What Communication Tools Are Available For A Utility Work Force

Posted on February 15th, 2011 by
   

Troy Pingree, from Panasonic, discusses the different communication tools utilities use to efficiently manage their out-in-the-field work force.

Full Transcript:

Troy Pingree: I am Troy Pingree with Panasonic, and I’m a national sales manager for Panasonic Solutions Company. Today, we’re displaying some of our products in DistribuTECH in San Diego.
Ben Lack: Fantastic. So what type of screens do you have up in front of you or behind you, rather?
Troy Pingree: What we’re displaying is what we call more of a command center or a control center based on some of the products we’re showing. This is a plasma, a 103-inch plasma, and right down below we’re showing some of the command center with some of the Toughbooks that we sell within our divisions.
Ben Lack: And the products are really being targeted towards what type of client?
Troy Pingree: Really, anyone: an outside client, outside door environments, these types of thing. Our competence in customers has been anyone: utility customers, cable customers, anyone really outside in the field.
Ben Lack: And why is the 103-inch screen so cool?
Troy Pingree: Well, first off, its size; secondly, we manufacture the product ourselves. We’re one of the leaders in plasma technology. This is the 103-inch. We just introduced the 152-inch in the beginning of this year, and actually, we’re one of the leaders in that size and product.
Ben Lack: Fantastic. And how did this screen integrate with the other operation screens?
Troy Pingree: As you can kind of see from the table, we have integrated at Toughbook some different displays and then they integrate both inside the office and outside the office. So, you can take a Toughbook in the office and out of the office.
Ben Lack: Fantastic. And can you give us a little bit of history, sort of take a quick step back, on the history of the company, what your vision is, how long have you been around.
Troy Pingree: I’ve been with the organization for fifteen years of selling mobility with the Toughbook division. This previous year we just introduced some of the other products that we’re displaying at DistribuTECH today.
Ben Lack: And are the products only in office or do you also have products that people can use outside in the field?
Troy Pingree: Yes. Everything. We have a family of devices selling mobility — transmission distribution, meter readings, sub-station maintenance — all the different architecture for anyone in the outside plant, basically.
Ben Lack: You want to show us some of them?
Troy Pingree: Oh, that’d be great! Today we’re kind of just doing a show-and-tell in the H1, this is our field product. As you can see, it has a 10.4” daylight viewable screen, its mil-spec 810G, IP rating at 65. So it can take outside damage and take rain, dust, shock, mount. It’s actually wire screen enable. It can have GPS. It’s got a dual core battery system to give the technician in the field longevity through the workload of the day. As you can see, it’s got a handle on it; It can be mounted in the office environment and actually in the vehicle. It’s really mobile dispatch. Anyone that mobile that’s actually going out trying to take maybe a GPS site or a rating of RFID, barcoder scanning, tagging an asset, and sending that information back to the operations under the architecture of the company.
Ben Lack: Is there any troubleshooting that it could do?
Troy Pingree: Yes.  Most definitely, it can do troubleshooting both with some of the wireless connectivity that you can actually see in this side, as well.
Ben Lack: And is this a one-size-fits-all type of solution?
Troy Pingree: Well, what’s kind of nice about this product is it kind of meets the needs of one that’s outside. As you can see there’s a handle, very mobile. You can actually in and out of a vehicle. So it’s very mobile. From our feedback from our customer base, is this kind of a nice complement on both clamshell device and more of a as what we call a slate. Okay, this is just one device that Toughbook offers. We offer a CF-31, which is a very, again, low spec product, more of a clamshell device that actually can mount on a truck; a CF-19 that actually is very mobile, it’s kind of the best of both worlds that actually has a keyboard and can run more than a tablet mode, as well, so very flexible; then we actually have the U1 which is actually very mobile, smaller device, has some of the same functionalities but is very mobile and actually can fit in your hand, as well, so, it’s very flexible mainly for just very quick meter reads or something very efficient.
Ben Lack: And is it durable?
Troy Pingree: All of our products are durable. Very durable.
Ben Lack: How do you guys test the durability?
Troy Pingree: We actually do our independent testing, and the company does testings internally as far as how we do dust, drop, shock, mount; and then its certified by the A10G military specification rating.
Ben Lack: And how long could someone expect to use this product? What’s the shelf life for it?
Troy Pingree: Good question. It varies really depending upon their life cycle and applications, but I would say anywhere from three to five to six years is kind of a traditional type of life cycle for the Toughbook.
Ben Lack: And this is a personal question, final one for you. I’m curious to know why you’re in the business, why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Troy Pingree: First off, I just love selling mobility. It’s been a great path and I had a great passion for working with Panasonic, for Panasonic, because they build their own products from fit to finish.

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