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Ready, set, go! – Equipping your mobile workforce with OCR meter reading

Ebin Thomas

Account Executive at Anyline

Dec 07, 2022

When it comes to mobile workforce management solutions, there are some pretty good ones out there. They are good enough, or almost, but often require peripheral tools that must be used to make them fully functional. The primary add-on that greatly improves the efficacy of an existing management system or planned management system is optical character recognition or OCR.

That is the focus of this post, to examine the meter reading technology that every mobile workforce management should consider, how OCR can be incorporated into an existing system, and answer the following topics:

  • Which advances in mobile workforce management are already in use?
  • What are some typical fieldwork tasks?
  • What issues are still there with the working schedule?
  • The key is named OCR
  • How can mobile meter scanning be integrated?

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Which advances in mobile workforce management are already in use?

Mobile workforce management is the process of organizing and dispatching mobile utility workers. Also known as MWM, it incorporates several moving parts including the processes and tools that are necessary for empowering and supporting mobile utility workers as they carry out their daily tasks. There is a constant push to improve the efficiency and productivity of mobile utility workers and utility companies employ several technologies to aid in this process which include:

  • Cloud computing – Instead of handling storage and processing in-house, it is managed by the software provider. This allows companies to bypass the expenses that are associated with the installation of new hardware. Cloud services also tend to have increased security so that data is secure and backed up regularly. It also allows data to be synced across all devices and access to data from anywhere, improving collaboration among teams.
  • GPS tracking – Provides the ability to track employee locations and movements in real-time to ensure safety, compliance, and optimal productivity.
  • Device-agnostic solutions – Solutions that are applied to multiple devices, including computers, smartphones, tablets, and more.
  • Transparent schedules – Ability for a company to know where employees are located and which job or jobs they have completed throughout the day, and transparency in assigning and scheduling of jobs.
  • BYOD – Bring your own device. Mobile workers can bring their own devices and install an app for work purposes. This minimizes the learning curve for getting acclimated to a new device.

When technicians and dispatchers are connected in real-time it centralizes labor management while improving work schedules. Critical updates can be delivered to employees and customers in real-time, making the job of the mobile utility worker easier and more efficient.

The issues in the fieldwork

The success of mobile workforce management hinges on a well-functioning and highly organized schedule for the mobile workers. While issues may arise that can impact the schedule, the basic bones are in place and the mobile workers can carry out their jobs in a timely manner. However, fieldwork is rarely without its challenges:

  • Scheduling conflicts and delays
  • Unplanned or unexpected extra trips
  • Misunderstanding or miscommunication regarding the job

This will happen that will sometimes affect the schedule, especially when mobile utility workers are traveling, but they can be prevented.

How can Anyline be integrated?

The beauty of Anyline’s data capture technology is that it can be integrated into whatever workforce management system a utility company is already using or a mobile app that utility customers can use on their personal devices.  This saves valuable resources while ensuring that utility workers and customers can feel at ease using the technology because they are already familiar with their own smart devices.

This ease of integration is thanks to Anyline’s Software Development Kit or SDK. It allows for secure, fast transmission of meter reading data. It is also backed by Anyline’s hands-on customer support which can help with the technology’s integration into android and iOS smartphones and they can offer support for common integration frameworks including Xamarin, React Native, Flutter, .NET and Cordova.”

You can test the capabilities of our mobile meter reading by downloading our Energy & Water Demo App to see if this solution is right for your business.