Crowd efforts further improve electricity network safety – Caruna and Posti continue collaboration
Postal carriers supply photos and observations on a total of 5,000 secondary substations and distribution cabinets in Caruna's network area on an as-needed basis. Posti's data services provide Caruna increasingly timely information on the maintenance needs and security of the network.
Building on the pilot of 2018
In 2018, Caruna and Posti tested a new way of collecting information on the status and condition of the electricity network. Postal carriers photographed and observed the condition of the distribution cabinets and secondary substations on their mail distribution route. Based on the results from the pilot run, the operation was further refined and the scope of the service expanded.
The collaboration of Caruna and Posti is being expanded this summer with information being gathered from around 5,000 locations around the Caruna network area.
“Based on the results of our initial pilot with Caruna, we developed our service to better match the information needs of network companies. We are now able to better ensure the quality of accumulated information in the mobile application used for information collection. Our objective is to create a nation-wide network of postal workers and vehicles that gather and store environmental information. They will have the ability to increase the efficiency of management of built infrastructure,” says Tommi Pekkala, business manager for Data Services at Posti.
More efficient network condition and security control
Ensuring the security of the network is a priority for distribution companies and their customers. The crowdsourcing-based information production model achieves clear benefits in charting the condition, tidiness and security of the network.
“By outsourcing some of our information gathering to Posti we can guarantee network condition and security with greater efficiency. We then have the chance to respond to faulty sites and safety deficiencies faster than before,” says operations manager Jarmo Ström of Caruna.
New technologies and operating models point the way
Information gathered by third parties speeds up network monitoring, and maintenance work can be targeted with greater precision.
“Modern technology, such as smartphones, provides flexible and cost-efficient solutions for data collection. Better visibility to network condition enables network companies to focus maintenance work on actual need. Repair operations can be performed faster and with greater precision, which is good news for our customers,” says Caruna's business development specialist Mika Suomi.
Data production and visual material gathering by third parties is expected to be useful not just for maintenance but also for other areas of distribution network business in future.
“In future, site security and traffic control arrangements can be monitored by video cameras attached to postal vehicles, for example, or the completion of a task can be verified from photographic material provided by the contractor. We also believe that utilising computer vision in interpreting photographic material might be possible,” Suomi muses.
Other companies welcomed to test crowd-sourced information generation
“The service provided by Posti on monitoring network companies' electricity network components is open for testing to all network companies. We encourage distribution network and infrastructure providers to test the method in monitoring their own infrastructure assets,” says Tommi Pekkala of Posti.
This is how the crowd-sourced model works:
- A postal worker visually assesses and photographs a Caruna secondary substation or distribution cabinet located on their own route on the mobile app.
- Caruna receives the photographs submitted by the postal worker and reviews observations based on the visual proof.
- If required, Caruna orders appropriate maintenance measures for the site.