I was recently asked for some advice by a current RIDGIDConnect user who was having success on the site for the plumbing side of his business but was curious as to the best way to organize his reports from his HVAC work. Here were some of his requirements:
- Be able to look up all of the work he has done at a particular facility. Each facility is roughly 100k square feet so a single, ongoing report per facility will not work.
- Be able to quickly look at the maintenance history of a particular entity inside the facility such as a boiler or compressor.
- Group each individual maintenance job on an individual report so the media and documentation can be communicated to the customer on a single report.
After thinking about the set up for this, it seemed like a great topic for a blog post as it could hopefully help out quite a few users become acquainted with some of the more advanced capabilities of the site.
The first step is to go into the "my Contacts" section and create a contact record for the particular building you're working with. Here's how I filled mine out:
Note that I used a "Commercial" contact instead of the default choice of "Residential". This gives me a Company field which makes more sense to use than trying to fit a building name into the First and Last name fields.
Next, click on the "Contacts" tab at the bottom when you're viewing the contact record for our "Engineering Building" in my case, or whatever you have called yours. You'll see a button with a person and a plus sign that allows you to create a sub-contact related to our "Engineering Building". Use this to create a record for your piece of equipment. Here, I called it "Compressor".
Now, I'm ready to create my reports. Fill out the fields on the report as you normally would and add all of the media from the current job you've worked on. Add the person or company's name you want to show up on the report in the "Customer" area. Add both the building contact record and piece of equipment's contact record in the "Contacts" section. These names/records won't show up on the report someone you send it to sees but is our key link for organizing these reports.
In the future, you can go back to the "my Contacts" section and pull up either the contact record for the building you're at, or for an individual piece of equipment and use the reports tab at the bottom to see all of the reports you've created there.
Over the past couple of months, we have received several inquiries about conserving space on RIDGIDConnect. Here are some of the methods that the team came up with that you may find useful:
1. Remove Duplicates - One piece of media can be associated to (put on) several reports. There is no need to upload the same media more than once! To check for duplicate media, navigate to the "My Media" section of the site and change the media pane to "Detail View" (the horizontal bars just to the right of the words "Change View"). Here, you can sort your media by file name and easily discover and remove duplicates.
2. Remove Unassociated Media - Have media that is floating around in your “My Media” section that is not associated with a report? Consider deleting it! If the media is not on a report, it’s not doing work for you and is costing you space! Remember, deleting a piece of media will cause it to no longer be backed up by RIDGIDConnect.
3. Use Images - Does an image tell the story? If your video isn’t clear or has minutes upon minutes of cloudy footage, consider going into the video and extracting still frames of the key points by selecting that option when creating bookmarks. Then, you can always delete the video from your account and just work with the images. Only the images you extract will count against your storage quota. However, your video will no longer be backed up by RIDGIDConnect.
4. Reduce Video Size - It’s no surprise that lengthy videos take up a significant amount of space. However, adjusting attributes such as the frame rate, resolution, and autolog quality (HQ) can help reduce the size of videos. Check your camera's software settings for more information.
Over the past few months, the RIDGIDConnect team has been busy sifting through your feedback, observing your usage trends, and deciding how we can add the most value to our customers. The result of those activities is the addition of a new level of account to the site, Express.
Express is immediately attractive to you when you go to sign up because, yes, it's free. Obviously, we can't offer you all of the features of the site, since we still have our own bills to pay, but allow us to help you understand the pros and cons of Express, so you can best decide which level you should sign up for.
An Express level account differs from a Basic level in quite a few ways. The three most important ways are the amount of storage you have, the number of reports you can keep on the site, and the types of files you can share on those reports. We'll cover the minor differences later but for now, we'll focus on these three.
Sign up for a new Express account and you'll receive 0.5 GB of storage, 1/20th of the 10 GB of storage on a Basic account. This will still give you enough space to store a significant amount of photos but will greatly reduce the number of videos you can store on the site. This might not be a big deal to you, though, when we look at our next major difference: the types of files you can share on reports.
File Type Limitations
A RIDGIDConnect Basic account will let you attach and share any type of file that you have whether it's a video (.avi, .mov, .3gp, .wmv, etc.), image (.jpg, .bmp, .png, .gif, etc.), or other (.doc/.docx, .xls, .pdf, CAD, etc.). Express will only allow you to upload the video and image file types. Express will take that a step further and only allow you to attach the image types to the "Public Media" section of a report which is the section visible to those you share the report with. What's the best way to handle this? By uploading your inspection video, using the bookmark and image extraction tools to pull the frames out of the video that highlight the issues, and using those to build your report that you share.
Number of Reports
Next, an Express account is limited to 50 active reports at any time. This isn't a big deal if you only do 1-2 inspections per month. If you do more than that, however, you'll probably want to think about a Basic or higher level account so you can store all of your past reports and reference them should you need to make a repeat or annual visit to a location you've already inspected. Also, should you need to share the inspection material with someone else in the future, you'll want to make sure you have the report still stored on your account so you can share it again with only a few clicks.
Finally, an Express account cannot take advantage of a few other features that are available to Basic or higher level users. These include the mobile apps for BlackBerry and Android that allow you to upload images and video from your Smart Phone, the dispatch application currently available on BlackBerry, Contact Management features built into your address book, mapping of the contacts in your address book on a Bing Map, and the security features on reports such as limiting the number of views or setting an expiration date on a customer's access.
We're always looking for ideas and suggestions so let us know if there's something you could find extremely helpful on the site or need a better explanation of anything!
