Overview

Successfully sharing engineering and design documentation with field crews is a critical piece of the overall power grid maintenance process. Allow crews to access documents in real-time, redline changes and submit them back to engineering ensures that the power grid functions in a highly effective and safe manner at all times.

Challenge

The Electrical Utility industry faces enormous challenges in continuing to feed electricity to a growing demand as customers continue to plug in more and more devices. Collaboration between engineering and field crews is paramount to keeping the entire power grid functioning at all times.

While collaboration is the goal for all construction industries, the Utility industry also faces ongoing security threats so sharing information openly with various software as a service (SaaS) companies is not feasible. Certain critical infrastructure information cannot be shared outside of secure firewalls making most SaaS or cloud services unuseable.

Solution

Automationforce realized early on that the Electrical Utility industry would need a solution specifically tailored to their needs. They had to be able to produce NERC and FERC security reports around any CIP related engineering data shared to mobile devices and sync collaboration back to their engineering teams as well.

We had also realized that there was already an incredible amount of open source software projects that could be coupled together to quickly develop a solution for this industry.

To get us started, we began with Three.js for 3d model viewing and quickly incorporated pdf.js for viewing all 2D engineering documents. we have also been able to incprorate open source projects that can leverage Micirsoft login and security information and even synchronizing data in real-time.

Results

All of this effort has culminated in the Fieldforce project that Automationforce has been proud to release to the community. The project includes all source code, is built on the Node.JS and bootstrap frameworks, runs on an browser enabled device and can be installed internally on a Utilities own servers.

We work closely with the SDSIC in keeping things moving and developing features and functionality that is required by all Utilities. With over 750 SDSIC members we have been moving at a quick pace with lots of feedback.

Today, the Fieldforce project has focused on viewing files and models, redlining and synchronizing data with document management systems but we can clearly see a path toward a full package that will incorporate checklists, critical data for operations and even maintenance schedules.

“I believe the open source community allows us to “stand on the shoulders of giants” like microsoft, Autodesk and IBM and will allow us to add features and functionality at a pace the industry has never seen. ,” concluded Trevor Scullion, Automationforce’s Managing Director.