The Sheffield-based South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) is improving the way it collects customer service data by using a digital pen and paper system from mobile data specialist Ubisys.
The technology will be used to regularly poll about 2,000 travellers across South Yorkshire about their travel plans and requirements.
The job was previously done manually over several weeks and the details gathered and re-entered into a central computer for analysis.
Using the Ubisys product, which is supported by the Vodafone mobile wireless network, researchers now simply fill in the forms electronically and remotely transmit the data back to the central computer, where it can now be more quickly analysed.
Writing on prepared normal paper, a researcher’s Nokia Digital Pen captures handwriting and stores it in its memory. Once the form is complete, by ticking “send”, the data is sent via Bluetooth short-range wireless to a Nokia 6820 mobile phone, which in turn automatically sends the text to a secure internet-based server.
There, hand-writing recognition and signature verification tasks are performed and the data can be output in formats including Microsoft Excel, XML and PDF, allowing it to be automatically deposited into a database or application.
Pauline Jones, SYPTE service delivery manager for information services, said, "Concept to deployment only took two weeks and the solution worked first time.
"We have estimated that the previous man-hour costs of tying up resources to re-enter and collate data into something meaningful amounted to three times the cost of the Ubisys/Vodafone solution - meaning the technology will it pay for itself three times over during just one project."