[teaser]Collecting data in remote, disconnected locations can be a difficult task, especially for NGOs.[/teaser] Traditionally, paper based forms opened the door to multiple data entries, creating long lags between when the data was collected and when it was available, and transcription difficulties when entering handwritten notes into the master system. This ultimately leads to bad and/or expensive data. NGOs have found iFormBuilder to be extremely helpful by allowing individuals and teams to automate their data collection process, capture data in offline environments, eliminate subjectivity in how data is captured, and transcend what they could do with paper forms. Adding photos, capturing location information, and integrating data with existing systems results in better data. Discover why NGO’s love iFormBuilder!
ThunderPlug®: Capture Data Anywhere
What do you do when you are in an ultra-disconnected environment and need to collect large amounts of data, over an extended period of time and have multiple data collectors? Use ThunderPlug, of course! The iFormBuilder team has taken data collection to a new level by creating the ThunderPlug, a small piece of hardware that runs iFormBuilder software. This palm-sized device easily integrates with the iFormBuilder platform and allows teams to capture and consume data — even in the most remote locations. Don’t let the size mislead you. The ThunderPlug’s hardware-based locking system allows for data on the plug to remain secure, even if the device is lost or stolen.
Hardware Integration: Take Your Workflow To The Next Level
We love hardware! iFormBuilder has integrated with industry grade hardware to extend the data collection abilities for field teams. Scan barcodes using the integrated Manatee Works® widget or use external devices by Infinite Peripheral or Socket. Improve GPS accuracy with Bluetooth devices like Dual, Badelf or SXBlue II devices. Capture temperature with the ETI BlueTherm™ temperature probe or print iFormBuilder records directly to a Zebra®printer. Or, use NODE+ and its suite of interchangeable sensor modules allow you to easily capture IR temperature, Climate, CO2 and OXA reading. All seamlessly integrated into the platform.
Offline Capabilities: No Connection? No Problem.
From the beginning, iFormBuilder assumes offline for your teams, allowing essential data to be captured with or without an internet connection. Whether your teams are on iOS or Android devices, field teams are able to capture data in a disconnected environment, store the records securely on the device and then sync data from the device to the cloud (or ThunderPlug) once a connection is available. No Connection? No Problem. Seriously.
Data Integrity: Who, What, When and By Whom
Every time a record is collected with iFormBuilder, the platform captures the user information, time and date stamp and location information including latitude, longitude, altitude, speed and compass direction via the Metadata. This information improves data quality by not leaving it up to the user to collect this data, but instead capturing data in the background of the device. NGO’s are able to identify who, what, when and by whom records are captured. This information validates each and every record in the field and provides vital data for Monitoring and Evaluation teams to report on impact and sustainability of data captured in the field.
Go Beyond Forms: Rethink How Field Teams Capture Data
Some NGO’s view paper data collection as an activity that gets filed away “just incase” it needs to be used in the future. The checklist, baseline surveys, the household surveys and inspection sheets all get submitted and then put in the old filing cabinet. With iFormBuilder, you can bring your workflow to life! Once a record is submitted and synced to the cloud by a user on their device, it is immediately accessible in iFormBuilder.com! The platform offers Data Views, Data Feeds, POST and Scoring. The different types are listed below.
- Views: List, Map, Graph, HTML, Excel or Excel Flat, PDF Export.
- Feeds: Excel, Excel Flat, JSON, RSS and ATOM.
- POST: XML or JSON. By assigning a POST URL to a form, submitted data can be posted directly to a dashboard or an existing backend system or reporting engine.
- Scoring: Customize option lists weighted value to implement scoring into reports!
For deep integration, iFormBuilder has a powerful API for developers. The API provides the ability for bidirectional data to be pulled from an existing system and populate iFormBuilder and even assign the forms to specific users. Power users are able to automate every part of their workflow even the form building process via the API.
Secure Data and Element Encryption
If security is a priority for your organization, have no fear! The iFormBuilder databases are encrypted at many levels from the local database to the home server. The database administrator is able to control all user accounts and give permission as necessary, allowing teams to have access to specific forms. iFormBuilder works with many government agencies, healthcare institutions and some of the worlds largest organizations and we have met or exceeded their stringent security standards.
Fanatical Implementation Support: World Class Projects Require World Class Support
We love making projects come to life. Our support and implementation teams are available to help troubleshoot issues, build and optimize forms, streamline data collection, and plan your next project deployment. Our team is fast and agile and currently supports projects in over 125 countries. Some groups even turn all of their support and training over to our support team providing a smooth and consistent delivery of content and troubleshooting. We also offer around the clock help desk and chat support for all project needs.
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About the Author
Elaheh Eghbal is a member of the Customer Success team at iFormBuilder. She is an adventurer, photographer, furniture builder, and wannabe foosball pro. If you have any questions about this blog post, she would love to hear from you! Email Elaheh at firstname.lastname@example.org.