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June 20, 2013

City of Memphis Now Using Mobile Workforce Solution to Improve Efficiency

A mobility solution developed by Xora, Inc. that runs on the AT&T Network is helping the city of Memphis, Tenn. solve several serious problems simultaneously including worker safety, a lack of consistent zoning enforcement and an inefficient, error-prone paperwork system.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Xora develops applications for tracking employees out in the field. Electronic time tracking, proof of services and reporting allows management to ensure that workers outside the office are performing the work they are supposed to do.

Previously, the city used a two-step process for its urban restoration programs consisting of entering data on a computer then writing the same data down on paper. StreetSmart, the new mobility solution the city adopted, simplified data input to entering data on a user friendly screen. The added efficiency freed up more time for zoning employees to concentrate on enforcement and addressing residents’ concerns.

An AT&T press release cites the recent death of an employee as a contributing factor in the city's decision to use StreetSmart. It is not known from the release who the employee was, but it could possibly be a Memphis Area Transit Authority bus driver, who died May 14 after a collision with a cement truck.

While StreetSmart cannot guarantee that an employee won't die from an accident on the job, it would allow management to keep better track of employees out in the field and take measures to increase their safety. It also holds employees accountable, since their whereabouts are tracked by GPS. Photographs and signatures are stamped by time and location for additional accountability.

StreetSmart is a valuable tool for city governments to use to save taxpayer money by keeping better track of employees and helping them become more efficient. It would certainly eliminate abusive practices like the ones discovered in the city of Los Angeles by an investigative reporter in 2011.

StreetSmart also overcomes some of the reluctance many have going paperless. There seems to be a comfort level that many have with having paper documents in hand. Features like time and location stamps provide assurance that employees can be held accountable and are much easier to locate than paper-based equivalents.

Thanks to revolutionary improvements in mobile technology, it is not only possible, but also practical and affordable for companies and organizations to track employees and their activity outside of an office setting. While the previous examples referred to public sector applications, the technology can increase productivity in the private sector too, especially in competitive markets.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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