Local Governments Integrate the Use of Rugged Tablets for Utility Maintenance

City planners and local government leaders are constantly looking for ways to improve and enhance city programs. For many cities tracking the progress of utility maintenance around the city can be a bit cumbersome. For many years tracking the updates of utilities around the city has been done by sending men/women into various parts of the city to check on pipes that need repairs or maintenance, utility lines that need to be installed or repaired and water plant maintenance. The information is documented by a pad of paper and pencil and then taken back to the office and entered into a computer system, leaving room for human error as well as additional labor and manpower.

In the past, a city worker has been required to manually check on unstable lines or pipes that need to be repaired, and in some cases having to go into unknown territory where they arent sure of what the conditions may be. For many cities, the infrastructure of the city is old with many parts outdated. Repairs that need to be made could have broken pipes with flooding or downed electrical lines or even gas leaks that have been unattended to because the city is unaware of the leak.

With the use of rugged tablets for city maintenance crews, they no longer need to worry about traveling into potentially unsafe conditions and the tracking of pipes, lines and leaks have become easier too. A utility workers’ job is to assist in keeping utility systems such as gas, water, and electricity up and running at all times. 

3 Ways Rugged Tablets Enhance the Role of a Utility Worker

3D RealSense Camera: The 3D RealSense camera is an amazing tool for utility workers. When rugged tablets are used in the field instead of a pad of paper and pen, the number of man hours needed to check and update records of pipes, lines, and leaks that need to be repaired are reduced significantly. A 3D RealSense camera is integrated into the rugged tablet and sent into a pipe or underground to check for a leak, rather than a person, minimizing the risk of the unknown. The camera records every part of its journey and then the city worker can save it and transmit it to the office with the tablet. The utility workers role then becomes to check the report and identify needed repairs or problems. All repairs and issues are recorded and coordinated with the tablet and are accurately logged so the repairs can be made at a later time, reducing the opportunity for human error in entering the information at a later time and also reducing the number of man hours needed to document all repairs needed across the city.

BIM Technology: Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a new technology that is enhancing projects in a variety of industries. For utility workers, BIM is a great tool to utilize when designing the plans for new city projects, creating the designs for laying new pipes throughout the city or making updates to existing plans. Utilizing BIM enhances communication of everyone involved in the project while accelerating project approval time during each phase of the process. The plans for each step of a project are recorded in real-time including all changes that need to be made. BIM can also be used during the process to facilitate concrete pours and for accurate measurements of each pour. BIM also allows for faster installations of electrical and piping work.  BIM also allows for a single database to be used to capture an entire electrical grid for example and then build a three-dimensional rendering of the grid which documents all changes completed for future use should a team ten years down the road need to access what was done during the project. 

Real-time Communication: All plan details, changes during the project and completions of timelines are made in real-time, allowing each person involved in the project to have access to the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding the project at all times. Enhanced communication improves the decision-making capabilities throughout the progress of the project, allowing decision-makers to see updates in real-time and communicate with the team or make changes to the plan within minutes or hours instead of days. Speeding up the time it takes to complete the project and move on to the next for increased efficiency.