I've received a few questions lately regarding how to upload your files from SeeSnake HQ to your RIDGIDConnect account. Thus, it seems appropriate to make this the subject of our latest blog.
For those that aren't aware, SeeSnake HQ is the software running on your laptop that allows you to record the footage from your SeeSnake reel directly to your laptop when using your RIDGID LT1000. You can download HQ, here.
First, once you've got your job created in HQ, you'll want to switch over to the "Report" tab.
Once there, click on the "Upload" button that is now available.
If this is your first time here, it will ask you for your RIDGIDConnect credentials. Enter the same user name and password combination you use to sign into the RIDGIDConnect website.
Once you're successfully logged in, you'll note that the tab above the report now shows "Logout myUsername" in red. Clicking this will log you out of your RIDGIDConnect account from inside HQ.
Now, all you need to do is click the "R" logo that is now enabled on the right hand side of the screen. It has the text "Upload" beneath it. This will start transferring your files from HQ on your computer to your RIDGIDConnect account online.
Once the transfer bar shows your upload as complete, simply sign into RIDGIDConnect and go to your "my Reports" page to find your report. The reason for call, description, contacts, media and all titles and descriptions on that media will be transferred over so you don't have to retype it.
As always, let us know if you have any questions!
Over the past few years, RIDGID and its partners have worked to bring you the latest, most technologically advanced inspection cameras and accompanying software packages to help you bridge the gap that exists between the videos and files you capture on the job site to presenting these to your customer - wherever in the world they may be. As a service professional, I'm sure you're aware that often times there are multiple tools that will accomplish the job. In the software world, that philosophy holds true. This blog post is dedicated to helping you understand the solutions that RIDGID offers and ensuring you know which one to utilize for a given situation.
Here are the items that we're going to cover:
- The RIDGIDConnect Client
- RIDGIDConnect Mobile Apps for BlackBerry and Android
- SeeSnake HQ
This is the website that serves as the core to what we'll discuss today. It allows you to store your digital files, keep an address book of your customers, backup your digital media, and share all of this media with your customer as well as communicate back and forth with them. It is accessible via www.ridgidconnect.com from any computer with access to the internet. This means your job files are available at your office, your home, on your laptop in the field, your smart phone...basically anywhere you can get an internet connection.
The site is required in order to take advantage of m.ridgidconnect.com, the RIDGIDConnect Client, and the RIDGIDConnect Mobile Apps for BlackBerry and Android. It is available via a 30-day free trial and monthly or yearly subscriptions that start at $49.99.
The RIDGIDConnect Client
The RIDGIDConnect Client is a piece of software that you can download once you're logged into RIDGIDConnect and installs locally on your computer. The main benefit of the software is that it is better suited to handle uploading very large video files. For instance, if you're uploading a large file through the website and you unexpectedly lose your internet connection, you'd have to start the entire upload over. The Client can handle this interrupted connection gracefully and resume your upload where you left off.
Second, as you've probably experienced in previous encounters with video on the internet, there are many different formats and it's hard to predict if the video you have is going to work on someone else's computer. As a result, all videos played on RIDGIDConnect are converted to a standard format so we can almost guarantee your customer will be able to access and view the video. This conversion process happens in one of two spots. On a file that is uploaded via the website, it is converted after it is uploaded. With the RIDGIDConnect Client, that software converts it locally on your machine. The reason for that is as a part of the conversion process, we can use a video compression algorithm prior to upload so that a majority of the time, you will have a smaller file to upload.
The RIDGIDConnect client uses files that are local on your hard drive as well as it has the capability to import videos and images from a DVD created by your inspection camera.
RIDGIDConnect Mobile Apps for BlackBerry and Android
If you have a BlackBerry or Android smart phone, you will want to pay close attention. Our development team has created applications for these two phone operating systems that install directly onto your phone. They will tie directly into the cameras on your device and allow you to easily take pictures (such as before & after photos to document your work ) and then upload them directly to a report on your RIDGIDConnect account.
The mobile application space is one that we have a great deal of valuable experience in. As a previous winner of Research In Motion's (BlackBerry) Wireless Leadership Award for a CRM product we developed, you can expect that we will bring this experience to the RIDGIDConnect environment and make sure you have an industry leading mobile experience. Stay tuned for exciting announcements here!
This refers to a website that is specially formatted to be accessed from your mobile phone. At the time of this blog it allows you to do everything you can on the full RIDGIDConnect website with the exception being the interaction with videos. As a convenience, we redirect most devices to this version of the website if you type in www.ridgidconnect.com. You use the same user name and password here that you do on the regular site.
HQ is a software product that runs on your laptop and allows you to interact with the files captured by the RIDGID SeeSnake product line (such as the LT1000). It allows you to create reports in a format similar to a word document that can be emailed or presented to your customer on a thumb drive. The reports can contain text, images, or videos (not over email).
This product integrates very well with the RIDGIDConnect website in that it will allow you to send reports that you created in HQ to RIDGIDConnect as well as synchronize your address book between the two so you don't have to worry about duplicate contacts. HQ also serves as the controller for your camera if you're connected to a LT1000 and will allow you to burn a DVD from the digital media you captured.
So, which one should you choose? Well, all of them...it depends on what you're trying to accomplish. Each is an excellent tool but knowing when to utilize them is the key. Hopefully you've gained a better understanding of your options. If not, the RIDGIDConnect team is more than happy to discuss this in greater detail with you! Just use the Feedback or Contact Us feature on RIDGIDConnect!