Use Cases

How Johnson Controls Surveyors Use ArcSite to Save Time in the Field

Outcome Using ArcSite: 50% Reduction in Field Time



As a well-respected vendor in the security space, Johnson Controls Integrated Fire & Security doesn’t settle for mundane processes and the mediocrity that comes along with it. With a drive for innovation and dedication to delivering high-quality service to its clients, Johnson Controls tried ArcSite.

This case study delves into the experiences of several surveyors and installers from one national division of Johnson Controls to compare their time using ArcSite to a normal workday without ArcSite.

Read how the world’s largest fire and security company thrives with ArcSite.

The Organization

Johnson Controls Integrated Solutions and Services division in the UK & Ireland offers commercial security services in categories such as access control, intrusion, CCTV, fire and emergency lighting.

Johnson Controls Global Center of Excellence Network division (COE) helps their multinational clients determine how they can integrate the aforementioned services to streamline and standardize their fire and security systems around the world.

The COE develops standards, technical specifications and detailed work plans that enable high-quality fire and security installations globally. What’s more, they provide customers with remote system audit services to verify functionality and compliance with regional and corporate standards.

We worked with the National Centre of Excellence in the UK & Ireland to get their surveyors and engineers set up with using ArcSite.

Since its opening in 2010, the company’s flagship Birmingham COE has grown by almost 300 percent, helping more than 50 Fortune 500 companies streamline and standardize their global integrated fire and security systems.

Specific Issues & How ArcSite Solves Them

Meet Alastair Knight. As a surveyor at Johnson Controls Integrated Fire & Security, Alastair spent 50% more time on-site when he didn’t use ArcSite, and he ran into other challenges that overcomplicated his job.

Read the specific issues he faced in his role as a surveyor and how ArcSite solved them.

Issue #1: Only One Chance to Visit the Site

As a Johnson Controls surveyor, Alastair only gets one chance to collect information on site. Time is limited, and data quality is important given there is no second site visit.

How ArcSite Helps

ArcSite enables Alastair to have quicker, more accurate data collection as opposed to using pencil and paper. With the app’s innovative functionality such as custom forms and checklists, instant data sharing and the ability to attach photos to a site survey, all information can be collected once and accurately.

With ArcSite, there is no second-guessing due to illegible handwriting or erroneous data entry when transferring data from paper to the computer.

Issue #2: Limited Expertise (One Surveyor for Multiple System Types)

Johnson Controls has moved to a strategy where only one surveyor visits a site and collects data for multiple systems. Previously, surveyors used to specialize in just one or two system types, with multiple folks visiting a site.

Now there are many single surveyors, such as Alastair, who collect data and design for systems outside of their expertise.

How ArcSite Helps

Alastair can now take digital photos using the app, attach it to the survey and immediately or later share with other people in the organization to get their expert opinions. This improves the quality of the site survey.

Issue #3: Data Collection on Paper Necessitates Rework

Some projects require Alastair to create his own final designs. For these projects, he would take the paper back to his computer and redo the work in Autodesk Design Review.

On top of this being a complete rework of the plans, the Autodesk software itself is not easy to work with and does not provide the exact functionality he needs. This results in additional time wasted.

How ArcSite Helps

Paper is no longer involved, and neither is the rework that comes along with it. With ArcSite, Alastair now enters data into a system only once.

Alastair can now enter the data digitally in the field as he walks through the site. If he needs to create a design, he can collect the data and complete a design later easily and quickly in the same app.

Issue #4: Paper is Difficult to Share

Some large-scale projects require multiple touch points in the survey & design process. In this case, Alastair does work in the field and then transfers it over to the Design Group for final design workup.

This is another issue of double work existing in a single workflow. This issue is intensified because the paper plans are typically photographed and then sent to the design group, instead of them receiving original copies. This results in unclear plans and back and forth communication to get the details across.

How ArcSite Helps

ArcSite enables Alastair to now provide the design team with clear PDF versions of the designs, shared directly from the app. He no longer wastes his time doing double the work or going back and forth with communication.

Issue #5: Complicated Delivery of Plans

Alastair needs to be able to provide different output for different people. Before using ArcSite, he had to create multiple plans or send all the details to everyone, whether or not they needed it. This required him to double his work or give too much information to everyone.

How ArcSite Helps

ArcSite enables Alastair to send a specific “layer” of a plan to the relevant person. If he wants, he can also send specific elements of a plan to specific people, while keeping only one singular drawing without needing to duplicate it or manipulate it.

Other Johnson Control Employees Agree

Alastair Knight wasn’t the only Johnson Controls employee to find ArcSite invaluable for improving his day-to-day tasks. We spoke with other ArcSite users including surveyors John Harkup and Paul Gibson, as well as Installation Engineer Simon Revell.

These folks reported significant time savings, a more streamlined workflow, and improved team communication.

“ArcSite saves 50% of the time that it took to do site surveys the old paper way.” – Paul Gibson – Surveyor

“More and more, the engineering side of things is being done remotely–including the sending of drawings and editing them to the standard your app can achieve (so the CAD department have no doubts as to locations of equipment)–can only be a plus.” – Simon Revell – Installation Engineer

“You’ve no idea how much quicker it made the job. For instance, I went to [the job] site Monday without ArcSite, spent all afternoon printing then marking up on a bit of A4 paper. Once I returned, I had to then scan it, convert it to PDF, upload it to Autodesk Design Review, then mark up all the circuits using the correct symbols onto the system.

All this could have been done at the source [using ArcSite]. Instead, it was done at the office wasting many hours of time.

In my opinion, there is no better program for our line of work. In my opinion, we will be more productive in the long term.” -Paul Gibson – Surveyor

Most Valuable Aspects of ArcSite

Johnson Controls surveyors and installation engineers reported the following as the most valuable aspects of ArcSite for their day-to-day work:

Scaled Drawings

ArcSite helps surveyors and engineers to easily keep their drawings in scale. This is imperative for their jobs, as there are required standards for high-precision in certain systems that are under strict regulation. ArcSite’s high-precision technologies serve as a better alternative to paper and pencil which can often compromise precision due to human error.

Collaboration with Peers

Hand-offs to the design team are quicker. Quality communication between the field and the “experts” in the organization for matters outside of expertise is made possible with instant sharing of photos and plans.

Custom Shapes Library

The ability to create custom shapes and save them for the entire organization to use. This saves them significant time and ensures consistent delivery in plans across projects. The data they’re able to attach to the shapes can link up to custom forms, making estimates and deliverables even easier.

Embedded Photos

Photos can be embedded into plans and custom forms corresponding to the exact location where it was taken on site. This helps them remember the details for follow up design purposes

Overall Outcomes

  • 50% time savings in the field → reduced costs
  • Easier, more accurate data collection → smoother projects
  • Faster data sharing → quick turnaround on client-facing files
  • Improved collaboration → faster project completion
  • Better organization of data & files → reduced admin time

Ready to Try ArcSite?

Are you ready to experience these amazing improvements in your own workday?

Imagine how much easier and efficient your days will become when you experience ArcSite, too! You’ll be on your way to reduced costs, streamlined processes, and less headache in your day-to-day work.

Begin to streamline your workday and earn more repeat business with happier clients today.

Try ArcSite free for 14 days or request a demo.


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