What exciting new software developments await inspectors for 2020?  Subscribers have been enjoying several new releases this past year, and development continues to march ahead.

POPULAR NEW RELEASES

As inspectors are well aware, the future is mobile!  Thus 3D Inspection System programmers have more recently been focused on improving the mobile experience for existing features before expanding further.  During the past two years, 3D Inspection Systems has released not one, but three entirely new apps.   After the initial release of our brand new 3D Mobile Inspector app for Android, two other new mobile apps were released, an equivalent 3D Mobile Inspector for iPhones and iPads, and an equivalent 3D Mobile Inspector app for Windows 10 tablets.  Both of these were popular requests for a few years and now inspectors have finally had those wishes fulfilled.

Inspectors working for the same company can now easily mix and match devices, and use their favorite platform to collect their field findings.  The main office doesn’t need to worry about which type of phone or tablet their inspector is using or prefers.  Our recent poll reveals that the iOS and Android apps are running neck and neck in popularity, while the new Windows 10 app still fills a need.  Inspectors may even change devices or replace a phone without the main office having to do anything, or even switch devices mid-job, for instance if they prefer a smaller device for tight places or on a roof.  The same sub-account login the main office set up for the inspector just automatically works.  The main office still maintains control over their inspector sub-account logins, as well as the reports assigned and sent and retrieved from the inspector.

What are the most popular mobile app features?

  • Photos automatically insert where you are in the report. That sure saves time over inserting photos later on.  Surface users particularly appreciate this improvement, since the mobile app can link directly to the device camera unlike a legacy type desktop program.
  • Mobile apps are designed to be finger-friendly, using the conventions and spacing recommended by Apple, Google, and Microsoft.  Long presses access handy features.
  • The popular request of storing a copy of photos in the Photo Gallery now happens automatically (but may be turned off in settings if preferred).  This makes it easy to use the same photo for different reports for  the same job, perhaps the main inspection and pest or other ancillary reports, or simply for separate later reference or use elsewhere. I think should be "...or simply for separate reference later or use elsewhere" or "...or for separate reference later, or for use elsewhere." I don't know. It feels awkward.Photos or images taken outside of the app may be inserted into the report likewise.
  • Easily duplicate an entire Heading or Sub-heading report section by long pressing its title.  Great for repeated areas like extra baths, HVAC, or  other rooms or items.
  • Preview larger photos with clients.  During a final review, whether in the main inspection or summary list, tapping an image thumbnail pops it up larger for easier viewing on-site with clients.

What other interface improvements have subscribers enjoyed in 3D Mobile Inspector?

Inspection List now automatically expands to show all downloaded inspections.  Pulling down to refresh the list makes it convenient to see new jobs your main office has uploaded to the server without having to log in again.  Modern transfer methods also mean one doesn't have to remain in the app for in-progress uploads or download to complete.

Images may be inserted from either the gallery or camera by long pressing the camera icon for options. Or simply tap the camera icon once to as a shortcut to use the camera directly.

Menu Drawer may be swiped from the left (or Tap menu) to switch inspection modes while working, between the main Inspection, Cover Photo, Preview, Bookmarks (which now allow jumping to any bookmark), Summary, and Not Inspected mode to optional review items not marked completed in the current form.

Navigation improvements makes it a snap to jump to any specific inspection item from the inspection preview, summary, bookmarks, or not inspected list.  Just tap and you’re there!

Add Master Narratives for future use from the *Tap to edit* area and using upper right-hand menu to Add as a New Narrative.  Text entered prior to choosing to Add a New Narrative will automatically copy into the narrative text area.  Obviously comments applicable for only the current inspection do not need to be added as master items.  Any new master narratives will automatically prompt the main office for review or tweaking when the report is retrieved.

Searching for “3D Mobile Inspector” in the Google Play Store, Apple App Store, or Microsoft Store makes it easy to install.  (Please note that the old Phone3D app may remain in the store catalog, but can no longer be supported).  Here are more useful instructions and videos: https://3dinspection.com/en/3d-products/phone3d.html

 

Exciting, isn't it?  Now, what’s next?

3D programmers are now turning their attention to the desktop program that runs on regular Windows 10.  Again the focus is going to initially target improvements that affect mobility, especially since newer smaller regular computers now use extremely higher than normal DPI settings and default resolutions that don’t play nicely with the original Microsoft controls and conventions (other software out there, including some of Microsoft's own software has had similar issues).  A number of controls as well as entire background foundations must be updated in order to adjust for more finger and mouse or touchpad pointer usability.  Some older controls don’t have equivalent newer pop-in replacements, so a lot of rewriting is in progress to maintain essential functionality, but we hope to have more news and releases later this year for our subscribers.  Stay tuned!

In addition to the existing new releases and ongoing development, 3D is modernizing in other ways.

NEW OFFICE HEADQUARTERS

3D recently moved their global headquarters to new office facilities to accommodate their changing needs.

 

Our phone numbers have remained the same for now, but our mailing address has changed, as indicated on our Contact page.  Also please note that many employees may work remotely from other locations or even other states, so if you are in the area and want to visit be sure to call and make an appointment beforehand to make sure someone can receive you.  And of course if you need software assistance, remote help is more easily available.

3D GROWS GREENER

In our effort to modernize as well as be kinder to the environment you are all out there inspecting, we’re trying to keep it greener.  This means we’ve cut back on postal mailings and notices for any forgotten subscription renewals and other matters.  Join us by keeping your own receipts and other materials electronically as much as possible instead of printing out paper copies.

We’ve found that often reminder mailings sent out get returned as well when offices relocate or folks retire, taking its toll not only in lost postage, but the fuel needed for the initial and return trips for delivery.  Be sure to let us know promptly if your contact information changes, especially your email, phone number, and website so you don’t miss out on future updates or news about exciting developments.

CDs and DVDs have also been outdated for many years and no longer work in modern computers, so our old duplicating equipment for those has now been decommissioned and retired in conjunction with our recent move.   This has little effect on users though since we previously switched to online delivery only, but it allows us to use our space more efficiently, and of course less potential plastic waste filling up our earth.  If any subscriber misplaces an installer, a replacement can be easily sent electronically!  Other subscription benefits of course include Cloud3D Services, special discounts for add-ons, and an annual reset of free live support incidents.

We hope all you inspectors have a prosperous 2020 and are able to make good use of the improvements already released and underway.  And to the many, many who have been with us for many years, even decades, and are now retiring and enjoying the fruits of your labors we wish you a fond farewell.