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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.

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. 

Optimize your mobile data collection processes

 Mobile  data collection” is the most common business activity in the world. You may not recognize the term or even call it something else, but you’ve probably already collected field data at your job today. Whether you’re going through a checklist, taking product inventory, or doing an inspection, you’re collecting information to help you decide if the checklist is complete or not, whether you need to stock up, or if SOPs were followed. 

Using health and safety inspection software to keep field teams safe

Health and safety risks are ongoing concerns for any organization with field operations, particularly when teams are isolated from the home office or deployed to unfamiliar environments. When field teams don’t have the right knowledge or tools to identify and mitigate potential hazards, safety risks increase, especially if they are isolated or lack resources in emergencies. 

Best practices for creating mobile apps for data collection

How you design your mobile apps for data collection has far-reaching consequences for not just how data is collected, processed, and analyzed, but also the quality of the data. The following best practices will help you plan and create mobile data collection apps that will produce the best possible data to answer your most pressing questions. 

The new Fulcrum website is reporting for inspection

If you’ve visited the Fulcrum website recently, you’ve probably noticed our updated look. In addition to new animations and graphics, we’ve also streamlined how the site works, allowing visitors to easily navigate the site to quickly find what they’re seeking. 

Utility pole inspection software success stories

 Utility poles are everywhere, so much a part of the landscape that we don’t even notice them. That is, unless something goes wrong. A power or cable outage due to a defective utility pole is bad, sure. But did you know that about 10% of California’s wildfires are caused by utility pole failures, including Camp Fire, the worst wildfire in California state history? Utility companies face high stakes, necessitating a strict inspection schedule to maintain their utility poles in optimal condition.

How quality assurance inspection software is critical for an effective quality program

Quality assurance inspections keep operations running smoothly but require effective data collection to assess if work is up to standards, identify problem areas to improve, and avoid rework. 

Save lives (and time and money) with safety management software

Delivering projects on time and within budget is no easy feat, requiring laser focus on a wide range of issues, from quality inspections to asset management, process execution to safety measures.

Using data to nurture a culture of quality in the field

Whether critical installations or safety inspections, field teams perform a wide range of essential functions for many companies. By the nature of their work, however, field teams risk being isolated from not just the main office, but from the very processes which produce quality work. When field teams fall behind a quality curve, potential rework and unchecked safety hazards can threaten both bottom-lines and business reputations. And if they’re isolated, field teams may not adopt the culture of quality that safety managers strive so hard to cultivate.

Fulcrum for data collection: Part III – government

For the last installment of Fulcrum for Field Data Collection, we explore the stories of some of our government clients – enjoy!
Fresno County, California
After the Creek Fire in September 2020 burned almost 400,000 acres in California, Fresno County sprang into action to quickly assess the damage to share with FEMA and speed the recovery process. Within 24 hours of learning of Fulcrum, Fresno County had already deployed dozens of volunteers to complete damage assessments – a feat that would not have been possible with its existing GIS platform. With a Fulcrum app that mirrored the FEMA worksheet, Fresno County was able to share the needed information without re-entering or reconfiguring the data. In addition, the data collected in the field was also used to bolster Fresno’s existing GIS platform with new, geotagged records.

Use platform features – not product categories – to choose the best field operations solution

So you’re looking to do some field inspections, field ops, field data collection, field audits, field inventories, or collecting any  information in the field, and are sick of walking around with a tattered notebook and an on again-off again working pen. Your team has talked it over, and have decided that digital is the best bet for your field operations solution. But where to start?

Prevent losses by using field inspection software for GIS asset management

For companies in sectors like construction, as well as in field-oriented industries like telecom and utilities, the scope and complexity of in-house and field operations mean they’re often just squeaking by: for example, construction general contractors average a mere 4% profit margin (versus an average of 15.5% across all industries). In addition, keeping costs contained is critical for highly regulated telecoms and utilities that are subject to much scrutiny regarding profits, and, in the case of utilities, usually require government approval to raise rates.

How Fulcrum field inspection software helps Elf on the Shelf

Optimizing Santa’s away team: Elf on the Shelf
Most of us have heard of Santa’s omniscience in knowing and grading children’s behavior on a simple pass/fail (bad/good) scale. But in the past few years, there’s been an exciting new development in the whole “Naughty/Nice List” tradition in the form of mass market Elf on the Shelf (shown below being all smug and judgmental). These elves are made to surveil children in the weeks before Christmas, covertly reporting back to Santa what they witness for ease of naughty/nice determination.

Better security and lower risk through SCIM

Centralized provisioning of Fulcrum now available
Fulcrum continues to pursue platform developments supporting not only our users responsible for field inspections, but also the IT teams responsible for making sure they have the right inspection tools in hand to do their jobs. We’re pleased to announce that we do both with our recent adoption of SCIM (System for Cross-domain Identity Management). This update allows users to provision and deprovision Fulcrum using centralized identity management platforms such as Okta and Azure.

Fulcrum data collection forms: Part II – Non-profits

Welcome to the second of our series of stories around clients using Fulcrum to perform data collection in the field. For Part 2, we have non-profit organizations that use Fulcrum’s data collection forms in the field for charitable pursuits.

Location intelligence for smarter field inspections

You may know that Fulcrum is the only field inspection platform that automatically delivers location information with every inspection, every data point, every task, and every issue. But how does Fulcrum’s geolocation capability play out over different titles and job functions? We’ve explored just that in our new infographic, Location Intelligence for Smarter Field Inspections.

Fulcrum for Data Collection: Part I – Companies

While at Fulcrum we often talk about inspections, what about the clients who use software not strictly for inspections, but for collecting field data? In the next few weeks we’ll be sharing some examples of clients whose use case doesn’t fit the mold of field inspections, and how they use Fulcrum to collect richer, more comprehensive data in less time and with fewer resources.  For Part 1, we have corporate organizations that use Fulcrum to perform data collection functions in their important work around the world.

Thanksgiving Safety (or, it’s all fun and games until someone burns the house down)

It’s the time of year when: 

Osmose Utilities Services selects Fulcrum to automate pole assessments

When the leading provider of mobile inspection services for utilities makes the switch from the incumbent – its proprietary, in-house software for pole assessments and field inspections – to an outside vendor, it’s a big deal. Osmose Utilities Services Company has done just that, swapping out its homegrown mobile pole inspections and evaluations application to Fulcrum’s SaaS field inspection platform.

Make your EHS program more productive and efficient with digital field inspections

Environmental, health, and safety inspections (EHS) are one of the most effective measures to identify, prevent, and remediate threats to employee and public safety, quality work, and overall business operations.

Fulcrum enters definitive Commercial Provider agreement with Esri

Great news! Fulcrum has entered a definitive Commercial Provider agreement with Esri™ to build on the Esri technology stack. What does that mean? Let’s break it down.

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