It was the first exhibition for Viewline and it seemed all our preparation paid off. When 5 hours seems to pass in 20 minutes you know you’ve been busy. When people are queuing to talk to you then you know it was the right thing to do and when you sell your stock of Toughbooks with industry standard Viewline reporting software embedded, (that day), you know your product is popular.
Viewline 550 is aimed at the smaller contractor. We pride ourselves on providing an alternative to other CCTV survey reporting products and it appears the drainage industry likes this, with some even switching over from their existing supplier. Competition is good for the industry, especially competition that is reasonably priced and prides itself on faultless customer service as we do. Add to that a product that conforms to the Standard (MSCC5 domestic codes) and ensures that reports are not only professional and uniform but also ensures that code attributes are correct using front end verification – then you’ve got a winning formula. What everyone liked was the ease of use and the quality of the report output. Of course the price appealed as well! A one off payment for a lifetime license seemed to go down very well.
We demonstrated the software in live reporting mode using the video out on XTI’s camera control unit. This is simply achieved by attaching a standard USB capture device to the system (these are available very cheaply and will attach to any BNC or RCA composite video out) and then recording the live footage whilst watching, adding observations and capturing pictures. The video footage is compressed to reduce size and attached to each section. This was well received by those contractors who wish to report live from site and forward the reports in real time. So no double handling, everything is completed on site. This system works on any system with video out, (which you would expect every camera system to have) we have tested it on Vivax Metrotech, AM Industrial, Ridgid, DCR, CamScan and Dart systems but it will work with any composite video out on any camera system. It also gives contractors more freedom; they’re not tied to any camera hardware supplier. If they so wish they can have different pushrod or crawler systems and utilise Viewline as their reporting solution.
Anna Humphreys from XTI commented, “XTI’s next generation of control units, which are currently in development, feature tight Viewline integration which is designed to allow data to be collected as the survey proceeds, giving users the best of all worlds”.
Some contractors like to gather the video footage on site, transferring the data to memory stick, hard drive or SD card and report back at the office. Using Viewline’s video mode this is achieved easily and allows import of the majority of video formats available. Again this has been tested extensively on the outputs from each of the hardware suppliers – Viewline even imports VOB files from CD or DVD. So you can see that we have put the groundwork in to enable industry standard reporting from any system using any video input.
It was also an opportunity for us to display our wireless video capture system. DCR produce a camera system that streams video in real time using Wifi. Effectively this means no cables and no camera control unit and monitor. Viewline picks up that video signal (anywhere within 100 metres line of sight) and displays the footage within the software video pane. This can then be recorded as it is viewed, observations made and pictures grabbed. You just need the pushrod camera and a Toughbook with Viewline installed and you are in business. There are many benefits to using this type of system; it is very lightweight, there are only two pieces of hardware involved so there is less to go wrong (Panasonic Toughbooks are extremely robust), remote access surveying is made easy and there is less stuff to trip over. If you are looking at reducing van weight and also reducing or removing risks on site (this will make the Health and Safety bods very happy), then this might well be the way to go.
Some of the guys we spoke to were a little confused on what kind of reports their customers required. The simple answer is the reports should be as per the client’s specification. Our reports conform to the standard (MSCC5 domestic), so you can’t go wrong. We provide a variety of report outputs, most customers prefer the PDF version but reports can be output to Word or XML. There is also the option to parse the information and in effect create a web browser report (this is something we developed a few years ago). Our reports are colour coded and defects are graded. Pictures are included as default and the final output is clean and professional.
We feel we have cemented our position as the leading CCTV reporting software provider for the domestic and commercial drainage industry by providing a good product, developed by experienced drainage people and after listening to the people that really count – the drainage contractors themselves.
Oh, and before we forget, a big congratulations to Les Murray of Ace Drainage who managed to get our Toughbook deal with Viewline installed for £750.00 – an absolute bargain!