Digital Transformation in Environmental Health

Digital transformation

Infoplagas Magazine: Digital Transformation in Environmental Health

The Spanish magazine Infoplagas published a new issue in April, where Ángel Serrano (iGEO ERP Cloud Platform’s CEO) wrote an article on digital transformation in environmental health and the need for the sector’s companies to carry it out.

Ángel Serrano has a wide experience in the topic, given that, as the owner and manager of iGEO ERP, a software specialised in pest control and environmental health, he often performs great software implementation processes for businesses in the sector. Together with iGEO’s sales and implementation departments, a comprehensive digital transformation has been performed for more than 900 companies in 26 countries (Spain, Colombia, Mexico, Italy, Portugal, Argentina, etc.).

His experience allows us to know the reasons why all companies need to undertake that digital transformation nowadays, even more so in the case of those that belong to the pest control and environmental health sector.

Digital transformation in environmental health

For the last two years, this sector has undergone a great change and boost process due to an increase in the need of services that originated from the appearance of COVID-19. Therefore, in order to address the great number of services to be performed, companies need to manage and organise digitally each of their business processes to the best of their ability. We all know that, sometimes, technology pushes us out of our comfort zone if we want to face the future by implementing the market’s innovations.

This change becomes essential for any business if they want to keep evolving and reaching new goals. Evolution is a part of them as much as their employees, that’s why environmental health businesses try to undertake this transformation as soon as possible, so as to not fall behind.

What is the main goal?

The main goal is to optimise the company’s resources and, thus, make the best decisions. The most expensive implementation, but nonetheless essential, is the introduction of a specialised, adapted software that makes the digitalisation of the company’s processes easier and that helps every employee in their daily work.

Using a specialised software, such as iGEO ERP Cloud Platform in the case of pest control and environmental health businesses, allows you to automatise daily processes and save a great amount of time in repetitive tasks. But that’s not all: these software products become the cornerstone of another series of digital processes and implementations, that, possibly, we don’t know yet, or that we haven’t been able to enjoy due to our lacking of digitalised operations.

How do I choose the most suitable software for my digital transformation?

This is a fundamental step, which is divided into these two key aspects that need to be considered:

The first one is to know the origin and the work of the company developing the software. Bear in mind that the only thing that will guarantee your success is using a programme focused and specialised in the pest control and environmental health sector only. If the company behind the software’s design works on other projects besides this one, or even develops other products, do not trust it.

For instance, iGEO ERP Cloud Platform is a software developed by a company that specifically works for this sector. Thus, all its staff is devoted exclusively to improving and developing new features.

The second great feature that you must seek is that all employees working on the software have prior experience and a direct link to the sector. Therefore, you will make sure that your business is covered at all times by their wide expertise.

Which new technologies does it deliver?

The digital transformation of businesses in the sector is also leading to the introduction of other technologies, such as the installation of smart traps and sensors in customers’ premises. These contribute to optimising work times and the planning of technicians’ visits, given that you will receive information on their activity in real time.

As we have mentioned before, IoT has also found its spot: when linked to smart traps, it collects much more information than a technician in a single visit. This will allow you to perform a more up-to-date follow-up of the premises’ activity through the immediate submission of these devices’ data.

Does the digital transformation entail any risks?

As it happens with all changes, fear may take over some employees. This feeling is very personal, but, also, it is true that an innovative spirit is always inherent to a company’s idiosyncrasy.

Perhaps the concept of transformation is linked to great changes and to an enormous effort by all parties involved; however, nothing could be further from the truth. Digital transformation is performed quickly if the necessary resources and time are devoted to it. In that case, the process will be successful, and the expected results will be obtained.

In iGEO ERP, we perform comprehensive processes, where not only the software is implemented, but also all employees are trained. Thus, this change will be far easier than you believe, and your business will emerge stronger at the end of the journey.

Sending reminders via text message in iGEO

Sending reminders via text

We introduce exclusively one of the great features of 2022: sending reminders via text message in iGEO. Both your office clerks and technicians will be able to easily send a reminder to your customers via text message, so that they don’t forget the date and time of the service planned for the next day, and to let them know an employee is on their way.

As we always say on our blog posts, the quality and efficiency of many of the launched features will depend on the data you have entered in iGEO. Next, we will explain how reminders are sent via text message. We will also present a practical example so that you may see it in detail.

Setup of text message reminders

First, we will show you text messages’ generic configurationFor that, you will need to click on Settings > Company > Emails/text messages. Here, you will see there is a new tab: ‘text messages’.

Text message tab on company’s settings - Sending reminders via text

Text message tab on company’s settings

When clicking on the tab, you will get these two options:

  • Setup of the reminder’s text from the office
  • Setup of the arrival text message from the Technician Portal

Setup of the reminder’s text from the office

This is a generic configuration that may be predesigned to send reminders via text message from the office the day before the service’s execution. In order to generate the text, you must click on the ‘Edit’ button and write the message.

Please bear in mind that there are a set of variables that may be added to the text itself, which will later display the real information entered in iGEO. That is, if you enter in the text the variable ‘${fechaYhoraPrevista}’, the message to be sent will replace it with the real date and time set in the work order.

