Whilst carrying out a number of site visits recently I got the opportunity to try out the new Sigma Mobile Application.
As a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) Assessor, it is important that I always have consumption data I can trust, therefore during my site visits I always take meter readings to check against the suppliers’ invoices or meter readings provided by site. Normally I write these down or take a photo. Most of the time this is fine, but sometimes in the heat of the moment if I’m being rushed by the site caretaker I might end up taking a blurry photo or misplace the piece of paper with the read on. Well with the app that is no longer a problem, now I can take a read and automatically upload it to the customers’ Sigma Software database.
Unfortunately I can’t show it working like an Apple app advert (with shortened sequences) as I don’t have those resources, so I am going to rely on the English text below. Once you have downloaded the app (from the Google Play Store) to your device, the next step is to configure it with your Sigma Software database (TEAM Support can help with this). If you don’t have a barcode scanner I would suggest you also download one of these.
Before going on site, I suggest that you login and familiarise yourself with the app and set up your meter list; which can be very helpful if you have a large number of meters on your database. When you select the app on your phone, it will ask you for your customer name, user name and password. The screen gives you two choices; Sign in, or Work offline (I will talk about this later).
Once I had logged into the app I was presented with six options; Search, View/Edit meter list, Synchronize, Settings, Logout and Contact TEAM. I chose ‘Search’ and an option to enter my meter ID came up. Using the barcode scanner on my smartphone, I took a picture of the meter serial ID and the app found my meter immediately, confirmed the meter id and told me that it was an electric meter.
On screen I could see that the meter had one channel; I selected the channel and was presented with a chart, the last meter read date and reading stored in Sigma Software. This was just what I needed. I didn’t need to be back in the office to confirm the meter information I held, it was there on the screen. The meter reading I entered was consistent with the meter reading on the screen.
Brilliant, not only did I have a permanent record of the meter reading, but once my app was synchronized, the team who used the sigma database would also have the information at hand and could then report on it when they run their monthly meter reading report. Two birds killed with one stone.
Now I was on a roll and used the app to record the gas and water reading as well. I know that I don’t need the water read for a DEC, but I wanted to test the app to its fullest and it didn’t let me down.
Once I had finished on site I logged out of the app and was informed that it was ‘synchronizing data’ to ensure that the readings I took were uploaded. So what happens if you’re in an area with no mobile signal? This is when the ‘work offline’ function comes in to play.
However you will need to set up a meter list before working offline. As mentioned previously this is something I would suggest you do first especially if you have a large number of meters. I have a list of meters for schools, for offices and leisure centres which I use when I’m out on site.
Once you have selected ‘work offline’, select view meters and select your required list; then just like before take your meter reading and logout. Once your mobile phone is in an area where it has a signal the app will automatically begin to synchronize, without you having to tell it. Amazing!
Recently whilst out with a customer who records his meter readings on a spreadsheet (which he emails to TEAM on a monthly basis) I mentioned the app to him and told him how much time he would save, he looked impressed. Hopefully he will download the app and use it. I will definitely discuss further with him when I’m next see him, just as I will discuss with all my customers when I’m out on site. Taking meter readings with pen and paper is a thing of the past, the mobile app is here to stay and I for one am very happy. It is a very helpful tool and I will always ensure that I have this set up when I’m out on site.