Why It’s Time For Service Providers to Digitalize Field Operations

Why It's Time for Service Providers
to Digitalize Field Operations

Whether COVID-19 or the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), it’s clear the broadband industry is almost singularly focused on expansion. Having said that, the question is whether Service Providers are truly ready to efficiently expand their network footprints and grow their subscriber bases. Either of these drivers could easily be viewed as a disruption (or opportunity), but conversely driving a new paradigm for the industry.

Let’s face it, communication and efficiency improvements are needed to capitalize on this opportunity. Both internally and externally. The increase in demand is also driving the need and support of third-party contractors who most likely sit outside of any current digital solution. Real-time communication and location awareness can help Service Providers expedite build outs, drive timely marketing deployments, and decrease the time to revenue for new subscribers.

Digitize Field Operations

Real-Time Communication

Too much is still being done on paper. From site survey, build out, installation and cut over, Service Providers need a digital solution. Waiting for survey information from the field is costly and time consuming. Not knowing when work is completed and ready for the next step in the process compounds the problem. Digitizing workflows can improve the timeliness and accuracy of the data. Real-time information exchange can transform the process, drive efficiency, increase time to revenue, and lower overall costs.

Contractor Management

The need for expansion coupled with the time sensitive nature drives the need to add third party support. Existing tools (except paper) generally cannot extend to include third party contractors. Having a critical extension of the team outside of any current process creates inefficiency and risk.

Location Awareness

As data is being collected or work completed, being able to, visualize it all on a map, on one screen helps evolve the process. Getting everyone from the field, including contractors, all the way to the back office on to the same page is critical. Visualizing where surveys are being done, work being completed, drops that need to be buried, etc. on any screen should be an imperative.

Automation

Paper is very ineffective and transposing that information into the planning/drafting GIS system takes time and is error prone. A better solution is to ls leverage digital solution APIs to automate the information flow and direct integrations to reduce both time and errors.

Time to revenue does not mean spend more. High efficiency does not mean add more. Completely digitizing your build out process across all organizations will drive the efficiency and time to revenue, not to mention greater customer satisfaction because Service Providers can communicate better with new potential customers.

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4 Ways The Pandemic Changed Municipal Operations For The Better – Forever

The job of municipal employees is to keep their community running, which is not easy under normal circumstances, never mind in the midst of a pandemic.

While many private sector employees were required to work from home for much of the past year, municipal employees did not have that option. Technicians needed to replace water meters and transfer them. Road maintenance had to be done. Assets required maintenance. Storm cleanup was necessary. Work orders had to be completed.

After a summer of optimism that Covid-19 might be in our rear view mirror, new variant data indicates trend lines that are again concerning for this fall and winter. While it’s been a challenging journey, there is a silver lining. The pandemic has changed municipal operations for the better – forever. Here are 4 ways it has done that.

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Adoption of Cloud Technology

In the past, many municipal technology investments in software were installed on premise for a number of reasons, including security fears. Today, cloud technology is no more or less secure than on premise installations. The ability to solve problems and fulfill needs faster – coupled with limited budgetary and technology resources – has driven the successful adoption of cloud technologies across municipalities of all sizes.

Digitization

New municipal team members have relied on technology to manage their personal lives since they were born. All they need to survive is their phone. These digital natives have influenced tenured municipal team members to shift from using forms, writing on pieces of paper and index cards, sending emails, and using radios to assigning work through a solution like Nrby.  Now, paper workflow is digitized; eliminating mistakes, rework, and the need to go to headquarters in the morning to receive daily assignments and again in the evening to hand in paperwork.

Automated Communication

In the past, a utility billing team member would need the field team members to come back to the office and hand in a form or a sheet of paper with notes after doing a meter transfer or replacement. Today, data is captured on a mobile device and transitioned in real-time, providing everyone on the team with real-time access to the status of tasks, projects, repairs, maintenance, installations and much more.

Knowledge Management

Many municipalities still need to go through files, boxes, and storage rooms to gain access to information and past data, but the number of municipalities doing things this way started to shrink during the pandemic. To comply with the requirements of future generations of community business owners and residents, it’s expected that municipalities can search and find information electronically and in real-time. When information is captured digitally it is available with a simple search that doesn’t require hours to accomplish. And, as senior employees retire, their knowledge is captured and documented, enabling these employees to leave the job and help transition new employees more efficiently.

While the pandemic has been a time of transition for many municipalities, the long-term benefits are significant, and will change how we leverage technology in the field and office for the better – forever.

Poll Results: Are You Ready for F2F Events?