Setup of the arrival text message from the Technician Portal

This will be the text message the technician will send before leaving for the premises; thus, the customer will be alerted to get ready for the visit. The configuration of that text is identical to that of the message sent from the office.

Text message configuration on the company’s settings module - Sending reminders via text

Text message configuration on the company’s settings module

Furthermore, it is crucial to pay attention to the field called ‘text messages’ sender name’. That will be the name to be displayed as the sender of the text message received by the customer. If your company’s name exceeds 11 characters, or if this field is left blank, your business’s domain will be displayed by default.

Real reminder sent to a mobile phone number via text message

Real reminder sent to a mobile phone number via text message

Setup of the mobile phone number to which the reminder is sent via text message

Once the initial configuration is completed, you will need to go to the venue’s sheetYou will enter the mobile phone number to which the reminder will be sent via text message in the following section:

Setup of text messaging from the venue

Setup of text messaging from the venue

Please bear in mind that the format of the mobile phone number must be the following: (+country code)(mobile phone number): E.g., +447700XXXXXX. You must write it joined and preceded by the corresponding country code, as shown in our example.

Setup of automatic reminder text messages

You will see there is an option called ‘automatic text messaging’.

Enabling automatic reminder text messages

Enabling automatic reminder text messages

When enabling this option, a field will be displayed. There, you need to select the text message’s time to schedule it.

In the following example, we have selected ‘5pm’. This means that, on the day before the service at 5pm, an automatic text message will be sent to the customers, without you having to do so manually.

There is only one detail you need to bear in mind: whenever you select a time, there must be a 24-hour margin minimum between that one and the execution time, so that automatic messaging may become effective.

Manual text messaging to customers from the office

Once you have set up those two sections, you will have the chance to send a reminder via text message for all the work orders pending execution in that venue. E.g., if you go to the WO’s sheet, you will find on the information of the customer/venue a green button called ‘text reminder’.

‘Text reminder’ button on a work order’s sheet

‘Text reminder’ button on a work order’s sheet

Obviously, a reminder text message may be sent to those work orders whose status is one of the following: ‘proposed’, ‘pending confirmation’ or ‘confirmed’When clicking on ‘text reminder’, the predefined message will be displayed again on settings.

Sending reminders via text

Once the text message is ready, you must click on ‘send text message’ so that it becomes effective. Afterwards, a green message will confirm it has been successfully sent.

Text message successfully sent

Text message successfully sent

Manual text messaging to customers from the Technician Portal

Technicians will also have the option to send reminder text messages to customers. Its goal is that, once they are to start their trip to the venue, they send a text message to let them know they are on their way.

It is quite easy to use: on the menu called ‘day’s jobs’, they will be able to send a text message with a single click.

Daily jobs

Daily job list

For that matter, you must click on the green button ‘arrival notification’.

Arrival notification button

‘Arrival notification’ button

Thus, they will be able to review the text message and send it to the customer.

Text message sent from the Technician Portal

Text message sent from the Technician Portal

Mass reminder text messaging

This feature is based on a simple process to send mass text messages to customers. Thus, you will avoid the need to access each of their profiles to do so.

To send mass reminders via text message, you will need to follow this path: Planning > Word orders > Pending assigned WOs.

List of work orders pending assignation

List of work orders pending assignation

On this list, first you will have the option to filter between the different concepts in the table (customer, postcode, city, line of business, business area, etc.). Afterwards, you will be able to click on the option displayed on the left, beside each of the work order’s number.

Thus, you will be able to select those work orders of your choice. In the upper right corner, the blue button called ‘Actions’ will display the option ‘text reminder’.

Mass selection of work orders to text reminders

Mass selection of work orders to text reminders

Next, a table containing the selected work orders will be shown. There, you will see the text message for each WO.

Text reminder to customer

If you agree, you will click on the green button ‘send text message’.

These are the three channels to send reminder text messages. It is very important to use this feature to reduce to the fullest some unforeseen circumstances that sometimes happen with some customers.

To remain up to date about iGEO’s news, please check our blog. 

The importance of using biometric technology

Biometric technology

To begin, we will define biometric technology as a recognition method based on a person’s physiological or behavioural features. As a matter of fact, in iGEO we are working to incorporate biometrics into our software, so that technicians may access their profile by using their fingerprint or, even, their face or eye

After all, iGEO is more than a single app. Our own clients define it as the platform that provides them with all the work tools needed for their businesses to grow and improve their invoicing day by day.

Coming back to biometric technology, in general, this process is usually applied to human beings, who are recognised and identified by their physical appearance, their voice, their gait, etc. Nowadays, technology has allowed to automatise and perfect these biometric recognition processes, so that they may be aimed at multiple applications and goals, specially those related to security.

This biometric system must present some specific features, such as the following:

  • Universality (all individuals have them)
  • Singularity or univocality (they differentiate each person)
  • Continuity throughout time and in different environmental conditions
  • Quantitatively measurable

The technology used by biometrics must respect these aspects:

  • Performance (level of accuracy)
  • Acceptance by users
  • Resistance to fraud and usurpation
  • No need to be remembered

Security improvements (compared to current circumstances)

Nowadays, our devices’ security is achieved mostly by the means of passwords containing numbers, letters, and symbols. Obviously, given the great number of sessions and accounts that we have in all the apps and programmes we use every day, sometimes a specific pattern is followed so that they are not forgotten.

