Over the past 20 years, utility companies have increasingly adopted and recognized efficiency gains from mobile workforce management solutions including mobile devices, services and applications.
According to a new report from Navigant Research, worldwide utility spending on mobile workforce devices and applications will reach $421 million annually by 2020, up from $205 million in 2013.
Since not all utilities have adopted mobile workforce management solutions or deployed them to full capability, and mobile capabilities continue to improve, there is still ample opportunity for growth in this segment, according to Navigant.
“The widespread availability of mobile communications, advances in grid management applications, and the increasing variety of devices are all helping to expand this market,” says Bob Lockhart, research director with Navigant. “Vendors have tailored their offerings to meet increasing demands for solutions that not only provide workers with data and assign them jobs, but also are robust enough to handle the stress of emergency situations and integrate into other back end systems.”
While some utilities are still using radio as their primary method of communicating with field force workers, others have invested in ruggedized devices, truck-mounted laptops, and specialized handheld devices. Moving from these truck-mounted laptops and ruggedized laptops to tablet-based solutions, according to the report, means investing in new devices and ensuring that expenditures produce a reasonable return on investment.