Pocket Reporter Lite is the great new tool for iPhone and iPad users who want to be able to complete periodic/routine inspections of properties in a quick and easy manner. Pocket Reporter Pro is an incredibly powerful tool which allows every inspection in the property lease cycle to be undertaken with minimal effort and professional results.

A quick demo video of the iPad PRPro app can be viewed here.

You start with a clean slate for the first inspection of each property. As you walk into a section of the property you add it to the report by selecting the type of area from its characteristics and then giving it a name (for example you might select a Hallway area type and call it Entry). Pro users can then flesh out the area with items either by selecting a pre-constructed template or by copying an area they've already completed. Once you've built the area you describe what you're seeing with respect to the current condition of the area and items. This can be done with the on-screen keyboard but is aided greatly by using the PhraseStorm system (described below) and then taking photos using your iPhone or iPad's in-built camera (or attaching photos using the iPad camera adapter and our innovative Placeholder Mode). You then continue moving through the property adding new areas until you've described everything you want your owners or tenants to be aware of.

PhraseStorm makes the task of describing the condition of the property an absolute breeze. Each type of area and item comes with it's own set of phrases which allow you to describe all of the common items and problems (or lack thereof) which you might see. These phrases might be simple words ('clean'), parts of sentences ('signs of water damage') right through to full sentences ('The room is clean, tidy and well maintained.'). Stringing together the shorter phrases into sentences couldn't be easier with PhraseStorm's unique gesture based grammar tools. Swipe a phrase up to start a new sentence (either just the phrase or with a selection of sentence beginnings), swipe it left to add the phrase with a comma in front, swipe right to add the phrase after a joining word (again from a selection of options) or swipe down to finish a sentence off. With a few quick flicks of the screen you can create highly detailed descriptions of the problem at hand, or congratulate the tenants on their good work.

Pocket Reporter goes beyond simple photo insertion when you create a report. Taking the photo is as simple as a single button tap, point and shoot. That photo is now attached to your report. The difference then begins as PhraseStorm helps you very quickly describe why you took the photo in the first place. If things aren't clear enough at that point you can add photo tags, or numbered markers which have corresponding text (again described using PhraseStorm). If that still isn't clear enough you can then add any number of indicators to the tag which are arrows originating at the tag and ending at the point you tap on. Photo tagging has to be seen to be believed and will revolutionise the way photos are used in inspections.

The report can be generated as you leave the property at which point it can be emailed (depending on size). The owners'/tenants' email addresses are filled in, your email is in the BCC field, everything else is filled out (but can be changed if you want) and you simply tap Send. And as quick as that the report is on its way. Alternatively you can print the report when you get back to the office with AirPrint or by downloading the report using iTunes.

As if all of that isn't brilliant enough things become even more amazing when you head out to re-inspect a property that you've previously inspected with Pocket Reporter. The property is set up in exactly the order you inspected it the last time you were here. As you move through the rooms you notice that the photos you took in the last inspection (and all of your previous reports) are listed for you to review. Tapping on one of these photos brings it up on the screen with all the tags and text you used to describe it previously. Should you decide that the problem identified in the photo has gotten worse (or better) simply tap the Update Photo button. A ghost of the previous photo (with tags!) appears as you line up your shot. When you print your report the old photo and new photo are side-by-side with their dates and descriptions.

You can also review the history of the comments you have made about each area and either copy and paste them or with a single tap re-use them instantly. The Pro app even shows you exactly which parts of the report will be included based on the type of inspection you are undertaking and the past history of the property. If there aren't changes you simply move on to review the next item. All the items you didn't change are filled in for you with a tap of the Finalise Report button.

If you've got any questions about Pocket Reporter Pro or Lite, check the Pocket Reporter FAQs or feel free to send us an email at sales@rednightingale.com.au

And this is just the individual apps for iPad and iPhone. When Pocket Reporter Professional Server is released all the reports you've completed in Pro or Lite will upload into Professional and then you'll REALLY start seeing some incredible inspection efficiency, with customisable phrasing and report formats, property and report sharing between devices, and trust accounting system integration (with supporting partners).

Copyright 2008 Red Nightingale.