Modernization of California Regulation: VIP and ARInspect Improve Process Automation

Visionary Integration Professionals (VIP) would like to share this insightful article from our partner ARInspect, an industry leading government provider of process automation improving performance, capabilities, and productivity. 

Regulatory Entities Need to Retire Pen and Paper 

Regulatory agencies across California are challenged to keep up with a growing list of regulations and base workloads of regulated entities. While the rules and regulations are ever changing, the method by which they are tracked has remained static. Most inspections are performed the same way they were decades ago — data is entered by hand on paper-based forms that require inspectors to spend significant time in the office re-keying their findings. Even if inspections are done digitally, the ability to perform an inspection offline, maintain historical data on the site or asset, or even upload the findings requires a great deal of manual effort and wasted time. Digitizing inspection processes and field work has incredible benefits for efficiency, employee experience, and community safety.

Modernizing Fieldwork  

Enabling a mobile, field-based workforce to perform their work on an offline-first mobile device makes complete sense, yet many agencies don’t know where to start in moving decades-old processes into the modern, mobile age. ARInspect offers a platform that enables state agencies to move their processes online in a matter of weeks, not months or years. By simply moving processes digital, agencies can see productivity improvements of 50% or more for core inspection functions.

In the past, agency officials responsible for inspecting and regulating sites or assets including gas, solid and hazardous waste took notes by hand, including hand drawing maps, and then returned to the office to key in all of their data. This manual process not only took time, but it also opened up the process to data-entry errors by hand. With ARInspect they are able to move to an all-digital process, collecting (and accessing) all data on tablets. Inspectors pull up maps, take pictures and make annotations directly on images before uploading them. Forms can be auto-generated, and information is sent directly into agency back-office systems from the field at the completion of the inspection.

More data = more efficiency

Modernizing inspections is more than just digitizing forms and processes. It is about using the trove of data held by agencies in a new way. Technology including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) can help agencies become data-driven organizations. The ability to see all the data from inspections in real-time, in one place, organizations can use algorithms to prioritize where they send inspectors based on the potential risk to the community or history of violations. They can also improve scheduling efficiencies by sending the “best fit” inspector to each assignment by using AI to calculate travel times, skill/experience level with assignments, and past work with the regulated entity.

A state bureau of air management is using ARInspect to focus efforts on the most high-risk areas, prioritizing work for the small staff. The use of risk-based inspection scoring ensures that the most vulnerable sites, potentially posing the most threat, are prioritized. Compliance reporting staff reviews compliance reports and then immediately assigns them to the appropriate enforcement action group within the digital system. All enforcement activity is tracked within the platform allowing for visibility among all teams involved in the case.

Incorporating IoT and smart city technology

A centralized view of all data also helps agencies fully realize the value of Internet-of-Things (IoT) investments. The data collected by sensors, drones, and cameras are frequently not taken full advantage. Data is captured and aggregated in a data-driven inspection environment to show trends for proactive efforts to improve safety.

A digital approach also allows for the addition of new IoT devices. On a busy recreational lake operated by a state agency, ARInspect worked with the Department of Natural Resources to install cameras at each entry and exit ramp to collect identifying information for each boat and generate a record for each vessel’s entry and/or exit. This automation made it possible to have 24/7 coverage of lake traffic without having to have staff onsite during the night and early mornings. All the information captured by cameras is immediately available to other state systems.

Having a modern system at work, which mimics the consumer applications they often use in their personal lives, allows state employees to concentrate on the actual inspection, not paperwork. The elimination of these administrative and time-consuming tasks leads to improved job satisfaction. Additionally, the efficiency gained in the field means more inspections can be performed per day (without increased staffing or costs) while improving the safety of our communities.

If you would like to learn more about VIP’s work with ARInspect and our partnership with the government to improve process automation, please visit us at:   

Published On: May 3, 2023
About the Author: VIP
At VIP, our personal mission is our customers’ success. Since our inception in 1996, we’ve been at the forefront of integrating technology solutions that optimize our customers’ business performance and align with market demands.