GE Power Systems (GEPS), the market leader in the construction and installation of electrical power plants, is continuously involved in ongoing projects all over the world. GEPS needed a technology solution that would provide visual access to remote installation locations worldwide so that project leaders in NY could record site progress, assist in assessment and collaboration, and manage contract claims and negotiations without significant travel costs and out-of-the-office time.
The company made the decision to seek a web camera solution that would allow project managers and engineers to conduct inspections online versus physically traveling to locations. They were convinced that this type of technology would increase productivity by allowing project managers to see the status of their sites as often as they needed, rather than waiting for a site visit.
Specifically, GEPS was seeking a solution that would offer:
- Quick and easy installation
- Ease of use
- Industrial quality and reliability, even in extreme weather Quick camera response time
GEPS identified and tested a number of web camera solutions, but found that TrueLook offered significantly more functionality and usability, and thus more ROI potential than any other solution.
Truelook utilizes telerobotic cameras that can pan, tilt and zoom, rather typical web cameras, which offer only a single viewpoint. Most importantly, Truelook software allows users to take control of the cameras remotely to look wherever they want to look from any browser — no plug-ins or downloads required. Authorized users simply log on and are able to explore installation sites anywhere in the world.
Truelook is the only Internet imaging system that matches the performance of the human eye, with over 100 times the resolution of a typical wide-angle webcam. This level of detail allows users to see what they need clearly and specifically enough to make vital business decisions. And since Truelook returns low-bandwidth (<20kb), high-resolution JPEGs, the system can be accessed flawlessly from any Internet connection, with amazingly quick response times. Plus, Truelook allows multiple users to share control simultaneously for group collaboration and communication. Included with every Truelook installation is a Collaboration Toolkit consisting of Truelook’s patent-pending LIVEcard Project Archive features. The toolkit enables users to snap a selected image, add appropriate comments, and send it to their colleagues via email or add it to a Project Archive on the website. Others can then receive and access the original picture, read and reply to the comments, then click in the picture to be linked to control of the live camera at the precise location in which the original shot was taken. GEPS also chose to enable Truelook’s Scheduled Shot capability. With Scheduled Shot, users can set the camera to take specific pictures from a specific angle and zoom level at a user-specified time interval. Pictures are date and time stamped and cataloged into a database. The resulting pictures can then be viewed as an archive, slide show, or be made into an .MPG movie. Finally, to meet GEPS’ need for rugged, outdoor installations, the Truelook system comes prepackaged in a weatherproof, NEMA rated enclosure, which can be wirelessly connected to the Internet. For ease of installation, it includes an installation video and user support. No other webcam could provide GEPS with all of these features. Nothing else comes close.
With Truelook technology, GEPS has increased communication and promoted collaboration across departments. TrueLook also aids in tracking and recording equipment and material deliveries. Monthly progress reviews are conducted via the web, rather than in-person and using an online log, GEPS tracked thousands of dollars in savings avoided travel expenses over the first few months of service. In one instance, the Greenville, North Carolina factory camera saved GEPS $8,000 by allowing five engineers to hold an inspection remotely rather than flying in for a meeting. The total consisted of savings both indirect travel costs and saved time.
In another instance, an installer reached an impasse and was unclear on what to do next to complete his portion of the project. He phoned the home office in Schenectady for help. Rather than delaying the project and flying an engineer to the site, the engineer logged onto Truelook, located the problem, and was able to describe the solution over the phone. The installer was able to continue without delay.
Finally, the technology is also being used to assess liquidated damages, assisting in insurance claims for weather-related problems, late deliveries, and non-performance – saving significant dollars. From Iceland to Korea, Illinois to Hungary, GEPS is aiming to install a Truelook system at each of their sites, with a total of over 100 systems installed worldwide.