Giving your lineman teams access to the latest technology tools is a way to accomplish several major goals simultaneously. Modern IT deployments allow you to give field personnel direct access to data, which helps them resolve outages and other issues more quickly and efficiently. That means both improved customer satisfaction and a greater chance that all linemen will return safely, having completed their jobs in less time – and with less uncertainty.
Mobile Apps’ Efficiency-Building Features Help Linemen
Today’s utilities have access to more detailed data than ever before. This information shouldn’t be limited to offices. Mobile applications for smartphones and tablets put that data into the field, where personnel can understand the situation in real time.
During emergencies such as outages, these lineman apps are especially effective. With an outage map that uses Google Maps as its basis, a modern lineman app can direct teams to the exact site of a disruption. Rather than having to contact the office through phone or radio, the crew can simply pull up the same real-time data informing managers’ decision-making.
Even when there isn’t an outage ongoing, the navigation features of a lineman app can help teams get where they’re needed. Auditing meters, inspecting or collecting assets, assessing minor damage to the grid or performing routine vegetation management – all of these functions are simpler and more efficient to complete when the next goal is clearly marked on a real-time map accessible through a smart device.
After completing a task, there is normal administrative work for linemen to complete. This has traditionally meant filing paperwork to mark a service ticket, work order or inspection request as done. When that functionality is integrated directly into the linemen’s app, however, it’s a matter of seconds. While still on the scene, personnel can check off the request, letting the office know the work is complete and saving time for themselves.
Greater Oversight Equals Greater Safety
Not only does a more tech-enabled approach to field work help the job get done more quickly and efficiently, the increased visibility and communication also comes with extra safety benefits. Employees in the office can keep a watch on their field teams as they approach potentially dangerous areas during the course of power restoration and outage management.
Automatic vehicle location (AVL) technology provides information on where trucks are at any given time, as well as which direction they are traveling and in what direction. In addition to making this real-time data available, AVL systems can make logs, to ensure there is a record of crews’ activities. Integrating the systems with other tech tools such as maintenance scheduling systems allows offices to ensure their field personnel are properly prepared and equipped at all times.
Greater technology integration throughout utility operations can give everyone the tools they need to perform their roles quicker and with greater confidence. The efficiency or safety benefits alone would be worth the upgrade. The fact that both advantages go hand in hand makes technology investment a must for today’s utilities.