Epoch Solutions Group Blog

EpochField 5.1.7 Release for Mobile

We’re excited to introduce EpochField Mobile 5.1.7! This update brings a host of improvements, bug fixes, and new features to enhance your experience. Let’s dive into the highlights of this release.

What's New

  • Click Classic & Korterra Integrations:
    • We have seamlessly integrated both Click Classic and Korterra applications into EpochField Mobile.
    • Various enhancements and refinements related to these integrations.
  • Websuite Security Enhancement:
    • In Websuite, we’ve updated the application to include an API call for retrieving GeneralSettings data after the initial ESRI login.
    • This enhancement improves security by moving API secrets from the front end to the backend, ensuring they are not accessible via the browser explorer.

Bug Fixes

  • Emergency Beacon Functionality:
    • Addressed issues with Emergency Beacon not functioning as intended.
  • Low Memory Warnings:
    • Resolved instances of “Low Memory” warnings being erroneously triggered.
  • Auto-Sync Symbology Errors:
    • Fixed auto-sync functionality that was causing symbology errors for completed work orders.
  • Various WMS Bug Fixes:
    • Addressed specific bugs related to Web Map Service (WMS) functionality.
  • GPS Breadcrumbing:
    • Corrected issues with GPS breadcrumbing accuracy.
  • Universal Search:
    • Universal search feature has been fine-tuned and is now working seamlessly.
  • Queue Processor:
    • Resolved bugs within the queue processor, enhancing overall stability.

Important Updates

  • iOS17 Compatibility:
    • We’ve rigorously tested version 5.1.7 on the iOS17 Beta version, ensuring there are no critical bugs related to iOS17.

Feedback and Support

We value your feedback! If you have any questions, suggestions, or experience any issues, please contact our support team at [email protected]

Thank you for your continued support and trust in EpochField mobile. We believe these enhancements will greatly improve your experience. Stay tuned for more exciting developments in the future!

Future-Proofing Our Grid: Tackling Challenges and Embracing Change

Our nation’s electrical grid is a crucial resource, providing safe energy across the country. While it has been reliable for a long time, it is now facing mounting pressure from various sources, threatening its stability. Utilities and regulatory agencies are being forced to respond and act to proactively address these challenges, which include reducing carbon emissions and addressing issues related to global climate change. Additionally, there’s a growing need to decentralize energy to reduce reliance on a single power source due to the increasing demands of our population and product usage, which strains available resources.

The increasing frequency of extreme weather events, such as polar vortexes and powerful hurricanes, poses significant difficulties for utilities in planning and anticipating outages. As power outages continue to increase, digital-first consumers and businesses who demand real-time information about power restoration are affected. GIS asset management tools play a vital role in enabling deep situational awareness and quick response.

Read the full article >

Better Utility Asset Management Starts with These Best Practices

A rapidly evolving regulatory landscape, higher service expectations, dispersed and aging infrastructures, technology constraints, and the shift to renewable energy sources all combine to make it more challenging than ever to deliver service reliably, safely, and profitably. This environment also makes proper asset management more difficult, yet more vital to accomplish.

Asset management helps utilities maximize value while optimizing the resources for necessary repairs and upgrades, replacing the traditional run-to-failure approach. Proactive asset management enables utilities to minimize breakdowns and outages, ensuring continued service delivery, and extending asset life.

By taking a best practices approach to asset management and leveraging digitized asset management solutions, gas and electric utilities can overcome today’s considerable operational obstacles. The following best practices provide a great start.

Define Success

Your utility asset management program should be guided by clear, thoughtful objectives. Most utilities implement an asset management program to reduce costs, improve productivity, minimize the risk of an unplanned outage, and/or extend the life and usefulness of their valuable field assets. Your specific business objectives will drive the key performance indicators (KPIs) you use to track progress against.

Evaluate Processes

Obtain a baseline of your current asset management processes and practices, focusing on what’s working vs what isn’t. Review all asset management standard operating procedures (SOPs), looking for gaps or obsolete procedures that need updating.

Take Inventory

Proper asset management demands an accurate, detailed inventory of every field asset, including its location, size, manufacturer, model, lot number, material composition, installation date, inspection history, maintenance and repair history, current condition, and projected remaining useful life. From there, you can rank the criticality of each asset using an objective scoring method, based on criteria such as how much the network relies on that asset and its importance to service delivery, along with factors like failure types, probabilities, consequences, and costs. The results will inform how you plan and prioritize asset maintenance, repair, and replacement, enabling you to invest in operational improvements with the greatest ROI.

Create a Plan

To deliver the optimal service at the optimal cost, utilities need to acquire, operate, maintain, and upgrade or replace field assets as effectively as possible. And that demands a comprehensive, continually updated asset management plan. The plan should document all your field assets, how you’ll schedule and track their maintenance and repair, how you’ll manage and track budgeted vs actual asset management expenses, risks and mitigation measures for each asset, clear roles and responsibilities, and an asset management lifecycle strategy.

Integrate Your Systems

Disparate legacy systems are common in the utility industry, but they make it tough to manage field assets proactively and strategically. Because they often store data in different formats and don’t share it seamlessly, it’s difficult to gain visibility into accurate, real-time information to direct repair and maintenance efforts. And without that information at their fingertips, field crews waste time contacting operations for the necessary details.

A solution that utilizes geospatial software can improve integration by syncing asset data in real-time across systems, applications, and devices, equipping operations teams and field staff with the visibility and situational awareness they need on the job. Platforms that integrate field asset data into critical GIS solutions, as well as mission-critical business applications from providers like SAP and Oracle, prove most effective.

What to Look for in a Digitized Field Asset Management Platform

To unlock the value of proactive asset management, many utilities are adopting geospatial technologies that digitally capture and track asset data, optimize asset performance, improve compliance, and boost efficiencies. By combining automated workflows and map-centric interfaces—and sharing data across back-office servers, cloud-based applications, and mobile apps—a digitized field asset management platform helps the operations team dispatch, schedule and deploy field crews efficiently and gives field crews the situational awareness to complete their work quickly, accurately, and safely.

