Recently, Panasonic exhibited at DistribuTECH 2010, an electric transmission and distribution conference that covers automated and control systems, energy efficiency, engineering, demand response, power delivery equipment and water utility technology. This was an ideal venue for Panasonic because utilities companies were early adopters of rugged mobile computing technology due to the fact that their mobile employees conduct mission critical work, often in extreme conditions. The show was a great opportunity to introduce new form factors created with utilities in mind, such as the H1 Field, which sparked a lot of interest from attendees.
According to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), 90% of weather-related outages are caused by trees hitting power lines, making vegetation management an integral part of any utility’s business. In the last three to four years, FERC has introduced additional regulations; one stating that by 2012, utilities should supply 95% of all customers with absolute, uninterrupted power 99.999% of the time.
These regulations show a need for innovation within the utility sector and a greater call for vegetation management. To address this issue, we partnered on a presentation at DistribuTECH with vegetation management specialist Henry King of ArborMetrics Solutions Company Inc. ArborMetrics has deployed convertible tablet Toughbook 19s to its mobile workforce which operates in 12 states, often in remote forests locations only accessible on foot.
During our presentation, “Automating Vegetation Management,” we discussed the value of rugged mobile computers to the utility workforce, focusing on how connectivity can provide field employees with the latest work orders and information, thus maximizing worker productivity. Additionally, Henry discussed the challenges and benefits of transitioning his workforce from pen and paper to a wireless mobile computing solution.
The deployment surpassed the company’s goals and has now become a benchmark for other initiatives with parent company, Asplundh Tree Expert Co. Some of these topics are addressed in a video case study we recently developed, which can be found here.
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Did you attend DistribuTECH? If so, let us know your thoughts below.