How mobile technology helps utilities during extremely bad weather:
- Digitize inspections and work orders
- Incident Reporting – First Responders
- Damage Appraisal
- Mutual Assistance, volunteers and more
Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. – John Ruskin
Not really. There is bad weather and then there are the snow storms and hurricanes that routinely sweep through utility service territories. Recent times have been no exception. Standard Operating Procedures are in place to handle most of these situations – linemen and other field crew are joined by back-office staff deputed to the field, along with first responders, volunteers and mutual assistance on a virtually 24 x 7 basis to handle almost anything that shows up.
And mobile technology can help. Here are 4 ways in which utilities – large and small – are putting cloud-mobile technology from Connixt to immediate use – with no IT overhead and minimum training needs for the field crew. These utilities are looking beyond 2-way radios, heavy laptops and paper to deliver outstanding service on the field while enhancing safety.
1. Digitize inspections and work orders.
Mobile apps like iMarq replace much of the paper-work and manual processing related to inspections, maintenance and related operations. Work orders, inspection checklists, facilities and station information, assignments by employee, warranty terms and conditions are all digitized and available on any standard smartphone or tablet. iMarq’s ready integration with existing systems ensures that all relevant information is available real-time on the field. More importantly, any updates they make are instantly captured and automatically entered into back-end systems.
2. Incident Reporting – First Responders
Providing first responders with mobile solutions like iMarq – specifically configured for incident reporting – instantly provides them a convenient and fast way to coordinate with the utility when responding to incidents on the field. Avoiding inherent problems caused by missed phone calls, working through dispatchers or other third parties, iMarq now ensures that geo-tagged information from the first responder is immediately available to the utility’s incident center.
3. Damage Appraisal
Field teams, mutual assistance and even members of public serve armed with iMarq can now capture geo-tagged pictures and descriptions of damage from the field. These are available real-time to the incident command center for immediate review and action.
4. Mutual Assistance, volunteers and more
Taking advantage of iMarq’s self-service provisioning capability, iMarq is the system of management and record for crews providing assistance. The crew can be onboarded on the field without loading the utility’s back-end system, with appropriate time and geo-location validity. Once on-boarded, the mutual assistance crew can now create (and fulfill) ad hoc jobs when necessary. The utility can track the location of each newly onboarded worker, dispatch work orders (from its outage management system or dispatch center), provide safety information and confirm tailboards, and provide near real-time situational awareness to the Incident Command Center. Additionally, iMarq serves as a record of time and people working.
There are many reasons to look at cloud-mobile solutions to manage extreme weather conditions and emergencies: easy provisioning, persistence, safe and secure data in the cloud, and the use of those cell-towers which are usually the only means to communicate during emergencies + the ability to work offline. Yet, the biggest reasons utilities use mobile on the field are non-technical – they are always available, intuitive and actually make life on the field easier for your crew, while substantially enhancing the value delivered to your customers.