Innovative Tools for Field Workers

Goals

Top identify new and innovative or recent technologies/tools that are available for utility/communications industry field crew/service and or line technicians, including examples of use.

Early Findings

While we were able to find several innovations aimed at utilities companies, technology innovations aimed at line technicians in the utility and communications fields were not readily available. We scored through different industry websites such as Bain, Doxee, Forbes, and Ecoconsultancy but information mostly talked about the utility's industry as a whole, with no specific information about innovations aimed specifically at line technicians/field crew. We also tried to go through several websites that specifically feature tools that were recognized as innovative but most of those rankings featured hand tools that were either simply reinforced or had better characteristics.

Smart Grids

  • According to Bain, utility companies are focusing their innovative efforts on how to better regulate the electricity capacity and to reduce the amount of wasted energy.
  • An example of a company that has committed to the development of such a "smart grid" is Duke Energy Indiana. They will deploy the use of digital technology to save energy by reducing the voltage output, bolster system reliability and improve customer service.
  • The smart grid would also allow the company to continuously monitor the flow of electricity and potentially prevent outages.

"Factory in the field"

  • Bain also argues that companies have started to realize that the constant repairs to the utilities systems causes more harm in the long run. That's why companies have started to look more and more towards the models applied by manufacturing companies and have started concentrating on improving automation in the field to reduce errors and potentially prevent problems from happening and to be able to better manage the grids.

Hand tools

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