How Rugged Tablets for Utility Workers Facilitate Faster Recovery After a Storm

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As storm season continues in the Atlantic, utility companies brace themselves for the next big incident. Whether it’s hurricanes in Florida, tornadoes in Texas, or flash floods in the Gulf, utility workers have to continually be prepared for working overtime to bring systems back online in the case of outages – and that means they need the best technology to assist them.

Today’s fast-response utility work crews require reliable mobile devices to streamline their processes, from managing service calls, to coordinating preventative actions between field teams and centralized plants, to conducting fast remedial outage efforts. Rugged tablets are becoming a primary source of diagnostic and repair-related data, as they are mobile, easy to use, well connected, and resistant against environmental obstacles such as extreme heat, unforgiving humidity, and torrential rains.

When temperatures soar to a hundred and twenty degrees outside, the interior of a utility work truck can tip the needle at one hundred forty, but a mounted rugged tablet will take the heat and still prevent throttling of processor power or device failure. Fanless designs mean dirt, dust, and mud are not an issue, and water resistant design fights back against rain and humidity.

Linemen can depend on rugged tablets to provide consistent support in the field, relaying real time data and delivering schematics on demand. Core work processes such as asset management and dispatch can be improved to enhance productivity and efficiency, delivering faster results and less downtime.  Every field worker who has a rugged tablet in hand is empowered with diagnostic tools to help them complete their tasks faster and more effectively.

A mobile-centric strategy is not only a way to improve day-to-day grid management but can be crucial to meeting customer expectations in a time of crisis. Rugged tablets become not just an option but a necessary tool for minimizing the effect of outages and getting systems back online as quickly as possible.  

Dispatch management becomes more effective than ever with improved route planning. Real-time collaboration between field teams and experts “in case of complicated errors in the system appearing during diagnostics appear make it easier to resolve issue on the fly. Actions can be expedited to reduce the duration of outage periods, with communication between all parties maintained throughout each recovery operation.

Adding rugged tablets to utility workers’ field kits is one of the most effective ways of improving recovery times during and after a severe weather event. Mobility plus real time communication is key to delivering excellence in customer service and keeping residents safe and rescue teams effective.

Utility Field Workers are Driving Demand for Mobile Tech

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Businesses are mobilizing at a rapid rate to stay competitive in industry after industry. Tablets are a staple of today’s workplace, having become indispensable to certain workers during the BYOD revolution. Now, organizations in every vertical are making rugged, portable tech another budgeted for item, thanks to the demand for connectivity and mobility for workers on the go.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the utilities vertical. The tablet revolution is not limited to the office cubicle or the busy regional managers travelling constantly between locations. Rugged tablets are being deployed in field service industries in increasing numbers so field workers can interact with clients, perform diagnostics, collect data and communicate with both their home base and other workers in the field more effectively.

Utility worker use of tablet tech has led to improved productivity, better real-time information access and decision making, and reduced operating costs overall. This is a boon at a time when many smaller infrastructures are struggling to keep up with the demands of a growing grid.

Having tablets in the field requires choosing devices developed with challenging environments in mind, including temperature changes, drops from a height, dust and debris, and other hazards. Rugged tablets are only a wise investment if they can stand up to these harsh environments without quickly becoming unusable or obsolete.

The number one advantage of rugged tablets for utility workers is mobility; with dependable connectivity, weight and dimensions that encourage handheld use or vehicle mounting with ease, and superlative touch capabilities, tablet tech is proving ideal for field service workers who may need to transport themselves and their device to many different sites on a daily basis.

While the cost of outfitting an entire crew with rugged tablets may seem like a large expenditure, the payoff can be enormous. With the right tablet, productivity and efficiency can be exponentially increased, and with built in resistance to obsolescence, the need for replacement will generally take place long after the tablet has earned back its initial cost.

With long battery life and superior data entry functions, tablets can be taken by the utility field worker up a pole, in and out of vehicles, into customer service settings, and on the street to locate water mains and buried lines for telecom and power. The portable design of a tablet is integrated with specialized tools for field service applications that can be utilized for reading meters, accessing billing information and troubleshooting guides, managing work order and assets, and collecting diagnostic data live with results uploaded directly into a reporting system in real time.

For many utility companies, rugged tablets have become a key part of their field service team. Automated data capture, real time communication with other personnel, and improved customer satisfaction are signs that rugged tablet tech for utility use is here to stay.