the cost savings and operational efficiencies.  

Learn more about how nearshoring can help your business

Contact 14 Oranges now at 604-304-0020