Before investing in a digitized utility asset management platform, consider which features and functionalities will most help you streamline work, improve efficiency and productivity, and reduce costs. Most utilities find the following essential:

  • A single platform that drives field asset maintenance, repair, and tracking
  • Ease of configuration to match their specific needs
  • Scalability to any size or type of utility
  • Dynamic, interactive maps that provide a full view of field assets and supporting details
  • Intuitive functionality that speeds and simplifies customized workflow and work order creation
  • Flexibility to develop maintenance schedules based on skills, proximity, availability, training and certification requirements, and other criteria
  • Access to real-time data online and offline to support remote locations
  • Enterprise data integration for easy access to asset and resource data across the technology ecosystem and data sharing across systems, applications, personnel, and locations

Why More Utilities are Choosing EpochField

For many gas and electric utilities, the field asset management platform of choice is EpochField from Epoch Solutions Group.

EpochField leverages geospatial technology to help utilities improve field asset management and maintenance, reduce costs, and minimize breakdowns and outages. Our digitized asset and field management solution provides operations teams with real-time situational awareness to optimize how they deploy field crews to inspect and repair utility field assets and manage vegetation. Utilities that use EpochField are positioned to deliver the service today’s customers demand, while ensuring safety, maintaining compliance, and gaining full asset traceability.

Download our detailed Guide to Deploying an Effective Asset Management Strategy. Or contact Epoch Solutions Group to learn how EpochField can transform how your utility manages your valuable field assets.

Best Practices for Improving Utility Asset Management

Best Practices for Improving Utility Asset Management: A Guide to Deploying an Effective Asset Management Strategy

It’s never been a more challenging time to run a thriving, profitable utility company. From rapidly evolving regulations and escalating consumer service expectations to aging infrastructures and disparate legacy systems, utilities face significant operational obstacles in their quest to deliver power reliably, safely, and profitably. These challenges make proper asset management more vital than ever, yet more difficult to accomplish.

This guide is designed to help. It reviews the industry trends that are placing greater pressure on utility operations, the ways in which asset management solutions can help overcome those challenges and support a utility’s most critical business goals, the best practices that can help your organization manage assets more effectively, and how a digitized solution can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your utility asset management efforts.

Download the Guide to Learn:

  • Trends and regulations impacting asset management for utility companies today
  • The vital role that asset management has on a utility’s operating expenses and capital expenditures
  • A five-step best practices approach to utility asset management
  • How a digitized field asset management platform can help streamline work, improve efficiency and productivity, and reduce operating costs

Download the White Paper

Improving Telecom Workflows for Better Customer Service: A Guide to Enhancing the Customer Experience Through Better Field Force Automation

It’s well-documented that higher customer satisfaction directly impacts customer loyalty and retention—and that ultimately boosts customer lifetime value and profitability. In a highly competitive industry like telecommunications, the ability to deliver exceptional customer service can reduce the odds of consumers or businesses switching providers and drive down customer acquisition costs.

Yet, telecom providers face a host of challenges when it comes to delivering the service experience their customers expect, from regulatory obstacles to labor constraints to rising costs. With subscriber volume and data usage increasing exponentially, it’s not uncommon for customers to suffer through long on-hold times or experience delays and difficulties in getting their service issues resolved satisfactorily.

Download the Guide to Learn:

  • Trends impacting telecom customer service
  • Challenges that telecom providers face in delivering the service experience today’s consumers and businesses demand
  • Five telecom workflows that can improve customer service through automation
  • Use cases that illustrate the impact that telecom asset management software can have on customer service

Download the White Paper

To Migrate GE Smallworld Data to Esri, Utilities like BC Hydro Turn to EpochSync

Many utilities struggle to utilize their GIS data effectively across the enterprise, especially when that data resides within GE Smallworld. With more utilities looking to leverage the power of Esri’s ArcGIS Utility Network to gain more functionality—especially for huge datasets—the ability to migrate Smallworld data to the Esri platform is becoming a must.

So when BC Hydro faced limitations in the tools it could use to work with its transmission and distribution GIS information effectively, the company knew it was essential to make its Smallworld data accessible on Esri.

As IT Advisor Evan Schwab noted, “Other business groups in the company, like our power generation group, were using Esri for GIS data. While we currently have two GIS systems, we’re looking to develop new capabilities on the Esri platform going forward.”

Eager to gain ready access to the GIS data required to provide reliable service to more than 50 million customers, BC Hydro turned to Epoch Solutions Group’s EpochSync automated data migration tool. This scalable solution synchronizes data between Smallworld Version Managed Data Stores and Esri ArcGIS Enterprise Geodatabases, enabling even the largest utilities to easily migrate Smallworld data to an Esri geodatabase.

Once the initial synchronization is done, EpochSync only needs to perform periodic data synchronizations, ensuring just the incremental data changes are synchronized. And through a .NET-based user interface and Smallworld Magik components, EpochSync makes it easy to develop flexible mappings that support data syncing between different data models, empowering a utility’s staff to create those mappings to extract data with minimal training.

At BC Hydro, EpochSync provides a “set it and forget it” solution that runs nightly and is easy for internal staff to configure and maintain. Now, this British Columbia-based utility can use tools like ArcGIS Story Maps to develop distribution planning maps and share GIS data with external groups to provide much-needed situational awareness when major events happen.

Read the BC Hydro case study to discover all the business benefits that EpochSync provides for leading utilities.

EpochField 5.1.4 Release for Mobile

We are thrilled to unveil the latest version of our mobile app, EpochField Mobile 5.1.4. Our developers have been dedicated to optimizing the field user experience and have implemented numerous improvements to enhance the app’s performance and efficiency. We take pride in providing our clients with a reliable product, and EpochField Mobile 5.1.4 is no exception. Discover the exciting changes we’ve made by reading below.

The products team at Epoch Solutions Group has been busy working on a few new enhancements and updates to EpochField for iOS, Android, and Windows. EpochField 5.1.4 can be found in the Apple App Store, Google Play, and Microsoft App Store today.

Ease of Use

Previously, the app would switch to Pan mode once a tool was closed; now, users can close the tool menu and still make edits on the map, freeing up screen space. Users can now save Operation Layers visibility settings. Map Markup has been improved to allow users to better see and understand the tool’s interface. With this update, users can download multiple files within each region, as well as delete all downloaded data files without encountering any error messages. EpochField Mobile now notifies users when the offline geodatabase syncs successfully.


