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The Fulcrum Focus

Stay in the know with thought leadership, product updates, and latest news on field inspection and data collection topics.

Electric utility readiness for evolving FCC pole attachment standards

Broadband deployment is essential for modern societies, driving economic growth, enhancing communication, and enabling access to a wealth of information and services. Central to the expansion of broadband infrastructure are pole attachments – a seemingly mundane yet crucial aspect of network deployment that involves attaching cables and equipment to utility poles. Recognizing the importance of these attachments, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a series of reforms aimed at streamlining the process and addressing longstanding issues that have impeded broadband deployment.

Geo Week 2024: Exploring the future of geospatial intelligence

Geo Week 2024 marked a significant milestone in the evolution of geospatial intelligence (GEOINT). The event showcased significant advances in airborne, terrestrial, and commercial 3D technologies. In response to evolving geospatial and built world professionals’ needs, it brought together experts, innovators, and enthusiasts from around the globe. As a result, it served as a melting pot of technology, ideas, and advancements in the field. Moreover, it emphasized the fusion of traditional geospatial methods with the latest trends. Additionally, it integrated AI and big data analytics into mapping and spatial analysis.

Fulcrum’s role in geospatial data integration

Geospatial data integration involves combining geospatial data (which is data related to specific geographic locations) from various sources into a single, comprehensive dataset. This process typically requires harmonizing different data formats, coordinate systems, and data models. The integrated data can then be analyzed and visualized more effectively, providing a comprehensive geographical perspective. This is particularly useful in fields like urban and rural development, environmental management, and construction, where understanding spatial relationships and patterns is crucial for decision-making and planning.

What is FieldTech?

FieldTech refers to the specialized technology and systems designed for outdoor operations and fieldwork. Unlike traditional office-based technologies, FieldTech solutions are crafted to meet the unique challenges faced by teams working in diverse and often remote environments. This encompasses a wide range of hardware and software, from GPS, sensors, drones, and GoPros, to data collection and asset management to real-time communication, all tailored to enhance the efficiency, accuracy, and safety of field operations.

Accommodating field data with your enterprise GIS implementation

As a GIS Manager, you’re at the forefront of merging the traditional with the modern, ensuring that your organization leverages the best of spatial insights to optimize its operations. The implementation of an Enterprise Geographic Information System (GIS) is a pivotal step in transforming your business’s field data capabilities. But how can you seamlessly incorporate this technology to maximize its impact?

Time-saving GIS data collection techniques

Field operations in numerous industries rely heavily on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to collect and manage spatial data. The intricacies of mapping terrain, analyzing environmental data, and planning infrastructure development depend on the accuracy and efficiency of GIS. Given the vast amounts of data needed and the rapid pace at which decisions must be made, field technicians are under constant pressure to perform tasks quickly without sacrificing the quality of data.

Water asset management: challenges and solutions

Water assets, crucial elements like rivers, lakes, and treatment plants, are the cornerstone of environmental health and human well-being. This blog navigates the world of water assets, highlighting their importance and the challenges in managing them – and the role of digital data collection platforms like Fulcrum in streamlining these efforts. These technological advancements not only enhance efficiency but also ensure sustainability, marking a significant step forward in how we interact with and protect our water resources. Join us in exploring the integration of technology and environmental stewardship.

Accelerating operational flexibility with FieldTech and GIS SaaS integration

Embracing cutting-edge solutions in today’s fast-evolving operational landscape is essential, and one such innovation is the convergence of Field Technology (FieldTech) — technology built for and managed by field teams — with Geographic Information System (GIS) Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings. These integrated platforms are revolutionizing industry workflows by providing unprecedented agility and capacity to adjust to market and environmental alterations quickly and effectively.

Maximizing ROI with data collection software for utility companies

Utility companies may hesitate to embrace a SaaS (Software as a Service) field data collection and management solution due to the substantial investments in their current methods, from pen-and-paper to complex in-house digital platforms. These entrenched systems represent significant sunk costs in time, money, and training – investments that may be painful to put aside in favor of a SaaS solution, despite the benefits.

