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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.

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This is no easy feat, especially if utilities rely on outdated data collection methods that can’t properly track critical data points or produce decisive insights.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. 

SaaS data collection tools reduce IT workload

Since the acceleration of digital technology, electrical utilities have often relied on in-house or “homemade” software solutions for data collection tools. Piecing together a range of different solutions might provide a degree of control and customization. However, this fragmentary approach also comes with serious challenges that can negatively impact utilities, particularly around IT workload and opportunity costs. 

SaaS data collection tools eliminate hardware and software hassles

As the fourth installment in our series exploring the benefits of SaaS data collection tools for electric utilities, join us as we look at how innovative SaaS platforms significantly reduce the need for costly hardware and software maintenance and upgrades, all while offering advanced data collection features.

How SaaS data collection tools optimize resources

As part three of our series about the importance of SaaS solutions for electric utilities, we follow up on our previous blogs about time savings and integration by looking at the budgetary benefits of how cloud-based data collection tools optimize resources.

Fulcrum is G2 Summer 2023 Leader in Mobile Forms Automation

Every quarter when the G2 reports come in, we admit we have the teensiest bit of butterflies fluttering in our figurative stomach.  Is the Fulcrum data collection and mobile forms automation tool continuing to make a difference in users’ inspection processes? And, Have the improvements we’ve been making paid off for our customers? And even, Do the customers still like us? 

Better integration with SaaS data collection tools

In this part 2 of our series on SaaS data collection tools for electric utilities, we highlight the superiority of SaaS platforms in integrating with other digital systems like GIS, business intelligence, and analytics software. These integrations allow for seamless data exchange and maximize the utility of each system, ultimately helping utilities reduce workflow friction, save money, and scale operations. Keep reading to find out more!

Key takeaways from the 2023 Esri User Conference

As the world continues to evolve, so does our interaction with it. The key to navigating this change lies in the power of data and technology. This was the central theme at the 2023 Esri User Conference, which Fulcrum encompasses in its Field Management Platform. With Esri, the leading GIS data system, Fulcrum is excited to be in your hands moving the world forward. We are revolutionizing how we build, solve, and transform our world.

Why SaaS data collection tools are best for electric utilities

If electric utilities and their contractors need reliable, efficient, and affordable SaaS data collection tools, why do they so often rely on in-house software solutions to manage their field operations?

Harnessing the power of utility pole inspection software to extend pole lifespan

Wooden utility poles are indispensable for the efficient and effective transmission and distribution of electricity. But to ensure their long-term functionality, wood poles require regular care and attention, and the importance of their continued maintenance cannot be understated. 

How technology can help attract – and retain – electrical utility and contractor workers

Since COVID, employers in just about every industry have been scrambling for workers. This is happening particularly in the trade fields as older workers retire in greater numbers. And while electrical utilities and contractors have not had quite as many issues attracting new workers as, say, the construction industry, they too are struggling to retain workers.

SaaS field ops software helps electrical utilities quickly restore power

More than a mere inconvenience to customers, power outages represent a costly ordeal with far-reaching implications for electrical utilities, and, by extension, their service contractors. Both the direct costs (e.g., resources dedicated to troubleshooting and restoration) and the indirect costs (e.g., revenue loss from disrupted service and potential compensation to affected consumers) add up quickly – especially when outages are happening more frequently and for longer periods.

How field inspection management platforms simplify smart water meter deployments

The smart water meter market is slated to grow globally at about 27 percent per year[i] – not surprising considering the many advantages of smart water meters such as reducing water waste, improving water quality, and increasing system efficiency[ii]. There’s only one problem: the meters don’t upgrade themselves.

Why electrical utilities should insist on a single inspection software

To guarantee safety, improve efficiency, and meet regulatory requirements, electrical utilities must collect reliable, consistent, and accurate data from a vast range of inspections and field operations, including pole inspections, vegetation management tasks, and more.

ASSP digital survey of job site application

Fulcrum, a recent partner of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), introduced the Fulcrum ASSP Starter field inspection platform back in April. One of the two fully-customizable ANSI/ASSP processes that come with the Starter platform is ASSP digital Survey of Job Site. Join us as we go through the app and check out some of its features.