Routing and Geofencing

Our latest updates have made asset management more streamlined and efficient for users. The Identify tool now includes routing functionality, enabling users to quickly locate the desired asset and access directions. Search results are now displayed in order of relevance, and accurately rendered on the map. Geofencing and GPS location updates have been optimized, allowing users to minimize the app without losing progress. Additionally, GPS Breadcrumbs are now limited to the selected work order, while the newly added Compass Navigation feature keeps the user’s location centered on the map during Follow Me mode. Finally, users can utilize Lat/Long results from the Address Search feature for routing purposes and can easily copy and paste the information directly from the app.

Identify and Asset Research

We’ve made several improvements to streamline our search functionality. Users can now seamlessly scroll through search results without the need to update their criteria, and toast messages are now displayed even when the Search Bar is open. We’ve also resolved the issue of objects hidden by Operation Layer options appearing when lassoing assets in Identify, and have corrected the object counts for Asset Search and Identify. To improve the user experience, we’ve added new configuration options that allow users to zoom to the map extent of search results instead of solely focusing on the first result in an Asset Search.


Tracing has been enhanced for both performance and ease-of-use. Not only do users experience faster results, the tracing user experience has been upgraded with customizable field ordering and the ability to view multiple types of assets. Additionally, we’ve enhanced the tool’s functionality, allowing users to easily share CSVs generated by the Tracing Tool.

Phone Specific

We’ve made significant improvements to EpochField Mobile to optimize its use on phones and other mobile devices. Phone users will notice that the scale and extent buttons remain visible even when the tool menu is collapsed, and we’ve redesigned the menu to minimize interference with native phone buttons like “Back” or “Home.” The menu now opens at half the height of the phone screen, providing a more streamlined viewing experience. In addition, phone users can now easily access Print Previews, allowing for quick and easy sharing of results.

Feedback and Support

We value your feedback! If you have any questions, suggestions, or experience any issues, please contact our support team at [email protected]

Thank you for your continued support and trust in EpochField mobile. We believe these enhancements will greatly improve your experience. Stay tuned for more exciting developments in the future!

Overcoming the Challenges of Managing Utility Joint Use Assets

The modern world is changing rapidly, and the technologies and infrastructure that support it must evolve alongside it. This is especially true for utility companies, whose infrastructure must keep pace with changing demands and new technology. One area that has become increasingly important for utilities in recent years is joint use asset management.  

Joint use assets refer to the infrastructure components that multiple utility companies share, such as poles, wires, and conduits. They offer a range of benefits for utility companies, including cost savings, increased flexibility, and reduced infrastructure duplication. However, managing joint use assets comes with a unique set of challenges that can significantly impact the efficiency and reliability of the utility network. This article reviews the challenges of joint use assets—including overloaded poles, double poles, unauthorized attachments, conflicting needs, and regulatory compliance issues—and offers viable solutions.

Overloaded and Double Poles: Inventory is Key

Overloaded poles are a common problem with joint use assets, and they occur when too many companies attach their equipment to a single pole, exceeding its weight-bearing capacity. This can cause the pole to lean or even fall, leading to power outages, property damage, and safety hazards. Overloaded poles also make it difficult to perform maintenance and repair tasks, as it can be difficult to identify which company is responsible for the excess weight on the pole. 

Conducting regular inspections and assessments of the poles helps identify any signs of overload, allowing utility companies to proactively address an issue before it leads to a safety hazard or outage. Additionally, utility companies can work together to develop load-sharing agreements to ensure that the weight on each pole is evenly distributed among the companies using the infrastructure.

Double poles are another issue that arises when a utility operates joint use assets. Double poles occur when new poles are installed next to existing poles rather than replacing them, resulting in two or more poles serving the same purpose. Aside from the fact that double poles can be unsightly, they pose a safety hazard and make it difficult to access and maintain the equipment, increasing the risk of power outages and other issues.

One solution to this common joint use asset problem is to conduct a comprehensive inventory of all existing poles and infrastructure to identify where double poles exist, enabling utility companies to prioritize which poles to remove or replace first. Utility companies also can work together to develop joint programs to replace double poles with a single pole that meets the needs of all companies involved.

Policies, Collaboration, and Training Are Essential

Unauthorized attachments are another significant problem for joint use assets. Attaching equipment to joint use assets without proper authorization or approval can create safety hazards, reliability issues, and regulatory compliance problems. Unauthorized attachments can also interfere with the equipment of other utility companies, leading to service disruptions and other problems.

One effective way to reduce or eliminate unauthorized attachments is to develop and enforce clear policies and procedures for attaching equipment to joint use assets, including guidelines for when equipment can be attached, who can approve the attachment, and what equipment is allowed. Utility companies also can use advanced analytics and monitoring tools to identify unauthorized attachments and proactively address them before they become a problem.

Managing joint use assets can also present broader challenges. Conflicting needs are a common problem when multiple companies use the same infrastructure. For example, one company may need to access a pole to install new equipment, while another company may need to perform maintenance on the same pole at the same time. Managing these competing objectives can be a complex and time-consuming process, often requiring significant coordination and communication between the companies involved. 

To resolve conflicting needs for joint use assets, utility companies should develop collaboration tools and processes that allow multiple providers to work together more effectively. These tools can include shared communication channels, such as online portals or chat groups, where companies can coordinate their activities and schedules. Additionally, utilities can develop joint work plans that identify which tasks need to be completed and when, allowing them to better coordinate and schedule their activities.

Regulatory compliance is another area that utility companies must contend with when managing joint use assets. Utilities must comply with a range of regulations and standards, including safety standards, environmental regulations, and industry-specific guidelines, and failure to comply can result in fines, legal liabilities, and damage to the company’s reputation.

To ensure joint assets are managed in a way that complies with applicable regulations, each utility company should develop its own robust compliance program that includes regular audits and assessments to identify any areas of non-compliance. The program also should include training for employees and contractors to ensure they understand the regulations and standards that apply to joint use assets. Additionally, utility companies can work together to develop joint compliance programs that ensure all companies using the infrastructure are meeting the relevant regulations and standards. 

