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Scaling the Possibilities of Utility Technologies

When it comes to running services for an entire city, state, or even country utility companies are king.  Maximizing resources, improving productivity, and maintaining customer satisfaction are keys to their success, especially when so many people are all depending on your services to be trusted and stable. When you take into account that water, electric, and gas utility companies have been operating using the same process for nearly 100 years you begin to see how the need for “the right technology” is a must. Since the world’s first public electricity supply in 1881 the industry management processes have changed very little. For most standard utility companies as many as 2/3 of employees work in the field. With world electricity consumption predicted to increase by 87% over the next two decades, it’s time for a change in operations. Outdated methods, such as paperwork or phone calls from dispatchers, for utility companies are no longer efficient enough to keep up with industry demand. The solution to this problem comes in the form of mobile utility workforce management solutions that are empowering cutting-edge water, electric, and gas companies of all sizes – along with their service contractors and providers – to meet these new global demands.

Mobile applications assist in implementing a cohesive system for communication for many companies, whether it’s accomplished through integrated solutions or BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) which has seen steady growth in adoption for organizations since the mid 2000’s. In particular the growth dispatch technologies have helped utility companies accomplish more than ever before. When field workers and dispatch are integrated with mobile technologies both parties are instantly notified when there is an issue. In the case of an outage or a system failure, technicians are able to plan and prioritize their workload in order to provide the highest level of service and operate in real-time between the office and the customers needs. Frequency of power outages has increased by 125% during the last 15 years. As the number of outages continues to grow due to weather extremes such as thermal expansion so does the customer’s expectations. Cloud based applications and offline technology allow for communication to occur even during the most extreme weather conditions. Applications such as SmartField from MobileLogix predicts arrival times + or – 30 minutes with 96% consistency. Outage management technologies give dispatch and technicians information on where the outage is, what caused the problem, and how to fix the issue. When dispatchers no longer have to relay information to field workers they are able to instead spend their time notifying customers with predictive work completion times.

Success in the field can most often be attributed to vehicle tracking using GPS locating software. This added technology helps reduce operational costs while increasing productivity. Locating the nearest technician is the first step in completing a job efficiently. Utilities are used by nearly every geographic location therefore important to have tech’s strategically spread out throughout the area. When a crew of technicians are chosen based off of their current location you are reducing gas cost and travel time. Using a field service management solution you can predict with 98% percent accuracy when a problem will occur and how long the job will take to complete. Technicians are no longer sitting around waiting for their next job because mobile applications are constantly being updated with real time jobs close to them. These jobs can range from preventative to emergency repairs. Utilities are some of the populations most basic needs therefore efficient service is a priority. Mobile applications are also being used as an automated way of collecting field data that can then be analyzed and used to optimize your company’s potential and track trends in the utility industry.

The utilities management industry is expected to grow 20.35% from 2016-2021. Utility companies that strive to reduce operating costs, improve job quality, and increase customer satisfaction should incorporate a field management dispatch solution. Mobile applications and technologies give any utility company an upper hand in delivering quality service. Automating field service management can improve utility companies productivity by 12%. In return you can see a 27% increase in service profitability.  In a time where the utility industry is in such transition there is no reason not to consider implementing dispatch management.