Mobility applications have evolved to the point that some utilities have been able to completely eliminate the use of paper in the field. Screens may be customized to accommodate any desired report functions from meter changes to service requests to scheduled inspections and maintenance so that all data for reporting is captured electronically in the field and redundant data entry is eliminated. Taking these capabilities a step further provides real-time updates to the back office so that service managers, as well as asset and outage managers, can have real-time visibility from the most direct contact in the field — the inspector, the lineman, or other field worker.
Providing remote access to facilities information through a database linked with a GIS to show network connectivity gives field crews the information they need to do their work — resulting in fewer calls or trips to the office for missing information. With the right mobile applications, real-time service optimization becomes possible. Updates from the field can be combined with accurate GPS location information and then translated into scheduling and decision-making algorithms to fill idle time or delay low-priority work.