Ed West, Director - Information Services, Dairyland Power Cooperative
Challenges in technology to meet needs of the utility sector
1. We are being challenged to decrease development cycles and increase user involvement in the development. This is going well but now QA is being impacted and we are beginning to task some admin staff in QA (not users) since we cannot increase head count.
2. We are providing tablets to field staff which will provide updated information (in place of paper maps and system information). The tablets can run Citrix which can serve all office applications including timesheets, but the Citrix environment is not very touch friendly and using applications is less than optimal. Our plan is to provide mobile apps in the future, however, in the mean time, some of our critical applications that exist in the Citrix environment are difficult to use on tablets.
Technologies to address the challenges in the Utility sector
Dairyland is using GIS data to provide field staff with maps on laptops in vehicles that have Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wetlands and habitat data marked so we stay out of sensitive areas.
Utilizing technology to bring in efficiencies
In 2014, all survey and right of way vehicles will be equipped with tablet computers containing plan and profile as well as land owner information. The cost of the tablets is about half the annual cost of paper copies typically required in vehicles.