An electric pole, a dog shelter, and a lawsuit

In the US, an electric utility company was sued by a dog shelter owner in Tennessee when a storm wreaked havoc. An electricity pole was damaged and fell on the dog shelter killing the unfortunate animal. The shelter owner sought damages and felt sure it was the company’s gross negligence that caused this accident. Things turned out better than expected for the company, though.

The electric utility demonstrated that they had the pole inspected before the storm, and everything was in order. How did they manage to do this? By showing records of the site inspection, the date, time of the visit, the person who checked the pole, and the asset health status along with an image to confirm details. No big deal. Anyone can fudge such records and registers and backdate anything they want to prove they had their act together.

The clincher was that this company had the Fielda field data collection app and could provide verifiable, legitimate digital records of the site and asset inspection and their facts held up against the allegations of negligence. As a result, they won the case and saved themselves a whole lot of money, irreparable damage to their brand, and a ton of stress dealing with the fallout. It could be an instance of location-based field data collection playing a pivotal role in a make-or-break situation. The real value of field data is seen not merely in times of crisis but in the complex everyday routines of companies that rely on distributed assets and staff out in the field.

So, what is field data collection?

Think of all the companies and industries (Electric, Water Utilities, Oil and Gas, Engineering, and Telecom) with infrastructure spread across locations and even in remote areas. Field workers maintain the assets (installation, deployment, repair, inspection) to ensure business continuity.

Some of the defining characteristics of these operations are that they often involve

  1. High stakes. Utility companies have concerns like downtime, compliance, and security issues. Any mismanagement can have serious financial or legal repercussions.
  2. Employee’s safety. Fieldwork has its risks, and operations managers need a hawk’s eye on safety protocols.
  3. SOPs drive the show, and consistency is the key. Most such operations rely on the quality and precision of repeated tasks, checklists, and checks and balances to ensure reliability.
  4. High flux environments. Work on the field can present unexpected challenges, emergencies, breakdowns, and delays that can impact scheduling, routing of personnel, and a host of other dynamic parameters. Rapid response is the norm.
  5. Complex data collection. Depending on the kind of business, the field data collection methods could vary, and so can the field data types. We are talking about detailed forms, checklists, status categories, offline data gathering in remote locations.

How does it all work?

Precisely tracking every asset’s location, status, who is in the field at a given time, activities on the field, etc., the list is endless. It can be quite a ton of data to manage because it involves so many field data type.

Many organizations typically manage this through traditional field data collection methods (paper and spreadsheet-based). However, these forms, checklists, filing, consolidating, verifying data accuracy manually, and somehow trying to make sense of it all.

But that can lead to an infinite number of challenges in data management, accuracy, consolidation, reports, and analytics, and more.

Fielda. Field Intelligence at your fingertips!

That’s where Fielda’s digital location-based field data collection with GIS mapping comes in. The app is a no-code platform for organizations to manage, at scale, their entire field data so that business and operations leaders can be on top of their game with real-time intelligence on every aspect of their field operations.

Essentially, it helps companies set up forms, checklists, status updates as they want them configured on the Fielda app, customize workflows, and gather all the information they need. So, whether a natural gas company is inspecting a value on its pipeline at a specific point or an electric utility conducting a pole inspection, Fielda ensures that the data collected is integrated into your existing data systems.

The GIS advantage!

GIS enables you to create a map the way you need it. It helps you to collect points, lines, or polygons. For example, you can map assets like an electric pole at a specific location and a specific part/asset which belongs to that pole. Using GIS Maps, you can further edit and style your data, overlay with additional layers, analyze data, share data with co-workers on a real-time basis.

Fielda’s GIS mapping-enabled field data collection is unique and a game-changer in the industry, enabling and empowering companies to perfect their field operations through accurate field intelligence literally in real-time.