The COVID-19 pandemic is being talked about at every turn. When will it “end”? When can things get back to normal? Or, what will the new normal be? Another question that our team, our customers, and our partners have been asking (as I’m sure many companies are also asking) lately is; “When will it be safe to get back to attending face-to-face events again?”

Recently, we created and posted a poll to our LinkedIn account. With our own team discussing and weighing opportunities of heading out to in-person events this year, we decided we wanted to find out how others felt about it. We were hoping to get a sense of whether or not allocating resources towards f2f events would be worthwhile for us. Would people still feel the need to be cautious, stay home, and stick to virtual events for the foreseeable future? Or would they feel that traveling to attend large events would be an okay thing to do as long as they’re done in a safe manner? 

Well, here is what our 2021 f2f events poll results found:

  • 60% of poll participants are ready to get back to f2f events now.
  • 20% said they aren’t ready just yet, but maybe will be in a few months.
  • 13% answered that they most likely wouldn’t feel ready until sometime in 2022.
  • And lastly, 8% responded that they wouldn’t be ready to get back to f2f events for a long time.

60% of participants answering that they are ready to get back to in-person events was a higher percentage than we expected. 

While 60% is a stronger number than expected if it means attendance is off by 40% that is always a big consideration when determining how best to use resources.  What are your thoughts?  Are you ready to get back out to network in person at events?  And, when do you feel like we will be back at 100% ready as business professionals to start attending F2F events? 

Visit our new poll asking these questions and let us know or add your comments here.

Maybe we will see you at an upcoming event later this year!

Nrby & Vadar Systems Enter Into a Partnership to Serve Municipalities

Manchester, NH – Nrby, the leading location intelligence platform provider that is revolutionizing how municipalities and agencies operate, announced today that they have entered into a strategic partnership agreement with VADAR Systems, Inc., a premier provider of municipal financial software and billing and collection systems for municipal governments.

Within the water/sewer and stormwater industry municipalities are burdened by manual processes tied to time-consuming, analog paper trails for executing general maintenance, reading and tracking meters, replacing equipment, updating outdated infrastructure and documenting regulatory compliance for water/sewer and stormwater billing and mitigation. VADAR utility billing clients who adopt the Nrby platform will immediately benefit from  more efficient digital workflows, enhanced communications between municipalities and citizens, and speed to regulatory and compliance accreditations.

“Nrby allows municipalities already using VADAR’s  water/sewer and stormwater billing software to easily capture location and job data detailing the work they’ve performed as well as use the saved data for future reference and regulatory accreditation,” explained Frank Natale, CEO of VADAR Systems, Inc. “This information capture from Nrby’s digital workflows is integrated directly into the VADAR financial system which then becomes the single system of record.”

“Bringing our platforms to market together is a natural fit, especially now in such challenging environments.” said Kurt Dobbins, CEO of Nrby. “Compliance with water, sewer and stormwater management regulations, maintaining water/sewer infrastructure and equipment, and project communication has become more complex for government agencies due to the challenges with Covid-19. Nrby solves that challenge by digitizing the collection of information and automating the delivery to key stakeholders.”

VADAR Systems’ financial software and services have provided municipalities in several states, including Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, with best of breed technologies at the best value since 1996.  Municipalities choose VADAR’s expertise and proven track record in offering innovative solutions to optimize finances and automate complex office procedures using VADAR’s  state of the art financial platform.

 

3 Examples of Municipality Workflows

Over 150 preloaded, customizable workflows are available within the Nrby platform. The types of data collection you can utilize to expedite your team’s workflow are endless on Nrby.

1500 may seem overwhelming, but it can all be broken down into just a few major categories. Multiple workflows utilize the same type of data collection you may be seeking but organized in a way that’s catered to your industry.

asset management softwareLet’s take a look at some of the workflows Nrby offers to collect different types of data.

Site Surveys

Site surveys are used by ever city and town daily. Customizable surveys let you and your team collect the data that’s most relevant to you or your current job.

Because of how broad site surveys are, reaching across jobs and locations, it only makes sense to make them as customizable as possible. Of course, Nrby preloads Site Survey’s with information from the get-go, but it only takes a few minutes to create your own modified workflow.

Equipment Management

Worksites are busy with commotion. People coming in and out, materials being moved around, vehicles dropping off and picking up new things, updates to your material checklist. It’s a big hassle and one that can easily send your municipality spiraling south.

Equipment management is a type of data collection that is invaluable when it comes to managing any site. With Nrby’s collaboration features, you can quickly and easily stay updated on what’s going on. Have you team mark what’s been used, what’s left over, where items are with geotagging, and much more.

Site Assessment

Site assessments are a sort of relative to site surveys. The purpose is to ensure required information is documented and the proper steps have been taken to achieve outcomes as quickly as possible.

