My Camera App is Better than Your Camera App.  Why Mobile Device Features Should Matter to Utilities.

Utility field crews depend on mobile technology to get their work done.A reliable network connection, mobile computing device and software are essential to streamline inspections, improve asset tracking and ensure successful work order automation.

But, to fully empower utility field workers, a mobile computing device should be more than just reliable –it should be productivity enhancing. Mobile device features and accessories greatly impact productivity levels – which is why it is crucial to understand how your utility technicians work and define what features and accessories will be required to be most productive.

For example, storm damage assessment and general field inspection often require field workers to take pictures of damage in the field.Having a functioning camera is one thing, but having an integrated camera application that makes it easy to capture, document and share photos is even better. Tablet PC Camera Application Aurora Energy uses a rugged tablet with an integrated camera to capture images of faults and issues out in the field, redlining and annotating them before shooting them back to the office for other staff to investigate. They are also looking into using the integrated GPS unit to geocode the photos.

A camera is just one example of many integrated features and accessories from which your utility workers could benefit.Many utility crews regularly use bar code scanners, RFID, UHF and magnetic stripe readers to complete their work. And, most utility workers need to exit the vehicle with their mobile device, so carrying cases also need to be considered. What about battery life?How will batteries be stored, charged and changed on the job?Don’t forget to think about how a worker will get their devices in the morning.How will batteries be charged overnight? How will keyboards and other items be distributed?

Once a list of requirements is defined it’s time to do some comparisons and decision making.In your research you will find mobile devices that feature a variety of integrated features and also offer a line of accessories.It is important to study the features and accessories offered.Ask questions like “how robust is this camera application?”“Are the accessories designed and manufactured by the same company or are they 3 rd party?”“What security features are included on this device?”“How is the wireless connectivity?”

There are major differences in mobile devices for utilities.Doing your homework on features and accessories will greatly impact productivity.

To find out more information on mobile device selection for utilities, click here.