Field Device Selection & Deployment

Location: Jacksonville, Fla.

Client: Jacksonville Electric Authority

Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) was interested in understanding its options for deploying new technology and capabilities in its mobile work force. It retained Burns & McDonnell to help identify the best technology and expand its use of field devices because of its expertise with mobile systems management and deployment.

JEA’s New Technologies department worked with internal business units to define the needs and requirements and create a functional matrix. Burns & McDonnell used this functional matrix as a basis for conducting interviews of JEA’s stakeholders and further defining needs for a new mobile operations and maintenance system. Through research, Burns & McDonnell identified specific wireless technologies, commercial off-the-shelf devices and ruggedized devices that would allow JEA to get the most from its mobile technology dollar while increasing the connectivity and productivity of the mobile worker.

After establishing scenarios that reflected the common needs of the mobile work force, four baseline platforms were identified and six vendors were contacted to present their mobile hardware and software solutions to address those scenarios. A paper study was conducted evaluating the devices against the economic, performance and environmental requirements of the functional matrix. Additional research was conducted to determine the viability of using commercial off-the-shelf hardware instead of ruggedized equipment in harsh environments by interviewing users in the law enforcement and heavy equipment industries.

At the conclusion of research, Burns & McDonnell presented a report recommending the mobile devices that most closely matched JEA’s needs and requirements and began a pilot deployment to test the hardware under actual work conditions. During the pilot, Burns & McDonnell helped JEA create images for testing, as well as set up and test 3G service and cards. Burns & McDonnell also helped JEA identify, test and deploy a mobile VPN solution that kept field users connected to the CMMS databases. The pilot deployment identified workflow changes and potential implementation issues that reduced JEA’s risk and overhead during the deployment of the new mobile operations and maintenance devices. Burns & McDonnell supported JEA’s staff during the final deployment with troubleshooting and configuration assistance.

  • Needs assessment
  • Research
  • Benchmarking
  • Pilot deployment