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The New Normal

In the News // October 29, 2020

By Technology Consultant Nathan Jones

Without a doubt, COVID-19 is the biggest disruption that a lot of us have seen in our lifetimes. It has reshaped what we do, how we do it, and why we do it to a level never seen before. Simple things that we previously took for granted, like eating at restaurants, going to ballgames, or chatting with coworkers around the water cooler, may not look the same anytime soon (or maybe ever). In-person meetings around a conference table have been replaced with Zoom meetings from our home offices. While the vast majority of businesses have had difficulty adapting to this new normal, we at TST are fortunate to operate in a landscape that does not require a high degree of change – we are still developing intelligent software that allows users to collect and exchange information while physically separated from each other by a few hundred feet or a few hundred miles.

Thanks to FieldNote, a system is already in place that allows a utility to manage vegetation on its system while adhering to social distancing guidelines, without sacrificing the attention to detail that comes with face-to-face interaction.

While the playing field has changed (distance is now a requirement instead of merely an inconvenience), the players remain the same. Planners inspecting lines and generating work orders, crew leaders methodically finishing the day’s work, general foremen overseeing the crews, and the utility watching it all. Rarely do all of these people occupy the same place at the same time, even before the pandemic. There has always been a need to link all of the parties together with robust, yet easy to use technology that allows them to share information without any consideration of distance. Thanks to FieldNote, a system is already in place that allows a utility to manage vegetation on its system while adhering to social distancing guidelines, without sacrificing the attention to detail that comes with face-to-face interaction. One of the great strengths of FieldNote is that the workflow is easily adjusted to accommodate any necessary changes, greatly reducing the need for frequent in-person meetings and crew gatherings. Users simply make necessary changes to the workflow based on the needs of the group, and the changes are instantly pushed to the individual team members no matter where they are.

Adapting to difficult circumstances can be taxing, with today’s climate being no exception. As I interact internally with Wright Service Corp. and externally with clients, however, I am consistently amazed by the flexibility and resiliency of the people I work with. I am often reminded of a quote from Charles Darwin that says, “It is not the strongest of a species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” While I would like to think that we are also the strongest and most intelligent, we are certainly the most adaptable. Although, I doubt that Charles Darwin ever had to lead a Zoom meeting while his kids were fighting in the background over who gets to be Mario and who has to be Luigi.