USI Services is a pioneer in providing market-leading automated solutions for the utility industry. The company was founded by a management team with over 150 years of utility industry experience.
Water, Gas and Electric utilities upgrade their meters every 15+ years to replace existing infrastructure or implement new capabilities such as wireless automated meter reading (AMR). These upgrades often involve upgrading 5,000-50,000 meters and AMR units per project.
Meter and AMR installation projects require appointment setting, work order dispatch, removal of existing meters and recording all new meter and AMR information at each home.
USIServices uses USIConnect, a web-based solution, to manage projects from multiple locations. USIConnect allows project managers, utility managers and customer care to access the same installation and project information. Home owners can log on to USIConnect to schedule, cancel or reschedule installation appointments.
Web service dispatch scheduling – USIConnect
The traditional means of installation was for installers to take digital pictures of the old and new meters. Installers would then record the picture numbers, address, meter and AMR information on paper. At the end of the day the information would be entered into USIConnect’s web-based service management system from multiple field locations.
According to Tom Otto, Vice President of Sales at USI Services, “I knew we had to automate our proof of delivery and service installation. The manual processes and paper work order systems were time consuming and prone to error. I knew there had to be a solution that integrated our paperwork, GPS, pictures and our web-based scheduling system. We contacted Nick D’Uva at Compsee due to Compsee’s reputation as a Mobile Systems Integrator. Compsee helped bring the concept to reality by recommending the appropriate hardware mix and by introducing me to BizSpeed, a software company specialized in proof of delivery mobility solutions.”
BizSpeed worked with USI Services to automate the technicians work order system by integrating the goRoam mobile delivery software with USI Services’ service management solution. Through USI Services, work can be assigned to installers or to crews with the service delivery tickets wirelessly sent to the goRoam mobile software.
Crews now have all work order information on Motorola MC70 ruggedized handheld devices. The old meters and new meters are individually confirmed with integrated barcode scanning and pictures of each meter. Pictures are taken with the MC70 imager and attached to the individual work order. The installers no longer have to write down picture numbers, meter numbers, readings, etc. In addition to the integrated imager and barcode scanner, installers now use an integrated TLS GPS device to record the GPS coordinates directly on the ticket. (Note: Motorola MC75 devices now include built-in GPS.)
As soon as a work order is complete, the goRoam software uses the AT&T data network to upload the information, pictures and GPS to the USI Services server. USI Services allows municipalities to logon via the web to monitor project status as well as getting new meter data within seconds of installations.
Mobile utility screenshots
According to Jim Coughlan, Vice President of Operation at USI Services, benefits of the goRoam mobile software and USI Services dispatch system include:
- Seamless integration with the USIConnect web scheduling solution
- Ability to re-assign tickets on the fly and have all ticket information transferred wirelessly to the new installer or crew
- Paperless work orders – no re-keying of data
- Accurate data – meter barcodes are scanned versus hand written, pictures can only be attached to the current work order and the GPS coordinates are captured directly in the ticket so there are no transcription errors.
- GPS integrated confirmation of delivery
- Faster and minimal data entry – installers use a touchscreen, barcode scanner and number pad
- Eliminated re-keying of paperwork – we get paid to deliver, not to re-key data
- Eliminating lost and late paperwork – work orders are wirelessly updated as soon as the status is changed and sent to a secure central server
- Flexible dispatch – since tickets can be assigned and sent wirelessly, installers don’t have to wait on paperwork or phone calls
- Faster billing – no waiting on paperwork or re-keyed data
- Better forecasting and management – work orders are time stamped and tracked electronically so management has the tools to accurately track and manage jobs. This in turn has helped estimate new projects.
- More business – our automated mobile solution is a competitive advantage that has helped win new business
- Customer confidence – the automation in the field has given municipalities improved confidence
USI Services web scheduling and goRoam based mobile solution are available for use as a hosted solution or on-site installation. For more information, contact:
USI Services: Tony Anderson at tanderson @ blutrend.com
BizSpeed: Doug Hollowell at dhollowell @ bizspeed.com