In most cases, a company’s infrastructure represents some of its most important assets. In fact, these types of assets are the very ones that are put in place to keep communities connected, safe, and desirable. Some of the most crucial of these assets include utility pole components. Naturally, the poles support power lines and other public utilities, such as fiber optic cable, as well as other equipment like transformers, making them essential for the modern technologies that communities utilize on a daily basis.
A Definition of Utility Pole Identification Systems
A utility pole identification system refers to the chosen process that has been implemented by the utility company to track and identify assets, data, and other vital information. This is achieved by the placement of specialized, heavy-duty utility pole tags and pole markers.
In their most nascent forms, these scannable utility pole bar code tags are installed in order to identify utility poles, but they’re also used to track essential information, such as the pole’s owner, maintenance history, and other valuable data. When connected with software solutions, a simple scan of a utility pole tag can be used to initiate processes such as accessing aggregated data, reordering parts, or generating detailed reports on-demand.
Benefits of Utility Pole Identification Systems
As briefly mentioned above, utility pole identification systems contain a few simple – but very necessary – benefits that do a whole lot of good for utility companies and the communities that they serve. Here are some of the most impactful ways that utility pole identification systems help bolster operations and improve safety:
- They streamline inspections. Utility companies undergo some of the most rigorous inspections around, with the governing agencies often demanding randomized testing and audits. To help streamline the process, these companies implement utility pole identification systems that, by scanning a tag, provide maintenance workers with the data they need to determine whether or not the pole is working properly. Taking advantage of these rapid-fire performance indicators makes for less operational surprises, both in the day-to-day, as well as during inspection time.
- They provide cutting-edge mapping services. Camcode’s bar code pole tags have been used in conjunction with GIS mapping initiatives as well as automated pole maintenance programs. GIS mapping technology includes precise mapping and field data collection. This mapping process works by synthesizing the health and maintenance data from the scanned poles so that maintenance workers can almost immediately find trouble areas in a system. The GIS mapping initiative gives workers a birds-eye-view into the entire infrastructure so that the weakest areas are easy to spot.
- They identify the owner of the utility pole. More and more, utility companies are partnering up with other industries who invest in and/or operate the infrastructure. Sometimes this can cause confusion as to who owns the pole, but when utility pole identification systems are put to use, there is no reason to second guess.
As you can see, utility pole identification systems are comprised of sleek devices, like bar codes, that do their part to reinforce the operations of the utility company. With proper configuration, these tags give utility companies precious information about the health, location, and owner of the pole, on demand and in real-time.
Best Practices for Utility Pole Identification Systems
One of the biggest challenges that comes with deploying a utility pole identification system is the fact that navigating the world of bar code tags can be difficult. Unfortunately, not every asset tag-maker uses the best materials, which can mean big problems for the company.
The fact of the matter is that utility asset tags, particularly utility pole tags, are often exposed to outdoor elements, sometimes in environments that are consistently wet, snowy, and/or searing hot. As expected, this can be a recipe for disaster for flimsy asset tags.
Luckily, Camcode’s Metalphoto® Bar Code Pole Tag is designed to withstand exposure to harsh outdoor environments, even through ice, wind, and sun. The special label is constructed of Metalphoto® anodized aluminum, an ultra-light, but extremely durable material that carries unparalleled resistance to many destructive environmental conditions as well as chemicals, abrasives, and solvents. With an expected exterior lifespan of 20 years, Camcode’s Metalphoto® Bar Code Pole Tag are designed to remain readable throughout the life of the utility pole.
In terms of other best practices, it’s imperative that all employees get the right training on the utility pole identification system as well as the software systems that they work with. Utilizing utility pole tags in conjunction with utility asset management software eliminates manual data entry and streamlines several processes, including maintenance, work order management, contract management (such as for joint use relationships), planning, budgeting, and forecasting, and more. Keep your software up-to-date to avoid security vulnerabilities and ensure optimal performance.
Utility pole identification systems are a must for utility companies, particularly as more utilities are recognizing the importance of robust asset management practices. Choosing the right utility pole tags and markers designed to last throughout the life of your assets means you won’t be making repeated investments in re-labeling your utility poles and other assets, so you can maximize your ROI.