As we wrap up another year, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the stories we've heard from clients and trends we've seen in our industry.
Staffing and technology
First, staffing continues to be an issue. Between the Great Resignation and the strong labor market, teams have struggled with employee turnover and filling open positions. They've had to deal with knowledge gaps, capacity issues, overworked employees, and more. Many utilities have turned to technology to help under-staffed teams simplify processes and meet performance goals.
These are just a few stories we heard related to how technology has made work better.
- Olathe Public Works - a crew's perspective
- Simplifying response at Durham's Water & Sewer Maintenance division
- Managing overwhelming call volume
The transition from input to action
We've heard a few variations of how it can be difficult to translate information into action. These include sorting through dozens, hundreds, or thousands of reports related to a major incident; translating a confusing customer report into a clear picture of an issue; and delays in getting incident reports from call centers.
This particular trend was one of the main reasons our CEO, John Bertrand, P.E., founded Daupler. Daupler's algorithm has been trained on a large and growing data set to identify different types of issues, which prevents those issues from being misrouted and delaying response. Customer photos uploaded to the platform also help crews better prepare before they arrive on-site. Additionally, Daupler RMS can route incidents in seconds vs the time it can take for a call taker to manually call or email someone.
These are a few stories of how technology helps teams move from inputs to action faster.
- Creating efficiencies in response management (faster than 911)
- Eliminating delays in incident transfer from the call center
- Olathe Public Works - on the value of a photo
- Berea Municipal Utilities - on the value of a photo
Infrastructure and climate
2022 continued the trend of extreme weather events, from tornadoes, wildfires, extreme heat, and continued drought; to record rainfall in Kentucky, Hurricane Ian, and this week's Winter Storm Elliott.
As the same time, water, wastewater, power, and roads infrastructure in the United States continues its fragile state. While investments, upgrades, and proactive maintenance continue, there is still a significant infrastructure investment gap according to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). And the continued stories of boil orders, urban flooding, sewage clean-ups, and significant outages (at some point during Elliott, over a million people across the country were without power) demonstrate the continued impact of that gap.
We are proud to have helped our clients with their real-time response in 2022. We look forward to more stories in 2023.