How Core & Main successfully installed meters in a rural area without Internet ahead of schedule 

In 2023, Core&Main in the Southwest region decided to use an in-house team led by Victor Florez to upgrade smart meters for local AMI deployment projects instead of outsourcing them. During one of the projects, the team faced a complicated task that required scheduling and offline capabilities. To overcome this challenge, they relied on Fieldman.

Project: Sensus Smart Water Meters Installation in basements

Solution: Smart Meter Deployment

Key Feature: Scheduling and Offline Field Service App Mode

Location: North Dakota

Project completed ahead of schedule
Techs used app offline

The challenge

The Core&Main field service team had to install new Sensus water meters in a small town in North Dakota. The majority of these meters were located in basements with no Internet connectivity, presenting a challenge: how would field technicians identify meters that needed to be replaced and collect meter reads, IDs, and photos?

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In addition, cellular data in this region was very spotty, and most of the technicians could only access the Internet in the evenings via Wifi at a hotel. The Core&Main team required a field service app with an offline mode capable of collecting all necessary meter data and pushing it to the platform when connectivity was restored, even if that occurred only once a day.

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Furthermore, scheduling appointments for this project had been essential, with all bookings needing to be made at least a week in advance. The Core&Main crew traveled specifically for this project and stayed in a hotel. Air tickets were purchased, and everything proceeded smoothly and without unexpected surprises.

The solution

Fieldman's solution was the perfect fit for the project. The Fieldman field service app was developed with offline capabilities from the start. It belongs to a new generation of apps called Progressive Web Apps and contains all the tools technicians need. When an Internet connection is restored, collected data is seamlessly synced to the cloud.

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Fieldman added the appointment scheduling module during the setup phase to book appointments. This allowed the Core&Main team to schedule all visits weeks in advance. As a result, the crew arrived in town with work orders already scheduled and dispatched and the Fieldman app installed on technicians' smartphones.

The result

As expected, connectivity was spotty as soon as the crew went into the field. Most of the technicians had half a bar on their phones and would only get occasional text messages sent hours before. Victor Florez, Project Manager, recalled that everyone had become nervous. However, the Fieldman field service app functioned normally and displayed scheduled appointments, saving all photos, meter readings, and location coordinates for completed jobs.

Fieldman portal for Core&Main project

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At the end of the working day, Victor reviewed the updates in the Fieldman platform, ensuring that all completed work orders had been documented in the system and no data had been lost. Each installation was documented and had photos of installed meters. This data allowed the city employees to update information in their billing software. This allowed the city employees to use the data to update information about newly installed water meters in their billing software.

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Most impressively, in such poor working conditions - basements without cell signal - the project was completed ahead of schedule.

We made sure to schedule appointments at the Fieldman platform well in advance before our technician crew arrived in the city. This was crucial since travel arrangements for this project had already been made. Since all meters were located in basements and where cellular coverage was spotty or nonexistent, the Fieldman app offline mode was essential. Thanks to Fieldman's scheduling module, we were able to finish the deployment ahead of time.
Victor Florez
Project Manager, Core & Main

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