DaVinci For iPhone, iPod, and iPad Offers A New Data Gathering Experience

Any appraiser who has fallen out of love with their clipboard, or may be looking to cheat, needs to pay particular attention to our latest field data gathering and sketching app, DaVinci for iPhone and iPod Touch (and soon for Apple’s new iPad as well). Download it today from the App Store in iTunes. It’s free, and may very well revolutionize your entire approach to field data gathering.

Study after study shows that when it comes to smartphones, the iPhone currently reigns supreme. Nowhere is that more true than in the eyes of iPhone owners themselves. The reason is that the iPhone isn’t a cell phone with “other stuff” on it. The iPhone is a software experience that fits in your pocket. Every other handset manufacturer in the world has been trying to duplicate the success of the iPhone, and each has failed over and over again because they’re missing the point. The iPhone is an experience, not simply a Soviet-style utility. It’s sexy, brain-dead simple to use, and pushes the software experience into the limelight, rather than grudgingly allowing software apps as an afterthought. The same is true of the iPod Touch. It’s not a music player. It’s a software experience built on top of a truly revolutionary hardware platform.

DaVinci gets to co-opt everything the iPhone offers — GPS, 3G, Wi-Fi, camera, browser, maps, voice recorder, multi-touch interface — making it both singularly unique and effective. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why DaVinci for iPhone puts a proper beating on every competing field data gathering and sketching software out there, including our own past products like Pocket TOTAL. That’s a pretty bold claim, so here are four examples of how DaVinci benefits from the iPhone and gives you, the appraiser, the best field inspection solution ever.

1. Data gathering is faster. Data entry is accelerated because it uses your WinTOTAL QuickLists. Remember, the iPhone has mastered the whole concept of the touch interface. Typing on the iPhone is easy as-is, but being able to tap a field, choose a QuickList, then move to the next cell makes it effortless. And like DaVinci Mobile Pro for tablet PCs, your data gathering screens and templates are 100% customizable. Also, you can customize which “critical fields” you have to fill in on-site. The combination of the iPhone’s touch interface, QuickLists and customization, make field data gathering more efficient than anything that’s been put out before, and you don’t have to retype anything in the office later. Boom.

Whether it’s checkboxes, single line fields, or lengthy comment blocks, DaVinci makes data entry of any kind a snap.

DaVinci lets you gather data one section at a time, such as the Exterior section shown here.  Tapping on “Ext. Walls” then brings up your QuickLists, shown in the screen below.

DaVinci uses your existing QuickLists, making  data entry “tap-and-go”.  Simply tap your QuickList, and then you can move on to the next cell.

DaVinci for iPhone also uses the built-in Voice Recorder to let you dictate voice notes.  The notes can be labeled, and sync back into your WinTOTAL report automatically.

2. Sketching in the field is easier with multi-touch. The iPhone’s multi-touch interface really comes into play with DaVinci’s sketcher. Sketching is as easy as entering a distance on a subtle number pad, then flicking your finger across the screen in the line’s direction. Adding angles and arcs is simple as well, and being able to use the touch interface to zoom and pan are also huge pluses the iPhone makes available. And because every copy of WinTOTAL includes DaVinci Desktop sketching at no extra cost, drawings on the iPhone transfer into WinTOTAL seamlessly where they can be edited and polished.

To sketch on the iPhone, simply enter a dimension, then swipe your finger across the screen.  Arcs and angles are handled easily, and you can even add labels and symbols!

3. Photos are faster and easier. The iPhone also has a built-in camera that integrates with DaVinci. And believe it or not, the photos aren’t bad at all. With DaVinci, take subject and comp photos, label them, associate them with the respective properties, add notes, and they all sync back into your desktop report. Then, you can add comps in the field, or sync them in the file from a report started in the office.

DaVinci makes it easy to gather room specific data, including photos, using the built-in iPhone camera. 

4. Syncing from the field saves time in the office. For even greater efficiency, we built DaVinci to sync files between your office and iPhone using either Wi-Fi, Edge or 3G networks. That means you can start files on your PC, sync them wirelessly to your iPhone, and from the field sync them back so office staff can pick up where you left off. Considering that DaVinci lets you gather data, sketches, photos, voice notes, and more, which all flows into your report so you don’t have to retype anything, that’s huge. In a day when clients want it faster and faster, this is a critical. And this isn’t the same as e-mailing a file as an attachment. Files sync directly from WinTOTAL into DaVinci, and vice versa. It literally couldn’t be any simpler, short of telekinesis.

What’s next?
Let’s face it, AT&T isn’t for everyone. Perhaps it doesn’t offer the coverage you need where you live, or you’ve got a new contract with Verizon, just to name a few reasons. No sweat. We’re actively pursuing a version of DaVinci for the Android mobile operating system as well, but don’t expect it to be available as a labs prototype until later this year.

You don’t need an iPhone to use DaVinci for iPhone. You can pick up a Wi-Fi enabled iPod Touch for as little as $199 (you just won’t get the camera, GPS, or 3G network access). And coming in March, you’ll be able to get a Wi-Fi enabled iPad, which has a larger screen yet is still smaller than a laptop, for as low as $499. Neither the iPod or iPad require a contract with AT&T, and have nearly all the benefits of DaVinci without ongoing monthly costs.

For those appraisers that can’t switch to WinTOTAL (because come on, everybody wants to, deep down), we’ve got a software developers kit (SDK) for your formfilling vendor. Call them and let them know you’d like DaVinci to integrate with your program, and that because all the data is XML based, they can easily integrate DaVinci in an afternoon.

At the end of the day, the iPhone just makes so much possible, all on one device, and in a simple, intuitive way due to the touch interface. So, aside from the fact that DaVinci for iPhone simplifies field data gathering and sketching, runs on the iPhone which many appraisers already use today, and syncs QuickLists and files with WinTOTAL, perhaps the last reason it’s a “must have” is that it’s FREE. We think appraisers could use a little “free” these days.

Without a doubt, DaVinci for iPhone is the coolest, most useful new mobile tool to come along since DaVinci for tablet PCs. You’ll love it. Download it for free today. Then let us know what you think.

DaVinci will soon be available on the new iPad with over twice the screen size!  To learn more, visit www.alamode.com/labs.