Cell phones. We all have them, we all use them, but only 10 years ago were not so ubiquitous as they are today. How can we apply the cell phone analogy to the world of damage prevention and the utilization of new technology?
Cody Mecham of McLaughlin, Ron LaBarca of US Radar and Mark Whelan of SeeScan discuss the ways in which rapidly evolving, and simplifying of technology for the end user will reshape the future for underground safety.
Mark remarks that in the last 5 years there’s probably been more data collected than in the history of the world. How is that data leveraged to create the most accurate utility maps, and how do we instill confidence in that accuracy?
All three professionals agree that ease of use and confidence in its accuracy is key for new technology. Cody remarks that expectations of our latest technology can be very high… the less human input we need a device to have, the less chance for human error, the better we may be.
They all discuss how attracting new talent to the industry is a key concern as well, and new technology can remove the stress of the demands for high accuracy in critical safety situations.
Though Ron emphasizes that technology training and retraining, though important, can’t replace the core knowledge needed of how infrastructure works…why the pipes and cables are there and what they do.
Mark states that we must look long term to the benefits and returns on investment in new technology. Like the cell phone…it’s the job of the technology developer to anticipate what the end user will need and most easily interact with into the future.
Cody adds we must provide troubleshooting apps and resources to those in the field as well when in person training is unavailable.
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