It’s Time for Electrical Contractors to Reinvent Their Role

On the final day of NECA Live, Josh Bone, executive director of ELECTRI International, and Michael Parkes, vice president of O’Connell Electric Co., delivered a presentation on digital tools and technology to assist electrical contractors in the outdoor utility space and how to implement technology changes in your organization. Following are some examples of digital solutions that can be particularly useful for the outdoor utility contractor, according to the presenters.

Mobile apps. Mobile apps can be used in a variety of ways, with safety being one of the key areas. For example, several fall-protection apps, such as Worker Safety Pro, work with smart phones and smart watches to alert not only the user of a stumble, but also his or her manager. Other safety-related mobile apps Bone mentioned (not specifically limited to fall protection) include Safesite, StriveZero, and Safety Reports.

Paperless forms. Paperless form apps and software, such as GoCanvas, are also key to helping simplify the form process, including safety reporting. “These tools can be extremely valuable not only for safety, which is, you know, obviously the most critical component,” Parkes said, adding that these apps can also help accelerate the paperwork process.

360°cameras. Technology beyond mobile applications can be useful as well. Cameras with 360° technology can be used to help record a process and then used later as training material. Additionally, certain models can be connected to mobile devices, attached to a hardhat, or voice-activated for hands-free work. Parkes said in his experience, 360° cameras have been used in a substation project, control room, and in the field for documenting.

Smart security cameras. Another tool becoming more commonplace in utility projects is security cameras, which can include a variety of intelligence tools. “Our utility customers are starting to actually request that this be utilized on projects,” Parkes

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