Case Study

The Smartphone as a Tool

RADICAL CHANGE IN THE SURVEYING PROCEDURE: FOR TWO YEARS NOW, BEW HAS BEEN CAPTURING HOUSE CONNECTIONS WITH THE NAVA APP – TO THE DELIGHT OF EVERYONE INVOLVED.

BEW Bergische Energie- und Wasser-GmbH, based in Wipperfürth (Germany), is a municipally rooted company which ensures that even remote regions in the area are connected to a sustainable network infrastructure, including fast internet. This involves large construction projects that tie up many resources in the company for a long time. In terms of a sustainable and affordable energy future, BEW therefore focuses on the digitalisation of processes to make the daily work easier. According to the company itself, NAVA has hit the bull‘s eye.

“YOU MAKE A LOT OF DECISIONS IN YOUR WORKING LIFE.
WITH NAVA WE WERE SPOT ON!”

Volker Schmitz

USER OF THE FIRST HOUR

As an “early adopter”, BEW was involved in the development process of NAVA at a very early stage: “In close exchange with other well-known network operators, we were able to bring our practical requirements directly into the development of the app.“, recalls Volker Schmitz, who is responsible for the departments of contracts, technical services and GIS at BEW. “Since 2018, we have been using NAVA to capture the house connections of the gas, water and electricity networks and, in some cases, to also directly measure the broadband connections.”

At the kick-off event, all the key divisions of the company were represented, from the network documentation to the work preparation, foremen, construction accounting and management. Initial doubts as to whether a smartphone could replace the professional surveying equipment were quickly dispelled – both among the responsible and the field engineers on site.

HIGH ACCEPTANCE BY THE FIELD ENGINEERS

“In 2018, we carried out initial tests and equipped a first installation team with NAVA to digitally measure house connections. The other teams quickly expressed the desire to use the app as well. On the one hand, smartphone surveying is much easier and faster than conventional surveying, and on the other hand there are significantly fewer errors.“ The smartphone as a modern tool has also led to an enormous increase in acceptance of the surveying itself: “Of course, the most important thing for the field engineer in pipe construction or cable laying is that the pipes are laid tightly and sustainably. The surveying and the quality of the detail map are initially secondary and were an annoying additional task for a long time. Today, however, the smartphone is an integral part of the installation vehicles and is taken out of the vehicle and used as a tool like a hammer or pliers.“

ACCURACY OF THE MEASUREMENTS

Initial doubts were also quickly dispelled when it came to accuracy. “We started cautiously at the beginning and had all house connections measured conventionally by a surveying office.“ says Volker Schmitz. “This gave us a basis for making comparisons. The deviations we found were in the range of 10 cm so that with NAVA we are as well within the specifications of DVGW, the German Association of the Gas and Water industry. BEW currently uses NAVA for house connections up to 20 m in length. Of a total of 800 house connections built by June 2020, the field engineers have measured approximately 500 with NAVA. Every single one of them resulted in time savings and quality improvements.

THE QUANTITY MAKES THE DIFFERENCE

In the meantime, a service provider has also been equipped with the solution in addition to the own field engineers whereby instructions about how to use the app can always be provided by the company’s own staff. More than 50 internal and external employees are now familiar with the app. In addition, there are eight specialists in work preparation and network documentation who use the NAVA Manager to handle the preparation and follow-up of surveying orders.

“THE APP HAS WORKED WELL FROM THE START AND HAS BEEN CONTINUOUSLY DEVELOPED!”

Volker Schmitz

Digital all the way to the GIS

The app enables paperless and consistent digital work in the house connection process. On the part of the network documentation, inefficient activities such as the final re-drawing of hand sketches and queries due to missing measured values or illegible writing are no longer necessary. NAVA‘s photo documentation has proven to be particularly helpful: “When mapping the connection in the GIS, not only the pure sketch is available, but the entire situation is visually represented.“ explains Volker Schmitz. “This improves both the performance of the network documentation and the data quality in the GIS, because the employees have a three-dimensional idea of the house connection instead of an abstract two-dimensional sketch.“

In the GIS, BEW uses a tool for house connection construction with which all captured components are captured in the shortest possible time. It is also helpful that the field service already has the possibility of visual control. The field engineers directly see on site in the detail map whether the house connection object in the sketch is correctly connected to the supply line. As a result, the quality of the delivered sketches is significantly higher than before.

Conclusion and outlook

“The app has worked well from the start and has been continuously developed. In the future, we also want to make greater use of NAVA‘s form function to capture additional information about the house connection, such as pressure tests.“ says Volker Schmitz, and he sums it up: „You make a lot of decisions in your working life. With NAVA we were spot on and the app has already solved a lot of our problems.“

Contact Persons

Volker Schmitz

BEW Bergische Energie- und Wasser-GmbH
Phone: +49 2267 686-730
volker.schmitz@bergische-energie.de

Masoud Zandieh

Mettenmeier GmbH
Phone: +49 5251 150-5431
masoud.zandieh@mettenmeier.de

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Mettenmeier GmbH

Klingenderstr. 10 -14
33100 Paderborn, Germany
Phone: +49 5251 150-5420
E-Mail: nava@mettenmeier.de