A software application that allows produce inspectors at packing houses to use electronic tablets to assess the quality of fruits and vegetables has expanded its availability to include a wider range of mobile devices.
Lotpath Inc., a tenant in the new Bitwise South Stadium technology center in downtown Fresno, announced that it has released versions of its Lotpath Inspector app for Apple iPhones and Android smartphones and tablets. For the past several years, the app was only available for Apple iPad tablets, said Jed Soberal, who handles sales and marketing for the company.
“Growers don’t want any surprises. They want to know what price they’re likely to get for their product, but a lot of times they don’t know until it’s sold at retail,” said Soberal. In fields or on packinghouse sorting lines, inspectors can use their smartphone or tablet to take photos of produce as it’s being harvested or packed and assess the quality or grade of the shipment and the price the fruit may command based on appearance or blemishes. The photos can be uploaded to Lotpath Quality, another piece of software, to compile a quality-control database that helps shippers track products.
In another use, Soberal said some packinghouses are using Lotpath Inspector as a double-check for electronic sorting equipment that kicks out subpar pieces of produce. “They’re doing cull-bin inspections; if their sorting equipment is sending good fruit off the line, they can look at that and recalibrate the sorter,” Soberal said.
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Soberal added that while the app is in use by packers worldwide, “this was built for Central Valley packers and shippers” and the bulk of the users are in the agriculture-rich San Joaquin Valley.
Lotpath CEO Mike Dodson said the software initially was available only for Apple’s iPad tablets because “that’s the device our customers wanted to use to perform produce inspections.”
“Since then, many produce companies have implemented ‘Bring your own device’ policies and the requests started coming in asking us to support other mobile devices,” Dodson added.
The software and online storage for inspection data are available free for individual farmers and on a monthly subscription basis to produce packers and shippers. Details: lotpath.com.