The Quality Certification Program (QCP) has been employing Virtual Inspection technology by utilizing two similar vehicles, Facetime on the Apple platform and Skype on the PC platform. Both technologies provide many advantages in their implementation.
First the ability to reschedule an inspection is greatly simplified. In the Analogue model a QCP inspector will schedule an inspection two weeks out for a woodwork facility or project site, then make airline, hotel and car reservations to conduct the inspection. A high percentage of scheduled inspections slip due to many factors causing the need to cancel and reschedule the trip, which necessitates additional costs and challenges. With Virtual Inspections rescheduling is much easier and can accommodate the toughest schedules on both sides of the equation.
Additionally, Virtual Inspections are recorded and can be referenced after the initial inspection. In the Analogue model inspections are never recorded. Many folks feel that a Virtual Inspection will not be as accurate as an in-person event; however, in practice the Virtual Inspection can be as accurate if not more so. How does it work? The individual on-site will need to supply measuring devices such as feeler gauges in order to determine the flushness of a field joint. This has been performed numerous times to determine the compliance of many items. Color and grain can pose challenges; however, with the adjustment of the viewing angle from the on-site operator, QCP is confident that an accurate assessment can be made. There will always be instances where in-person inspection will be utilized, such as locations with low or no Internet access as well as projects that are too large in size and scope for a virtual application.
QCP has posted three inspections on our YouTube channel. Feel free to visit and see this technology in use for yourself.