21 Feb Expert Q&A: Mobile workforce management and FMC with Daniel Pendlebury
What is FMC?
Well, it’s the acronym for ‘Field Mobility Computing’ – I guess being in the engineering sector we aren’t short of acronyms.
FMC is a product developed by Geomatic Technologies which provides regulatory compliant workflows for infrastructure companies, providing a way to communicate with and manage their mobile work teams through a powerful, easy-to-use, mobile friendly platform for job allocation, tracking, reporting etc.
In broader terms, FMC is a mobile workforce management platform providing actionable data on an organisations field based assets.
How does it change the way infrastructure companies work?
Infrastructure companies tend to have a number of different systems and data-sets relating to their assets, culminating in field staff using a mixture of systems and paper based processes to manage their daily tasks. It’s not very efficient and often leads to increased costs, data errors and in the worst cases it can lead to safety issues or network interruption
FMC brings together an organisation’s disparate data sets and provides a simple visualisation, empowering field based employees to make informed decisions relating to the design, maintenance and condition of the assets on a single platform – Integrating FMC with ERP, GIS and other systems like CRMs (More Acronyms!) supports business objectives relating to safety, regulatory compliance and productivity by helping its users to; manage work requests from multiple channels, optimise rosters and work routes, manage contractors and track costs.
So it’s useful for Vegetation Management, Asset Management and Metering?
Yes, for Vegetation Management its strengths are in its ability to capture inspection data, consume LiDAR data and enforce a workflow which is in compliant with regulations. It provides the organisation with a single source of truth for its regulatory reporting and ensures vegetation can be managed in a way that allows the distributor to meet its Service Target Performance Incentive Scheme (STPIS).
STPIS payments can be quite costly to distributors, often totalling millions of dollars based on the number customer impacted and time that they are without service. FMC gives organisations a mechanism to record the nature of outage events, improving the preventative maintenance activities performed on assets and in the surrounding environment. For example recording the number outages caused by a tree or a group of trees provides the organisation with the data they need to better manage or remove that vegetation to minimise outages, improve community safety – which in turn will minimise STPIS payments having to be made.
For Asset Management & Metering, the use case is really similar. It can be used to manage the activities for fault rectification and asset replacement as well as capturing asset condition data – this means an organisation can forecast and track the costs relating to its asset base.
It’s also handy in an emergency.
How does it come in handy in an emergency?
With the click of a few buttons, FMC has been used to support recovery from emergency events including cyclones, floods and fires.
The contractor management feature allows organisations to securely mobilise and manage multiple 3rd party contractors based on skill-set in the affected areas.
In practice it can be used to manage and communicate with the rapidly increased workforce required to respond to an emergency, then easily scaled back once there is a return to business as usual.
Where do you see the future of mobile computing for critical infrastructure?
I think eventually a lot of tasks will become partially or fully automated especially in terms of the detection of network faults requiring rectifications. The combination of drones, machine learning and wireless sensors will eventually take over from people performing the cyclic inspections. The power of any mobility product will be to put the right resource at the right location at the right time. This will be done through smart work-flows which capture the required data to provide the right information and analytics.
Ultimately this is in the pursuit of reducing cost, improve profitability and increasing customer satisfaction.
The key will be the ability to provide a single platform which can integrate seamlessly with evolving technologies while providing collaboration across the organisation with secure configurable solutions to address business problems. Geomatic Technologies has a number of products using these technologies which it has brought together to provide a best in class vegetation offering and is well placed to capitalise on future developments.