How an Asset Management Platform Can Help

Despite these challenges, joint use assets continue to be an essential part of the utility industry. Given the clear benefits of shared infrastructure, utility companies are finding innovative ways to address the difficulties associated with managing joint use assets.

One way that leading utility companies are successfully managing joint use assets is through the use of an asset management platform like EpochField. With EpochField, utility companies can gain visibility into the condition of joint use assets, such as overloaded and double use poles, along with the real-time situational awareness to manage unauthorized access, ensure safe and reliable power delivery, and meet the regulatory mandates governing the industry.

Highly configurable to meet each utility company’s unique operational requirements, EpochField offers these and other advanced features: 

  • Mobile offline collection and viewing of asset data for field personnel who are often working in remote locales, without an Internet connection 
  • High-performance digital maps that display geospatial data holistically and dynamically update as the system processes new data 
  • Configurable work order forms that are produced automatically based on field mapping data 

Discover how the EpochField platform can transform your utility’s joint use asset management. Schedule a demo today.

Schedule a Demo

Is Your Field Solution Configurable to Meet Your Telecom Operation Needs?

The technology environment that powers telecom field operations has never been more complex. Legacy systems must work alongside and connect with a growing number of other systems and applications, within a distributed network environment, often involving a mix of cloud-based, on-site, and mobile solutions.

Telecom field operations are also challenged by many pressures—from customers’ escalating demands for fast and reliable service, to aging equipment and network infrastructure assets and evolving regulatory requirements. In this environment, it’s critical that you can deploy your field crews effectively and accurately across a wide service area, so they can maintain your assets and infrastructure efficiently.

To overcome these challenges, telecom providers increasingly rely on GPS-based field workforce management solutions that digitize field operations, reduce manual touchpoints by automating workflows, boost field productivity, and allow teams to provide first-issue resolution to service requests. Capitalizing on these advantages requires not only choosing the right solution and partner, but configuring the platform to meet your telecom’s specific requirements and suit the way you work.

Leveraging the Power of Geospatial Technology and Digitization

Whether they’re installing or maintaining cable, poles, or cell towers, or resolving customer service-related issues, telecom field technicians and the dispatchers who schedule them need accurate, real-time information about field asset location and condition. That’s where robust telecom asset management software makes the difference.

Today’s digitized platforms capitalize on the power of geospatial technology to deliver real-time data on field crews and assets—enabling telecom providers to speed and streamline critical workflows, provide first-issue resolution, and boost productivity.

To deliver these benefits, field workforce management solutions need to capture, sync, and share field operations data in real time and provide an accurate view of conditions on the ground. Within an increasingly complicated telecom network environment, these platforms must be able to process and access field asset data across multiple systems, applications, and devices throughout the enterprise—from back-office servers to cloud-based applications and mobile devices.

It Starts with the Right Digitized Field Operations Platform

The telecom industry’s unique operational demands require infrastructure solutions that are flexible and configurable to the requirements of each enterprise. Before standardizing on a field workforce digitization platform, you need assurance it can evolve as your telecom business does—whether you’re adding or upgrading assets or expanding your service area.

The essential foundation is a field workforce management solution that’s purpose-built for the telecom industry and able to be configured to the way you work. When selecting a telecom-specific field workforce management solution, features like these should be high on the list of criteria:


  • A solution that digitizes both asset data and field crew data
  • A platform that integrates and communicates with your entire application stack and all your databases, including business process and CRM applications from third parties like Esri, SAP, and Oracle
  • Automation of all the workflows associated with field workforce management—from assigning and dispatching crews, to creating work orders, scheduling maintenance, and more
  • Real-time, two-way data synchronization between the field team’s mobile devices and the company’s back-end systems and cloud-based applications, with a mobile app that’s compatible with Android, Windows, and iOS devices
  • A GIS-based solution that leverages field mapping data for fast, efficient deployment of field crews and other resources
  • A holistic, digitized map view of the field service area, automatically updated as work is completed and crews are deployed to the next job
  • An interface that streamlines and simplifies the work, with dashboards that provide an accurate view of the service area and drag-and-drop features for assigning crews

Configuring A Platform That Supports How Your Telecom Crews Work

Beyond a feature-rich platform purpose-built for the telecom industry, you need the ability to configure the solution to support how your company works. Since no two telecom providers operate the same way, configurability is paramount to a successful experience.

Configurability features like these are essential when choosing a digitized field workforce management platform:


  • Workflow builder. A flexible workflow builder application makes it easy to build, view, edit, and configure the work forms that field crews use on their mobile devices. The best platforms support creating intelligent work forms with appropriate fields and validation rules for data entry and values.
  • Optimized scheduling/routing. A configurable field workforce management platform makes it easy to set parameters and rules for how crews are scheduled, dispatched, and routed for high efficiency—for example, accounting for a unplanned sick day or a scheduled vacation day. It’s equally essential to have the ability to segment scheduling by user or by user roles and groups you define, with automated notifications by text or email. The use of Python scripts allows automation of these tasks to be configured in ways that best suit each telecom provider’s requirements.
  • Queue mechanisms. A well-designed field workforce management platform will incorporate queue mechanisms for handling long-term processing tasks. For example, creating work orders for telecom field crews requires tracing a fiber optic cable to identify all fibers in need of inspection and/or replacement.

Supporting Your Digitized Platform

Standardizing on a field workforce platform that can be configured to meet your needs today as well as keep up with your evolving needs is vital. Yet it’s equally important to consider the service and support that will back up your chosen solution.

Look for a partner that provides ready access to technical experts with the engineering knowledge and industry-specific experience it takes to support a telecom field workforce management solution effectively. You should expect advice and insights on ways to evolve and configure your platform to keep up with your changing needs.

Your selected vendor also should be fully staffed with engineers, project managers, and other specialists who will work with your team to configure the platform’s features and functionality to suit how you operate. That’s especially critical when it comes to architecting workflows that improve field crew productivity and efficiency. Your platform partner can help bring together the various stakeholders you need input from on the front end, conducting pre-design workshops that ensure your platform is configured to achieve your desired outcomes.

How Epoch Solutions Group Can Help

Making the transition from handling field workforce management tasks manually to digitally transforming the process might sound daunting. But platforms like EpochField make the move smooth and easy.

