By using mobile handheld devices and an integrated solution from IBM, inspectors in New York City’s Department of Homeless Services have processed 57% more permanent-housing inspections of apartments that are made available to homeless clients, IBM and the city announced today.

Previously, housing inspections were a paper-based process that required significant time and effort to complete. By using wireless handheld device and a Globalbay software framework integrated by IBM as part of the Mobile Inspection Project (MIP), field workers are able to conduct their inspections and submit their findings in real time, which greatly enhances the efficiency of the process.

“It was a multistep process that could take up to several days,” said Michael O’Boyle, client director for IBM’s public-sector team in New York City. “Using the handheld device, that could be cut down to hours.”

By processing the inspection report more quickly, field inspectors can make the potential residence available to the homeless in a shorter timeframe. In addition, the inspectors can remain in the field after submitting a report wirelessly, so they can do more inspections. With the rise of inspections, the Advantage New York rental assistance program has signed 25% more leases to date than during the same period last year.

“The bottom line is that you’re moving people into residences quicker,” O’Boyle said.

Meanwhile, using different software applications, the same efficiencies can be realized in other inspection-intensive situations encountered by fire departments and health departments, O’Boyle said.

“There is a wide applicability using this technology,” O’Boyle said.