Technology is Growing in Importance With the Emerging Utilities Workforce

Technologies are used by our utilities workforce on a daily basis to enhance field service and customer service.

Technologies are used by our utilities workforce on a daily basis to enhance field service and customer service. This month’s Utility Products brings you two feature articles that discuss how mobile geographic information systems (GIS) assist utility field crews and the importance of digital technology to the emerging utilities workforce.

Jon Fairchild’s article, “Arrival of the Utility Scale Mobile Geographic Information System,” outlines how recent advancements in technology offer mobile solutions for utility field crews that provide reliable offline access to asset GIS information and are scalable to the data and user requirements of any size utility. In addition, these solutions offer a low cost of ownership, enabling utilities to support critical business processes in a time of tighter budgets.

“The Growing Importance of Digital Technology to the Emerging Utilities Workforce,” by Marne Martin, discusses how, as deregulated and utility organizations face increasing competition and higher customer expectations, they are also challenged with many new technologies. Martin addresses the emerging issues regarding workforce technicians and why utilities must stay abreast of new digital technologies.

This issue also brings you an informative lineup of product focus articles. In “Mobile Apps for Field Data Collection,” how mobile field data collection can enhance essential daily job functions is presented. When a utility has the right technology for the job, important daily functions become accessible and data collection is magnified, it’s reported.

And Ken Fridley’s article, “Assuring Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’s Networks,” discusses utilities’ demands for reliable, secure and fast networks to protect their systems. The article outlines Ethernet migration challenges, network misconfigurations, service management quality, detailed service testing and time-division multiplexing migration challenges. And, as Fridley points out, when selecting test tools, it is important to specify solutions that support Ethernet, legacy transport and analog transmission test interfaces commonly found in the network.

Another great article is Charles Clement’s “Polyethylene vs. Porcelain Insulators.” Clement reviews the pros and cons of porcelain insulators and how polyethylene insulators can withstand years of abuse-outliving and outperforming porcelain. Although porcelain insulators have a life expectancy of 50 years or longer, they are fragile. High-density polyethylene insulators are lightweight and durable, and offer a field life expectancy beyond the 50 years of porcelain insulators. In addition, polyethylene is environmentally friendly and 100 percent recyclable.

John Tabor

Associate Editor

johnt@pennwell.com

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