Field crew gets online information with map-portal

“The map has become an even more important surface for information sharing at Lyse. Access on all types off devices has especially given our field crew an important tool. And it is of course pleasing to see the efficiency gain the field workers get from the solution.”
— Geir Arve Vika, CIO Lyse Energi

Lyse is a Norwegian industrial group operating within the fields of hydro-power and power distribution, district-heating, gas distribution and fiber to the home with Internet and TV services. Lyse express Smart homes with control of heating, lighting, burglar and fire alarms, as well as other important functions in the home. This in addition to welfare technology is Lyses main services in 2015.

Location awareness is a crucial component of this and fundamental for efficient asset management in the utility networks at Lyse.

Retrieving map information quickly and easily for employees, independent off their work location has been a challenge at Lyse. A technician in the field should be able to access the same map as an employee located in the office. All employees should be able to retrieve, by themselves, needed information within seconds.

The location awareness that ArcGIS brings to Lyse means less time troubleshooting issues and improved delivery of power, internet, and TV for customers.

Locating cables, pipes, cabinets and stations is hard without seeing it in the map. Previously, field crew had to print a map from the office before heading out on a task, or they had to call an office employee to ask to mail them a map. A field worker typical has several tasks at various locations during a working day, and the result is time spent on waiting.

Lyse had to establish a user-friendly solution for the field crew as well as a simplified user interface for office workers. But the energy and telecom infrastructure at Lyse is classified as company sensitive information and critical infrastructure by the authorities. The combination of a user-friendly app and a highly secured solution, was a challenge.

Lyse had various user stories for the entire business that had to be taken care of. It was important to obtain a flexible and generic product and not an IT tool for each specific user. The solution should support user stories like:

• Easy user interface for maps on all devices.
• Asset information on the map in the field.
• Collect information in the field with pictures.
• Control permissions and access to user and group specific map information.
• Meet corporate data and information security policy.
• Operational overview for management.
• A configurable integration point to other system

Technicians take control of map information

The solution is available as a map-portal that provides field crew with maps on their mobile App. In addition it is easy to use web maps internally at Lyse. On the map, energy and telecommunications network is shown with accurate location. The field crew does not have to wait for a co-worker sending them, instead they can immediately identify and start their investigations.

The usability of the solution is simple and intuitive. Rollout of the App is via Lyse’s private App store. Users of of all ages and IT skills handle the App well, but those without prior experience in iOS or Android devices will need some setup help. When the App is up running, users are self-taught in the usage.

Lyse field technicians get faster access to maps using ArcGIS while maintaining full control and security of company information on the devices.

The most helpful functionality rated by the technicians, is the map centered on the GPS position with relevant map layers visible. This operation takes only a few seconds from starting the app. The technicians also see great advantage of being able to identify characteristics and search for assets by operational naming.

The maps contains, in addition to the energy and telecom network, information on planned projects, ongoing digging, work orders, customers and information about parcels and land usage. Thus, the maps provide an overview of all activities at Lyse. This operational overview was previously hard to obtain, especially for field workers. Each business unit has set up their own maps in order to secure that they get the relevant information.

The solution receives excellent feedback from the field crew. They see the great benefit of online maps and view the App as a tool to do a better job. Using the App at Lyse is voluntary, which has had a positive effect in users taking ownership regarding information they would like available, and for what purpose they use the solution for.

Technical implementation of Portal for ArcGIS

The solution is based on the internal Portal for ArcGIS, which contains geo-services assembled in different maps adapted to user needs. These maps are made available both on web and on mobile devices via Collector for ArcGIS. Portal for ArcGIS is directly linked to Lyse identity store which makes administration of users and groups easy. It also ensures that only authorized users can access the various datasets.

Data and information security has high priority since the solution contains sensitive information. The Collector App is encapsulated in an MDM (Mobile Device Management) solution, where access to apps and information are governed. Mobiles and tablets are enrolled in MDM and a part of the device storage is isolated and encrypted. All communications are secured. Lyse gains full control of company information on the devices, while private apps and photos of the employees remain untouched. If employees leaves the company or looses the device the company data is immediately removed by an IT administrator.

Business gain with map-portal

Today, web access to Lyse’s map-portal is used by more than half of their 1,000 employees. In addition, more than 100 technicians use the App on a daily basis. The usage is showing the need for easy access to map information for users.

The field crew reports a daily time saving of up to 30 minutes with the new solution. This is mainly due to reduced time spent on retrieving information. Faster access to maps also results in less time troubleshooting, and improves delivery of power, internet and TV. This is a significant efficiency gain for Lyse

There are now several business needs where Portal for ArcGIS is central. Almost all activity at Lyse has a geographic awareness, and the map ensures interaction between office workers and those who are out in the field. It also facilitates information flow between various teams such as project development, asset maintenance, operations, customer care, as well as between business units.

Lyse sees further potential in the map-portal. The solution has support for field data collection, and Lyse has opened for feedback on GIS documentation, which was previously reported via paper. Lyse is now looking forward to the day when directly versioned network editing is supported via Portal for ArcGIS and Collector for ArcGIS.

“The positive feedback from the Technicians show that we have set up a user friendly solution with access to network asset on field devices like smartphones and tablets. Our asset management processes has improved significantly.” — Sigve Hamran, GIS Manager, Lyse IT