A new technology start-up, Hazel Media, has recently developed MobQuery, a data collection and management platform that has local language capabilities and makes the tedious task of collecting data in rural areas, easier, faster, and overall, more efficient. MobQuery uses cloud architecture for real time data storage and retrieval, and can record GPS data as well as store photos. Though operating on a per-customer basis, MobQuery is intended to be used across industries. Most recently, it was used by an NGO in Bihar in collaboration with BlackBerry for data collection on maternal health. MobQuery significantly reduces the time and resources involved in collecting data, and in the case of the data collection for maternal health, could take up to 14 months if done manually.

MobQuery is a mobile platform which helps in data collection and management with indic laguage support

Geetika Rustagi

New Delhi: Going door to door with data forms in remote villages is the lot of many a long-suffering data collectors. Months pass by in filling those forms manually and then archiving them. And all this is at great cost in terms of time, money and manual labour.

Now imagine if this could be done with a help of a mobile platform?

A company focusing on mobile products has come up with just such a unique solution to streamline the whole process. The start up, Hazel Media, has introduced a data collection and management platform called MobQuery. According to Manish Malik, founder Hazel Media, the platform will help ease the task of data collection, management and analysis for enterprises.

“We wanted to bridge the gap between internet-enabled devices and what can be done with it. There is software but no integrated platform like MobQuery which can be installed on a device,” explains Malik.

The product uses scalable cloud architecture for constant and real time data storage and retrieval. The strength of the product is it Indic support capabilities which lets the user key in data even in Hindi.

Indeed the Indic language support makes it a unique data collection tool. It handles the problem of data collection in local languages quite effectively. The multi-lingual capability has been derived from the company’s earlier product mPustak.

“We are very satisfied with the Hindi capability – our warehouse staff is not very competent in English so Hindi makes things easy,” adds Ashmeet Kapoor, founder & CEO of Jagriti Agro Tech. The company has successfully deployed MobQuery for its retail venture called I Say Organic.

”The automation reduces chances of manual error (like missing an item in a shipment, or sending the wrong shipment, or a wrong bill), and definitely saves man hours,” adds Kapoor

In, Bihar it was deployed by an NGO in association with BlackBerry (for technical support) to collect data on maternal health. The data was collected from 8 districts by using 500 BlackBerry phones, which could have easily taken about 14 months.

“The project was successfully completed and as a result of faster turnaround time and cost-savings on every aspect including infrastructure and people investment,” adds Annie Mathew, head of alliances, India, Research in Motion.

The platform was completely customized to include Hindi as an input language and other data forms like graphic details and charts for the small form factor and data collectors. According to Malik, MobQuery can record location data (GPS) and store pictures also. All this information is pushed onto a centrally located server and is synchronized whenever there is data connection availability.

“MobQuery will also prove helpful for projects which require local language support and also an additional step towards making technology accessible to masses,” Mathew adds.

At the moment the company is working on a per-customer basis. While large enterprises would want to manage their own scalable infrastructure, a small business enterprise can go with MobQuery under a Product-as-a-Service model. This which would involve scalable deployed servers managed by Hazel Media, which can bring the cost down to levels comparable to other cloud-based business apps.

In the ”Product-as-a-Service” model, the enterprise does not need to own or deploy any servers. It will be using MobQuery deployed in scalable servers, and Hazel Media would manage the entire infrastructure.

I Say Organic uses MobQuery for inventory management and sales tracking. ”We are a social enterprise dealing in perishables. To be successful in the market we have to be competitively priced. This means operational efficiency is very important for us. The MobQuery platform made it easy for us to have an inventory management and sales tracking systems up and running quickly,” says Kapoor.

MobQuery keeps track of every movement of the products, from vendor to the feedback of the customer. ”It is deployed on low cost Android tablet and manages their entire infrastructure,” adds Malik.

Buoyed by its ongoing dominance in the enterprise space BlackBerry sees emerging success in the small and medium-sized business (SMB) and consumer market too. According to Mathew, RIM will continue to leverage BlackBerry platform for such projects in future.

The company is in talks with other organizations for possible ties up.” We want to work with various industries and expand its versatility. We would love to test the strength of MobQuery on a larger scale with unique set of requirements,” says Malik. He added that it will be customized on project to project basis and doesn’t intend to offer as a standalone ’product to service’ platform.