The EpochField interface is intuitive to use, simplifying the transition for your field crews and operations staff. And with the highly experienced Epoch Solutions Group technical team as your partner, you can be assured your EpochField platform will be implemented in the configuration your telecom company needs to optimize your resources, expedite response times, and deliver the reliable service your customers expect.

Discover how the EpochField platform can transform your telecom field workforce management. Schedule a demo today!

Guide to Improving Telecom Workflows for Better Customer Service

5 Ways Automation is Transforming Telecom Field Operations Workflows

With demand for mobile data services skyrocketing in the last several years, telecommunications providers are devoting significant resources to expand their network capacity and ensure fast, reliable connectivity for customers. Achieving these vital goals depends on effective and efficient telecom field operations workflows.

Telecommunications companies can no longer rely on manual, labor-intensive, inefficient processes to manage critical tasks like scheduling work crews, dispatching teams to where they are most needed, or deciding how to best manage vegetation to avoid fall-in and grow-in risks. To improve how they install, maintain, and repair equipment and infrastructure in the field and optimize field technician deployment, leading telecom companies are turning to geospatial software specifically designed and built to improve telecom field operations.

Geospatial and digitization technology has the power to transform telecom operations by automating field operations workflows—improving field-to-office communication, reducing manual touchpoints, increasing field crew efficiency and productivity, and improving the customer experience. These solutions also make critical infrastructure data easily accessible for real-time reporting, analysis, and decision making.

Here are five telecom field operations workflows that geospatial and digitization technologies can greatly improve through automation.

1. Scheduling Field Crews

It can be challenging for telecom companies to schedule huge teams of field personnel across large geographic areas. Navigating obstacles like difficult landscapes, large data volumes, and remote regions can make the scheduling task especially tough. Yet an effective field operation demands efficient field crew scheduling.

By using a GIS solution that digitizes and synchs field data across disparate applications, telecom back-office teams can gain greater control in managing field staff scheduling, while streamlining the process by eliminating manual steps. Map-based geospatial software for telecommunications makes it easy to visualize both scheduled work and work to be scheduled in real time, for a more proactive approach to scheduling. And by mapping the telecom infrastructure, these solutions facilitate more informed crew scheduling decisions based on situational awareness of on-the-ground conditions, while accounting for factors like an employee’s upcoming time off or other unavailable time blocks.

2. Assigning and Dispatching Field Crews

Making the best decisions about where to assign and deploy telecom work crews is essential to an effective field operation, but it’s highly dependent on a significant volume of data, often residing across different systems. That makes the task of assigning and dispatching field crews an ideal case for automation.

A robust telecom field workforce management solution can ensure all the data that’s relevant to effective assignments and dispatching is captured and stored in a single database for easy access by back-office teams. Using a visual map-based dashboard, these telecom teams can see where field work crews, equipment, and other resources are currently located and make informed decisions about where to deploy those resources next. The most advanced solutions can even generate automatic dispatch instructions. As technologies like AI become more widely used, field workforce management platforms will begin to leverage historical data to develop predictive models that further improve how telecom companies assign and dispatch field crews.

3. Scheduling Proactive Maintenance

To ensure optimal uptime and access for customers, telecom providers need the ability to identify the field assets in most need of service based on their condition and maintenance history. With easy access to that information, back-office teams can assign field crews to the critical task of infrastructure maintenance, optimally and efficiently.

Automating this workflow with GIS mapping technology gives telecom providers the power to trace and track infrastructure asset condition throughout its lifecycle while also tracking field crew and equipment location in real time—all through a single, map-based interface. These advanced field workforce management tools enable back-office teams to assess the inspection, maintenance, and repair records of each asset on the map, then assign and dispatch field crews accordingly, at the touch of a screen.

4. Creating Work Orders

Today’s consumers increasingly expect first-issue resolution from every company they do business with, achieving a satisfactory resolution after their initial service inquiry. To meet that expectation, field crews need accurate work orders that enable them to get the job done quickly and efficiently on behalf of the telecom’s customers. But when this workflow is handled manually, errors and delays are likely to occur—reducing field crews’ productivity and preventing telecom companies from providing the exceptional service experience and first-issue resolution that customers demand.

Advanced geospatial field force management solutions automate and improve how telecom companies create work orders for their field crews. Accurate work orders are generated from the results of network tracing operations; then those work orders are immediately accessible for back-office teams and field crews to view and process. The most robust solutions even include route optimization capabilities, equipping field crews with the fastest route to the next assignment.

5. Managing Vegetation

Unless it’s controlled and managed properly, vegetation can become overgrown and encroach on telecommunications field equipment, especially cell tower sites. To keep vegetation from interrupting mobile service to customers, damaging property, or endangering lives, telecom companies need accurate data on the state of vegetation near every field asset. But that data often originates from many different sources (including aerial images and field crew documentation) and typically exists in a mix of both manual and digital formats.

Today’s field force management solutions make it easier for telecom companies to plan how to manage vegetation by collecting and providing access to accurate, real-time data on the state of vegetation around their valuable field assets and infrastructure. With a dynamic view of how vegetation is growing across large geographic areas, telecom providers can employ the most effective vegetation management practices to reduce fall-in and grow-in risks and stay compliant with federal, state, and local regulations.

With a robust field management solution like EpochField that utilizes geospatial technology, your telecommunications company can easily automate your most important telecom field operations workflows while making it easy for your field workforce to use. EpochField transforms how your telecom field crews and back-office teams work—enabling you to improve efficiency and productivity, reduce operational costs, and deliver the fast, reliable connectivity and service your customers demand.

Schedule an EpochField demonstration to learn how we can deliver these benefits for your telecom company.

Guide to Improving Telecom Workflows for Better Customer Service

Digitize Telecom Field Operations for First-Issue Resolution, Every Time

Customer service is a challenging proposition for telecommunications companies. Managing the service work performed by field crews involves directing a large and dispersed workforce, tracking and managing equipment, personnel, and technological assets, and ensuring that the customer experience you provide leaves a positive impression of your employees, service offering, and company overall.

