Welcome to the October 2018 edition of Utility Products. Our feature article this month explores how to leverage mobile technology to foster a cohesive, collaborative environment across your utility business. As author Greg Norris notes on page 4, mobile devices are just as common as hardhats on today’s job sites. The right devices with the right software can really streamline operational processes, modernizing traditionally paper-based tasks and saving valuable time and resources.
The digital multimeter (or DMM) is arguably the most ubiquitous piece of test equipment in an electrician’s arsenal. But make no mistake: this handy little gadget has come a long way, with lots of new features that were unimaginable when this device was first invented. On page 8, author Jeff Jowett digs into a few of these advances — like a two-wire phase rotation indicator, and (my personal favorite) non-contact live detection.
Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) has changed the way utilities interact with customers, making one-way communication a thing of the past. As Kate Rowland explains on page 12, there is growing interest in personal demand side management (DSM) for a more individualized customer program and to encourage energy savings. And it all begins with meter data.
For utilities both large and small, emergency incidents and outages can strike unexpectedly and impact much — if not all — of a service area. When that happens, customers typically want to speak with a live person. On page 15, Wally Sherer discusses how call center outsourcing is one way to be prepared to respond to customers.
Power line theft and tampering costs over $96 billion a year worldwide in electricity theft alone. It can also create power supply disruption and operational losses for supply companies and national grids. Author Richard Kluth discusses a sensing system from Bandweaver that uses one fiber in a standard fiber optic cable to detect intrusion and disruption of overhead power lines. Turn to page 18 to learn more.
Today’s utility workers are no strangers to extreme environments, but they are under greater pressure than ever to meet their companies’ productivity and customer satisfaction goals. Rugged mobile devices are playing an important role in helping them meet these evolving demands. On page 20, Jo Satili outlines some key ways in which the versatility and durability of rugged mobile devices are supporting the disruptive nature of the utilities industry.
As a result of what’s become known as the “Amazon Effect,” consumers today are demanding shorter fulfillment cycles and speedier deliveries. Authors Rich Mohr and Gary Allen discuss how telematics technologies — like real-time exception handling routing and analytics — are helping companies navigate in the “now economy.” Read the full article on page 23.
As in every issue, we’ve compiled dozens of the latest and greatest utility products to hit the market in our New Products Showcase, starting on page 25.
We hope you enjoy this edition of Utility Products. Thanks for reading!
– Angela Godwin, Chief Editor