What equipment is needed for Remote Auditing?

Once upon a time, all an Auditor needed was a clipboard, pen and paper to complete their audits. This article covers the equipment that you need to complete a successful Remote Audit.

There is a greater interest in Remote Auditing than ever before, whether it is in response to the Covid-19 pandemic here in 2020 or to reduce the carbon footprint of travel and associated costs. A previous article: What is Remote Auditing? covered the benefits and barrier to using Remote Auditing.

In this article, I will explore what equipment is needed to replicate the on-site audit experience within the Remote Audit & how the selection of equipment can make it a successful audit for all participants, not just the Auditor.

If you have not participated in a Remote Audit, it may appear to be a daunting at first but if I was to tell you that you have access to the foundation level equipment that they will need for the Remote Audit, how would you feel then.

Here is the foundation-level equipment that you already have access to one of these devices:

  • Laptop
  • Tablet
  • Smartphone
  • Desktop Computer

That it – That’s all you need to participate in a Remote Audit.

With your laptop, you can use your Wi-Fi connection (or Smartphone) as a hotspot to communicate through the built-in webcam, normally located at the top of the screen.

The webcam combines two important devices: a microphone and a camera. This will allow you to have both, audio to be able to speak and hear the audit as well as see.

The microphone are able to pick-up the human voice when it is within a 5 – 20 centimetres but beyond that distance the general room noise, such as other people present in the room and air conditioners, can compete to reduce its ability to capture the spoken words.

Similarly, Smartphone and tablets suffer from the same problem of background noise but are, particularly, with greater flexibility of movement to be able to be used to access operational areas provided there is a strong enough WiFi or mobile internet signal to support audio and video in these areas.

If you want to further enhance your audio and video then checkout these options:

Audio Improvements

If you want to improve the audio then use a small headset, which combines headphones for listening with a small microphone close to the user’s mouth. This can be a traditional headphone or something like the use of combined headphones sold with smartphones, such as Apple EarPods or other similar in-ear headphones.

A separate high-quality studio microphone with a USB connection can be plugged into your device offering excellent audio quality and better cut-off of background noise at the expense of its cost and lack of portability.

A separate pair of speakers to enhance the audio as the built-in speakers are not great in reproducing sound faithfully, although they are getting better. So even a low- to mid-price speaker will help to get more out of the sound.

Overall, you have the basic audio equipment for Remote Auditing in the form of your laptop, tablet or smartphone & the cost of additional equipment, such as headphone and speakers, is relatively small to enhance the remote auditing experience.

Audio ImprovementsCost (at 22 April 2020)
Amazon Echo Speaker£89.99
Combined Headphone and Microphone£39.99
NOTE: All links are enabled through the Amazon Associates, which does not increase the cost to you & gives a small commission back to support future EMSmastery articles

Video Improvements

Enhancements to the standard webcam can be purchased separately for use on computers, which do not possess a built-in webcam, or the webcam quality is poor. A good example of a separate webcam is the Logitech C920.

Lighting may be an additional consideration as office lighting is, often, not designed for video use and can be less than flattering to the Auditor or Auditee or, at worse, provide unclear and difficult to view video.

Additionally, a second screen can make it easier to communicate through the webcam on the laptop, whilst preparing documents on the second screen.

Video ImprovementsCost (at 22 April 2020)
Logitech 920 Webcam £84.73
Neewer 176 LED Light£32.99
Dell 24 Inch Monitor Screen£163.68
NOTE: All links are enabled through the Amazon Associates, which does not increase the cost to you & gives a small commission back to support future EMSmastery articles

In conclusion, you can see that a Remote Audit can be readily planned and completed using readily available or easily purchased equipment & can be upgraded based on the needs and demands of the future Remote Audits going forward.

In the next article in this series on Remote Auditing, I will cover the use of video conferencing services, such as GoToMeeting, Zoom, Microsoft Teams & Google Hangouts, which allows the Auditor and Auditee to share documents as well as audio and video.

In the meantime, you should check out our YouTube Channel – EMSmastery, you can watch our video series on Remote Auditing and subscribe for new videos released each week.

#RemoteAudit, #RemoteAuditing, #ISO14001

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