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Introduction

 

The utility industry is experiencing a transformative shift. With the dual challenges of meeting increasing consumer demands and integrating sustainable practices, utility providers are at a pivotal juncture. The emergence of smart grids, the integration of renewable energy sources, and the increasing reliance on digital technologies are reshaping how utilities operate. At the heart of this evolution lies the critical need for efficient dispatch console systems. These systems are no longer just operational tools; they are the linchpins in ensuring reliable service delivery, situational awareness, and customer satisfaction. As we delve into the complexities of this dynamic industry, it becomes clear that advanced dispatch solutions, like Enlite™ Cloud Ready Dispatch, are not just advantageous – they are becoming essential.

 

Understanding the Unique Needs of the Utilities Industry

 

A Utility is faced with many challenges that can affect the efficiency of its communications and, in turn, its operation as a whole. When your operations are dispersed between power generation, sub-stations and power distribution lines, your communication pipeline can become very chaotic, especially when critical information needs to be relayed to those who are working in the field. This complexity underscores the need for a command and control dispatch console that bridges various communications technologies such as Land Mobile Radio (LMR), telephony, Mission Critical Push-To-Talk (MCPTT) and more, providing a centralized station to coordinate these efforts.

There is a good chance that your utility is already utilizing some type of dispatch solution in their communications workflow, most likely based out of a centralized location powered by on-site equipment such as servers, radios and teams of dispatchers who focus on various elements of the operations. One caveat to this existing system might be its age. With a generally expected lifespan of 10-15 years, a dispatch console system can provide over a decade of continued service, but may not be updated to take advantage of new technologies or integrations that have entered the market in that time. What does this mean for a utility dispatch operation? It means that aging equipment may cause disruptions in the communication pipeline. It could also mean less operational awareness, having several disparate systems that don’t integrate with each other, adding complexity that hinders efficient comms. The type of roadblocks described above are not acceptable when your organization is in charge of keeping the lights on and providing an essential service that so many in our communities rely on.

Let’s summarize some of the unique needs of utility communications that would benefit from a modern utility dispatch console system:

Emergency Response Coordination

Utilities often deal with emergency situations (like power outages, gas leaks, water main breaks) that require immediate and coordinated response. A dispatch console system can streamline communication during these critical times, ensuring rapid deployment of resources and personnel.

Remote Area Communication

Many utilities operate in remote areas where traditional communication can be challenging. A robust dispatch system can provide reliable communication channels in these areas, ensuring uninterrupted service and coordination.

Multi-Department Collaboration

Utilities frequently have multiple departments (e.g., field service, customer service, technical support) that need to collaborate effectively. A dispatch console system can facilitate this inter-departmental communication, improving overall efficiency and service quality.

Regulatory Compliance and Reporting

Utilities are often subject to stringent regulatory requirements. A dispatch system can assist in maintaining compliance through accurate logging of communications, incident reports, and response times.

Scalability and Flexibility

As utilities grow or face varying demands, their communication systems must scale accordingly. Dispatch systems like Enlite are designed to be scalable, catering to changing needs without significant overhauls.

Integration with Existing Systems

It’s crucial that any new dispatch system integrates seamlessly with existing infrastructure (like existing radios, telephony, and video feeds ) to provide a unified platform for operations.

 

Introducing Enlite Cloud Ready Dispatch

 

Enlite Cloud Ready Dispatch, offered by InterTalk, is an ideal solution designed to meet the diverse and evolving needs of utility operations. Here’s an overview emphasizing its flexible deployment and adaptability:

Evergreen and Scalable Solution

Enlite is an evergreen dispatch solution offering on-demand scalability. It caters to organizations of all sizes, ensuring operational continuity with secure, reliable, and encrypted dispatch capabilities. Its flexible layout is fully configurable in real-time through a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor, accommodating various situational requirements​.

Public-Safety Grade System

Enlite is a public-safety grade radio and telephone cloud-ready and mobile dispatch console system. This represents a significant shift in critical communications, offering dispatch anywhere capabilities and state-of-the-art cloud-based architecture. It simplifies and expands dispatcher capacity, reducing hardware needs and streamlining task management in an intuitive dashboard​​.