Consider also that the service requirements of consumers have never been higher. Today, customers are used to getting first-issue resolution from the brands they frequent, whereby their problems are resolved immediately, during the initial service inquiry. Addressing customer concerns during these pivotal interactions takes informed field crews, and that requires them to have easy, broad access to operational data. Not to mention that many customers expect their access to be proactively managed and outages to be virtually eliminated when it comes to their Internet access.

Here’s why first-issue resolution is so important to a telecom’s business model, and how implementing an enterprise-wide digitization platform for workforce management can translate into better, more informed service experiences.

Customers Hate to Wait

According to HubSpot Research, 33% of customers “are most frustrated by having to wait for service and 33% are most frustrated by having to repeat themselves to multiple support reps.” When a customer interacts with a field worker, they expect that person to have access to all the information they need to do their job. They do not want to have repeat the problems they have experienced or find out the service technician doesn’t have the equipment they need to fix the issue. Today’s consumer is accustomed to the kind of real-time data access delivered by the likes of Amazon and Uber.

Implementing an enterprise-grade telecom asset management platform allows back-office administrators and field crews to have access to all the data they need to do their jobs well. This is because these enterprise-wide solutions enable integration across systems, applications, and users, allowing field data to be disseminated and synched across the environment in real time.

With operational data dynamically updating for everyone, they can easily pinpoint when and where outages have occurred, which customers are impacted, and which field crews are located in proximity to the site in question. This data can then guide decision making so service is expedited, and issues are resolved quickly – often with just a single service interaction.

Information Drives Customer Confidence, Grows Relationships

Research conducted by Qualtrics XM Institute shows that “compared to after a 1-2- star experience, after a 5-star experience consumers are 3.6x more likely to recommend, 3.3x more likely to trust, and 2.6x more likely to purchase more.”

However, the telecommunications industry is highly competitive, with customers constantly being wooed by a long list of providers. As a telecom, your service model must deliver a 5-star experience for customers at every touchpoint – or they are likely to seek services elsewhere.

With the real-time data access enabled by platform-grade telecom asset management solutions, your teams can keep customers informed on the progress of field service work once it is ordered. Accordingly, customers always know when field crews will arrive on-site, what issues are being addressed, and when service will be restored. The ability to track your progress puts customers at ease as they feel heard, informed, and valued, a paradigm that instills confidence in your brand. 

More Data Means Fewer Service Requests

With the deep data visibility enabled through digitization, your teams can coordinate more effectively and take a more proactive stance as well in addressing network maintenance, repairs, and upgrades. As a result, your company can more effectively run predictive models on network performance and troubleshoot many potential problems before they occur. 

Ultimately, the best service experience you can provide for customers is one of reliability. And the best way to deliver service uptime is by preventing issues in the first place. With an enterprise-grade workforce management platform in place, your teams are well supported with the universal data access they need to prevent network issues – and better meet customer needs for first-issue resolution when problems occur.

When service calls are needed on their end, and the data your field team needs to complete the work successfully and on time, your customers are happier, and your internal teams can remain focused on what they do best: improving network performance and driving innovation to keep customers engaged and loyal to your brand for the long term.

See how an enterprise-grade telecom workforce asset management platform can unlock data, transform your service model, and grow customer relationships.

Guide to Improving Telecom Workflows for Better Customer Service

Managing Utility Field Service Digital Transformation into the Next Decade: Featuring Industry Expert Peter Kelly-Detwiler

It’s evident that the utility industry will undergo a significant digital transformation over the next 10 years. How will the convergence of new technologies, new energy sources, and an increasingly complex distribution grid affect utilities in the coming years? And how can you assure your field services teams are prepared to work as safely and efficiently as possible in this rapidly evolving environment?

This was the focus of our recent webinar, Managing Utility Field Service Digital Transformation into the Next Decade. This exclusive conversation, hosted by Epoch Solutions Group founder and CEO James Street, featured Peter Kelly-Detwiler, an acclaimed thought leader in the energy industry and a highly sought speaker, author, and consultant. Peter regularly advises energy industry leaders on the latest trends and how these developments will impact their organizations.

Insights on a Future Filled with Change

During this interactive webinar, Peter and James discussed the tremendous changes on the horizon for the utility industry, how these shifts will affect the work of field services teams, and the tools and technologies that field crews will need in order to operate safely and effectively.

A key topic was the projected impact of the industry’s move toward the “three Ds”— decarbonization, digitalization, and decentralization—three trends that will make the distribution grid increasingly dynamic and complex.

For example, Peter and James reviewed how escalating climate risks are creating greater pressure to improve vegetation management and facilitate the work of out-of-state crews during the increasingly frequent and prolonged weather-related outages. They discussed the ways in which the continued move to solar and other renewable energy sources—along with the rapid adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and the evolution to vehicle-to-grid (V2G) EVs—will make the grid more data intensive and more challenging to manage. And they outlined how these transitions will impact field crews working in low-voltage environments, creating a need for technologies that provide better situational awareness and a more accurate picture of the facts on the ground by integrating local system modeling and real-time updates.

Get More Insights

This engaging webinar offered a glimpse into the future of the distribution grid and what the utility field crews of tomorrow will need in order to complete their jobs efficiently, effectively, and safely. We invite you to download the webinar recording for insights on the trends that are already beginning to impact your utility field crews. 

Schedule a demo to learn how the EpochField mobile workforce management solution can help.

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7 Ways to Transform Your Telecom with GIS Field Management Technology

For telecommunications companies, effectively managing assets, documenting those activities, and scheduling any necessary maintenance or damage response are all essential to promoting operational efficiencies and service uptime. Having real-time data on how personnel, equipment, and infrastructure are performing across the service area allows telecom field crews and back-office teams to streamline the scheduling of routine maintenance, inspections, and service calls, and enables the swift response times consumers expect when outages occur.

To unlock the high levels of situational awareness telecom companies need today, they are increasingly investing in advanced GIS mapping solutions that capture and process field asset data digitally, in real time. With this critical infrastructure data at their fingertips, field operations teams can quickly assess conditions on the ground and make more informed scheduling, dispatching, and planning decisions accordingly, meeting the ever-rising expectations of their customers.

