Responsible for providing power and water to homes and businesses alike, utility companies need to consistently improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations and assets – both fixed and mobile. As they introduce new technology and working models to enable this, the need for flexible, secure and cost effective connectivity increases. 4G LTE networking solutions provide an answer to this.
In-Vehicle Networking for Utility Fleets
Extending the enterprise network to the road is essential for utility companies today. Providing access to centralised systems on-the-road helps to streamline workflows and improve customer service by giving field teams access to the applications and information they need – while also keeping head office up-to-date with the latest data. Able to connect anytime, anywhere, 3G/4G provides the perfect solution.
Unifying fleet communications
In addition to providing connectivity for field teams to access central systems, the same networking solution can be used to unify other communications for the vehicle. For example telematics solutions can transmit data back to central reporting systems for improved, real-time tracking, or digital displays on the outside of the vehicle can have content updated remotely.
Disaster Recovery WiFi Hotspot
When responding to affected sites where evacuation has been a necessary precaution, for example a gas leak, or sub-contractors are required, an in-vehicle networking solution can also be used to provide guest WiFi. Creating a powerful WiFi hotspot with an extended footprint around the vehicle (which can reach up to 100 metres) sub-contractors and the public alike can connect with ease.
When using a dual modem solution, two completely separated hotspots can be created as well – ensuring a dedicated, secure channel for corporate use. In solutions without dual modem, separate SSIDs for corporate and guest use can still be established in order to keep the business channel secure.
Utility companies need to track their transmission network to ensure no energy or water is lost along the way, for example via a leak, and that there are no faults with the service, for example damaged equipment which is preventing delivery. By monitoring energy or water levels at different points in the journey, utility companies can pinpoint any potential issues where a drop in level is seen. 3G/4G cellular provides the connectivity necessary to enable such a solution across multiple remote locations; providing a completely flexible, connect anywhere solution which can be easily scaled across a wide geography.
By identifying potential problem sites it enables utility companies to put in place preventative maintenance as well; if there’s an unexpected drop in levels between dedicated monitoring points then the company can identify this in near real-time and allocate a field engineer resource to it before it impacts the end customer’s service.
Companies providing demand response services which monitor power station levels and offset these against end customer energy demands, need end to end connectivity to transmit the necessary data between the parties and to effect the necessary changes to shed load off the grid.
Cellular networking offers the level of flexibility and scalability required to enable this, while also creating a dedicated network run by the central service company – keeping the energy provider and end customer networks separate and secure.
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