Utilities have the potential to change their operations for the better through a careful application of new technology. This can take many forms, and as the momentum behind new deployments builds, organizations will likely find value in embracing multiple types of long-term upgrades at once, communication included.
The latest advancements in the telecommunications field are digitally enabled, with direct links to real-time data from a utility’s infrastructure. Prioritizing these new deployments can deliver numerous advantages, adding more urgency to the overall digitization of the utilities sector. This process, which has seen an uptick in interest in recent years, represents a fundamental operational shift.
What is the state of digitization in utilities?
Considering the reach and complexity of utility networks, it may be surprising how slow the industry has been to integrate digital innovations. However, as Bain & Company’s Julian Critchlow and Jason Glickman wrote for Forbes, the forces including ingrained business models and the regulatory climate have kept electricity providers coupled to their legacy systems. Fortunately, recent years have seen executives recognize the value of greater digital engagement. Infrastructure upgrades are now an urgent agenda item across the utilities sector.
Power Engineering International noted that a new engagement with digital technologies in the electricity sector must involve employee engagement at all levels. From board member buy-in to the understanding and support of all teams throughout a company, commitment to transformation may be the most important element to help a utility embrace a new operational model.
Once leadership has secured support and commitment from employees, it’s time to actually roll out new value-adding innovations. A refreshed set of communications technologies and enterprise systems could represent a sound investment, enabling additional employee capabilities.
How does digitized utility communication improve performance?
Utilities that have invested in digitization can add Outage Management Systems (OMS) as part of an overall communication refresh. These utility software tools allow personnel to access data from a connected network to determine exactly when and where outages have occurred. These employees can effectively dispatch field teams to deal with the problems, sending information directly from the centralized network.
The communication tools associated with the OMS allow offices to connect with their linemen and other field personnel, while there are also interactive voice response components that connect staff members with the public, delivering updates on the outage and efforts to restore service.
Digital communication’s simultaneous ability to roll out consumer updates and provide detailed internal information to linemen makes an effective case for digitization. Information systems that help utilities pinpoint and respond to outages deliver an improved internal workflow and a better customer experience. Both forms of communication take place through mobile apps, one for the public and the other providing a two-way contact method for field crews.
If your utility organization is curious about the general value of digitization or the more specific improvements that come with updated and streamlined communication methods, contact DataVoice today or check out the success stories of companies that have already made the leap.