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Using Cloud-Based Industrial Inspection Software to Digitalize Your Business

To meet shifting customer requirements while continuing to provide superior industrial inspection services amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the ways in which providers run their business and provide service to customers are rapidly and necessarily evolving.

For industrial inspection providers, the business climate, both current and future, remains fraught with uncertainty. This is especially true for those that have inspectors or engineers performing work on assets and equipment on customer sites.

Indeed, the need for digitalization of inspection service delivery and management processes has never been more apparent. With low barriers of entry into new technologies like the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence (AI), remote sensing, advanced video inspection equipment, blockchain, and digital twins, the tools you need to make big changes are ready to be integrated into your business.

Moving too quickly and haphazardly deploying new technologies, however, is a recipe for failure. Without a single, digital system of record in place on the backend, customer data remains siloed and still requires manual steps to integrate, analyze, and output into customer reports.

To fully optimize your industrial inspection processes via digital transformation, both from a business and service delivery perspective, it is necessary to have a cloud-hosted digital platform on which to stand these technologies up.

Industrial inspection software, when delivered in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, can effectively serve as this digital platform for companies that perform inspection services in industrial environments.

Cloud-based inspection software is scalable and is usually priced on a per-user basis, allowing you to easily add or remove employees or contractors on the fly. In fact, companies switching to cloud-based software on average see a 19.63% increase in company growth.

Cloud inspection software, as opposed to on-premise software, is by nature always available from a computer or mobile device. Therefore, your “uptime” is guaranteed, allowing you to perform critical inspections without worrying about potential IT issues and downtime. 

Because the software, data, and computing power is managed automatically in the cloud rather than on a company server, it is easily accessible by everyone across the organization. Also, with cloud-based inspection software, you can grant different types of permissions to your workforce based on their roles, giving them access to everything they need and nothing they do not.

Administrative efficiency is also a big benefit of cloud inspection software. It makes it easy to digitalize paper forms for capturing inspection results and data. Inspectors can capture data from a mobile device like a tablet or a smartphone, then push it directly into the software in real-time. This speeds up the process and eliminates the need for manual input of data when inspectors return to the office.

Data security is also a top priority for industrial inspection providers. With your customer’s data being stored in a secure cloud environment, it is much safer than being kept on a local computer hard drive or, even worse, paper forms in filing cabinets that could be compromised via theft or fire.

Cloud-based inspection software, especially if specifically designed for inspection management, can support key business functions, including:

  • Quoting / Costing
  • Scheduling and dispatch
  • Managing inspectors
  • Data collection from various inputs and technologies
  • Output engine for customer reports
  • Invoicing and payment management

Cloud-based inspection software allows better inspector utilization and time management, consistent and easy data capture, detailed job costing, real-time job status for your customers, and a streamlined billing process.

Learn more about Floodlight Software, cloud-based inspection software designed to digitalize industrial inspection business operations.

Floodlight Software Featured in NC Tech Association Startup Showcase

Floodlight Software, a cloud-based inspection management platform, is featured along with five other startup stage companies in the North Carolina Technology Association’s (NCTA) Tech Startup Showcase on July 23-24. The Tech Startup Showcase is a part of the NCTA’s State of Technology virtual event, which is themed: “Data: The New Natural Resource.”

Six innovative North Carolina startups were selected to present a demo / pitch to an audience of 600+ business and technology leaders.  Selected startups must be headquartered in N.C. with an innovative product or service that is or has the potential to be a standout or groundbreaking technology in the areas of data, including analytics, business intelligence, cloud, data science, security, and visualization.

Below is the list of the companies selected for the Tech Startup Showcase. Conference participants select the winning startup, which receives a prize package that includes cash and in-kind services. According to NCTA officials, the Startup Showcase is always a favorite component of the State of Technology conference.

NCTA Tech Startup Showcase Companies

Floodlight Software

Collaborations Pharmaceuticals

Gina Health

Protopia

Smartfox Technologies

Tango Legal

Check our website in a couple of days for more information on this event.

Webinar: 5 Ways Digitalization Will Optimize Your Inspection Business

When it comes to industrial inspection services, delivering accurate and thorough information to your customers quickly drives value, customer retention, and loyalty. However, today’s world of manual processes, paper forms, and multiple systems of record cause many inspection service providers to struggle in reporting to customers, maintaining profits, and achieving a competitive advantage.

Join Nasrin Azari, CEO of Floodlight Software, for this live webinar in which she will explore five areas where digitalization can streamline and improve industrial inspection operations to drive positive and consistent results for your business. Register now and join Floodlight Software live June 10th at 3:30 PM ET.

