Implementing Mobile Data Collection for Any Sector

Did you know that data is the most valuable asset today, having surpassed oil in value over two years ago? For businesses, the more information you have on customers or market needs, the better you can meet their needs or tailor your offerings.

The value of your data begins with how you collect it, followed by organizing, analyzing, and deriving value for decision-making. Mobile data collection is gaining ground as one of the cheapest yet most effective data collection methods. Using a mobile form app, you can easily reach remote areas to help you gather more and unbiased data for your use.

Modes of Mobile Data Collection

Below the most common modes of mobile data collection, and how to get started using a free data collection app or mobile forms software.

IVR-Based Collection

Magpi IVR data collection

This is also called an interactive voice response (IVR) or simply voice data collection. A user receives a phone call from a recorded or computer generated message, and the respondent answers by pressing the phone’s keypads. The best example of IVR is the automated mobile customer service used by all mobile networks: For example, “for information about our services, press 1. For information about our locations, press 2”.

Deploying an IVR system was once expensive, but the market is getting a new business model, which allows businesses to access IVR systems on a subscription basis. IVR is also ideal because it works on any phone, not just smartphones. It can be used to reach in accessible or remote areas and can reach respondents who are less literate or illiterate.

SMS-Based Collection

SMS Data Collection with Magpi

Text messaging as a method of data collection is on the rise, particularly in emerging markets where more people have non-smart phones that cannot access the internet. It is possible to create surveys using mobile forms software and dispatch them anywhere via SMS.

Usually, the respondent receives the survey one question at a time and opts in to participate. Respondents need not have an internet connection, and the collector pays charges for the respondents’ answers. SMS is ideal for short surveys, and it can reach wider populations, including those with no internet access.

Mobile App-Based Collection

These surveys require users to have a smartphone, active internet connection to upload data real-time, and a mobile forms app installed. A user will be able to access open surveys and complete them within the application. However, if the users are offline, still data can be collected to be stored safely in the device until connectivity is regained.  Because of the requirements, this is typically used in established markets when responses are needed from wealthy, urban or young people familiar with technology.

Mobile Web Collection

Web surveying can be combined with SMS mobile data collection: a text is blasted to potential respondents inviting them to a webpage where they may complete the survey. You can also get offline forms free, which respondents can access and edit on their smartphones through email. This is ideal for longer surveys, but it is important to keep the survey questions simple and easy to answer.

Best Practices for Mobile Data Collection

Collecting mobile data starts with choosing the right mode of collection depending on your project, potential respondents and their characteristics. Consider your timelines, socio-economic and cultural context, budget, and literacy rates; in low literacy areas, spoken methods like IVR work better.

Consider the type of information you’re collecting and how much data you need. Some subjects may be sensitive, and respondents may prefer to type rather than speak the answers. Longer surveys are better as web-based or app-based; IVR for longer surveys will be more costly and take more time and respondents may get bored and hang up if they see no value to them.

Final Thoughts

If you’re wondering how to get started with mobile data collection, Magpi offers different mobile forms software to help you build your own surveys. Once done, you can use a free data collection app to gather responses based on your needs. Find out more about mobile data collection, or schedule a demo below to find out how we can help you.

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