A major broadcaster in Canada has been using Maintenance Connection since 2015 to perform scheduled and emergency maintenance of their communication towers across Canada, including remote areas in the Arctic.
The central challenge technicians face is maintaining transmission towers in remote areas of Canada is the lack of reliable internet connectivity. These towers are often located in high places, making it difficult for technicians to get a strong connection to the internet, if at all. Access to these towers is limited to snowmobiles or helicopters, with snowmobiles being the more practical option due to their ability to carry more supplies and parts and get closer to the tower. However, this can leave technicians out of communication for days or even weeks, with the only means of communication being the radio.
Furthermore, satellite service in the Arctic is weak and unreliable, making it challenging to maintain a consistent connection. Even if a connection is established, the company needs a platform like Maintenance Connection that can function in trying internet conditions and ensure data is not lost because of it. In this case, reliability is more important than speed, and Maintenance Connection addresses this by ensuring that the server acknowledges receipt before deleting or changing data on the local device.
Maintenance Connection provides the company with software to keep track of all repairs, even when they are unable to connect to the internet for long periods of time. The platform’s default of resizing pictures smaller to reduce bandwidth is critical as it helps to reduce the amount of data sent, making it easier to transmit even when they have a poor internet connection. Maintenance Connection also works on water-resistant cell phones, making it easier to keep devices warm and operational in the extreme cold of the Arctic. There are two significant aspects of being able to use the software on a waterproof cell phone:
- Ice and snow melt can cause damage to equipment that isn’t waterproof. Tablets and laptops have a high failure rate in these situations.
- It’s so cold in the Arctic that some equipment won’t operate. A cell phone can be easily kept warm in a jacket pocket, but a laptop or tablet is much harder to keep warm enough to work. For example, many iPads should be stored between -20 C and 45 C and will only operate between 0 C and 35 C. Temperatures in the Arctic routinely drop below -20 C. But a cell phone in a pocket is easy to keep within the operating temperature and even easier to keep above the storage temperature of -20 C.
Maintenance Connection combined with MRO for inventory management gives the company the best combination for getting work done reliably and efficiently, even in a harsh environment nearly devoid of communication options. The platform’s reliability is more important than speed, ensuring that data is not lost by hitting ‘send’ at the wrong moment. Maintenance Connection has helped the company to streamline its maintenance processes and improve efficiency, even in remote areas with limited connectivity.