Apr 24, 2008 (12:04 PM EDT)
Interop: Vettro Mobile App Helps Protect Underground Pipes, Cables

Read the Original Article at InformationWeek

Vettro plans to introduce at Interop next week a mobile workforce application that makes the process of locating underground utility equipment, such as pipes and cables, more efficient.

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The Vettro 360 for Damage Prevention is built on the same mobile platform the company uses to provide other services, such as coordinating pickup and delivery, field service, and IT service management. In general, Vettro applications are installed on a mobile device for sending information to the vendor's network operations center, which is tied to customers' backend data centers. Communications between the device and the NOC is over a cellular network.

The latest offering makes it possible for an excavator with a mobile device to go to a commercial or residential site and input the GPS coordinates for an area that will be dug up. The data is routed to a "one-call center," which is usually a central communications center for multiple utilities.

Once in the call center, the coordinates can be compared to maps of pipes, cable, and other underground equipment to determine whether the excavation can be started immediately, or if utility workers will have to head to the scene. Vettro software also handles trouble ticket management.

Vettro originally developed the damage prevention system as a proof-of-concept project for the Virginia Utility Protection Service. The business impact and return on investment to VUPS was estimated at a total of $120 million annually for all the utilities that use the service, according to Vettro.

Vettro sells its mobile services through a subscription model ranging from $15 to $50 per user per month. The latest offering is expected to be nationally available by late summer.