Remembering all passwords is impossible. Thus, many users work with software products that store each of them.

However, when applying biometric technology, there is no need to use any passwords. This fact improves the effectiveness of our data’s security. Showing our eye or putting our finger on a reader to access any app of our choice is translated into effort and time savings.

Usability

Technology evolves constantly and continuously, so falling behind in this matter may entail a great disadvantage in relation with rival companies. 

Nonetheless, biometrics doesn’t require any advanced knowledge or a long adaptation period. To place your eye on a retinal scan, for instance, you don’t need prior training or to be an expert: you just need to do it. This makes implementation much easier, and improves businesses’ efficiency.

Accessible to everyone

As stated by the definition of biometric features, universality is one of its essential factors. Everyone has them, so nobody is excluded by this kind of technologies.

The combination of these three advantages of biometrics contributes to anyone being able to use this technology with no prior knowledge or any external devices beyond the installation of the appropriate readers by the company.

Enhancing the security of access control

One of biometrics’ most extended application is access control, which may be either physical (in buildings or restricted areas) or logical (in IT equipments, mobile phones, tables, etc.). Nowadays, in Spain, the fingerprint is the most used method, thanks to its high level of maturity, which allows to offer competitive prices.

Sometimes, in sensitive areas with greater security, controls are performed through a combination of techniques, which is another benefit to be discussed later on. These may be both biometric (this method is known as ‘multimodal biometrics’), or two different identification factors, such as fingerprint reading along with a password or a card. This reinforcement allows to know who or how they are and what they know or have.

Presence monitoring

Traditional methods to monitor employees’ access to and exit from their workplace use a code or personal card. One of the disadvantages presented by this kind of technique is that it is easy to commit irregularities: simply by sharing them with a colleague, this measure may be voided.

Biometric technology contributes to ending this type of practices through an additional verification that is much harder to bypass. In these cases, the most widely used technique is fingerprint reading, although there is a less popular one that employs the geometry of the user’s hand.

Combination with other technologies

By itself, biometrics achieves high levels of security; however, when combined with other technologies, it may offer greater advantages.

For example, NFC, which is often used to make payments with a mobile phone, joins biometrics to verify the user’s identity. In health facilities, wristbands with NFC are employed to indicate the medicines that must be administered to patients.

Another possible combination is with smart cards, which store within their chip the biometric pattern used in comparisons to guarantee a successful authentication. This system is known as ‘match on card‘.

Performing operations remotely

The advantages of biometrics not only focus on a greater security, but also they offer benefits that affect directly the lives of users and employees. This is the case of the possibility to perform operations remotely.

These procedures are usually quite bothersome, given they are slow and boring, they and require a great amount of time. Thanks to biometric technology, users may be identified without them being present in a public institution, which reduces unnecessary trips and, in the end, improves the Administration’s efficiency.

Increase in privacy

Biometrics contribute to increasing security when transferring clients’ personal information, because data are encrypted using a unique, private code. Thanks to the difficulty entailed by forging biometric features, the privacy of customers and final users is guaranteed. 

This competitive advantage may lead users to choose companies that use biometric technology over those who don’t, given that privacy is more and more valued by society.

Your corporate image will be improved

Developing new technologies is an aspect on which companies must always focus. Innovation and investments in research and development lead to technological progress being optimally achieved.

Employing new technologies, whether biometric or of other kinds, yields great advantages for any business, such as increasing efficiency, enhancing security, and reducing the chances of internal fraud. Furthermore, these entities are usually linked to innovation and investments in research and development, which improve the company’s image and public perception.

Using biometrics isn’t something of the future; it is a technology currently used, whose upward trend is due to the great number of advantages it bears. For instance, Viafirma Documents is a software that implements this technology in its applications to profit from benefits like biometric signature, as well as from the security and protection it entails.

To stay up to date about all technological news, please check our blog

Mapping dengue hotspots may contribute to identifying the risk of Zika and chikungunya

Zika and chikungunya

Identifying dengue-fever hotspots may provide a predictive map of future outbreaks of other diseases transmitted by the yellow fever mosquitoes, according to new data collected in nine Mexican cities.

These confirm that dengue fever hotspots may contribute to predicting future Zika and chikungunya outbreaks. These viral diseases are propagated by the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti.

Lancet Planetary Health published the paper, directed by Gonzalo Vázquez-Prokopec, Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Emory University (United States). In this research, he provides a risk-stratification method to guide the control of those diseases transmitted by Aedes aegypti in a more effective way

‘Our results can help public health officials to do targeted, proactive interventions for emerging Aedes-borne diseases. We’re providing them with statistical frameworks in the form of maps to guide their actions.’

Dr. Gonzalo Vázquez-Prokopec

This study comprises data collected from 2008 to 2020 in cities in Southern Mexico with a high rate of dengue infections during that period, along with cases of recent diseases, such as Zika and chikungunya. These cities are Acapulco, Mérida, Veracruz, Cancún, Tapachula, Villahermosa, Campeche, Iguala, and Coatzacoalcos. 

