Helping Utility Field Workers Become More Efficient
With mobile communications, utilities are becoming more responsive and enabling field workers to accomplish more. This issue of Utility Products brings you a great lineup of feature articles that discuss how mobile communications are changing the workplace and how utilities can benefit. Nick Cadwgan’s article, “Connecting the New Digital Utility,” outlines trends that are impacting the utility sector and how embracing digital technologies can help support those trends. “The convergence of IT and operational technologies that use data from the network and devices, such as digital sensors, to drive process automation and increased performance will be essential for the connected digital utility,” Cadwgan reports.
Stacey Epstein’s article, “How Smart Mobile Communication can Help Utility Companies Serve Their Customers When They Need it Most,” discusses how everyone is a utilities customer—and when everyone is your customer, customer service matters. “On a daily basis, the underlying key to success in the utility sector is good mobile communication—which enables the dissemination of critical information in real time, allows employees to communicate and solve problems, and ultimately results in the best service for customers in need,” Epstein says. And, when workers are able to communicate better, they are able to work better.
“Online GIS and Mobile Applications Capture Reliable Data in the Field,” by Stacey Hartmann, takes a look at CH2M’s Trimble Catalyst—a subscription-based software-defined Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver for Android devices, an application for collecting data in the field. “Commercially available since July, Trimble Catalyst integrates with a wide range of applications and provides a dual-frequency, multi-constellation receiver picking up signals from the plug-and-play Trimble DA1 digital antenna,” Hartmann reports.
And Mark Holleran’s article, “Internet of Things is Here. Are Your Field Workers Equipped with the Right Technology?,” addresses how the IOT is changing utility field workers’ jobs. With thousands of apps for IoT in the utility industry that complement smart meters and contribute to a smarter grid, utilities must understand how the information that’s generated can be leveraged to fully harness the power of all the data provided. Holleran examines the role IoT data and devices have in field workers’ day-to-day operations and discusses where utilities should start when offering digital technology to field workers.
Another feature article is “Three Flame-resistant Trends Worth Trying” by Mark Saner. Recent FR clothing trends—such as FR denim, high-visibility FR apparel, and FR workwear designed specifically for women—are making FR protection more effective, comfortable and convenient. Denim is still an option for the utilities industry when it meets OSHA’s protective requirements. Saner reports that while early FR and arc-rated jeans did not always match the level of comfort and style provided by their non-FR counterparts, a variety of improvements have been made in recent years.
This issue also brings you a great lineup of product focus articles. Take a look at eight essential components for energy meters; how the smart meter started the data revolution; what mud motors are, how they work, and how they can increase efficiency and profitability; how labels can improve safety and productivity in the workplace; encouraging employees to act safely by leading through empowerment; creating the foundation for a shared safety vision; and how choosing the right power tools and accessories can make your job easier.