The January issue of Utility Products features our “2015 Products of the Year,” which highlights product announcements that received the most response during 2015. All products featured in the magazine are relevant, and this section presents a variety of product spotlights: vehicle docking station, wireless phaser, cable blowing machine, truck caps, fall and trip protection, wheel loaders, crimping tool, worklight, static discharge grounding reels, cable stripping tool and insulation resistance tester.
This issue also offers a great lineup of product focus articles. Bob Ashenbrenner’s article, “Rugged Tablets Set New Standard for Smart Mobility,” discusses how, as utility professionals are under constant pressure to keep services online at all times, new rugged tablets are available that will provide durability and fast performance under pressure. Rugged tablets now come standard with up to 20 hours of battery life; 10 inch-plus outdoor viewable screens, 4G LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity; multiple built-in, weatherproof I/O ports; and other features that allow utility technicians to plug in their diagnostics tools and share data in the worst of weather. However, just issuing these rugged and weatherproof tablets to field technician won’t guarantee full participation in new mobile systems. “Utilities must invest in employee training and be prepared to adjust tactics based on feedback from the field,” Ashenbrenner reports.
“Turning to iPads and a Mobile App: Helping Keep Nebraska’s Lights On,” by Pat Smith, outlines how new technologies are changing field mobility for utility companies. Smith addresses how Thompson Electric discovered a company’s mobile application development platform to use as their new cloud-based workforce management app that has greatly enhanced field service dispatch, work ticket management, route creation and route optimization-resulting in reduced overhead, labor costs and fuel costs.
Another great product focus article is “Prevent Outages and Improve Reliability With Reliaguard Powerline Wildlife Covers.” Every electric utility’s goal is to deliver safe and reliable electric service, and unplanned outages can damage their reputation. Recovering from animal-related outages costs utility companies an average of $15 million to $18 million annually, but there is a product that installs quickly and doesn’t allow gaps that permit animal intrusion in the first place-ReliaGuard. Developed by Marty Niles who has 25 years of experience in the field as a power lineman, Niles saw animal contact over the years and witnessed what linemen liked and disliked, and created ReliaGuard to eliminate the damage and disruption that bird and animal-caused outages cause.
Brynna King’s article, “For Good Measure,” discusses how rugged technology helps geographic information system professionals calculate utility pole measurement for telecom companies. Adding a specific company’s equipment to a utility pole isn’t easy; before placement, companies must submit applications in compliance with NESC regulations. “These applications include more than a dozen measurements and calculations that help determine whether a pole can support the proposed attachments,” King reports. With the handheld Nautiz X8 rugged computer, fieldworkers can store and manage the data they collect-improving efficiency and increasing profits.
In addition, check out two other important articles that address how to reduce grid outages with asset performance management and why your physical security system is missing a crucial element.