Stormwater inspections made easier with digital data collection technology

While vital for environmental health, conducting stormwater inspections can nonetheless be a slow, inefficient, and costly process.

How field inspection management software streamlines Phase I ESAs

Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) are increasingly critical to managing human environmental impact, safeguarding communities, and mitigating potential legal and financial liabilities. They’re crucial for the sale, reuse, or redevelopment of a property, and serve to provide a baseline understanding of its environmental condition by identifying potential or existing contaminations or issues of concern, and assessing if they pose any risks to inhabitants and employees. 

Choosing the best field service management software

Congratulations on finally shelving your paper-based system of field service management! 

Shockproof your electrical utility security

It is more important than ever for electrical utilities to ensure the safety and security of their facilities from threats and attacks from trespassers, tampering, and saboteurs. Join us as we discuss how field inspection management software helps utilities keep their facilities safe and secure from physical threats.

Chart new territory using advanced geospatial tools with Esri integration

Back in November when we announced our definitive Commercial Provider agreement with Esri to build on the Esri technology stack, we asked you to watch this space for updates. So, for those of you who’ve been watching (and even those who’ve maybe stepped away from the Fulcrum Focus to get a cup of coffee or something), we’ve got exciting new features and geospatial tools to share!

Power up your undergrounding projects with field inspection management software

Undergrounding relocates overhead utility lines and infrastructure below ground. Cities and utility companies are increasingly adopting this to enhance the reliability and look of their electrical systems.

Five reasons why your business needs safety inspection software

Safety inspections are critical for many reasons – minimizing risk, keeping workers safe, ensuring compliance, building a reputable safety record, and winning new business. Depending on error-prone and inefficient manual methods such as paper-based systems or spreadsheets to perform inspections shouldn’t be the norm – not when there is a much better option available. Digital safety inspection software is increasingly popular for conducting safety inspections, and for good reason. To start, safety inspection software streamlines the inspection process to efficiently capture more accurate data, improving safety-related decisions that reduce risk, and more.

Property inspection software success stories

We love sharing the innovative ways our clients use Fulcrum to make their field inspection tasks easier, faster, and more comprehensive. Today we focus on clients using Fulcrum to inspect properties, both indoors and outdoors, for their customers and the public. Read on to learn how Fulcrum has transformed the way they do their work!

EPA audit compliance made easier with field inspection software

The EPA’s Audit Policy encourages companies to voluntarily admit any environmental violations they may have committed. This policy offers incentives for self-disclosure including up to 100 percent reduction of gravity-based penalties and declining to recommend self-reporting entities for criminal prosecution. It’s a great way for companies to take responsibility for their actions and make things right, and be rewarded for taking the initiative to do so.

ASSP members get a head start on safety with Fulcrum ASSP Starter

Free Fulcrum ASSP Starter for ASSP Members 
Good news! Fulcrum has recently partnered with American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) to provide ASSP members access to Fulcrum ASSP Starter package — a cost-free, risk-free way for ASSP members to use Fulcrum for their digital safety inspections.

Product update: Fulcrum maps change today

Get great results by default with Esri
Great news! Beginning April 12, 2023, Esri’s GIS software becomes the default mapping tool in Fulcrum’s mobile platform.

Five reasons why environmental engineers need field inspection management software

As an environmental engineer, you count on field inspections to make sure your teams are safe and that you’re following the moving target of environmental regulations. Picking the right field inspection management software can make the difference between compliance and lots of face time with EPA regulators or OSHA investigators.  Read on to see how the must-haves of environmental engineering are answered by field inspection management software.

New rules, higher fines – OSHA compliance in 2023

As companies get fully back to work following several tumultuous years, OSHA is reasserting its presence and re-emphasizing the importance of workplace safety and OSHA compliance. 

Why OSHA inspection software is much bigger than compliance

Safety inspections can sometimes make you feel like outsiders are trying to find fault with your work. OSHA, of course, requires you to conduct safety inspections, but so do insurance providers, investors, unions, contractors, and state and local agencies. 

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