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How to meet grid modernization challenges

IQGeo’s web chat, hosted with T&D World, explored how to empower the modern utility workforce in an evolving electric utility industry and highlighted the resulting benefits.

Troy Lewis Matt-Roberts-IQGeo-160x160Troy Freissle-Lewis, Product Manager for Workflows and Utilities, and Matt Roberts, Sales Director for Utilities at IQGeo, answered questions from T&D World about how IQGeo is empowering a modern utility workforce through digitization.

They discussed how the industry and its workforce are evolving, the problems with outdated working methods, and how to make changes to empower and engage the next-generation utility workforce in a technology driven employment landscape.

T&D World: How is the utility workforce currently evolving?

IQGeo:  As technology becomes integral to our daily lives, there is an increasing need to track its evolution to boost productivity and efficiency at work. However, across utilities of all sizes, inefficient operational workflow and disconnected applications is a common and increasingly critical issue.

Matt Roberts explains, “...the work required to enhance, reinforce, and connect assets within the utilities industry is growing and evolving. However, utilities are not keeping up with the pace of this growth.”

Typical industry problems range from an over-reliance on paper and outdated software to technology debt caused by a proliferation of “software solutions” (e.g., too many apps for different tasks), which increase workflow complexity and damage data quality.

Working with this legacy technology can be extremely frustrating for field crews who are focused on speed and can even lead to employee satisfaction and retention issues. With unprecedented changes in the utility market, there is much work to be done to stay current with new initiatives and technology trends.

Using old tools and systems leads to low employee engagement, negatively affecting job satisfaction. Modern workers expect engaging software and will seek more fulfilling opportunities if current ones are outdated. To engage a millennial workforce, we need mobility software that people enjoy using daily, improving task efficiency and job satisfaction.  

T&D World: How are outdated styles of working holding utilities back?

IQGeo: The younger generation worker is less likely to engage with outdated software at work.

Additionally, older technology affects downstream investments. For example, utilities using modern technologies like Distributed Energy Resources (DER) find that older systems can't model or account for these new and complex grid assets. The software technology stack must evolve alongside the changing field assets. Improving field digitization unlocks operational efficiencies and creates greater engagement with a millennial workforce.

T&D World: How can utilities start to empower a modern workforce?

IQGeo: Empowering a modern workforce begins with mobilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to provide easy-to-use enterprise mobility software for workers and contractors. This approach empowers engineering crews to accurately design and capture the status of grid assets in the field where the action happens, dramatically streamlining field to office workflows.

Given the complexities and realities of the evolving grid architecture, it’s critically important that grid planning, design and maintenance activities be decentralized to improve workflows and network data quality, as well as empowering field crews. 

Once enterprise mobility and modern tools are implemented, work friction is reduced. For instance, workers no longer need to arrive at the office early to print and annotate designs or pass paper documents to colleagues. Modern tools allow the full network model to be accessed on tablets in field, reducing friction, saving time, and streamlining workflows.

T&D World: How is IQGeo empowering a modern workforce?

IQGeo: Our innovative software helps utilities benefit from digitization, which in turn helps retain a modern workforce.

IQGeo’s software and platforms can model everything and be used anywhere, in the office and out of the field, both online or offline. This is especially beneficial when working in rural areas where wireless network connect can be patchy. Critically, it fosters a company culture of constant innovation.

As Troy Freissle-Lewis stated, "...to open up digitization across the entire network lifecycle is the future, and IQGeo is happy to be a part of that vision."

To learn more about some of the topics discussed, check out the 30-minute web chat hosted in partnership with T&D World. Watch web chat >>>


IQGeo - Empowering a modern utility workforce - Webchat




Topics: Utilities, Decarbonization, Network resilience, Blogs, Grid modernization

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