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Th e M Rep o RT | 23 Feature W hen the first digital electronic programmable computers were introduced more than 70 years ago, they relied on vacuum tube technology, the lowest level programming language, and could only solve one problem at a time. They were huge machines, often filling entire rooms, and were expensive to operate. They were also prone to overheating, causing them to frequently malfunction. As technology advanced, four more generations of computers emerged, including artificial intelligence technologies being groomed for future use. With each generation, comput- ers advanced from the use of vacuum tubes to transistors, inte- grated circuits to the present-day microprocessors. The machines themselves decreased in size sig- nificantly enough to fit in home offices and—with mobile devices— even the palm of one's hand. And what now fits in our hand can process more than the computers that once filled an entire room. Just as the computer has evolved with each generation and ad- vance in technology, so has the field services industry. Vendors completing work in the field have progressed from using pencils and paper, taking Polaroid photos, and faxing field results that took hours– and sometimes days–to process, to submitting property information and digital photos from the field in almost real-time using mobile devic- es and applications. This evolution has led to improvements in on-time performance, quality and an overall more efficient process from the field to the mortgage-servicing client. It also has sparked the next generation of field services as companies within the industry continuously upgrade to new technologies for both internal and external uses. Internal Systems Updates S imilar to computer and mo- bile technologies, companies are consistently re-evaluating and updating internal operations systems. What worked even a few years ago can be improved upon with new technologies emerging every day. Technol- ogy has sped up the pace of business and field services companies' internal systems need to remain in line with the latest technologies to be able to process the millions of points of data gathered daily about prop- erties they maintain on behalf of their servicing clients across the country. With the advances in mobile technology, and its ability to transfer information in near real-time, internal field services employees need to have the tools to process and analyze field results quickly and ac- curately. And as mobile tech- nologies and devices continue to change the face of the field services industry, those compa- nies' internal systems must take advantage of the efficiencies and quality that mobile has to offer. Recently, Safeguard Properties, the largest field services company in the U.S., completed the first phase of replacing its core, inter- nal field service system. The new, state-of-the-art system, named SPIGlass, integrates all internal, client and vendor systems to display field results, photos, and updates in one central workflow system. Property information and history are easily reviewed and recorded in this updated system. Safeguard focused the first release of this new system on one of the most important functions within its operations–prop- erty damage assessment. When vendors submit their work order results, that damage data is auto- matically separated and stored in the SPIGlass system. Employees receiving those results are then able to identify and review dam- ages and property history more efficiently without having to toggle between multiple systems. Additionally, photos are displayed by category, side-by-side, so they The Next Generation of Field Services The Industry Continues To Evolve As New Technology Emerges, Regulations Heighten By George Mehok and Rick Moran

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