So, how can telecom companies leverage GIS asset management technologies to improve their operations, reduce outages, and deliver exceptional service to their customers? Here are a few pivotal use cases for GIS mapping solutions that speak to the benefits of the technology.

1. Using Data to Drive Maintenance and Repair Decisions

GIS mapping technology allows telecoms to automatically trace and track the history and condition of infrastructure assets throughout their lifecycles. With this technology, internal teams can also track the exact whereabouts of field crews, equipment, and vehicles in real time – and view all this field data through one holistic, digital map-based interface. Using intuitive navigation tools, these interactive dashboards allow back-office teams to drill down into inspection, maintenance, and repair records for infrastructure assets displayed on the map, determine which assets are in most need of servicing, and – with touch-screen simplicity – automatically generate field crew assignments, work orders, and dispatching instructions. Automating Workflows

With the right telecom asset management platform, companies can automate many manual processes impacting their productivity. For example, an advanced, enterprise-grade solution can automatically trace and track where field crews and equipment are located as they move from place to place. Intuitive, touch-screen interfaces allow field data to be displayed dynamically, in real-time and in detail, on interactive digital maps that populate via GIS software and are operated with touch-screen simplicity.

When selecting a telecom management software solution, look for features that allows teams to schedule and dispatch crews automatically, segmented by user, user roles, and groups – and that automatically notify crews of their assignments by text and email, including where and when to report for service calls, what equipment is needed, and the optimum routes to get there.

2. Leveraging Data to Expedite Field Crew Scheduling

Modern GIS mapping solutions drive scheduling across the entire service area as well, allowing back-office teams to automate the many processes and workflows involved in field operations management. Because field data is seamlessly integrated across a telecom’s enterprise, field crew scheduling can be conducted based on a breadth of information, including which crew members are available at any given time, what their skillsets are, and their proximity to infrastructure assets in need of attention. Once field work is scheduled, the work orders are immediately accessible for viewing and processing by all stakeholders, from back-office teams to crews out in the field. The most advanced solutions on the market also include route optimization tools that automatically provide field workers with the fastest route to get to their next assignments, which is particularly important when managing unplanned work.

3. Reducing Manual Touchpoints – And the Associated Human Errors

Field data collection today is still typically handled through a hybrid model whereby information is captured through both digital and manual processes. For back-office scheduling and dispatching teams, that often means scanning and keying in data from hand-written field crew notes and schematics and combining it with digital photos, video footage, online communications, and other data sources. This labor-intensive data collection process slows operational productivity, hampers decision-making processes, and is prone to human error. With an advanced GIS mapping solution in place, telecommunications companies can take advantage of integrated workflow automation technology to digitally collect, process, store, and synch field data across systems and applications. As a result, they can dramatically reduce the manual labor involved in data collection – and eliminate opportunities for clerical errors.

4. Establishing a Comprehensive, Centralized Data Repository

Crews need real-time access to field data to get their work done properly once on site. When data access is limited – or when field data is outdated altogether – crews must pause what they are doing and check in with the home office by phone or email to clarify their next steps. Using an advanced GIS mapping solution allows all stakeholders, from frontline field crews to back-office schedulers and dispatchers, to be working off the same page, with data on infrastructure assets synched in real time across all the systems, applications, and devices they use. In turn, field crews arrive on site with full visibility into what needs to be done so they can conduct routine work more efficiently and strategically address any unplanned issues as well.

5. Leveraging Mobile Devices in the Field

Field crews are comprised of a mix of full-time, part-time, and contracted workers, each with their own smartphones, tablets, and other computing devices. And they are employed by telecoms in the thousands. To keep field crews seamlessly connected and communicating with back-office teams, the most advanced GIS mapping solutions on the market come with a mobile app that is easily downloaded and operated from any Windows, Android, or iOS-based device. Empowering field crews with the ability to conduct and report on their work via their own smartphones equips all employees with the data they need to nimbly and intelligently respond to conditions in the field, collaborate and troubleshoot more effectively, provide first time resolution, and better ensure that infrastructure assets are performing optimally.

6. Improving Customer Experiences

Today’s digital-first consumers and businesses have come to expect broad real-time data access for virtually any service they use – from Amazon deliveries to Uber ridesharing and restaurant wait times – and they expect the same kind of experience from a telecommunications provider. The deep situational awareness enabled by GIS asset management tools allows telecom employees that interact with the public – from contact center agents to field crew teams – to keep customers informed on exactly when workers will arrive, what type of work is being performed, and how quickly services will be completed.

7. Saving Time, Labor, and Costs

Without the deep data access and visibility enabled by GIS mapping technologies, telecommunications companies may find their crews crisscrossing the vast service areas they manage to address issues that pop up unexpectedly in a scattershot manner. By contrast, having geospatial data universally accessible allows telecom employees to move from a reactive posture to a more proactive stance, in which they can identify and mitigate infrastructure issues and risks before costly outages occur. As a result, an investment in GIS asset management technology helps telecommunications companies operate more efficiently and strategically, cut their response times, save time and labor, and deliver better outcomes for the communities they serve.

Contact us to request your free consultation and EpochField demonstration today.

Guide to Improving Telecom Workflows for Better Customer Service

3 Ways to Enhance Your Telecom Team’s Service Proposition

For telecommunications companies today, the ability to operate more efficiently is imperative to sustainable growth and success going forward. Rising costs due to inflation and the complexities involved in deploying new telecommunications GIS and networking technologies are making it increasingly challenging for providers to ensure the reliable, affordable service and prompt issue resolution customers expect.

Additionally, the sheer expanse of telecommunications networks and the vast, hybrid workforce required to keep infrastructure and equipment up and running offer prime opportunities to use effective digital solutions. While companies industry-wide recognize the need to modernize their telecom software solutions, as noted by EY, their “ability to transform through new technologies is hampered by complexity in various forms. Human factors are also limiting progress.”

To meet their operational challenges, telecommunications companies must invest in digitization and telecom automation technologies to aide in workforce management. While these technologies hold promise to streamline and accelerate critical workflows, there are many telecom asset management software solutions available, from dedicated point tools that address specific processes to enterprise-wide platforms that integrate the infrastructure and drive workflows across the continuum.

