NetMotion Wireless Seven Essential Practices for Utility Mobile Data Deployments eBook
Share this eBook7 essential practices forUTILITY MOBILE DATA DEPLOYMENTSeBook
7 essential practices forUTILITY MOBILE DATA DEPLOYMENTSeBookkeep it simple andseamlessensure continuousconnectionsuse multiple networksknow how you’recovered#1 prepare to scale upand outmake it manageableenforce airtightsecurity#2#3#4#5#6#7
Share this eBookintroductionTwo factors are driving the increasing adoption ofmobile data deployments within the utilities industry:NEED TO ATTRACT AND RETAIN YOUNGERWORKERS. The utility workforce is highly skilled,experienced, and fast approaching retirement age.As addressed in a study by the American PublicPower Association, utilities that are not buildinga technology-enabled workforce will likely find itdifficult to recruit younger workers.DEREGULATION AND PRESSURESFOR OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY.With the right combination of mobiletechnologies, workers make fewertrips to the office, don’t have tore-enter pen-and-paper reports,and spend more time in the fieldcompleting tasks.The insights into best practices inthis guide are drawn from the 2011“Mobile Technology Usein the Utility Industry”benchmark survey of 50 utilities,who serve approximately 10%of U.S. households, that havedeployed mobile technologies.
#1 keep it SIMPLE and SEAMLESSIn mobile environments, workers roam between various cellular, Wi-Fi and wired networks,consistently use computing devices, and expect uninterrupted use of open applicationsthroughout the workday.Utilities have found that a mobile Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the essential “glue”that ties together these multiple networks. A MOBILE VPN HANDLES LOGONS ANDCONNECTION HANDOFFS TRANSPARENTLY, AND DELIVERS A SINGLE, SEAMLESSMOBILE COMPUTING EXPERIENCE.According to a recent survey conducted by NetMotion Wireless of top IT decision-makers inutilities, after adding a mobile VPN to their deployments:• More than 70% of utilities said that their FIELD WORKERS COULD COMPLETE MOREWORK ORDERS PER DAY, with increases of three to five more job tickets among thosewho could quantify the results.• Almost all (92%) found THE DEPLOYMENT OF A MOBILE VPN TO BE EITHER “VERYIMPORTANT” OR “IMPORTANT” for the success of their mobile deployments.
##2 Connectivity problems while using wirelessnetworks are the most common source offrustration in a mobile data deployment. Workersoften lose connections and need to re-log into their computer. Applications that are openduring those interruptions often crash, requiringworkers to not only log in again, but re-enter thedata they lost.A MOBILE VPN KEEPS CONNECTIONS ALIVEthrough drops and interruptions in wirelesscoverage. Workers need to only log in once, atthe beginning of the shift.ensure CONTINUOUS CONNECTIONS27%of utilities surveyed indicatedthat the ability to persistapplications throughintermittent network coveragewas their primary reason fordeploying a mobile VPN.
#3 use MULTIPLE NETWORKSReliable coverage throughout the utility service area often requires using multiple networks.45%of utilities said that theability to use multiplenetworks was theirprimary reason foradopting a mobile VPN.Among the utilities surveyed:• More than 40% USE TWO OR MORECELLULAR CARRIERS to connect throughouttheir service areas.• 15% SUPPLEMENT THE CARRIERNETWORKS WITH SATELLITECONNECTIONS, which are often the onlyavailable option for crews in remote locations.• 45% TIE INTO WI-FI NETWORKS WHEREAVAILABLE -- often useful for downloadinglarge files, such as GIS and mapping files.
##4 know how you’re COVEREDWith public cellular networks – often from multiple carriers – providing the essentialconnectivity, it is important to know that networks are delivering as promised and that theorganization isn’t paying for little-used connections, especially considering the cost ofthose connections.Software is now available that maps, monitors and measures cellular connectionsand network use by field technicians. By deploying this cellular networkmanagement software, administrators know when and where:• Non-essential applications areOVER-USING EXPENSIVEBANDWIDTH• Cellular coverage is SPOTTY ORNON-EXISTENT• Multiple carriers are NEEDED ORARE SIMPLY REDUNDANTArmed with this information,administrators can cancelunnecessary plans and align theorganization’s investment with theneed for data access.
#5prepare to scaleUP AND OUTA recent NetMotion Wireless survey of top ITdecision-makers in utilities indicated that:20%of utilities declared thataccess to more applicationsis the primary reason fordeploying a mobile VPN.More than• FIELD TECHNICIANS, METERTECHNICIANS AND LINECREWS ARE THE MOSTPREVALENT MOBILE USERS;many utilities are also expandingmobile access to street lightservicing and tree crews.• Roughly 70% OF UTILITIESHAVE DEPLOYED GIS /MAPPING and Mobile WorkforceManagement applications.• FLEET MANAGEMENT, ASSETMANAGEMENT AND CRM AREEITHER ALREADY IN PLACE,or are the next applications to"go mobile.”A best-in-class mobile VPN allows any application designed for a wired network to beaccessed reliably in a mobile setting.
#6 make it MANAGEABLEManaging mobile devices across a dispersed workforce is a challenge, and more so inlarge deployments. In fact, 15% OF UTILITIES IDENTIFIED THE ABILITY TO CENTRALLYMANAGE MOBILE DEVICES TO BE THE OVERRIDING REASON FOR ADOPTING AMOBILE VPN. A reliable “connection-aware” link allows devices to be managed “over theair” as easily as desktops and laptops on a wired network.Nearly all utilities reported that, afterdeploying a mobile VPN, there was animmediate reduction in IT support ticketsrelated to mobile deployment problems,with decreases as high as 80%.By using a mobile VPN in conjunction with cellular network managementsoftware, administrators gain visibility into how devices and applications areconsuming cellular bandwidth, so THEY CAN USE POLICIES TO FINE-TUNETHE DEPLOYMENT FOR THE MOST COST-EFFECTIVE PERFORMANCE. Agranular view into where and when devices encounter connection problemsaids in troubleshooting and allows many problems to be prevented proactively.
#7Ensuring security of data flowing to and frommobile devices was identified by 15% of utilitiesas the primary driver behind adoption of a mobileVPN. A mobile VPN that supports best practicesfor utilities:• SUPPORTS AES ENCRYPTION, meetingFERC/NERC requirements;• CREATES A SECURE TUNNEL at power-upwithout worker intervention; and• PROVIDES A SINGLE SIGN-ON thatsupports two-factor and multi-factorauthentication via smart cards,RSA SecurID tokens, or devicecertificates.enforceAIRTIGHT SECURITYA secure, seamless andsimplified user experience isat the root of the significantproductivity gains that thesurveyed utilities achieved.A MOBILE VPN DELIVERS APOSITIVE USER EXPERIENCETHAT SPEEDS ADOPTION OFTHE NEW FIELD TOOLS.
CONCLUSIONMobile technologies have been widely deployed among utilities, and have delivered proven resultsfor those who adopt a best-practices approach as described in this guide. Ultimately, THE PAYOFFIS IN GREATER EFFICIENCY and, for forward-thinking utilities, THE ABILITY TO ATTRACT A NEWGENERATION OF WORKERS.NetMotion Wireless supports such a best-practicesapproach with two software products:The MOBILITY XE® MOBILE VPN maximizes mobilefield worker productivity by maintaining and securingtheir data connections as they move in and out ofwireless coverage areas and roam between networks.LOCALITY™ CELLULAR NETWORK PERFORMANCEMANAGEMENT SOFTWARE gives organizations theinsight and visibility needed to optimize their mobiledata deployments.