Arcoda, a leading provider of mobile collaboration tools in the Utility sector, are pleased to present the AR-Inventory module. This technology further extends the capability of Arcoda’s market leading field-based information management system, Next. Now Utilities can use AR-Inventory on a smartphone to maintain accurate meter inventory records and realise productivity gains with field-based data validation.
Background : The Challenge of synchonising meter data collected in the field
The Utility sector are still investing large amounts of resources when collecting and reconciling metering data in the field with back-office systems. Maintaining accurate records is challenging and productivity gains are often missed as current activities are prone to human error and unnecessary IT overheads.
Typically meters are assigned a unique identifier of the supply point (POD), which is also associated with customer data. This information could be securely stored within QR or barcodes, or at worst, in human readable format. Inventory management typically requires periodic onsite visits to record distribution point updates. This process involves operators reading the unique identifiers for each meter and then making it available to back office for validation and processing.
The conventional thinking is to carry out inventory management to record unique identifiers with scanners using generic software or manually transcribe with pen and paper. However, the above approach is inefficient adding an extra layer of IT complexity and is also prone to human error.
Supply point unique identification (POD) and data protection
Another pressing concern relates to the use of unique identifiers when it comes to matters of customer privacy. Some unique identifiers are still in human readable format, making it easy to misuse consumer information. Whilst the use of barcodes or QR codes has largely eliminated these concerns, the current approach is still limited. For example, barcode or QR code readers still require a constant internet connection to function correctly. This can be problematic if meters are located in spaces that have little or no connectivity. The good news is that AR-Inventory addresses this and other shortcomings as explained below.
AR-Inventory module – for rapid inventory of electricity, gas and water meters
We have developed AR-Inventory, an innovative software module that further extends the capabilities of Next. Now on-site technicians simply use the device camera to quickly frame the meter’s barcode or QR Code. The augmented reality functionality then displays this information superimposed on the meter whilst generating an automatic inventory. Unlike barcode and QR scanners, AR-Inventory can complete this process without an internet connection. This is very important because operators remain productive even when connectivity is limited.
We have taken inventory management to the next level, because AR-inventory allows operators to record all the data they need. All that is required is an internet connection to relay it in real-time to back-office for validation. This eases the burden of inventory database maintenance with real-time, accurate, and low cost inventory updates from the field.
A faster and error-safe process
AR-Inventory transforms inventory management by introducing field-based inventory validation. This eliminates the inherent drawbacks of data collection associated with manual transcription and barcode or QR codes. Now field-based operators can positively contribute timely and accurate data to speed-up inventory database maintenance.
Advantages at a glance
- Quick inventory and elimination of transcription errors.
- Specially designed for use in electricity, gas, and water networks yet versatile for use in other business areas where barcodes/QR codes are used in an inventory setting.
- Now remote operators help transform inventory management with instant field-based validation to positively contribute to inventory database maintenance.
- Instant feedback from your device with ‘push-button’ reporting for further process automation to alleviate the burden of back-office data rectification and validation.
- Prevent misuse of consumer data and meet GDPR obligations by using augmented reality to superimpose POD identifiers on the meter itself and away from ‘prying’ eyes.
- Uninterrupted productivity even in challenging working environment, such as basements notorious for their limited internet connectivity.
Contact us to find out more
For more information about the above or to learn about how Arcoda can partner with your organisation, please contact us.