Results yielded an overlap of 62 % of hotspots for dengue and Zika, and of 53 % in dengue and chikungunya cases. These dengue hotspots contained 75 % of the first chikungunya cases reported during this disease’s outbreak in 2015, and 100 % of the first Zika infections during the 2016’s outbreak. 

‘In this latest paper, we’ve expanded our analysis in scope and geography and shown that the findings are consistent across these nine cities of different sizes and in different regions. We’ve confirmed that dengue, Zika and chikungunya outbreaks tend to concentrate in small areas of a city, and that these hot spots are predictive of where future cases will concentrate.’

Dr. Gonzalo Vázquez-Prokopec

Mosquito-control measures tend to focus on outdoor spraying covering wide city areas, but Aedes aegypti has adapted to living indoors. Dr. Vázquez-Prokopec’s work has proven that the best way to control it and the diseases transmitted by them is to spray long-lasting pesticide indoors: on ceilings, wall bases, and other areas where mosquitoes tend to cluster.

This approach, called ‘targeted indoor residual spraying’, is too expensive and requires a long time to be applied in a city. However, this paper’s statistical framework allows public health officials to concentrate their efforts in the hotspots of previous diseases transmitted by Aedes in order to better control outbreaks and, even, prevent them

‘The ultimate goal is to give public health officials the power to harness big data and do more effective and efficient mosquito control — even before an epidemic begins’, Dr. Vázquez-Prokopec stated.

Vázquez-Prokopec is currently leading a consortium in a randomised clinical trial performed in Mérida to test targeted indoor residual spraying against those diseases transmitted by Aedes. The test was launched in 2020, will last five years and is funded by $6.5 millons grant from the US National Health Institutes.

 

Dengue fever, Zika, and chikungunya

Dengue fever is also called ‘bone-break disease’, given one of its symptoms is an intense pain. More than one third of the world’s population lives in areas with a high risk of dengue infection, which is one of the main causes of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics. This virus is endemic in most of Mexico, where there are 75 000 and 355 000 cases per year, which entail an annual cost of $150-257 million. 

Chikungunya is hardly ever lethal, but its symptoms may be serious and weakening. On the other hand, Zika’s are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya, including fever and joint pain. Even though it tends to be less weakening, or even asymptomatic, the infection of pregnant women may affect severely the foetus and cause, for instance, brain malformations.

To remain up to date about the sector’s news, please check our blog.

This post is based on the article ‘Mapping dengue fever hot spots can predict future outbreaks of Zika and chikungunya’, by Emily Henderson (News Medical).

Data security and privacy in your app

Data security and privacy in your app

In this blog post, we will teach you all you need to know about data security and privacy in your app. For that matter, we will explain all terms clearly, so that you know what to demand in your business management app.

What is a privacy notice, and how are users’ data protected?

A ‘privacy notice’ is defined as a legal document that companies storing our working with their clients’ data must contain. In it, they pledgeto keep all information safe and to use it for the purposes agreed by both parties.

This notice is mandatory for websites and apps collecting users’ personal information. In addition, they need to attach their legal notice and cookie policy.

Is it mandatory to include a privacy policy in my website?

If your website processes users’ or clients’ personal data, then, of course. As you all know well, there are many types of websites (online shops, corporate sites, social media, informational pages, etc.).

You may say that the only sites exempt of including a privacy policy are personal websites and blogs, as long as they refrain from collecting user information.

Which are personal data?

Personal data are any kind of information regarding identified or identifiable physical persons, that refer to anyone whose identity may be determined by the means of an identifier (name, ID, location details, etc.). In addition, one or more aspects pertaining to their physical, physiological, genetic, psychological, economic, cultural, or social identity may be considered for that purpose.

There are many types of data to be processed. These may be classified into identification details (name, surname, ID number), work information, financial or health details. Furthermore, we may find special data categories, which refer to ethnic or racial origin, political opinions, religious beliefs, etc.

The importance of GDPR

The new General Data Protection Regulation confers a greater control and security to citizens over their personal information in the digital world. GDPR widens your rights to decide how you want your data to be processed and company’s information to be sent to you.

However, many other companies are seeking help to make GDPR a differentiating aspect and an added value. Their new strategy lies in the idea that there is no better business virtue than knowing in depth those details provided by both their present and future clients.

What do companies need to consider within the current legal framework?

Essentially, the new data protection regulation toughens control over personal information and bestows on each individual the right to accept or reject their use by any entity, either public or private, as well as to decide the way in which they are accessed and to withdraw that permission.

Greater transparency

More transparency is granted to the people whose information is collected. From now on, thanks to the new data protection regulation, companies must disclose to users where their details are obtained and the intention for which they are collecting them, and prove that they are being used for the purposes agreed.

Good by to tacit consent

Users, for their part, will have the capacity to withdraw their consent and get their data deleted from the company’s servers. Tacit consent is over. The new General Data Protection Regulation forces to put many more controls into place to ensure that the person ceding their information does so in full knowledge. From now on, companies must review and rewrite their set of contracts and terms.

