Craft an App in a SnapPosted to Esri in the Digital Utility Group
- Feb 20, 2021 1:13 am GMT
Smart device and web apps provide extraordinary new tools for just about everything. More app ideas are flooding in all the time! My sister recently called me with her million-dollar idea. She dreams of creating a new app that solves an everyday problem.
She works with people, not software. Fortunately for her, creating powerful apps has gotten easier. The building blocks are now commodities. Many of these are web services delivered in the internet cloud (more about cloud ). Using a web service requires just a couple of lines of code. Behind the scenes, it works like this. Your phone fires parameters to a web service and receives an immediate response enabling the app’s functions. For example, it sends your current location and desired destination asking for directions.
Driving directions on one’s phone changed driving forever. What is the best way to get to the airport? Here you go - turn-by-turn directions based on current conditions! Satellite imagery to go with it? Easy! Current weather or traffic? Simple! Utilities want in on the app action too.
The paperless possibilities are endless – damage reporting, contact tracing, mutual aid coordination, safety, timekeeping, inspections. What about apps that personalize the customer’s experience? Many customer apps monitor usage and billing. However, few also show the status of nearby outages, tree trimming, upgrades, or construction work. Such focused information fosters higher levels of communication and service.
Often, such apps use location to enhance the user experience. Location helps customers understand how issues apply to them. Moreover, it makes utility workers more effective by relating them to their environment and equipment. Today, people just expect apps to be location-aware. Think about it, how many apps don’t work right when the GPS is turned off?
I’ve never met a high school student that dreamed of doing paperwork at the local utility. Digital native employees expect things to work this way. Utilities must move in this direction to remain relevant to the workforce.
Utilities seeking innovative applications have options to buy or even build them with internal resources. Some utilities prepare specifications and evaluate proposals before purchasing apps. Others develop their own apps. Regardless of the approach, it pays to understand modern location services and how they boost functionality.
Customer Information Systems (CIS) make a good example. How much more effective is a customer representative that has information like worksite locations – on a map - right at their fingertips? It used to be very difficult to embed map-based information in a CIS interface. Now, it is much easier.
Developers can quickly add location functions without learning new tools. They are readily available from the open-source programming interfaces programmers already use. As a result, this technology can be simply embedded into many existing or new apps without delay.
Reimagine Location in Apps
Esri is the premier provider of location services in the world. These services shore up the apps utilities need. Services furnish authoritative basemaps, geocoding, searching, routing, and live data feeds like weather and traffic. Esri’s new ArcGIS Platform brings cost-effective location services to virtually any application.
A suite of web services creates a comprehensive platform from which to build. That is why Esri’s platform is used by some of the largest logistics companies in the world. Location technology has never been easier to include within business systems, apps, or future plans.
I don’t know if my sister’s idea will one day be available in the app store. However, I do know that even apps that are typically not map-centric, like timekeeping, benefit from location technology. They relate users to their setting improving efficiency and accuracy.
For more information about how location technology helps utilities improve communication, efficiency, and service visit our electric industry webpage.
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