There are three technical issues that inhibit remote sensory analysis data collection. Confirmation of the respondent, security of the data and enforcement of good sensory analysis practice. In April of 2001, Compusense introduced Compusense commuter, a technology designed to deliver Compusense® five sensory questionnaires anywhere and in any language.
The ability to control the presentation of samples and the order and flow of questions was assured by using the original sensory analysis software. The method of keeping the data secure and ensuring the identity of the panellist is relatively simple. The test is encrypted for distribution as an e-mail attachment or download. The test can only be run on computers with commuter Station or Player installed. The respondent must identify themselves with a login and PIN number.
Once the test is completed, the data are transmitted electronically as an encrypted file that is only readable by the originator of the sensory test. Literally any sensory or consumer test can be conducted this way. In May 2001, a Compusense commuter field test was conducted by Mary Gearing, Director of Market Research of Rich’s Products, Buffalo NY, in Shanghai, China. She designed an English-language test which was then translated by Rich’s associates in China into Chinese.
The Chinese-language project was put into a commuter presentation and emailed to Shanghai. The Rich’s team conducted sensory tests on five products on May 28th. After two days of testing they emailed the commuter files to Compusense, who quickly integrated the result files into the English-language project files. The results were returned to the Rich’s team in Shanghai. Ms. Gearing was able to brief Rich’s associates with the benefit of statistically analyzed results, complete with cross-tabs, within hours of completing the test. Conventional technology would have required weeks to accomplish the same result.
Findlay, C.J. (2002). Compusense® commuter. In The Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting + Food Expo 2002. Technical program: Fortification, nutrition, testing and computers. June 16-19, Anaheim, CA, USA.