Companies are responsible for their security

Each company determines which are the risk levels deemed acceptable and the measures to be adopted so as to ensure that any person’s information is properly guarded and used. Homogeneity in data security is over.

Proactivity in security breach reporting

Acting proactively when reporting failures. When facing a data leakage, the person or entity in charge of processing them must notify any security failures within 72 hours. This expert needs an effective system to report the breach to the affected people or entities, in case their rights may be at risk.

New DPO role

GDPR fosters the creation of the Data Protection Officer (DPO) role. This is essential in the new European regulation, and their mission is to identify any potential risks and seek solutions.

Their presence is mandatory for all public Administrations and the organisations processing data on a large scale. This may be internal or external to the company.

New requirements for minors’ data

The new General Data Protection Regulation will require parental consent to process the information of children under the age of 16 in online services. Member states may pass laws for the purpose of reducing the age of consent, although no country may set that requirement below 13 years.

New certifications

The General Data Protection Regulation grants special attention to the implementation of certification plans and opens different possibilities for their management. Certifications may be awarded by data protection authorities, either individually or collectively, from the European Commission or any other entities duly accredited.

Privacy by design and by default

Technological measures for privacy by design and by default. The new General Data Protection Regulation states that all projects, either commercial, to create a website, to develop a technological environment, etc. must assess from their design’s onset and by default (Privacy by design & by default) the risks they may entail for the privacy of the personal data they will incorporate.

Furthermore, they must verify that all measures needed to eliminate or suppress these risks have been adopted and that, lastly, data processing complies with the data protection regulation in place.

User rights thanks to GDPR

The right to access is the right the party concerned has to know and obtain information about these aspects for free:

– If their personal data are being subject to processing, and, in that case, about categories and its purpose.

– The origin of that information (when they have not been provided by the party concerned) and the communication carried out or intended to be performed.

– If possible, the expected storage period of personal date; otherwise, the criteria applied to determine it.

  • The right to request the rectification, elimination, limitation, or opposition to that processing.
  • The right to file a claim.
  • The right to be informed about the appropriate guarantees, in case data are transferred to a third country.
  • The right to obtain a copy of the personal data subject to processing, without it affecting any third-party rights.

To remain up to date about the sector’s news, please check our blog.

Mass emailing to obtain service confirmations

Mass emailing to obtain service confirmations

In this post, we will explain how mass emailing to get service confirmations works. Thanks to this new feature, you will be able to send mass confirmation emails containing the service’s date and time, along with other details that may be customised.

Before this innovation was implemented, this could be done individually for each work order. Therefore, so that you receive all information, we will show you that old option, which will continue to be available, as well as the new one we have developed.

Sending an individual service’s proposed date and time

Once all services of a contract have been generated, in the upper part you will find a section called ‘date and time’, along with four statuses (‘proposed’, ‘pending confirmation’, ‘confirmed’, and ‘rejected’).

Statuses -  mass emailing

Below, you will be able to change the planned date and time manually. There, you will also see a green button called ‘propose this date to customer’.

Propose date to customer -  mass emailing

When clicking on it, an email containing the date, time, technician performing the service and, even, the number plate of the vehicle used to go to your customer’s premises will be sent.

Send date proposal - mass emailing

Mass emailing of proposed dates

If, instead of emailing each customer individually, you prefer to do so massively, you will need to follow the steps that we will show you below.

On the Planning module, you must go to the section ‘assigned work orders’. There, you will be able to filter WOs based on their status, which may be ‘confirmed’, ‘pending’, ‘proposed’, or ‘rejected’.

Once you obtain the list with the desired work orders, you must click on the left-hand checks of the ones for which the email confirming the service’s date and time will be sent, as shown in the following image.

List filters - mass emailing
List filters

Afterwards, you will see a button called ‘actions’ in the upper right corner. When clicking on it, the option ‘send confirmation request to customer’ will appear.

List filters - mass emailing

If you select it, all work orders chosen in the previous step will be displayed on screen. You will be able to review the service confirmation email, as shown in the picture below.

List filters - mass emailing

Thus, you will have the option to modify any details in the email.

Its template may be found following this route: Settings > Company > Emails/text messages > Set up emails/text messages > Work order’s date proposal. When editing that field, you will see that two crucial variables have been added: ${botonAcceptar} (‘accept’ button) and ${botonRechazar} (‘reject’ button).

Edit email - mass emailing

Thus, when customers receive this email, they will be able to select whether to accept or reject the proposal.

Accept or reject buttons- mass emailing

Once it is sent, each of the work order’s confirmation statuses will change to ‘pending’.

If customers click on ‘accept’, the work order will be converted into ‘confirmed’.

Confirmed status - mass emailing

In case the proposal is rejected, this decision will be reflected on the work order list, as shown next:

Rejected status - mass emailing

Now you know how to use the mass emailing feature aimed at obtaining service confirmations. To know more about other great innovations in iGEO, please check our blog.

The importance of working in one of the three big clouds

The importance of working in one of the three big clouds

Currently, it is vital that your company works in one of the three big clouds (Google, Azure and AWS). It allows you to create and store data and documents in real time on any device and anywhere.

