We have written numerous times in this blog on how Microsoft partners are releasing Cloud based applications that can help Utilities reduce costs and increase productivity. Couple this with our last blog where Zpryme Forecasts Cloud Future for Utilities and you can see an undeniable trend that is further exemplified by Schneider Electric’s unveiling of their Azure based “Orbit” mobile inspection offering at their Link user’s conference.

The interest in this SaaS solution was staggering.  The sessions were standing room only when this next generation mobile platform for utilities and telecommunications providers was outlined.  Orbit allows field crews to know where to go, what to do, and what information to gather.  The results of their work is reported back in real time, so coordinators can have better information about what’s happening out there. Utilities who need to gather critical information about their infrastructure will benefit from not having to purchase and manage an on premise infrastructure.

Pole inspections, substation inspections, leak detections, storm damage assessments, and just about any inspection application you can think of can be quickly set up and deployed. While this service model offers the ability to scale up and down on demand, the model also allows Schneider Electric to rapidly deploy enhancements and new capabilities, not to mention a lower total cost of ownership.  Failover, backup and recovery are included along with federated security and role-based access.  It’s a single sign-on solution.  And with the hybrid environment, your GIS data will remain on premise.  On the mobile end, Schneider Electric will facilitate the use of numerous devices including Windows 7 and Windows 8 based tablets and hardened laptops.  Mobile users can be completely offline.  Leveraging Azure, if your internal network goes down, field crews can continue working. If outside communication is severed, field crews can continue working.  All in all, it was very exciting to see the high level of interest.  We are looking forward to seeing this offering commercially release and in action very soon. – Larry Kuhl