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FME saves Planview USL over 1000 hours annually

Planview Utility Services Ltd. (Planview USL) was recently selected as a recipient of one of Canada's most prestigious annual IT awards and credited FME as one of the key solutions leveraged for their part in the award-winning Broadband Window One (BOW) project. They also utilize FME to support several other initiatives, including data aggregation to support damage prevention and utility data sharing to support pre-engineering efforts for infrastructure projects.
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The key role FME plays in Planview’s award-winning BOW project

Planview Utility Services provides an integrated approach to helping organizations manage utility infrastructure, mainly serving municipalities and electric, gas, and telecommunications organizations. At the heart of their customer-centric service is GIS. With a 30-person GIS team working on over a hundred projects, FME is instrumental in ensuring success.

Their success is reflected in the award-winning Broadband One Window (BOW) project created to support Ontario’s vision of a broadband-enabled province and overcome the digital divide that hampers economic and social growth in underserved communities. BOW offers a unified platform for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Local Distribution Companies (LDCs), and municipalities to coordinate and expedite broadband delivery, effectively accelerating access to high-speed connectivity for all of Ontario. 

One of the biggest challenges the BOW project needed to address was the complexity of coordinating multiple stakeholders with diverse data sources and priorities. For instance, network providers in Ontario needed to navigate through nearly 400 different municipal protocols to obtain necessary permits. BOW standardized this process by providing ISPs with a single method for submitting permit requests and notifying the appropriate municipality or electric utility. The BOW also ensures that organizations fulfill government-mandated metric requirements for permit request turnaround times while enabling them to see project progress.

FME is integral in managing data for BOW. The BOW platform is built on ArcGIS Online and leverages FME for consolidating reporting information. User usage statistics, the number of permit submissions, and the current status are extracted from ArcGIS using FME. When permits are submitted, FME is used to pinpoint the location and boundary it falls under, initiated through webhooks. Email notifications are sent to stakeholders to inform them of deadlines or new permits requiring action. 

The long-term vision is to evolve BOW into Ontario’s go-to permitting tool.

Planview automates 95% of Damage Prevention process and saves thousands of hours with FME

Beyond BOW, Planview USL leverages FME for various other critical projects. Their Multiviewer solution is a one-stop solution addressing a crucial gap in field data accessibility for utility locators. Locators require utility records to perform underground locates prior to an excavation and data sharing across multiple infrastructure types with varying levels of accuracy and proprietary systems can be  a tedious process. A single viewer consolidates all data into one streamlined easy-to-use solution to solve this. The locator can easily see different datasets with the click of a button, with FME converting all data into a standardized format. 

MultiViewer also tackles data management and data distribution. Planview USL standardizes customer-submitted data and distributes it via MultiViewer to over 1600 Field locators, keeping it up-to-date. MultiViewer has become the standard in utility data management across Ontario and Alberta, with eyes set on British Columbia next.

Similarly, the Damage Prevention Risk Analysis Tool (DPRAT) harnesses FME to constantly ingest third-party data, assess it, and route it to infrastructure owners with an attached risk score. Part of the risk score is evaluated based on the proximity of an excavation site to the infrastructure data facilitated through FME. Using the client’s GIS enables more precise risk assessments.

Recently, Planview USL created an FME Flow Hosted-powered tool that facilitates instantaneous data extraction for pre-engineering requests. A webhook is triggered when a user fills out the form, and the requesting user receives a response within seconds or minutes. The self-serve solution reduces data sharing turnaround time to seconds or minutes rather than the industry standard of 15-20 days, and the customer saves 1040 hours on pre-engineering requests annually. 

Lastly, Planview USL has become the cornerstone in automating Ontario One Call GIS updates for over 800 organizations that own underground infrastructure, with FME ingesting and standardizing various data formats. A once 95% manual process is now 95% automated, significantly reducing the team size required and eliminating potential manual errors.

With FME, Planview USL not only automates time-consuming processes but also opens a realm of innovation while being empowered to conquer the challenge of receiving high volumes of data in various formats.

1040 hours
saved on pre-engineering requests annually
95%
automated Damage Prevention data sharing process
“In the GIS department, we use FME Flow Hosted so much that other departments are coming to us and asking for recommendations. They’re also starting to take advantage of FME and its power.”
Melissa Buske
GIS Services & Support Manager, Planview USL
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