Both companies and individuals must gradually forget about working and storing information in a physical disk. Thus, we will avoid data thefts performed by simply copying and pasting to another hard drive. In addition, some encryption issues or damages, that may entail losing important information, won’t happen. Nowadays, we normally store our business data in the cloud, but we must know that traditional hosts aren’t as secure as the three clouds. Therefore, it is important to know where to store our information.

Advantages of the cloud

Next, we will present some of the most important advantages of being in the cloud.

Accessibility is granted at any moment and in real time. You may check your data anytime, no matter if you are at the office, at home, or anywhere else. With a single click, you will be able to access and download the documents you need to work. It will no longer be necessary to carry around laptops, hard drives, or tablets.

Free space in your devices. Since IT equipment was invented, its storage capacity has always been key. Now, working in the cloud allows you to stop worrying about freeing space in your hard disk and deleting files no longer used. All data will be stored there without it taking up space in your device’s memory.

Improve your system’s performance. Since information will not be stored in a traditional fashion, your computer, tablet, or device will have more capacity to start up and load smoothly all programmes and apps installed there. For instance, in case you need to edit a document, you may download it locally to your device and, once you are finished, upload it again to the cloud. Thus, the three big clouds currently play a key role in this matter, given they are more powerful than almost any other.

The price will be adapted to your needs. Many clouds have a free version that will accommodate perfectly to your personal needs, since it offers a storage space big enough for you to save your private files. In case the cloud is intended for work purposes, most businesses opt for a paid version. It is always advisable to choose one of the three big clouds; this is due to the fact that, were your application to require more power or space, or were you to need big data tools or Artificial Intelligence, they will be able to provide you with unlimited growth to fulfil your necessities. Therefore, it is crucial to know the cloud where your information will be stored and ensure that your company will be able to expand in order to accommodate their data or programmes.

Share it with whomever you need. The cloud will provide you with an immense versatility. So much so that you will be able to share information or documentation with your contacts and customers anytime.

These are the main advantages of working in the cloud. If you still have questions about its importance, we will also introduce several indicators (KPIs) on the direct return from which you will profit.

KPIs on the direct return of working in the cloud

The most important aspect to consider is the rewards your company will obtain by working in the cloud. In the end, the goal is to get the maximum profit; for that purpose, you will need to use the market’s most powerful software and/or platforms.

KPIs in the cloud
KPIs in the cloud

These will be the benefits of working in the cloud for your company:

  • Cost reduction in the IT department.

  • Scalability: markets are constantly changing. Therefore, companies need to be located in one of the three big clouds to be able to accommodate to any new goals and necessities that may arise. These changes tend to be periodically repeated for businesses. One instance of this is introducing new software products, which requires an important investment of work time. Therefore, working with the cloud will help you in this matter, since your specialised provider will adapt to it.

  • Business continuity: storing and securing all data in the cloud is essential to avoid breaches and unlawful access to them. Your company’s stability depends on having a platform backed by a high-quality security system, which is guaranteed by the three big clouds. Devoting time to system crashes, data losses, or any other kinds of issues leads to inactivity and, thus, to a decrease in the company’s productivity.

  • Efficient collaboration: having a direct, immediate connection to your software provider is vital. Working with a cloud vendor guarantees smaller time losses than having servers in your office, where network and compatibility issues always require many hours to be solved.

  • Work flexibility: we all know that the year 2020 entailed a radical change in many daily tasks of our lives. Obviously, the work sphere was truly impacted, too. Therefore, if your company needs to implement a fixed or partial remote-work system, you may want to hire a high-availability cloud, which will allow you to stop worrying about any issues derived from that situation. Any company user will have access to the files in the cloud anytime.

  • Automatic updates: all improvements and benefits granted by the three big clouds are directly incorporated to your services. You will no longer need to lose time to install and update your system. Google, Azure and AWS invest millions of dollars each month in order to improve their cloud services (security, functionality, availability, etc.), which is something other provides can’t achieve. Software products developed in one of these three clouds have constant access to multiple updates, which are implemented in their clients’ systems in a transparent, immediate way.

  • Real-time work: you will avoid the need to email documents to users or clients, which will prevent data privacy breaches. Since files will be permanently stored in the cloud, they will be able to access them easily.

Now you are aware of the importance of working in one of the three big clouds. To stay up to date about the sector’s news, please check our blog.

iGEO’s heat maps

A new step into the future

Using iGEO’s interactive heat maps will contribute to increasing your control over any pest’s infestation level in your customers’ premises, as well as over its trend. This improvement is available on the three portals (office, technician, customer); thus, with a single click you will have access to a dynamic heat map, where you may analyse different time scenarios and parameters to improve your control over any targeted species.

Requirements to use heat maps

The only requirements to take into consideration in order to use heat maps are the following:

  1. Control points must be linked to a purpose.
  2. Heat maps may only be drawn on those points that have undergone inspections.
  3. Inspections’ work orders must be validated.

How to create heat maps in iGEO

Once the aforementioned requirements are met, in order to create a heat map, you will need to access the premises’ blueprint of a customer. Inside the blueprint, you will find a section called ‘heat map’.

View heat maps

After checking that box, the different options to generate the map will appear.

