Thomas Bernert, an employee in the green and environment department of the town of Schwabmünchen, wanted a user-friendly solution via app for inspections and maintenance of playgrounds and the like. That was the starting signal for the "EineStadt" NFC app. And that's how it all came about:
How did the app for digital control of playgrounds and playground equipment actually come about?
Driving from playground to playground, from tree to tree and from dog toilet to dog toilet with a laptop on the passenger seat in order to record data or compare the condition of the area using a geoinformation system - Thomas Bernert didn't think that was up to date at the time. "We were working with a GIS solution that was quite easy to use, but was only reliable if there was a stable internet connection." In Schwabmünchen, as almost everywhere in Bavaria, this is not the case across the board. "It also bothered me that the system only ran on one computer, so you needed at least one laptop."
This problem gave rise to his wish a few years ago: a program for monitoring and maintenance that is not overloaded, but offers all the necessary functions and can be operated on a mobile device. Michael Lodes, who was working as a surveyor for the town of Schwabmünchen at the time, quickly came up with a ground-breaking idea: a maintenance software based on NFC technology. In 2017, "EineStadt" was then ready for use to easily digitize the maintenance, inspection and care of public properties in municipalities.
"I had the problems, Michael had the idea for implementation," recalls Thomas Bernert with a grin.
NFC chips: ideal for the digital playground
"We started with playground equipment in public playgrounds, among other things." These were equipped with NFC chips that contained location data and emptying information. "These public slides, swings and the like were ideal test objects." The NFC chips on individual objects are useful wherever regular checks and maintenance are required and legally compliant evidence is important.
Thomas Bernert parks his car at the senior citizens' fitness center in Finkenweg and demonstrates how to use the app. The NFC chip is located on a post at the end of the balancing course. Bernert doesn't just limit himself to a visual inspection, but tries out the course himself. The only thing that sways and wobbles is what is supposed to sway and wobble. At the end, Bernert reads in the chip and notes the inspection - without a work order, as everything is in order. He also sees in the app that the fall protection layer of wood chips, which was too thin during the previous inspection, has been refilled.
NFC app for the playground - how it works
The maintenance-free NFC technology is suitable for all objects to which a chip can be attached - fastened with a screw, cable tie or as a sticker. In open spaces, these include trees, garbage cans and dog toilets as well as play equipment, while in buildings the spectrum ranges from elevators and air conditioning systems to heating and toilets, fire doors and fire alarms.
The correct object, including input fields, opens in the pre-installed browser when the chip is touched with the smartphone or tablet. You can get started right away: Bernert can tick boxes during the inspection, enter problems, take photos or send orders directly to the responsible service provider via the app.
Reading the chips on site ensures that employees and companies were actually at the property - and also works without internet access. The recorded inspection rounds and work orders can be called up and printed out as reports in PDF format if required. This means that all inspections and work can be tracked seamlessly - providing legal certainty.
And this is how the NFC chips are attached to the playground
For example, Thomas Bernert attaches blind rivets - safely and easily:
First of all, he has to pre-drill with an awl and hammer so that the hole can be drilled more easily.
Mr. Bernert then has to drill a hole - with a diameter slightly larger than the blind rivet itself.
Now he can insert the rivet and chip into the drilled hole.
Now he can insert the rivet including chip into the blind rivet pliers. The mandrel is gripped with the appropriate mouthpiece and the lever is then actuated.
Blind rivets are used wherever chips cannot be screwed in. Chips for screwing are easier to install, e.g. on wooden or plastic play equipment.
Further advantages of NFC technology in the playground
Weekly visual inspections can be documented very easily by simply holding the cell phone to the chip, thus generating proof that someone was on site. The chip can either be attached to each individual piece of play equipment or just to the playground entrances.
Quarterly checks are also carried out using the chips. The inspection is more in-depth and details are checked - simply and accurately with the help of an inspection protocol tailored to the playground equipment in the app.
Annual main inspection: Carried out by a third-party service provider, an expert. These can be integrated into the application so that the results always remain in one system - including photos and recommended measures.
Find out more about the playground control app here!
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