With its ruggedness, powerful processing, connectivity, and communication capabilities, today’s rugged computers make utility fieldwork vastly more efficient, allowing utility technicians to perform tasks in the field that previously could only be completed in an office.
Here are five of the areas where rugged computers can help increase productivity and save time and money for utility field workers.
1. Meter data collection
Meter reading technicians that travel by vehicle and on foot can collect meter dial data and perform routine maintenance tasks on electric, water and gas meters with rugged tablets and PDAs.
These can be docked in vehicle cradles to help technicians navigate to job sites or communicate with dispatchers, then can be carried and used to collect field data and send work order status updates.
Handheld computers are powerful navigation and data collection tools that feature built-in GPS, wireless broadband connectivity, cameras, and scanners for reading barcodes and RFID tags.
Utility personnel relies on strong communication tools to convey critical data among dispatch, infrastructure assessment teams, and maintenance and repair crews.
From service connection or disconnection requests to outages and disruptions, rugged handhelds produce faster responses and better communication by enabling real-time status updates, work order submissions, and subscriber alerts.
Rugged mobile devices can help keep field service workers connected over cellular broadband as well as via BT, WLAN and wired devices such as external antennas —even for gas utility techs working in remote areas.
3. Infrastructure GIS mapping
Rugged handhelds provide accurate GPS location data and GIS mapping for infrastructure assets such as buried water, power and gas utility lines, telephone wires and CATV cables.
Technicians use these tools to easily identify, locate and maintain assets in a variety of urban, rural and remote settings.
Built-in GPS, rugged design, sunlight readability, and fast processing speed make it possible to view and manipulate detailed maps and visuals even in remote locations.
4. Asset lifecycle management
A large part of utility work involves managing and maintaining utility infrastructure assets — including infrastructure inspections, scheduled maintenance, damage repair, and asset inventory management.
Asset lifecycle management technicians use their rugged tablets and PDAs to schedule maintenance and repair work, identify and resolve service interruptions, track equipment and vehicles, and document asset condition for safety audits and compliance reporting.
Data collection and documentation are also being made simple thanks to sunlight-readable touchscreen technology, physical keypad entry, high-resolution camera capture, and scanning capabilities.
5. Customer service
Scheduling and fulfilling customer service requests have never been easier than now, thanks to the technology that allows utility workers to instantly access all their critical information and communicate with stakeholders from a single device.
Completing work orders, tracking vehicle locations, navigating to job sites and sending status updates with rugged mobile computers also increases productivity and efficiency.
Using rugged computers, utility service providers have seen massive increases in information accuracy, timeliness of work order completion, and resolution of customer satisfaction issues — all of which save time, money and resources and enhance the customer experience.
Learn more about the advantages of using rugged mobile computers in All about rugged.