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Asset protection

Mobile locate technology

Brief

Protecting underground assets like cables and pipes is vitally important to utility companies. But information about their location is often inaccurate or out of date. This makes finding and marking them prior to any excavation work costly, time consuming and repetitive.

Currently, the marked location is not recorded – meaning the same cable may have to be located time after time.

IPEG Corporation saw an opportunity to revolutionise the locate industry, by building a system to permanently record asset locations – and approached us to help solve some of the complex technical challenges involved fast.

Approach

The novel UTTO® platform needed to work as part of the standard ‘locate-and-mark’ process followed by US utility companies – with no change to field worker workflow.

This meant being able to retrofit existing cable locator tools with advanced GPS – enabling fast ‘time to first fix’ – plus Bluetooth Low Energy communications. The location data is captured by a tablet app, which permanently records the asset on a cloud-based, back-end system.

We put together a multidisciplinary team to help with the development of the cable locator Bluetooth interface, and the design of the tablet app and user interface. Crucially, we also ensured the technology dovetailed seamlessly with existing working practices.

Benefit

UTTO significantly reduces the need for repeated site visits by field technicians; improves the accuracy of location; and reduces the time required for each enquiry to be closed.

All acquired underground data is preserved for future locate operations – saving time and money. Over time, utility companies gain accurate data of asset locations without altering existing field activities.

Relocating becomes faster as field workers can be guided to within one metre of an asset using patented GPS Locate Assist™.

The development of the UTTO platform has allowed IPEG Corporation to create a unique service offering in the underground asset management industry.