The webinar will address the following topics:

  1. Inspector management and utilization
  2. Data capture and management
  3. Job cost calculating
  4. Real-time reporting to customers
  5. Streamlined billing

The webinar will end with a live Q&A session. This is a great opportunity to learn more about digitalization and the positive impact it can have on your business.

To register for the webinar visit: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3330823548829735692

About Floodlight Software
Floodlight Software is a flexible industrial inspection management platform. Our scalable, cloud-based software automates business processes so you can focus on what you do best — delivering world-class industrial and NDT inspection services. Learn more at https://floodlightsoft.com.

Click here to learn more and register.

Floodlight Software CEO Nasrin Azari Keynote Speaker at AITP-RTP Event

Floodlight Software CEO Nasrin Azari is the keynote speaker for the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP-RTP) May meeting. The event, titled “Jumping from Big Tech to Startup,” will be held virtually on Thursday, May 14.

In her presentation, Azari will discuss the challenges that face today’s tech startup. Attendees will learn what it’s like to lead a tech startup in today’s business environment where projects like implementing new technology and software tools are being put on hold until the uncertainty of the near future abates. She will recount her journey from being a software developer at IBM to spinning out a new software venture amidst a global pandemic.

The AITP is a network of IT professionals, educators, and students dedicated to continuing education, professional growth, leadership, and exploration of issues that face the IT industry.

Azari is the CEO of Floodlight Software, a company that completely digitalizes the workflow and data management processes of inspection and field service providers around the world. Azari has 14 years of experience as CEO, and over 20 years of experience providing enterprise-mobility solutions to global businesses and organizations, including eBay, US Army, Canon, Coca-Cola, AstraZeneca, Northrop Grumman, SingTel, Las Vegas Sands, and many others.

Azari heads the NDE 4.0 standards development sub-committee within the American Society for Nondestructive Testing and is passionate about driving digital transformation to service organizations. She holds an MBA and an MS in Computer Science, both from Duke University. She is also an accomplished triathlete. Connect with Nasrin on LinkedIn.

Floodlight Software Featured in Venture Summit | Virtual Connect

Floodlight Software is proud to announce it has been selected to participate in the eighth-annual Venture Summit | Virtual Connect event May 5-7, 2020.

Presented by youngStartup Ventures, the online event is the premiere industry gathering connecting venture capitalists, corporate VCs, angel investors, technology transfer companies, senior executives of venture-backed, emerging and early-stage companies, university researchers, incubators, and premier service providers.

Floodlight Software, represented at the event by CEO Nasrin Azari and VP of Sales Mike Bruno, advances and optimizes industrial service operations through a SaaS business management platform. Floodlight enables digital transformation for organizations that test, inspect, maintain, and service a variety of infrastructure and industrial assets in many different industries.

“This is a great opportunity for us to introduce Floodlight Software to new prospective investors and participate in an excellent program geared towards small companies like ours,” Azari said. “Floodlight Software operates on the cutting edge of digital transformation, crucial in this time of crisis when organizations are navigating ways to incorporate technology to improve their flexibility and effectiveness, reduce costs, and provide more value to their customers.” 

Floodlight Software, servicing a $100B+ portion of the Testing, Inspection, and Certification (TIC) market, is ripe for rapid expansion. Many industrial inspection service providers and non-destructive testing (NDT) companies currently rely on paper forms and manual processes to capture and manage customer data.

Floodlight Software enables these companies to streamline business operations from quote to cash with an easy to scale SaaS solution. They can configure and deploy in a matter of weeks with little overhead or ongoing administrative costs.

youngStartup Venture summits connect the most innovative, promising, venture-backed, emerging growth, and early-stage companies with active investors, investment bankers, advisors, and corporate professionals. View the agenda for the Venture Summit | Virtual Connect Event here: https://youngstartup.com/agenda-west2020/

For more information on Floodlight Software, visit our website or take a product tour.

Floodlight Software Presenting at CED Venture Connect Online Event

Floodlight Software has been selected to participate in the upcoming Venture Connect Online event. Floodlight CEO Nasrin Azari is presenting on how the company’s cloud-based software advances and optimizes the operations of industrial service companies that test, inspect, maintain, and repair various industrial assets and infrastructure.

Sponsored by the Triangle’s Council for Entrepreneurial Development, Venture Connect Online is a virtual event that gives investors and venture capital firms access to more than 90 early-stage tech and life science companies.