Each site is different, thus documentation and requirements change. Keep track of what’s going on on-site and stay ahead of any potential mishaps. This type of data collection can be easily overlooked but will save municipalities in the long run.

 

 

10 Ways Nrby Serves Department of Public Works Across All 50 States

1. Stormwater Management

storm water managementProtecting an area from flooding is quite the involved process, and one that is guaranteed to be overlooked by residents. For the Department of Public Works, storms are generally a cause for anxiety because of how unpredictable they are and the resources required to stop a flood once it’s started. They can easily cause irreparable damage and force residents to lose trust in their government.

Nrby helps you stay on top of stormwater management by providing a platform that makes it easy to manage projects, fixed and mobile assets, and personnel. Quickly see the status, assets and resources and workflows required, personnel on the task, and areas affected all on an easy-to-use map.

2. Fleet Management

Keep track of your vehicles with added detail on Nrby. Track locations, drivers, fuel expenses, inspections, and more from our platform.

Fleet management is beneficial to the Department of Public Works across all 50 states because of the wide range of vehicle needing upkeep. Construction, repairs, upgrades, and more require a fleet of well-running vehicles. Stay on top of it easily with Nrby workflows.

3. Resident Safety Alerts

In the case of an emergency, it’s important to be able to reach residents quickly in an affected area. Understanding the cause, solution, location, and severity are all greatly important when using resident safety alerts, and also help prevent mass hysteria. By targeting only those in an affected area, you help keep the entire municipality safe.

Nrby lets you see inform citizens in real time on a mobile device, keeping everyone up to date with relevant information with ease and efficiency. Informed residents are safe and happy citizens.

4. Powerline Management

The Department of Public Works across all 50 states should stay updated on the status and efficiency of the powerlines in their designated areas.

With Nrby, you can target each line with real-time information and allow your team to update the status as manage the lines and poles. This keeps everyone informed and eliminates unnecessary overlap of resources, keeping your assets managed and the lights on for your businesses and residents.

5. Infrastructure Upgrades

Across all 50 states, there is a push for the Department of Public Works to upgrade and update existing infrastructure to something newer, modernized and more eco-friendly. However, infrastructures of any kind, whether it’s power, water, sewer, or roadways, can be tough to manage and keep track of. Especially in larger, more populated areas.

Nrby’s project management features let you easily track the status of all infrastructure upgrades. It uses pre-existing workflows and assignments to easily manage infrastructure to keep the entire team from the Department of Public Works efficient and synced.

6. Preventative Maintenance

cable techIt’s often more efficient, eco-friendly, and resource-friendly to perform preventative maintenance where possible. Ensuring certain power lines or waterways are in good working order, for example.

With Nrby, a map of the area allows you and your team to pinpoint exact locations of any asset. In this one pin, you can add model numbers, inspection dates, materials used, and preventative maintenance checklists to assure work is thorough and on time. Once Nrby is utilized, you can easily monitor areas in need and handle the task accordingly, all through one app.

7. Fixed Asset Management

Fixed assets are long-term purchases like land, buildings and infrastructure which aren’t looked at as profitable for the short term. For the Department of Public Works across all 50 states, purchasing land, buildings and infrastructure for public use or governmental use should be monitored and maintained properly to keep its value longer.

While Municipalities aren’t expecting profits from these fixed assets today, Municipalities should keep track of these assets to see their progression over time. Nrby makes this easy with configured fields available on any pin created within the app. This way, Municipalities can see the historical records of maintenance of any fixed asset across the municipality and maintain the value of the fixed asset longer.

8. Agency-to-Agency Collaboration

CollaborationCommunication is simple on the Nrby platform. Easily collaborate on shared Smart Pins and workflows. With agency-to-agency collaboration so easily available, the Department of Public Works can perform more efficiently.

9. Sewer Management

It’s safe to say sewer mishaps are unfortunate for residents as well as the Department of Public Works across all 50 states. Stay on top of maintenance, status, and upgrades easily with Nrby’s Smart Pins and project management features.

Keep track of updates, upgrades, water meters, pump activity, and more. Assign a team to an area, manage the personnel, the vehicles, and equipment to keep sewer management efficient and on budget.

10. Real-time Police and Fire Notifications

Real-time notifications are essential for emergency teams like police and fire officials. In case of an emergency,

Nrby lets you notify the people of your choosing within a specific area instantly on a mobile device. With real-time data, instant notifications, and easy communication tools, the Department of Public Works across all 50 states can more efficiently and safely contact police and fire officials. In some Municipalities, Residents use Nrby to notify the town of issues and hazards.