Checkd is a mobile/SaaS construction application incorporating QR codes into its toolset, and attracting customers in its local Norwegian market.
Norway’s construction market is a fraction of the size of the UK’s or US’s, and is proving a rich testing ground for a new mobile and Software-as-a-Service construction application called Checkd. Developed by a small Oslo-based team led by CEO and founder Tom-Erik von Krogh-Martinsen, Checkd was launched in November 2013, almost two years after he led a group working on a ‘proof of concept’ mobile reporting project funded by the main trade organisation for the construction industry in Norway. This demonstrated that simple reporting and sharing of PDFs via mobile devices was attractive to construction users, but Checkd has since developed into something more sophisticated.
As befits a system developed on a mobile-first philosophy, Tom-Erik showed me the mobile front-end first. This is currently offered on iOS and Android smarphone and tablet devices (full Windows support may follow if customer demand grows; two of the four core modules are currently available on Windows), and adopts a Google App-style approach to tasks, rather than trying to incorporate all modules into a single application:
- Hours – Checkd provides one-click, location sensitive time-tracking. Upon arriving at a site, the user logs in. The application uses GPS to help identify where the user is located; the user may select the chosen site and then ‘checks in’, or, if the employer prefers, the user may have to scan a QR code upon arrival.The app records if the user leaves the site (to obtain materials, for example) and so provides an accurate and real-time record of site presence and travel.
- Control – Checkd provides an overview of users, tasks and issues. It includes a daily report tool, into which prevailing local weather conditions can also be automatically imported and recorded
- Floorplan – As the name implies, Checkd provides images of previously uploaded floorplans upon which the user can select a location, record a problem, take a photograph to illustrate the issue, assign the problem to another user for rectification, and then issue the notice. Such notices are received almost instantly, are captured in the SaaS back-end tracking and reporting tools, and progress in resolving the problem can also be tracked by colour changes on the mobile device.
- Equipment – Utilisation of equipment and machinery on-site is also recorded via Checkd. QR codes got another mention here, as the system allows the user to scan codes mounted on the relevant equipment, and instantly access all relevant information, including any documents that might be needed for compliance purposes. Over time, the system tracks who used the equipment, when and where.
The SaaS back-end is where user accounts are created, projects set up, new users are added, floorplans and other information are uploaded, and forms created. Checkd will create common forms for a small charge (c. £100), but users can also be trained to do this themselves. Once a project is in progress, the system also provides dashboard reporting and export tools, allowing information to be shared with other systems (this can be via CSV but Checkd is also developing interfaces with corporate CRM and ERP platforms too).
Adoption of Checkd is, according to Tom-Erik, often best achieved by showing the app and its back-end to site-based project managers. He said the Norwegian market was receptive to new ideas but, without the more active competition seen in the US or UK mobile construction app markets (see previous post, for example), raising awareness and educating potential users about mobile solutions was still necessary (most of Checkd’s indigenous competition was from internal, office-based systems that had been adapted to create apps, Tom-Erik told me; other SaaS solutions in the Scandinavian market include two Copenhagen-based developers: Docia and its Docia Deficiency List app, acquired by RIB in July 2014, and GenieBelt – post).
Nonetheless, Checkd is already being used by three of Norway’s eight biggest construction businesses, more trials are in the pipeline, and there was interest in taking the system to other markets including Germany, the UK (it is already being bundled as part of a solution from the Bullit Phones/Caterpillar joint venture, Catphones) and Asia (Tom-Erik took advantage of a Norwegian trade mission to Asia to test industry appetite in Singapore). As customer experience develops, the company’s pricing strategy will evolve, with options based on numbers of users, numbers of projects and volume of information stored all being considered.