Wireless Field O&M System

Location: Jacksonville, Fla.

Client: Jacksonville Electric Authority

Completion Date: 2005

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

JEA’s New Technologies Department worked with other internal business units to define needs and requirements and create a functional matrix. Burns & McDonnell used this matrix as a basis for conducting interviews of JEA stakeholders and further defining the needs for a new mobile operations and maintenance system. Through this 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 workforce, four baseline platforms were identified and six vendors were contacted to present mobile hardware and software solutions to address those scenarios. A paper study was conducted to evaluate 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 in the field. During the pilot, Burns & McDonnell helped JEA create images for testing, as well as set up and test its 3 gigabyte service and cards. Burns & McDonnell staff also helped JEA identify, test and deploy a mobile VPN solution that kept field users connected to the computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) databases.

The pilot deployment identified workflow changes and potential implementation issues that reduced JEA’s risk and overhead during the deployment of the 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
  • Field trials