The featured presentation for Floodlight Software will be shown during Episode 2 on Monday, May 4, the first day of the event.

“We are excited to be featured in this event alongside so many innovative early-stage companies,” Azari said. “Like most others here, I’m very passionate about making a positive difference in the world. Our software platform provides a much-needed path towards digital transformation in an industry that is desperate for a faster, more accurate way of working, and it’s so fulfilling to hear the genuine excitement of our customers when they see what Floodlight can do for them.” 

Floodlight Software, servicing a $100B+ portion of the Testing, Inspection, and Certification (TIC) market, is ripe for rapid expansion. Many industrial service providers and non-destructive testing (NDT) companies currently rely on paper forms and manual processes to capture and manage customer data. Floodlight Software enables these companies to streamline business operations from quote to cash with an easy to scale SaaS solution. They can configure and deploy in a matter of weeks with little overhead or ongoing administrative costs. 

A full listing and schedule of the companies presenting during Venture Connect Online are available here.

For more information on Floodlight Software, visit our website or take a product tour.

Why NDT and Inspection Businesses Should Use Drones

If your business is performing inspections and NDT on enterprise assets and infrastructure like pipelines, bridges, telecom and electrical towers, substations, hydro-electric dams or solar farms, using commercial drones for remote visual inspections is a service offering you should consider. Once simply a hobbyist pursuit, drone technology today has the ability to transform the ways in which businesses operate. 

Job safety for your inspectors is paramount. Using drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, allows NDT inspectors and engineers to examine large structures or even entire regions of assets (i.e. pipelines) quickly and safely while dramatically reducing costs and overhead. This is invaluable when inspecting structures that are large and in hard-to-reach or even hazardous environments made so by precarious heights, rugged terrain, hazardous environment, and remoteness.

With drone inspections, your customers get better, more up-close visual inspections and data on which to immediately act, mitigating risk, preventing accidents, outages and costly repairs.

As a result of the increased efficiencies, engineers are able to get large inspection jobs done quicker, provide inspection results and recommendations to the asset owner faster, then move on to other jobs. An NDT inspections provider in China was able to increase electrical pylon inspections from one to two per day to 10-20 per day. See the case study in this article, A Drone Pilot’s Guide to Surveying a Tower.

Also, commercial drones are relatively inexpensive. They range from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on the tech and features your NDT business requires.

As far as additional manpower or even fielding drone inspection teams, ideally you would use the inspectors and technicians that you currently have to fly the drones, capture images, video and data, and then analyze and make recommendations to the client.

All that is required of the inspector in charge of the flight is an FAA drone certification, which is not a rigorous or costly undertaking after revised rules on the commercial use of drones went into effect in 2018. This change in regulation, no longer requiring a full-fledged airplane pilot’s license, has freed up the opportunity for NDT businesses a cost-effective means of using drones in their operations.

In the ideal scenario, one inspector would pilot the drone while another operates the camera to record structural images and other asset data. Thermal imaging and 3D maps and modeling are also possible use cases. This presents less risk and is exponentially more efficient than performing the same work via rope access or helicopter, for example.

To reiterate, the cost-of-entry into providing drone inspections is low while the impact on both safety and your bottom line is evident. By employing drone inspections into your service portfolio, you will quickly see improved KPIs in the following areas:

  • Safety
  • Profit
  • Productivity
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Customer retention
  • Competitive advantage

It’s clear why drone inspections are becoming more prevalent in industries like oil and gas, power generation, utilities, telecom, and mechanical and civil engineering.

Providing enterprise-grade aerial intelligence is something that your customers will appreciate, as will your engineers and inspectors who are made safer as a result. See this article for more information: Drone technology uses and applications for commercial, industrial and military drones in 2020 and the future

To learn more about streamlining your NDT business through digital transformation, read our white paper.

Global Bridge Inspection Market Ripe for NDT Inspection Service Providers

According to a recent report from research firm Fact.MR, the global bridge inspection market is predicted to grow 400 percent over the next decade to a total capitalization of $6.3 billon.

The report said this massive growth is the result of an aging infrastructure, damaging environmental factors, and an increase in the amount of total traffic. All of these factors are contributing to the increased decay of concrete and steel over time, creating potential safety problems for the general public but does produce a financial opportunity for steel, concrete and specialized NDT inspection service providers to take advantage of the money that will be pouring into this market over the next 10 years.

Routine bridge inspections, which prevent more costly and potentially hazardous repairs and reconstruction later on, are expected to comprise 83 percent of the total market. Specialized NDT inspection testing and services will make up the rest.

