AWS Public Sector Blog
How the largest municipally-owned natural gas utility in the United States optimized plant operations processes with the cloud
Data collection and safety reporting are top priorities for natural gas companies, and the largest municipally-owned natural gas utility in the United States is no exception.
Proving regulatory compliance and providing information to supervisors and management for decision-making requires extensive manual processes to review observations and readings on plant equipment and storage; especially when operating around 6,000 miles of gas mains and providing natural gas to approximately 500,000 customers. For years, plant operators captured readings on paper forms every hour from various systems, including temperature, pressure, volume, and flow. This gas utility’s management team realized that manual, paper-based daily reporting was both time-consuming and unreliable from a data reporting perspective, and decided to turn to the cloud.
From paper to the cloud
The gas utility customer worked with technology consultancy and systems integrator Utility Solutions Partners (USP) to look for a solution to modernize their data collection process and report the data in a meaningful format to management and regulatory bodies. USP reached out to Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner KloudGin for help. KloudGin is built cloud-native on the AWS Cloud, using more than 30 AWS services that include key functionality like virtual private cloud (VPC) for networking. The entire application runs on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and uses Auto Scaling groups across multiple Availability Zones and Regions to make sure their customers do not have to worry about the availability of their cloud application. KloudGin’s cloud application helps organizations optimize and digitize their workforce, providing a single solution for mobile field services and asset management.
Once the customer’s plant operators, supervisors, engineers, and analytics teams were onboarded to the KloudGin platform, they digitized processes without creating a custom solution. Workers now carry a mobile tablet that includes a KloudGin Digital Survey with specific field-focused questions that can be answered both offline or online, and supports NEC Class1 Div1 hazardous location standards. No longer bound to paper-based processes, technicians conduct equipment evaluations and utilize the digital walk-through for data inputs and completing assessments. The transition between offline and online mode is seamless with customized notifications delivered to the team. The reading data is now pushed through an immediate digital review process and approved. KloudGin maintains all the historical data in the Amazon Redshift warehouse and uses Amazon QuickSight dashboards. These role-based dashboards allow supervisors and management to make real-time decisions, improving operational efficiency and data accuracy.
“The customer is digitizing their complex, mission-critical processes to get the right info collected at the right time to make the right decisions, maximizing reliability and asset uptime,” said Vikram Takru, KloudGin co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO). “The customer wanted digital transformation mobility – both offline and online – for a rugged, easy-to-use, field-worker-first modern application. As utilities transform to more efficient digital management of asset and customer service work, they will begin to utilize modern cloud, mobile, AI [artificial intelligence]/ML [machine learning], field service, work, and asset management solutions built from the ground up.”
Results of digitization
After working with and implementing KloudGin’s solutions, the customer has seen a variety of improvements. The plant eliminated over 15 paper forms – created by technicians on three daily shifts – that had to be reviewed, approved, and re-keyed at the end of each day. Now, they have a digital approval system for the data that’s verified by supervisors and engineers, and this new flexible system allows for review of existing forms and the simple addition of new forms. The customer found greater data accuracy about equipment and services, and the plant can more simply monitor its data with dashboards that display historical and current readings. Plus, the customer can more simply report the digitally archived data on the Amazon Redshift warehouse for regulatory compliance reporting or management review. Ultimately, the digital system helps the customer streamline service delivery to its over 500,000 customers.
Learn how KloudGin, a G2 Grid Leader in field service management software, and AWS can optimize your business processes.
Discover how power and utilities organizations use AWS to transform energy operations at the AWS for Power & Utilities main page, and check out other relevant case studies.
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