Detecting remote issues before they take a bite out of the bottom line

Source: SkyWave Mobile Communications

One of the challenges Smart Grid, Utility companies face today is the ability to monitor fixed and mobile remote assets. To manage costs, it is important to be able to detect equipment glitches, malfunctions and service outages before they get worse. With the appropriate data, enterprises can proactively respond with the suitable fix, which greatly reduces the problem that could cause the cost of repair and replacement to swell exponentially.

There are a few considerations to bear in mind when evaluating options to remotely manage assets: the location of the utility equipment, type of equipment/sensors that need to be monitored and the amount of data that will be transmitted. 

For utility equipment widely dispersed over a large geographic area, traditional communications may not effectively address the range of requirements; this is one reason satellite service has gained considerable ground in the utilities industry. 

While other types of communications are often characterized by poor or insufficient coverage, satellite-based equipment offers many of the functional benefits of terrestrial-based equipment, with the advantage of uniform and reliable coverage even in remote areas. This type of system is ideal for mobile and remote assets outside of cellular areas. 

Satellite terminals can provide many benefits for utilities companies, including: 

• Higher operational efficiencies. Timely information about asset health and behavior, along with software applications that organize data and implement work flows, allow utilities to save time and streamline processes that previously required paperwork and manual decision-making. Utility companies can now remotely address distribution automation, environmental, flow, meter and temperature sensor reading, and cathodic protection alarms and diagnostics. 

• Reduced site visits. When monitoring assets remotely, managers can see the status of their equipment from their office computer, reducing the need to send a technician to the site. Some monitoring solutions also include the ability to send commands to the equipment “over-the-air”, enabling changes to be made from a central location. Finally, with event monitoring, management knows immediately when machinery requires attention – without waiting for the next site visit. 

• Improved safety. Whether or not machinery is operated safely and in good condition is vital information needed to prevent accidents, improve operator behavior, and schedule maintenance. 

• Better Customer Service. By providing field information and implementing more efficient processes, companies are able to deliver better customer service, which ultimately leads to higher customer satisfaction and increased sales. Moreover, increased efficiency means that companies are able to handle higher order quantities with existing resources and personnel. 

Driven by competition and increased service availability over the last few years, satellite –based solutions have become very competitive. When sourcing, make sure the type of satellite service, the hardware and the end-to-end solution provider meet business expectations and any unique asset tracking needs. 

About SkyWave Mobile Communications
SkyWave Mobile Communications is a global provider of wireless data communications for the Machine-to-Machine (M2M) market. For further information, please visit www.skywave.com.



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