Heat map filters

As shown in the image’s left part, you may combine these three types of filters:

  1. The last work order.
  2. A specific WO.
  3. A date range.

Last work order
When hovering over the orange information icon, a pop-up message will indicate the last work order’s number, date, and line of business.

Orange icon

Specific WO
You will need to select the work order on which the heat map will be generated.

Select WO

Date range
The heat map will be created based on a specific date range.

Date range

Another filter to consider is the minimal activity level.

Filter by activity

You must indicate the minimum activity level in the control points. Thus, only those whose activity is equal or above the level indicated on the bar will be displayed on the heat map.

For instance, if you filter results by minimal activity level, the blueprint will be drawn this way:

Heat map filters

Heat map 1

However, if a higher level is selected, the heap map will only display those control points whose activity is low, leaving aside those with a minimal degree.

Lower activity

Heat map 2

In the filters’ right side, you will find the ‘purpose’ one, which is classified into ‘bait’, ‘capture’, and ‘both’. To see the difference between both options, the following example contains rodent capture points (whose purpose is ‘capture’) and a bait-box station (whose aim is ‘bait’).

The blueprint, without generating the heat map, would look like this:

If you want to obtain a heat maps with the control points whose purpose is ‘capture’ only, you will need to filter the results. For that matter, you must click on the upper part, so that only ‘rodent capture’ ones are displayed in combination with the ‘capture’ purpose ones.

Nonetheless, if you wish to create a heat map only containing control points of ‘bait’ type, you will have to adjust the filters, so that the blueprint displays only bait-bot stations and the purpose selected is ‘bait’.

In addition, right below the blueprint, you will find these two settings: adjust the heat map’s circumference radius, or opacity degree. The following two images contain instances of both filters.

Adjusting the circumference radius

In the first case, we will indicate a small circumference radius.

Adjust opacity

Heat map 3

However, if we increase it, we get the following result:

Greater opacity

Heat map 4

Adjusting the opacity of the circumference

Furthermore, we have the chance to adjust the opacity of the circumference.

To obtain a mixed view of the location of control points on the blueprint and their incidence, we will select a low opacity.

Lower opacity

Heat map 5

On the other hand, in order to highlight the activity level on the blueprint, we will increase opacity.

Greater opacity

Heat map 6

Obviously, you will have the option to print heat maps in PDF format. In addition, the screen will always display a table with their activity so that all installed points, along with their location coordinates and their average activity levels, are available to you.

Thanks to these explanations, you will be able to customise heat maps depending on your needs. To know more about other great innovations in iGEO, please check our blog.

Why do pest control companies need an ERP?

ERP for pest control companies

At the beginning of 2020, the world changed forever; thus, this sector experienced a great metamorphosis, too. Companies’ digitalisation was accelerated even more than expected, since it was the only way for businesses to survive.

Market’s trends showed that companies needed to work with an ERP software adapted to their sector. In fact, the number of businesses that opted to work with a cloud-based programme increased so as to safeguard all their information and be able to work with the greatest versatility possible.

What is an ERP?

An ERP, or ‘Enterprise Resource Planning’, provides with a set of resources and tools to centralise and optimise all business processes. It works as a space or platform that gathers all data regarding a company in order to manage them in a much more direct, efficient way. This makes most brand’s work processes easier.

Which advantages does an ERP offer to pest control companies?

A comprehensive organisation of your company will allow you to have all necessary information available in real time. Efficiency in your work processes will contribute to maximising your business’s profitability.

Gaining control over all business decisions you need to make is vital to keep growing. Having all data in your hands will make the decision-making process quicker and more accurate.

Nowadays, adapting to the sector’s real needs is mandatory for all pest control companies. Specialisation is now more necessary than ever so that your business stands out among your competitors.

But, for that matter, you need to work with a comprehensive ERP exclusively conceived for your sector. The software you choose will be key for your business’s growth, so the app’s modules will need to evolve constantly.

An ERP must meet the sector’s current needs and have a vision about its future. Technology must be implemented to improve the company’s performance. Task automatisation entails great time and money savings.

A company’s human resources must focus on improving other aspects, but routine processes must be systematically performed by an ERP. Furthermore, tasks duplicates are, thus, avoided, too, and costs are reduced.

Integration with other actors in the sector

For any business, being renowned in this sector is essential. Therefore, your pest control ERP needs to integrate all actors in the sector. For instance, it may grant you access to learning platforms and official training courses, so that you may manage your technicians’ licences through official institutions.

It is also crucial to be in direct contact with the sector’s main providers. This will allow you to place orders to vendors in a simple, comfortable way and to manage them quickly.

After all, it is necessary to have a comprehensive board, so that all purchases, orders, and returns are available at a glance. Bear in mind that these are the company’s expenses, and it is vital to manage this kind of resources properly in order for warehouses to have the stock needed.

Obviously, you must demand that your ERP facilitates the contact with the sector’s many vendors, and that these provide you with their products’ catalogue along with all the official information, safety data sheets, registrations, etc. automatically.

Regarding planning, you need to be able to schedule the sector’s events in your calendar. Your company may not have a marketing department, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep working to expand your brand and continue growing.

