What if your company hosted a basketball tournament at a local park that only had tennis courts? 10-S-N-E-1? What if your customers had inconsistent or outdated information about your locations, capabilities and hours of operation? What would you do? In the case of a local Division of Parks and Recreation (DPR) – they turned to QuickBase for asset management.
The local DPR was faced with a daunting challenge: providing effective (and accurate) information about existing parks and facilities to the general public – and providing this information in an easy to access form.
Providing information and capabilities about the 600+ parks and recreation centers proved to be very difficult with no central data repository. Queries such as operating hours; locations; size of facilities; capacity of facilities; facility availability; and specific programs at these facilities were routine – and customers often got different and incorrect answers.
The previous tracking system was paper based and dispersed across multiple locations. In some cases multiple versions of the same information existed at different locations resulting in duplicate or inaccurate information being provided. In many cases, issues arose such as facilities being double-booked for events; facilities being inadequate for planned events; or booked facilities simply not operational during the planned event. To avoid inconsistent information and confusion within DPR, the department chose to standardize information content, information distribution and reservations of facilities.
To solve these problems Incapsulate engineers, in partnership with DPR, used QuickBase to implement a new central information repository. QuickBase was chosen because of the fast start-up of QuickBase projects; flexible data structures within QuickBase; ability to easily integrate “external” technologies through the QuickBase API; and QuickBase expertise within the local government. Thus, the new asset management application could be quickly created with no additional infrastructure costs.
The “core” of the asset management application is a central repository which contains information about each of the 600+ parks and recreational centers within DPR. Specifics include facilities data (hours of operations, access, programs), amenities, location, capacities, and availability. Since each facility has on-line access to the central data repository and an information assurance process was implemented, DPR is assured that the central repository is up to date and accurate at all times.
QR Codes and Geolocation through QuickBase
To ensure public access to the information in the repository, a QR tagging and information access system was incorporated into the QuickBase central repository. To locate and search the nearest facilities, the system is also integrated with Google maps which are optimized to mobile devices using device geolocation. Besides the data mashup with Google Maps, the application generates the QR tags for the facilities. These tags can be scanned quickly by smart phones, which will then display information about facilities and amenities, including:
• Information about the closest facility to the specific location of the smart phone – along with background maps.
• Facilities capabilities and capacities (how many people can it support; how large is the pool; hours of operation).
• Specific information about the programs at this facility.
• Facilities reservation status.
The QuickBase central repository is the central data source for all park and recreation center information displayed through this application.
QuickBase was utilized for the data repository. The easy to use forms and existing data structures enabled implementation of this system in just over three weeks. This effort represents a 40% savings when compared to traditional development approaches. To provide further capabilities the QuickBase HTTP API was utilized for custom development and Google and Google Maps API’s were used for data mashups. A custom data model was also created to support the QR tagging functionality – which also enables the creation of unique QR tags for DPR assets and facilities.
The QuickBase repository now manages the details of the 600+ parks and recreation centers managed by DPR. Since the implementation of the central repository there is a central data source for information insuring accuracy and consistency. Facility double-bookings have ceased and customers reserving facilities are much better informed. For upper management, a more accurate understanding of facility utilization is now available and scarce resources can be re-directed where needed. Facility utilization has also increased since the system was utilized – thus maximizing current investment of public facilities.
Transparent public communication; greater utilization of existing facilities and utilization of innovative tools to solve a daunting problem: a DPR dream made possible through a QuickBase Asset Management implementation.