GIS project management: best practices and challenges

GIS data is the cornerstone of planning decisions. GIS data helps us understand the relationships between a location and the surrounding environmental and social context. In sectors like utilities, environmental engineering, telecom, and others, GIS project managers use geospatial data to create accurate models and forecast possible risks. Project managers plan and oversee the completion of all major GIS-related projects. They depend on accurate field data to create timelines and allot resources. GIS project management is a complex job, with many moving parts. In addition to creating the overall workflow plan and timeline, the project manager also interacts with clients, oversees the budget, and supervises work teams.

How to build data visualizations with geospatial technology

An added benefit to our increased ability to collect geospatial data is our equally heightened ability to display it. When we combine data collection solutions with geospatial technology, we can enhance how our data is communicated. In effect, we can create dynamic data visualizations.

GIS data management: from digital maps to landscape realities

Geography influences a vast array of business, government, and personal decisions. The “how” and “why” of processes and developments often come down to the particulars of place. The physical realities of a location are important, obviously, but so are the social specifics. The environmental context is also vital. Understanding not only what all those attributes are but also how they interrelate requires a thorough collection of geospatial GIS data.

How sinkholes crash the underground fiber optic party

As the telecom world races towards better connectivity, underground fiber optic cables have become the go-to solution. However, this advancement comes with an unintended consequence – the potential risk of sinkholes. As these high-speed conduits burrow deeper into the earth, they intersect with a delicate subterranean balance, occasionally disrupting natural water flows and contributing to soil erosion. This can lead to the formation of sinkholes, presenting a new set of challenges for urban planners and telecommunication companies.

Boosting operational productivity in the field with digital data collection

Ramping up operational productivity in the field is a major goal for any GIS Manager, and it hinges on one crucial factor: quality data. Forget the old-school methods of scribbling notes in a notebook. The game has changed with the advent of data collection technology. This isn’t simply about the replacement of outdated tools with new technology. Instead, it’s a fundamental shift in how we handle field data.

Overhauling America’s aging water infrastructure

Water touches every aspect of modern life. Obviously, drinking water is vital, but we also need plentiful water for agriculture. The manufacturing and technology sectors use water for cooling purposes, as does power generation. In fact, America uses more water than almost every other nation on earth. However, the infrastructure that provides, cleans, and delivers that water is crumbling.

Why every community needs a stormwater management plan

Urban environments, by their very nature, create ideal conditions for excessive stormwater runoff. As these areas expand rapidly, alongside the evolving challenges of climate change, the need for comprehensive stormwater management becomes more critical. These expanding cities, with their unpredictable shifts in climate patterns, significantly impact stormwater systems in complexity and scale.

Technology innovations in electrical infrastructure maintenance and repair

The global use of electricity continues to grow every year. In fact, electricity usage in 2022 was more than three times higher than in 1980, and demand continues to climb. A robust plan for electrical infrastructure maintenance is essential to safely meet the needs of our interconnected world.

How utility companies will use Fulcrum to gain an actionable advantage in 2024

As 2023 draws to a close, utilities face considerable headwinds, finding themselves squeezed by regulator-driven demands for sustainability and environmental care, and grappling with escalating service delivery costs. In this challenging landscape, GIS-enhanced data collection emerges as a crucial tool for utilities, aiding in balancing these demands while maintaining operational efficiency.

Prevent wildlife causing power outages with data collection software

Electricity is the lifeblood of modern society, powering everything from homes to hospitals. Yet, this critical service is surprisingly vulnerable to the natural world, particularly the untamed antics of wildlife. Every year, curious critters are the cause of widespread power outages, leading to significant economic losses and reliability issues for utilities. As electrical utilities seek innovative solutions to mitigate these interruptions, data collection software emerges as a pivotal tool in the strategic arsenal against wildlife-causing power outages. This blog explores an interesting use case for such software: managing wildlife interference effectively to ensure the protection of both animals and the reliability of utility services.

Top three tech tools for water disaster management

As the global climate continues to fluctuate, water disasters are on the rise. The United Nations (UN) recently reported that harmful water events top the list of the world’s most destructive disasters. The number of water-related disasters has increased by a factor of five over the past 50 years, driven by climate change and weather extremes (and also, at least in part, higher population density and better reporting). And while the death toll of these events have leveled out over the years due to better warning systems, the economic toll of the crises has not. Over the same time period, costs related to water emergencies averaged out to $202 million USD per day.

