Dept of Agriculture rolls out mobile reports system


27 Jul 2004

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Dublin-based mobile software firm Púca and mobile operator Vodafone have deployed a productivity solution for the Department of Agriculture and Food that will enable inspectors to deliver reports over their mobile phones. The system will enable the Department to boost productivity and reduce costs.

Minister for Agriculture and Food, Joe Walsh TD, said: “The application has enabled our Livestock Inspectors to record inspection results more efficiently from the field.” The Department’s inspectors visit farms throughout the country and validate livestock numbers for EU payments. Traditionally, while away from the office, the results of inspections could not be entered on the Department’s computer systems.

The Department identified a potential use for a mobile solution to speed up the transfer of results. This is an important element in processing claims and speedy flows of information also help when analysing national or regional trends.

Following on from the Department’s analysis, Púca and Vodafone were chosen to devise and implement a system using best-of-breed mobile technology. Inspectors of sheep flocks were first to trial the use of the new system which enables them to input inspection records via their mobile phones while out in the field.

Dept of Agriculture and Food Senior Inspector Bill McGarry said: “The field staff have found the WAP application quick and easy to use.”

Declan O’Riordan, Systems Analyst, Department of Agriculture & Food, said: “We wanted a fast, robust and easy-to-use system which enables inspectors and management to benefit from improved information flows. With only a three-month window to complete all sheep inspections, speed and flexibility were crucial. Púca and Vodafone’s expertise and resources have delivered a high quality, cost-effective WAP solution which meets our demanding requirements.”

Púca created a bespoke application that delivers easy-to-follow drop-down menus on each of the inspector’s mobile phones. Inspectors can input all necessary data required for each herd within one minute and the data is sent to Púca’s secure managed mobile platform where all records are amalgamated and delivered as text to the Department’s mainframe.

All up-to-date results are available each morning giving management the ability to utilise the information instantly and allocate inspectors accordingly. Reduced administration and travel costs also create cost savings for the Department.

Eamon Hession, managing director of Púca, said, “The Department of Agriculture and Food is benefiting from streamlined communications, enabling improved ways of working and user satisfaction. We are developing, installing and managing mobile solutions that allow customers to perform to the best of their abilities.”

Due to the success of the Ewe Premium application, Púca and Vodafone developed three further applications, employing similar WAP interfaces and mobile technology. These new applications are assisting in the inspection of Bovine herds, and in determinations for Area Aid and the meeting of criteria under Good Farming Practice.

By John Kennedy

Pictured are Ruth Leonard from Púca; Minister Joe Walsh TD and Brendan Duffy from Vodafone at the announcement at Teagasc Agricultural College in Clonakilty, Co. Cork