Foul weather friend

Tim Macer reviews M-CAPI Express

The biggest generator of paper is the interview process itself, which remains resistant to change due to the high costs of CAPI.
M-CAPI Express, a new service from Manchester-based Data Capture Handheld, changes that assumption by offering CAPI equipment to rent on a project-by-project basis. The package also includes delivery by overnight courier, immediate replacement of faulty machines and insurance.
M-CAPI Express devices are not PCs, but industrial data capture devices that run proprietary interviewing software operated by a touch screen. They are very rugged, can withstand a lot of knocks, are completely waterproof and last more than a day on a single battery charge.
John Ardern, MD of The Really Useful Research Company, also in Manchester, is impressed: "We use it for outside locations as it can withstand wind and rain - we've been using it for Blackpool Pleasure Beach and are about to start using it on Mersey ferries. It is surprisingly easy to use, which has the advantage that you do not have to have an experienced interviewer to use it."

Like true CAPI, all the routing, answer skips and rotations can be programmed in automatically, though the machines do not handle graphics or video, and open-ended questions are slow to enter without a keyboard,. Ardern describes it as "dead easy to set up the questionnaire – and afterwards it is downloadable into Excel or Snap which is what we use to analyse it."
Financially it makes sense too, as Ardern has not had to take on the capital commitment, and can factor the cost into the project. He concludes: "It is good value and it means we can let someone else take on the risk of keeping the technology up-to-date."
Truly, technology to keep in mind for a rainy day, if not sooner.

Data Capture Handheld: www.m-capi.com

Tim Macer is an independent specialist in software for market research. His website is at www.meaning.uk.com

Published in the Fieldwork Review Supplement to Research, the magazine of the Market Research Society, July 2002, Issue 434.

© Copyright Tim Macer/Market Research Society 2002. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission.

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