Driving geospatial innovation in field services with Fulcrum

You know how, when you’re in the field, you sometimes need to step back to get a little perspective? It’s similar with software. We recently took a few minutes to host a webinar, Chart new territory with lines and polygons in Fulcrum, to help our customers understand how our geospatial innovation and capabilities fit in with our purpose as a company.

Strengthening electrical poles for future storms with Fulcrum

With the alarming increase in extreme weather events, electrical poles face an unprecedented challenge. Damaged poles can incapacitate a grid, leaving communities in darkness, cutting off communication, and stalling vital services. However, the solution is not costly-full scale replacement of the many poles that make up a grid. Instead, utilities are much better off reinforcing poles and implementing preventative measures. Fortunately, field data collection and inspection software can help utilities strengthen electrical poles, grids, and services against future storms.

Geolocation data in disaster response: how Fulcrum is making a difference

The power of where in emergencies
In the critical moments following a disaster, the ability to pinpoint and act upon geolocation data can be lifesaving. For utility companies, this information is the compass that directs the restoration efforts in a landscape where traditional landmarks may no longer exist. Geolocation data acts as a beacon, providing clarity amidst the confusion and enabling a swift return to normalcy.

How GIS mobile data collection connects teams across distances

What is GIS mobile data collection?
You might be familiar with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), a technology that has been a cornerstone for capturing and analyzing spatial data. GIS mobile data collection with platforms such as Fulcrum takes this foundational technology to the next level. It’s not just about creating maps or storing data; it’s about instantaneous capture and sharing of geospatial information.

2023 gift guide for people who love geography

Four years have flown by since we last navigated the globe for a geography gift guide, and it’s high time for an update! Whether you’re a map enthusiast, a trivia titan, or just looking to jazz up your desk with a spinning Earth, our latest roundup of geographically great gifts will have you plotting a course to the nearest ‘Add to Cart’ button. From puzzles that challenge your flag knowledge to mugs that serve up a side of humor with your morning brew, we’ve charted a course for presents that promise to elevate your latitude and attitude in equal measure. So, grab your compass and let’s embark on a journey through the best gifts for the geography lover in your life – no passport required!

What is geospatial data collection?

Imagine merging the where with the what to make smarter decisions – that’s the essence of geospatial data collection, a cornerstone in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Whether you’re in utilities, urban planning, environmental science, or any other field that requires data to be correlated with exact locations, understanding this practice is essential. This blog post will demystify the what, why, and how of geospatial data collection, equipping you with the foundational knowledge to make more informed decisions based on location-specific data.

Risk and resilience management of stormwater systems

Protecting us from floods and pollution, stormwater infrastructure keeps our communities and economies safe and healthy. However, standing at the forefront of a rapidly-changing world – from unprecedented urban growth to extreme climate events – they have come under increasing strain in recent years.

Water quality technology: A GIS-enabled approach to monitoring water quality

Not only is clean and safe water vital for public health, but failing to ensure water quality also has wide economic and environmental consequences. Water quality technology has traditionally involved cumbersome or slow sampling and testing methods, often delaying the identification of contaminants. However, Geographic Information System (GIS) has now made real-time water quality monitoring more simple, effective, and accurate than ever.

Elevate efficiency with water utility management software

Managing a water utility is no small feat. From ensuring regulatory compliance to maintaining aging infrastructure and streamlining operations, the list of responsibilities can be overwhelming. That’s where effective technology comes into play. A robust water utility management software solution can transform these everyday challenges into opportunities for enhanced efficiency and better service quality.

Green geometry: harnessing advanced GIS in vegetation management for utilities

Vegetation management is a continuous challenge for utility companies. From mountain forests to city streets, ensuring vegetation doesn’t interfere with electrical lines is critical for safety and service continuity.
This is no easy feat, especially if utilities rely on outdated data collection methods that can’t properly track critical data points or produce decisive insights.

