One big (but really important) time drain for a solar installer involves taking the measurements necessary to create an accurate bid or proposal. But if Smart Picture Technologies has anything to say about it, the tape measure will be going the way of the fax machine and cassette tape player. The company says its new system allows those in the field, or even customers, to simply take photos with a smartphone and then upload them to the cloud where all the necessary measurements can then be extracted from the images. The measurements are accurate to within 1/4 inch.
“Since this is a cloud-based service, anyone in the field or back at headquarters can access the image and capture the necessary 2D and 3D measurements for preparing a bid,” said Smart Picture CEO Andy Greff. “In fact, everyone collaborating on a project, from the customer to the installer, from the sales rep to the designer, can have access to the measurements.”
The solution is compatible with popular estimating and design tools, such as SketchUp and AutoCad. The Smart Picture Measurement Cloud works with any smartphone and no additional hardware is needed. All that’s required is to place into the scene a small “Smart Target,” which can be drop-shipped or downloaded and printed on any desktop printer.
Greff said that his company’s solution offers solar power companies benefits throughout the entire sales process. For example, companies can integrate the solution into their websites in minutes and empower prospects to fill out their information then take and upload the necessary images to request a bid.
“Just about everyone is comfortable with taking smartphone pics and we live in a self-service culture,” Greff said. “Imagine how much time and energy you could save if you didn’t have to make an initial site visit to qualify a prospect or to provide an initial estimate. Plus, this approach can help remodelers more efficiently reach new customers and expand into additional territory.”
In addition, Greff said, images with the relevant measurements indicated can be exported into PDF quotes strengthening their worth and helping to close deals.
The Smart Picture Measurement Cloud has been in development for over three years and leverages the latest “computer vision” technology found in many popular and emerging virtual reality programs. The company has more than a dozen patents in various stages of development. The solution is applicable to a whole host of home improvement services and is also currently being used by other industries such as insurance claims and machine repair.
Details on the Smart Picture Measurement Cloud–and a free trial offer–are available at the company’s website.
— Solar Builder magazine