Security Integrator’s Invention Makes Inspection App Affordable
Mark C. Popkowski, CEO of PnewSoft LLC, Houston, Texas, has been in the security integration business for around 30 years, starting his own company, Modern System Concepts Inc., (MSC) about 20 years ago. Four years ago, Popkowski was searching for software to help him with inspections out in the field, particularly fire inspections.
“I wanted to make sure people going out in the field did things correctly, and that there was accountability,” he said. After approaching a well-known software company in the industry, he was discouraged about the business model and the affordability. “Their business model made it difficult for the little guy to be able to do inspections electronically and correctly, which was upsetting. I felt that everybody should be able to do things correctly and it shouldn’t cost them an arm and a leg.”
Popkowski set out to create something for his company that would do what he wanted. The result, while successful for MSC, wasn’t scalable to others, and he wanted to be able to offer the solution to fellow dealers and integrators. As an early adopter of SedonaOffice CRM software, he approached them about integrating. With their encouragement, he and his team went back to the drawing board and came up with a new architecture that would be both flexible and scalable. SedonaOffice invited him to speak at their conference last January as a proof of concept, which went well, and the app — now called fireNspec — went to market last March.
FireNspec was created with the understanding that there are thousands of authorities having jurisdiction, each with their own idea of what should be in a report. “The idea is to make things efficient, effective and not have to do things multiple times”, Popkowski said. “Looking at different states there are different takes on what is standard or how they want to see the report. We created a dynamic system which is currently patent-pending. It allows you to create your own inspection report based on the information you need.”
In addition, a manager is able to remotely participate in inspections using the app, allowing them to watch the tech inspect devices and text them if they need to check something.
Currently fireNspec integrates with SedonaOffice software using their API. Popkowski said. “[Through SedonaOffice] We are able to extract the information from the site level and pre-fill in that information to push the actual inspection report back to the customer so that report is in the customer’s folder,” he explained. “The application will work independently as well.”
Popkowski has plans to approach other software companies as well. “Not everyone can afford that platform,” he explained. “I was a little guy — I still consider myself a little guy. Through the API we can extract and enter information to other platforms. With manufacturer’s approval, such as Honeywell Silent Knight, Fire-Lite Alarms, and Potter, we are able to select the manufacturer model numbers and it will pre-populate, put the pictures in and provide available manufacturer specifications and installation instructions.”
Despite the name, fireNspec is not designed to be limited to just fire systems, Popkowski added. “I need it to do my security and cameras and everything else. All I have to do is go in to the company web panel and create templates or modify existing ones.” In addition, fireNspec works in conjunction with Google’s Firebase cloud platform so it will work even when there is no signal. “Sometimes there is no signal, but you can still do the inspection and as soon as you have a signal it will be merged through the cloud,” he explained. It can also merge multiple inspectors into one document if there is a large building or campus.
Subscriptions per inspector are $49.95/month, and feature unlimited inspections and complete access to the Web portal. Currently the app is only available on Apple, but it can work with Android through the Web portal.
Visit www.fireNspec.com to register for a free 14-day trial.