Data-driven oversight: navigating utility pole partnerships

Despite their decades-old prevalence, utility poles stand at the forefront of a technological evolution. As telecom companies build ever-newer networks, utility poles become essential equipment for both legacy electrical grids and cutting-edge telecoms. Doubling pole use benefits both utilities and telecoms, but these utility pole partnerships can present numerous challenges without proper oversight. 

Fulcrum’s new frontier: bringing lines and polygons to life

I’m excited to share some big news with you today. We’ve brought lines and polygons to Fulcrum, a move that’s been high on our clients’ wish list for quite some time. This isn’t just a new feature; it’s a big step forward in making GIS-oriented data collection and field operations more straightforward and effective, a goal I had in mind when I joined Fulcrum four years ago. And believe me, we’re just warming up.

WEFTEC 2023: the future of water engineering and infrastructure

The Water Environment Federation’s Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) 2023, held in Chicago, IL, was more than just an event; it was a transformative experience. As attendees from all over the globe converged to discuss, learn, and collaborate, the conference provided a comprehensive understanding of the water sector’s current challenges, recent innovations, and future opportunities. One of the standout discussions was the potential integration of platforms like Fulcrum within the water industry, emphasizing the role of technology in shaping water engineering, infrastructure, and resilience.

Bolstering electric infrastructure resilience: the power of AI for utilities

Global electricity demand is projected to grow between 62% and 185 percent by 2050.  As our world becomes more electrified, new challenges threaten the reliability and stability of our power infrastructure.

Inspections help to keep up with electricity demand from public EV charging stations

The future of electric vehicles (EVs) presents a looming challenge. The projected demand for public EV charging stations will place the US electrical grid under immense strain.

AI-powered leak detection: Safeguarding water infrastructure with technology

As of September 2023, a staggering 30 percent of the United States finds itself grappling with moderate to severe drought conditions, signaling a distressing trend in climate patterns. This alarming development is not merely a temporary phase. In fact, experts from the UN Environmental Program have shifted away from using the term “droughts” to describe the current water scarcity issues plaguing the American West. They now refer to this persistent state of aridity as “the new, very dry normal,” a phrase that encapsulates the gravity of the situation and hints at a long-term transformation in the region’s climate. This change in terminology underscores the urgency of digital transformation in water utilities to adapt and prepare for a future where water resources might be scarcer and more precious than ever before.

Lines, polygons, and data: mapping efficiency in the field

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) continue to transform field data collection, offering depth and detail that were previously out of reach. Fulcrum leads the charge in this revolution by integrating GIS lines and polygons directly into its data collection tool, setting a new benchmark for industries requiring comprehensive and precise geospatial analysis. Join us as we explore the enhanced functionalities and real-world applications that are defining the next chapter in field data collection.

The power of GIS lines and polygons for utility planning

Geographic information systems (GIS) have emerged as vital tools for visualizing and analyzing spatial data in utility management. These systems utilize detailed mapping features such as lines (representing linear features like roads or utility cables) and polygons (depicting enclosed areas like parcels or land use zones). This technology grants utility companies a deep understanding of complex network systems, facilitating informed strategies to meet the needs of growing communities. It empowers them to pursue well-informed expansion strategies with efficiency and foresight. Below we’ll explore how GIS lines and polygons for utility planning can help with data-driven decisions and field management tasks.

GIS lines and polygons reshaping utilities

Data accuracy plays a critical role in utility field operations. Incorporating GIS lines and polygons is reshaping utilities with visual data collection and mapping of critical assets.

Three requirements for modernizing water utility asset management

Water utility asset management involves tracking and optimizing infrastructure, inventories, and tasks to ensure safe, consistent, and cost-effective service delivery. Doing this effectively requires the right tools to reliably collect accurate data on assets, life-cycle costs, and proactive maintenance.

Spatial insights for electrical inspections

Field inspections are central to an electrical utility’s network, safeguarding infrastructure by identifying wear and potential hazards to prevent service disruption. Successful electrical inspections require collecting and analyzing accurate and reliable data to identify inefficiencies and risks and prioritize timely remediation.