What happens with my data’s security?

One of the fundamental aspects is for the ERP to be hosted in one of the three big clouds, whether it is Google’s, Amazon’s or , or Microsoft’sYour company’s information, as well as your customers’, is the most important thing. Therefore, it needs to be saved and stored in big servers.

Data centres (where your data are stored) count on strong security measures against hackers wanting to access them. Be aware of the fact that, if you decide to save the information in a traditional way in your computer, any system failure or employee with access to them may download it all steal all your data.

However, working with an ERP will allow you to control at all times each employee’s access to information and limit the data they may view. You will always have the capacity to either open or close the range of authorisations in real time.

Think about the security of your customers’ information. Confidentiality and data protection will be thus ensured. In addition, nobody will be able to extract certain customer details and steal the portfolio it took you so much time and effort to build.

Regarding storage’s capacity, the cloud is a practically unlimited space. If you work in an office and save your information locally, there will come a time when you will no longer be able to store more data. Furthermore, working in the cloud will ensure that documents are perfectly organised.

Now you are aware of the importance of working with an ERP for pest control companies. Don’t lose any more time and choose an ERP specialised in the sector.

Quote calculator

Quote calculator

In this post, we introduce iGEO’s new feature: the quote calculator. Thanks to it, you will be able to obtain quotes with the highest profitability possible, considering all expenses and costs that need to be added.

Quotes: our image’s spearhead

A vital component of any business is sales. And the cornerstone to achieve them are quotes, which, in turn, are part of our introduction to a customer.

Our way of managing and presenting them impacts directly on the image perceived by prospects about our company (professional, modern, versatile, etc.). Historically, basic, scarcely versatile methods have been used to generate quotes (Excel files with formulas, Word’s editable templates, paper forms, etc.), whose automatisation degree is practically non-existent.

However, for those companies that decided to work with iGEO, this change has meant leaving many archaic processes behind and taking a leap into a new digital era full of improvements, both qualitative and quantitative.

Which problems arise when preparing a quote?

In our sales outreach, we usually run into significant hindrances, such as the following:

  • Not all employees are prepared to create a quote in a trustworthy, safe way.
  • Amounts in a quote are usually approximate and aren’t always in accordance with the costs of the service offered.
  • We may even forget some of the expenses linked to the service.
  • We risk that quotes end up having a final cost below the service’s minimal cost.

To sum up, many quotes are drafted at a guess to a greater or lesser extent, without taking into account real variables. And that entails a risk.

What is the quote calculator?

iGEO’s quote calculator is an innovative feature that simplifies our work while maximising the quality of the company’s quotes. It allows the process to be representative and replicable by any employee in any environment.

The purpose is saving time and money, improving your reliability and obtaining a greater control over costs and profit margins.

How does the quote calculator help my business?

This new feature will have as a result many advantages as crucial as these:

  • Quick, safe, reliable process.
  • Risk reduction: quotes with a low profitability are removed.
  • Immediacy in quote generation.
  • Greater profitability: complete control over costs.
  • Ubiquity: regardless of your location and your device.
  • Usability: any employee may use it (managers, technicians, technical managers, etc.).
  • Prior setup: this leads to saving time when configuring the cost calculation of each article/service to use it as a baseline (cost per hour of a technician, product cost, material cost, etc.).
  • Greater effectiveness: processes involving documents (Excel, Word, etc.) spread out across different folders in your computer and not linked to each other are ruled out, which contributes to shortening procedures.
  • Improvement of the impact on prospects: a professional, technological, effective image is conveyed, which increases the percentage of ‘hot sales’.

How do I use the quote calculator?

Next, we will introduce and explain the calculator’s main features:

First, you may access the calculator in the ‘quote’ section, by clicking on the blue icon.

Quote

 

A general window will pop up containing an empty calculator containing the ‘amount by venue‘ section to be filled in.

Business calculator

There, you will find some parts to complete, such as ‘services‘, ‘vehicles‘, ‘materials with sales‘, and ‘other costs‘.

Business calculator 1

You may include all kinds of services needed. Thus, you will obtain all necessary information, as well as the subtotal amounts of each cost lines.

Business calculator 2

Within ‘services’, you will find a vast array of parameters to set up regarding their own costs, as well as other expenses linked to them, such as ‘product‘, ‘machinery‘, and ‘PPEs‘.

Other fields that may be set up in the ‘amount by venue’ section are those related to ‘vehicle‘.

Business calculator 2

You will also have the chance to set up other fields, such as ‘item sale‘.

Materials with sales

Furthermore, you will have the option to add ‘other costs‘ to your customer’s quote.

Other costs

On the second tab, you will also have access to more kinds of costs, like ‘one-time expenditure‘, which correspond to one-time device sales, or other types of costs.

One-time expenditure

Lastly, in iGEO’s settings (Settings > Business > Other parameters), you may assign parameters by default to different costs and profit margins. This will automatise the feature’s processes, contribute to saving time, and homogenise the settings for the calculator’s different users.

Other parameters

Now you know the advantages of iGEO’s quote calculator and how to use it. To remain up to date about the iGEO’s new features and innovations, please check our blog.