Here are three reasons to embrace a holistic, platform-level approach to telecommunications lifecycle management. Read on to see how investing in the right asset management software solution can increase productivity for improved uptime, faster, more informed service interactions, and better customer experiences overall.

Unlocking Data

Investing in an enterprise-grade, digitized workforce management platform can help telecommunications companies speed response times to service requests. With the right solution in place, operations data can be captured, synched, and shared in real time, providing agents, field crews, customers, and other stakeholders with the ongoing, 360-degree view of network operations needed to promptly address issues and troubleshoot potential problems before they occur.

The most advanced telecom asset management software solutions on the market allow data to be stored, processed, and accessed across all systems and applications – from the thousands of mobile devices field workers carry with them to back-office servers and solutions deployed in the cloud. Universal real-time access to operations data allows telecommunications companies to make more informed, strategic decisions at the macro level – and to keep customers updated on the progress of their individual service requests as work is being performed.

Automating Workflows

With the right telecom asset management platform, companies can automate many manual processes impacting their productivity. For example, an advanced, enterprise-grade solution can automatically trace and track where field crews and equipment are located as they move from place to place. Intuitive, touch-screen interfaces allow field data to be displayed dynamically, in real-time and in detail, on interactive digital maps that populate via GIS software and are operated with touch-screen simplicity.

When selecting a telecom management software solution, look for features that allows teams to schedule and dispatch crews automatically, segmented by user, user roles, and groups – and that automatically notify crews of their assignments by text and email, including where and when to report for service calls, what equipment is needed, and the optimum routes to get there.

Embracing Innovation

An advanced platform-level digitization and telecom automation solution should also serve the needs of your customers for years to come. Accordingly, it should allow you to expand and upgrade the network with new features and applications that will improve uptime and enhance service experiences as a result.

The platform you select should tie systems and applications together into one, holistic technological ecosystem, including all software and hardware assets you have deployed, from mobile field apps to GIS and CRM applications driving your business. The platform should also be highly flexible, configurable, and extensible by design, so you can scale your operations according to fluctuating demands while deploying new AI, machine learning, and other data-intensive applications that continue to transform the industry.

The ability to migrate applications, data, and workflows from on-premise servers to cloud resources is essential as well as this paradigm will allow your IT staff to work at velocity as they implement new features and applications in service to customers. And the ability to operate the solution’s mobile companion app offline will allow field workers to seamlessly capture and record data for real-time dissemination across all systems and applications once Internet connections are restored.

Beyond Technology

To ensure that you deliver on your customers’ expectations now and in the future takes more than just the right technologies. It also requires your company to align with partners who understand well your service challenges and can help you construct a technological roadmap to advance your goals and vision.

To that end, be sure you are partnering with a technology provider that will work with you to design a comprehensive plan for your future infrastructure – and that offers the development, deployment, service, and support resources needed to deploy new technologies as they are brought to market.

At Epoch Solutions Group, we offer the technology, service, and support resources you need to achieve just that. Our EpochField enterprise-grade telecom asset management platform digitizes field data to deliver real-time situational awareness across the network while automating critical manual processes to ease staff members’ workloads and accelerate service response times for customers. And it is available as both an on-premise or SaaS solution.

Our training, implementation, and support teams are there for you every step of the way, from the design and development phases of a project through the platform’s roll-out and beyond. And because our track record in the industry extends back decades, we bring to your implementation a deep understanding of the technological, operational, and customer service challenges you face today – and proven best practices you can easily adopt now to improve experiences and outcomes down the road.

Contact us to request your free consultation and EpochField demonstration today.

Guide to Improving Telecom Workflows for Better Customer Service

Digitizing Telecom Field Operations: A Step-by-Step Guide

For many years, telecommunications companies have been under pressure to digitize their field operations to remain competitive and offer the customer experience demanded of them. For too long, the typical operational model revolved around separate business areas operating in silos and using disparate solutions to manage their field workforce and operations across each division. However, according to Boston Consulting Group, only 22% of telecom companies have been able to successfully execute against this transformative need. Disjointed processes, a significant volume of planned and unplanned work, duplicate data views, and rising customer expectations have provided challenging ecosystems to integrate and digitize. The years following COVID-19 have proven that even these operations need to be streamlined and digitized utilizing the proper technologies available.

The efficiency gains and cost savings derived from digitization are too great to ignore, not to mention how it addresses the need to meet rising customer expectations. This is especially true for field operations. To overcome internal and external barriers, it’s critical for telecoms to have a comprehensive project plan that addresses the varied elements needed for successful digitization. Preparing to transition field operations to a digital model is a process that should include a set of measurable milestones and goals from the outset. Telecom executives also need to engage with their teams to understand field workers’ challenges and work with them to find solutions that make sense for all stakeholders.

If you’re looking to transform your field operations into the next phase of digitization, here’s a checklist your team can use to ensure the transition to digital management is smooth and effective:

  • Understand the business case for upgrading to digital tools. Lay out the short- and long-term goals and align digitization plans to them to ensure priority work is completed first.
  • Assess your current state and identify areas of improvement. Conduct a thorough audit to identify the most pressing challenges that digitization will address and develop a roadmap accordingly.
  • Design a plan to implement digitization in a way that makes sense for your organization. Form a task force for the transition and include team staff members who will be working directly within the digital systems; comprehensive involvement gets everyone engaged and focused on the same goals from the start.
  • Train and equip your field workers with the tools they need to be successful. Identifying early adopters to champion training, celebrate learning steps, and acknowledge change management wins will help keep teams motivated.
  • Monitor and optimize your digitization efforts over time. Schedule regular evaluations aligned to planning, implementation, and execution milestones to course-correct or leverage successes throughout the system. 
  • Work with an implementation partner that can help you assess your telecom’s needs and ensure the best roadmap ahead. Make sure your partner offers configurable solutions that solve the unique challenges your teams face each day, from the back office to the frontline. Also, ensure you’re getting increased visibility and productivity in every aspect of the process

Each of these steps is important in achieving success with digitization in field operations, but it’s also important to keep in mind that every telecommunications company is different and will have its own unique challenges and needs. You know it’s time to update your process, but where do you start?

Learn more about how to get your operations ready – schedule an EpochField demonstration today.

Learn how workforce management software can modernize your telecom field operations