Flexible Deployment Options

Enlite can be deployed fully in the cloud, on-premises, or as a hybrid of both, providing flexibility to meet different organizational requirements

Operational Flexibility

Enlite supports a wide range of operational scenarios, allowing dispatchers to send and receive communications from various devices across different networks. This versatility includes the management of both Land Mobile Radio (LMR) and Push-to-Talk over Cellular (PoC) solutions, as well as telephony, thereby ensuring flexibility in utility dispatch operations​.

Resilient and Continuous Operations

Enlite enables operational staff to work from diverse locations — be it a command center, at home, or on the event site, thereby enhancing team resilience and ensuring continuous operations​.

Advanced Data Integrations

The system empowers dispatchers with a range of configurable data integrations, including Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD), service feeds, weather, and video, ensuring they have access to essential and timely information​​.

Cost-Effective and Future-Proof

As a dispatch-as-a-service model, Enlite helps avoid technological obsolescence. It offers infinite cloud scalability and a pay-by-need model, making it a cost-effective solution for organizations of varying sizes​​.

Secure and Reliable

Enlite’s cloud-based and on-premises architecture is encrypted following NIST and OWASP guidelines, minimizing disruption risk through geographical diversity and redundancy, if desired​​.

Integration with Existing Systems

It can integrate with current on-premises dispatch components, including various radio and telephone systems, providing a seamless transition to cloud technologies for future-proofing dispatch operations​​.

In summary, Enlite Cloud Ready Dispatch is a versatile and scalable solution that can adapt to the varying needs of different utility operations, ranging from small-scale to large, complex systems. Its cloud-based nature offers the flexibility and agility required in today’s dynamic utility environment, making it an ideal choice for companies seeking a robust dispatch solution.

 

Enlite Utility Scenarios

 

Scenario: A natural disaster has flooded your comms center.

This scenario seeks to answer the larger question, “If my dispatchers were unexpectedly unable to work from our Command Center, how would our operations continue? Traditionally, this role would be filled by a secondary backup location as per your organization’s Disaster Recovery planning. With large-scale weather events increasing in frequency, these backup locations may become susceptible to the same disaster that caused your first command center to fail. Luckily, this Command Center utilizes Enlite with a cloud-based deployment architecture. This means that dispatchers can be mobile, utilizing a standard laptop, android tablet or smartphone with a connection to either 5G/LTE or satellite (Starlink) to ensure communication operations continue without interruption.

Scenario: Ongoing situation requiring dispatch resources not previously considered.

The question that must be considered for this scenario is, “Can dispatcher screens be configured ‘on-the-fly’ to focus on a specific incident? Being engineered solutions, it is not always simple to make changes to your dispatch screen resources, even if you have the appropriate permissions to make those changes. Due to this command center using Enlite, the dispatch supervisor was quickly able to make a new “Mission” dispatch screen using the integrated WYSIWYG tools and pushed this new mission to their current dispatchers. The supervisor was able to complete this off-site, connecting to Enlite through a chromium-browser (Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge) on their laptop.

Scenario: An ongoing incident is flooding your command center with radio traffic.

The overarching question of this scenario is, “What happens if I miss something important?” When a flood of communications comes through your command center, it is crucial that dispatchers have a simple way to play back previous transmissions in order to appropriately triage the unfolding event. Using Enlite, this command center was able to harness the power of the Instant Recall Recorder (IRR). This integrated Enlite tool allows dispatchers to playback previous transmissions to ensure they never miss something important. They were able to pause, fast-forward, rewind and slow down the playback of the transmission, and even download the audio file directly from the cloud. The best part? The IRR in Enlite is able to retain up to 90 days’ worth of transmission audio with roughly 100 GB of data storage. This is a powerful tool for both day-to-day dispatch operations and supervisory/admin tasks.

 

Conclusion

 

The utility industry’s shift towards sustainability and increased consumer demands necessitates advanced utility dispatch solutions. Enlite Cloud Ready Dispatch, offered by InterTalk, is a pivotal innovation in this domain. Its flexibility in deployment, including cloud, on-premises and hybrid options, makes it a versatile and scalable choice for utility providers. Enlite’s robust features, such as real-time configuration, integration with existing systems, and public-safety grade capabilities, ensure seamless operation and assist in regulatory compliance. Enlite is more than a tool; it’s a strategic asset for utilities to navigate the ever-changing landscape of mission-critical dispatch operations.

 

 

 

Discover how Enlite will make your utility console equipment work holistically.

 

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