Offline Mobile Data Collection

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We’ve all been there. You’re out of the office, trying to fill out that important document on your device, and the dreaded message appears: “No internet connection.”

Whether you’re in transit, at a remote site or in a facility with an unreliable signal, this scenario is all too common. Luckily, with the right mobile data collection solution, you’ll be able to complete that digital form even when you’re offline.

Let’s go over what you’ll need to get started with offline mobile data collection and how it works.

What You’ll Need

To reap the benefits of offline mobile data entry, you’ll need to integrate your workflow with a mobile app that has offline capability. A mobile app will allow you to share, store and access your forms on a mobile device in the field.

FastField is a digital forms solution with a reliable offline-compatible mobile app. FastField also comes with a robust Form Builder that lets you create and share dynamic mobile forms. Additionally, you can manage your forms, view data insights, set up automated workflows, and create customizable reports from within the FastField web Portal.

How to Collect Mobile Data Offline

With FastField, offline data collection is easy. Here’s how it works:

#1: Create a Form

Create your form using the Form Builder. If you know that your form respondent(s) will be offline or in the field, embed smart features to streamline data collection and reduce the need to search the internet assistance.
  • Photo/video capture
  • Timestamps & geotags
  • Dropdown lists
  • Pre-populated fields
  • Auto calculations
Note: You’ll need to be online to create a form, but a user can fill out the form in the app without a connection.

#2: Share the form

The next step is to share your form to the mobile app. With FastField, there are multiple ways to share a form with users:
  • Upload to a Library:
    A Library is a place for you to upload forms for an organized group of users. For example, a group of inspectors may belong to an “Inspection Library” where they can access all of their inspection form templates.
  • Dispatch a Task:
    A Task is a single-use form for a specific job. It’s a quick way to send a one-off form directly to a specific user or users, along with a due date and priority level.

#3: Enable offline mode on the app

Now, whoever needs to fill out the form can do so by opening the mobile app. If the user knows that they’ll be working offline, they can do so by enabling offline mode. In FastField, this only requires two taps of your finger.

What if you go offline unexpectedly while filling out a form? If you didn’t enable offline mode but you experience a sudden loss of internet or data coverage, the FastField App will automatically go into offline mode.

While in offline mode, you’ll still be able to perform the following functions:
  • View all forms shared with you
  • Start new forms
  • Edit or complete forms that are in progress

#4 Fill Out the Form Offline

When in offline mode, users are able to enter their data as usual. All embedded form features (other than links to online sources) will still work. From photo capture to auto calculations and conditional form rules, offline data entry with FastField is just as powerful as when you’re online.

#5 Save & Re-Sync

When filling out a form offline, the form data will be saved locally to your mobile device. You can either wait to submit when you’re reconnected to the internet later, or you can push “Submit” while offline and it will automatically submit the form when it re-syncs to the internet.

This automatic re-sync and submit feature is seamless and prevents users from forgetting to submit the form when they get back into coverage.
  • Traveling by rail, plane or boat
  • Overseas
  • Offshore
  • Deep in nature
  • In a construction zone
  • Underground or in a basement

Prevent Offline Downtime With FastField

FastField knows data collection. We specialize in helping teams report from the field to the back office as efficiently as possible.

Our offline-compatible mobile app is one of the many reasons we’re trusted by the leading groups in a wide-range of industries: construction, oil and gas, utilities, transportation, mining, manufacturing and many more!

See how FastField can streamline and automate your field reporting workflow – whether you’re online or offline.
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