Utility workers operating in the field spend a hefty 22% of their day filling in paper forms. In an attempt to put their time to better use, gas network SGN and its partners have designed an innovative digital solution named FYLD to help boost productivity.
The SGN IT and Innovation team is recognised in the inaugural Technology Leaders Index for the FYLD mobile and desktop app, which harnesses natural language processing and machine learning to automatically convert audio and video feeds gathered by workers into real-time workflows and analytics dashboards.
As well as reducing the administrative burden on staff, it allows risk assessments to be carried out remotely based on real-time data, improving site safety and regulatory compliance – a particularly important factor in light of the Covid-19 restrictions.
Developed by SGN in partnership with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Digital Ventures and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP), FYLD is an example of how teams can work in an agile way to quickly develop a new product. The app went from ideation to IP in six months, with an MVP operational in just nine weeks. This collaborative, innovative approach has led to SGN’s team being recognised in the 2020 Technology Leaders Index.
In-depth interviews with SGN staff at the start of the development process allowed the team to set core objectives of enabling effortless data capture, real-time visibility of site activities and actionable insights for managers.
SGN’s project team embedded itself in BCG’s digital hub in Soho, providing a conduit between the venture and SGN’s core business. FYLD then took shape during a one-week ‘HackaFuture’ workshop – concluding with a Dragon’s Den-style assessment, which saw CEOs and shareholders of other organisations select the app as one of the winners. It was subsequently refined and launched in July.
Use cases for FYLD extend beyond utilities, with trials currently under way using body cams and voice-activated head cams to help blue-light services and security companies enhance safety in the field by collecting handsfree data.
Guided by the baton of SGN director of IT and innovation Andrew Quail, the app’s core project team was Ben Croxford, Vanessa Parmar, Mark Holliman, Matthew Cleveland and Lewis Gravenor, with Oliver Machan, Peter Philip, Mahesh Mani and Katy Axtel providing input on the initial idea and business case. SGN’s commercial lead, Marcus Hunt, oversaw the project.
John Morea, CEO of SGN, says: “The FYLD platform delivers substantial safety, quality and financial benefits to SGN and ultimately to our customers. The benefits of FYLD have been proven by unparalleled levels of adoption and use when we have rolled it out to our employees.”
Matthew Gooding is a senior reporter on Tech Monitor.