How the Energy and Utility Companies Use Mobile AppsMobile apps are proving especially transformative as they come with advanced features that allow energy companies to streamline operations, monitor infrastructure, track inventory and engage customers in new ways.
Mobile Apps- Transforming the Energy and Utilities IndustriesHere’s a detailed look at how energy and utilities companies are leveraging mobile apps to facilitate a wide variety of tasks and boost customer experience.
1. Streamline Workflows and Improve Service DeliveryTraditionally, communication and collaboration on projects was downright daunting for team members as they largely depended on spreadsheet systems and paper files. It was not easy for them to send in a ticket quickly and receive a timely response especially when monitoring infrastructure or replacing faulty/damaged utility parts (think streetlights, power lines, circuits, etc.).
But thanks to mobile apps, energy and utilities companies are able to monitor infrastructure, request orders and track updates in a timely manner, thus improving service delivery. Field workers have now a wider access to remote functions, and this include document management, inventory and map updates, among others.
Ultimately, this has helped streamline fieldwork workflows and reduce the amount of supervision needed.
2. Engage ConsumersBy leveraging mobile apps, energy and utilities companies have a chance to engage their clients in new and improved ways.
They can use features such as social media features, mobile content management feature, blog feature, etc. companies can easily offer tips on how to maximize efficiency and decrease cost.
Additionally, energy companies can leverage other features such as the News feature, Live Chat, Fan Wall to engage with consumers in case of scheduled maintenance or latest developments.
Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative Crews (NOVEC), for instance, utilized the iBuildApp platform and created a mobile app for its services to provide extra convenience and information to customers especially during extreme weather or emergency situations.
The app allows customers to:
• Log in and view their account information
• Report an outage
• Read emergency alerts
• Read news releases
• Photograph damage
• Make payments with EZ-Pay
• Call or Email NOVEC Help/NOVEC Operations by taking and sending photos of damage they see on the system such as downed lines (Always from a safe distance!), graffiti on transformers, or broken streetlights right from their phone.
In essence, this free app enables consumers to report outages and seamlessly receive up-to-date restoration information. It also provides local news media with information as well.
3. Track Assets and Match DemandMobile apps are helping energy companies in tracking key machinery and matching asset demand with availability thanks to advanced features such as GPS, geographic information system (GIS) technologies, map features, etc. and, thus are driving profitability.
By utilizing GPS-enabled mobile apps, for instance, organizations have minimized truck roll expenses which burden most energy and utilities companies especially when you factor in fleet maintenance costs, labor, gas, and insurance.
Some electric companies with thousands of utility poles are tracking these poles using the map feature on their mobile apps. They’ve placed each pole on an interactive map which makes it easy for field technicians to view their location and condition.
4. Enhance Data CollectionMobile apps can be a game changer for field service technicians in regard to collecting accurate customer information while in the field. A majority of utility companies have for a long time relied on clipboards and paper files when gathering consumer-specific data which more often than not results in disorganized and inaccurate data. This gets even worse for field service technicians when it’s dark or say during bad weather conditions.
However, thanks to mobile apps, this is no longer the case. Utility companies are increasingly deploying mobile apps to facilitate data collection.
And for those utility companies that have internet of things (IoT) connected equipment, they can make use of mobile app features such as Google forms to collect all these sensor data and compile it into a single, easy-to-use interface. Analytics feature enables companies to make sense of their data and avoid problems before they happen.
For instance, if there is a damaged/faulty part which could cause a decrease in productivity, an integrated system that has IoT features and advanced mobile app features (think mobile analytics and dashboards, alert feature) could notify team members before the problem happens.
This approach, essentially, results in significant cost savings for energy companies.
5. Improve the Oil and Gas Exploration ProcessAs network bandwidth and coverage (think 5G technology) continue to increase, mobile devices are becoming more and more mainstream. This has seen a majority of oil and gas companies adopt mobile apps to improve information flow, deliver on-demand fuel intelligence, and increase field-force productivity.
Let’s have a detailed look at some of the ways oil and gas companies stand to benefit.
• Improve data collection and data management especially when it comes to inspections, condition monitoring, and assessment. With advanced technologies such as radio-frequency identification (RFID), bar coding, Photo features, video features, Google forms, etc. mobile apps have made data collection and entry easy.
Additionally, thanks to a number of advanced features within mobile apps like GPS and map features, it’s now possible for oil and gas companies to generate map overlays that show terrain, the location of previously-discovered gas and oil deposits and even U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data on the nature of a particular region.
- • Oil and gas companies have been able to simplify the compliance processes thanks to mobile apps which allow for accurate monitoring and streamlined reporting on regulatory and safety issues. Frontline managers can access reliable data in real-time and at the same time are able to quickly respond to potential compliance or safety threats.
- • Companies can now easily manage their workforce which normally comprises of hundreds of field technicians working on assignments worldwide. They are making use of mobile apps to predict demand and identify, validate, deploy, track and manage employees.
Looking AheadMany organizations are already on board with the concept of mobility and even more are hopping on board as mobile apps dominate a bulk of today’s conversations.
We believe mobile applications can be a good digital strategy when it comes to improving every aspect of operations in the energy and utilities sectors.
Feel free to try iBuildApp features and create your company mobile app.
Also please let us know about what other features you think are important.