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Case Study

STS and West Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District Case Study by Terri Conroy

March 31st, 2008

The nation’s recent housing downturn has had numerous side effects, including a surge in the number of abandoned swimming pools, which become breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes. For the residents of the West Valley area of Southern California, there’s an organization they can turn to that helps them deal with this problem: West Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District (WVMVCD).

WVMVCD is a public organization tasked with reducing the infestation of mosquitoes, as well as other insect and vermin that transmit disease or cause human discomfort. The organization’s 13 technicians regularly survey and assess the 200 square mile region in order to promote long-term vector control and disease prevention.

Until recently, the process for capturing site data was time-consuming and slow. Technicians carried clipboards and paper to each site and wrote down information by hand. They then compiled the information and gave it to a front office staff member who inputted it into a SQL database. As WVMVCD’s Community Outreach Coordinator, Brian Reisinger has been involved in an effort to move the organization to a paperless system.

“A technician might visit 25 sites in a day, so there was a huge amount of information to be entered by hand,” says Reisinger. “Handwriting was an issue. And we also had some people who would write long paragraphs of information, which was more than was needed.” All of this contributed to slowing down the date entry process.

Reisinger wanted a solution that wouldn’t require the technicians to carry multiple devices, so he opted for the BlackBerry SmartPhone. He found a vendor who offered a BlackBerry application with a forms capability that would allow technicians to enter jobsite data on the device. However, the information was sent to the vendor’s server and had to be exported into Excel spreadsheets so that it could be entered into WVMVCD’s database.

“It was a little faster but not the jump that we were looking for,” says Reisinger. “The forms were difficult to navigate on the BlackBerry because not all of the information applied to every job.” There were also intermittent problems with connectivity to the vendor’s server, which wasn’t always obvious to the technician because the BlackBerry was still functioning. “When you submitted the form, it didn’t tell you that there wasn’t a connection. We didn’t know that the data was lost until a week later.”

Through Research in Motion (RIM), Reisinger learned about Simplified Technology Solutions and its recently launched product, Rapid Ask by STS. This survey-style BlackBerry application allows organizations to capture information on a job site and transmit it real-time to an internal database.

Rapid Ask by STS offered the features Reisinger was looking for: a bridge program that transferred data directly from the BlackBerry to the WVMCD’s database and a flexible input system. “I liked the way the questions were set up,” he says. “It allowed us to create a form where technicians only see questions that pertain to what they’re doing.” Reisinger tested it in multiple areas and noted that it would not allow the technician to enter information if there wasn’t a connection.

Reisinger was also happy with the pricing. “We looked at custom options but they were in the 20K-50K range. That’s not unreasonable; it’s just out of our scope. At $7,250, Rapid-Ask by STS is a fraction of the cost of a custom solution.

Although it hasn’t been fully rolled out at WVMCD, Reisinger believes it’s the solution he’s been looking for. “I really think this product is going to fit our needs.”

Looking for a solution to allow your workforce to be productive, mobile and secure? Contact STS and find out how Rapid-Ask can accelerate your organization's mobile strategy. Call us at 678-638-6688 or visit the Rapid-Ask by STS web site to find out more!

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