According to a memo from the U.S. Dept. of Transportion’s Federal Highway Administration titled Risk-Based Interval Determination for Routine Bridge Inspections, bridge inspections include the following damage modes:

  • For steel elements: section loss, fatigue, and fracture.
  • For concrete elements: flexural cracking, shear cracking, and reinforcing steel corrosion.
  • For superstructure elements: seismic, overload, and vehicle/vessel impact
  • For substructure elements: seismic, scour, and settlement.

New technologies will play a role in creating new opportunities and new, faster, and more accurate bridge inspections, especially for NDT inspection service providers. The use of drones, specially-built inspection robots, virtual reality, advanced NDT techniques, and cloud-based software platforms will make bridge inspections safer and quicker, allowing companies to provide better bridge inspections at a higher profit margin.

According to the Fact.MR report, developing countries are especially in need of both routine and specialized bridge inspection services. In Japan for example, 48 percent of the bridges are more than half a century old. The report stated: “Developing economies such as China, India, South Africa, and Brazil have witnessed a spike in spending on the inspection and maintenance of existing infrastructure. The necessity to prevent bridge accidents is foreseen to support the growth of transportation over bridge inspection services. China has doubled the volume of infrastructure projects to stave off economic slowdown amid the trade war. India on the other hand has invested about $1.1 trillion on infrastructure for building new roads and rail links.”

Learn more about how cloud-based software be a digital platform for connecting various bridge inspection technologies and streamline NDT business processes.

How SaaS is Driving Digitalization in Inspection and NDT Services

With the wide variety of technology tools available today, inspection and NDT service companies have plenty of opportunities to improve and grow. From streamlining current operations to capitalize on new business, expanding service offerings and exploring new verticals, digitalization strategies like (SaaS) software-as-a-service, are on  radar. The benefits of digitalization are so promising, in fact, the IDC estimates that 40 percent of tech spending is earmarked for digital transformation, with enterprises spending more than $2 trillion in 2019. 

Digital transformation, especially for NDT and industrial inspection companies, can improve operational efficiency, bring faster and help to meet changing customer expectations.

It is important to remember that digital transformation is a process, not something that is finite or measurable with a number. Indeed, when referring to digital transformation via technology, no matter the industry, there is an important distinction that needs to be made. Namely, the difference between digitization and digitalization.

Put in layman’s terms, you digitize paper and forms; you digitalize a company and its ways of providing value to customers. Here’s how Gartner more precisely explains:

  • Digitization:  the process of changing from analog to digital form, also known as digital enablement. Digitization takes an analog process and changes it to a digital form without any different-in-kind changes to the process itself.
  • Digitalization:  the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business.

Digitization is the easy part. Taking an NDT inspection form and converting it into an interactive PDF file is perhaps worthwhile but remains a small part of a much larger whole. 

Digitalization that truly transforms a business is the ultimate goal and therefore presents the greatest challenge. This sentiment is echoed in the fast-moving NDE 4.0 operating practice, which embraces enabling new technologies and uncovering new ways of providing value to customers.

NDT service businesses are by nature laser-focused on delivering world-class tests and inspection reports. To do it more profitably and improve competitive advantage, they are considering digital strategies and technology tools like artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT) cyber physical systems, machine learning, remote monitoring, and advanced mobile tools.

However, without a digital platform in place to tie it all together, these technologies remain siloed data sources that require manual manipulation to integrate and analyze. This is where cloud-based software in a SaaS (software-as-a-service) model can provide tangible benefits and even serve as your NDT organization’s digital platform.

Due to the technical nature of NDT and industrial inspections and the range of potential data to be analyzed, many service providers are overwhelmed by disparate systems, a lack of integration, and multiple systems of record. A digital software platform designed for NDT businesses can alleviate these issues and provide better data and better data analytics.

As NDT and inspection business leaders are faced with the challenge of delivering flawless NDT / NDE inspections and then reporting to customers in formats they can understand and act on. In order to make processes easier and remove paper forms, many NDT businesses are turning to digitizing their paper forms. 

Although this is a quick fix that will lead to modest efficiencies, as explained above, simply digitizing data should not be the end game.

Being able to use the data and present it to customers is what really matters, and this is where SaaS software can help NDT businesses truly embrace digitalization, rather than just digitization. From providing competitive advantage to making NDT services safer, the benefits are unmatched for using SaaS as a digital platform.

Learn more about Floodlight Software, a SaaS digital platform for NDT and industrial inspection service businesses.

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