Fulcrum named as G2’s Fall 2023 “Most Implementable Inspection Management Solution”

As we bid farewell to summer and embrace the cozy days of fall, it’s not just the leaves that are changing. We’re thrilled to announce the latest accolades earned by Fulcrum, and they’re making us feel as warm and fuzzy as a pumpkin spice latte on a chilly autumn morning. This season, Fulcrum has been recognized with some remarkable G2 2023 Fall Awards (check out Fulcrum’s G2 page to get all the details!), and we couldn’t be prouder. So, gather ’round as we unveil the achievements that continue to drive us forward on our mission to transform inspection management and mobile forms automation.

Three key takeaways From the 2023 T&D World Live Conference

The 2023 T&D World Live Conference was a landmark event, bringing together the brightest minds in the transmission and distribution sector. Fulcrum was among many who exhibited and attended with a team of experts in their field. Although the show was well attended by major players in the industry, the environment was one of a close-knit community. 

Boosting efficiency for electrical field operations managers

Field operations managers and their teams play an indispensable part in electrical utilities. They work tirelessly to ensure timely maintenance, infrastructure upgrades, and emergency response.  However, in an industry where precision and efficiency are paramount, managing and coordinating field teams presents a constant challenge.

Revolutionizing water management – the power of GIS applications and data collection platforms

In the realm of modern water management, there are two unsung heroes that deserve the spotlight: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications and data collection platforms. They might not have flashy costumes, but the impact of data collection platforms and GIS applications for water, wastewater, and stormwater systems is nothing short of transformative. Read on to learn how this dynamic duo is rewriting the playbook for efficient water management.

Fulcrum for water infrastructure solutions

It’s not easy overseeing the #2 necessity of life, just after air. In addition to managing the intricate water network and maintaining essential services, water utilities must comply with a dizzying number of regulations from federal agency regulations all the way down to small town local ordinances. Oh, and somehow at the end of the day, they must also make enough money to stay (ahem) afloat in a world where expenses from materials to workforce continue to climb. The Fulcrum data collection platform is utilities’ go-to for water infrastructure solutions, helping to navigate these challenges. Let’s explore how Fulcrum empowers water utilities to streamline operations, make informed decisions, and ensure optimal service delivery.

Water and wastewater infrastructure planning with GIS data

Access to safe drinking water and clean sanitation has long been considered a basic human right. But over two billion people lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation services, a staggering figure on the rise. The need for robust, efficient, and sustainable water and wastewater infrastructure is clear, especially in an era of resource scarcity and extreme climate events. Water utilities infrastructure planning ensures public health and protects our environment. 

Creating a sustainable urban infrastructure with GIS data

As urban spaces grow and evolve, governments often face challenges in finding the right balance in urban infrastructure between sustainable development and residents’ needs.

Can water utility data management software rescue utilities from drowning in challenges?

The 2023 Outlook for Water Utilities by the American Water Works Associate reports that water utility leaders generally view the industry favorably, giving it a 5 out of a possible 7 “optimism rating.”  However, this positive outlook doesn’t imply that everything is smooth sailing. From resource allocation to environmental impact to sustainability to retaining appropriate technical and field staff, water utilities still face stiff headwinds (undertows?). In this blog we’ll look at environmental and operational challenges, and how water utility data management software can make a difference in providing long-term, sustainable solutions.

Guarding the grid: how SaaS enhances data security for electrical utilities

Electrical utilities may turn to in-house data collection solutions to maintain a sense of operational control. However, this approach leads to serious security vulnerabilities that put data integrity at risk and can have cascading effects on everything from service delivery to reputation. In this finale of our ongoing series, we’ll explore how SaaS data collection solutions strengthen data security for electrical utilities and creates better business and service outcomes. 

Flexibility and scalability: Esri’s GIS integration for utilities data collection

If you are a follower of Fulcrum (and we hope you are!), you’ve probably seen our Esri announcements over the past six months or so, starting with our definitive commercial provider agreement and most recently talking about further Esri integration with a host of new features. But today we wanted to single out a couple of advantages to the Fulcrum-Esri pairing that don’t get enough press:  scalability and flexibility.  And as there’s no industry better to showcase these benefits, read on to learn more about GIS integration for utilities and how it optimizes both scalability and flexibility of their operations. 

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