Streamlining Field Operations for a Digital Future: Omaha Public Power District and the TOUGHBOOK 55

Omaha Public Power District (OPPD), the 12th-largest public power utility in the U.S., serves over 400,000 customers across 5,000 square miles in eastern Nebraska. With electricity demand surging, OPPD needed to ensure its infrastructure was ready and its workers equipped to handle this growth. The solution? A digital transformation to enhance operational efficiencies and improve customer communication. 

Meeting the Challenge with TOUGHBOOK 55 

OPPD transitioned toward becoming a digital utility company, aiming to replace outdated consumer-level devices prone to inefficiencies. To support this transition, OPPD deployed 200 semi-rugged TOUGHBOOK 55 devices from Panasonic Connect across multiple operational units, including meter technicians, line crews, troubleshooters, and system protection personnel. These devices became the central hub for field operations, enabling smooth workflows and real-time data access. 

How TOUGHBOOK 55 Supports OPPD’s Field Operations 

Here are some key benefits from OPPD’s deployment of the TOUGHBOOK 55: 

  • Reliable Performance: The semi-rugged design of the TOUGHBOOK 55 ensures it withstands the bumps and drops of fieldwork, as well as challenging weather conditions like rain or snow. The device’s screen size and brightness ensure optimal visibility – even in direct sunlight. 

  • Seamless Integration: The backwards compatibility of the TOUGHBOOK 55 eliminated the need for cumbersome adaptors for OPPD to use its existing hardware. This compatibility ensured a smooth transition from manual, paper-based systems to digital platforms. 

  • Enhanced Connectivity: With multiple connectivity options, field personnel gained access to real-time geographic information system (GIS) data, facilitating remote asset inspections and expediting response times. Rapid access to data streamlined job navigation, allowing personnel to transition between assignments quickly. 

  • Improved Workflow Efficiency: The devices enabled field personnel to receive work orders, conduct digital asset inspections, access real-time location data, and input crucial information – all from a single device. This improved efficiency and accuracy from setup to field deployment. 

Real-Time Response and Enhanced Productivity 

The TOUGHBOOK 55 has become an important tool for OPPD’s troubleshooters, who rely on the device during their 12-hour rotations. If a customer loses power, a troubleshooter receives the location details of the outage through OPPD’s computer-aided dispatch (CAD) software and drives to the location to start their work. With real-time data transmitted directly to their devices, troubleshooters can understand the situation before they’re onsite, helping them restore power faster. 

By implementing TOUGHBOOK 55 devices, OPPD has met field worker needs for productivity and flexibility, advancing to a digitally driven future for their customers and community. 

For more on OPPD’s success with the TOUGHBOOK 55, check out the full case study