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24 | Th e M Rep o RT Feature can easily make apples-to-apples comparisons of any damages to help determine if the issue is worsening. The design of the system also improves quality and accuracy by standardizing the process of auditing damages. Employees are prompted with a script of ques- tions they must answer when reviewing a property, creating a more robust tracking system. The information that is displayed repre- sents the entire loan history related to damages, including when the condition was reported, the level of severity, and when steps were taken to resolve the damage. Mortgage servicing clients benefit from field services com- panies' internal system upgrades, like SPIGlass. They can access information more efficiently and with confidence that the results are quality checked and accurate. The entire history of the property is at their fingertips making it easier to pull reports and make more informed business decisions on the maintenance of each of the properties in their portfolios. Mobile Generation A s the field services industry cycles through its own gen- erations of technology, mobile has been one of the biggest game changers for improving quality and efficiency of results from the field. This is especially important to servicers who face heightened scrutiny from regula- tors and who need to make critical decisions on preserving their assets or properties in their portfolios. With mobile devices and appli- cations, results from the field can be delivered and quality checked in a fraction of the time it used to take vendors and field services employees. As that information comes in at a faster pace, the next generation of field services must be able to guarantee the quality and accuracy. Photos are key to the field ser- vices industry. They serve as the evidence in determining occupan- cy, property condition, and that work was completed properly and on-time. Field services companies need to validate their authentic- ity and protect the quality of the images that are submitted to them and subsequently submitted to servicing clients. Mobile devices and applications are the key to compliance and are used by ven- dors in the field services industry to capture a rich set of informa- tion each time a photo is taken. Using that information can help field services companies weed out potential duplicate photos, ensure those photos were taken within the proper work-order timeframe, and confirm they were taken at the correct location. Because photos help create a timeline or story at each prop- erty, it is important that they are used to paint an accurate picture. Having the ability to identify and mitigate the potential for duplicate photo submissions is critical for field services companies. Often these duplications are a result of human error, and can be detri- mental to preserving the integrity of a property. To eliminate the possibility of duplicate photos, field services companies can rely on the infor- mation—or metadata—captured by the mobile device or app. This in- formation can be used to build an index of all of the photos already submitted. If a vendor erroneously tries to upload an image through his or her mobile device that is already in the system, he or she is notified and the image is rejected. To move on with submitting the field results, the vendor must sub- mit a different photo. This helps protect field services companies and their servicing clients from duplicate images being used across orders and ensures the work was completed by the vendor. Equally as detrimental is the potential submission of photos taken for previous work orders. For example, a vendor may take hundreds of photos during one visit, but only submit half with GeorGe Mehok is the chief information officer and rick Moran is the assistant vice president of applica- tion architecture for Safeguard Properties, the largest field services company in the U.S. the field results. When he or she has to go back to the property for subsequent orders, those "leftover" images cannot be uploaded on new orders because of date and time stamps built into the mobile device or apps. The vendor also cannot submit photos that were taken with the date and time stamp feature turned off. One of the most recent ad- vances in technology for the field services industry is capturing geolocation data—longitude and latitude coordinates—attached to photos submitted through mobile devices. If these coordinates do not match established GPS data of the property, the image is either rejected immediately or flagged for internal review. This is a critical advancement for field services companies and servicers in ensuring vendors are at the correct property. Safeguard conducts regular audits on its field results and photos, including determining the accuracy of the geolocation data gathered by its vendors in the field. It also uses this data in its new internal system to map the exact location each photo was taken at a property. Servicing clients also ask for this information when conducting audits on the company. The goal of these multiple lay- ers of quality checkpoints is to get immediate validation that the vendor is at the right location and submitting accurate infor- mation and photos, rather than reviewing the information after the vendor has left the property. This saves time for both the vendor and the field servicer because issues are resolved im- mediately, additional trips are not necessary, and the field servicer can be confident in the informa- tion it receives. Future of Field Services V ideo technology is the fu- ture of field services. While there are some hurdles such as inconsistent cellular networks, mobile device limitations, and servicer compatibility issues, field services companies like Safeguard have begun testing its use in the field. The possibilities seem endless. Imagine vendors being able to show the full extent of damages in the field and receiving approvals in real- time while still at that property. Or having video proof that a property is in convey condi- tion, and rather than calling into the field services company, the vendor can show the property's condition through a live feed or streaming video. Although video probably will not replace the need for photos in field services, it certainly will enhance the quality of work completed in the field. Like the evolution of the computer, field services compa- nies need to constantly refine and improve their processes as new technologies emerge. Technology has propelled the industry from notepads and waiting days for field results to mobile devices transmitting near real-time information. But some of the most significant advances are the quality and accuracy of the information being submit- ted and processed. The future of field services will continue to be influenced by emerging tech- nologies. The key is how those companies choose to put it to use. Investing in technology will be a huge differentiator in deter- mining what companies remain successful in the field services industry.

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