The role of technology in developing a connected workforce in electrical utilities

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August 19, 2020By Bob Benstead

There’s no denying that the today’s business climate is in a state of flux. Whether that be due to new technologies or a transforming workforce – the fact remains clear that in order to succeed, businesses need to effectively leverage their greatest asset – their people. The importance of electrical utilities using a connected workforce model cannot be underpinned.

At its core, a connected workforce relies on a few factors including embracing modern mobile and data driven technology while providing an environment that fosters employee satisfaction. Every business wants to increase revenue and productivity while reducing cost and employee turnover, but to accomplish these objectives, a holistic approach is needed.

We know that almost every facet of technology is changing seemingly at the speed of light, but it’s a subset of technology that really empowers a connected workforce. Historically, at the end of the day, technicians would be required to summarize their activities with handwritten notes or the completion of manual forms, and later re-enter it into the system. This lengthy process is time consuming and an ineffective use of their time, and ultimately sets the stage for untraceable errors. Obviously, a mobile work environment plays a huge role in connecting employees. The ability for electrical utilities to work from any device at any time and in any location is key to increasing operational efficiency and productivity while reducing errors. Harnessing the power of a mobile environment provides access to real time data that facilitates quick response to critical issues and enables decisions to be made easily and with confidence. Mobile technology is more robust today than ever. With a multitude of capabilities, utilities field workers can, for example, leverage GIS functionality to pinpoint individual inspection locations and identify the shortest routes with navigation technology. Furthermore, supervisors can easily monitor the real-time physical location of all technicians to assist with ad hoc schedule changes necessary to address shifting deadlines while maximizing a technician’s time.

But modern technology doesn’t have to be all about software. The utilities industry has made great strides in adopting other types of technology that connects the workforce, while improving productivity and reducing disruption. Drones, for example, have had a huge impact on electrical utilities. These futuristic looking flying machines have the capacity to improve efficiency and reduce costs while enhancing security and improving safety. They can seamlessly access areas that would be difficult and dangerous for humans to enter and are easily able to collect and report back the necessary data.

In our next blog, we will discuss how crucial the human element is for electrical utilities when developing a connected workforce.

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