Tales from the Street 2 – Technology Impact and Communication

My name is Tony Penfold, I am a founder member of SWS. I have been engaged within the sector for years and I have many stories to share with you. Please check the First Chapter of Tales from the Street here.

I started working as an asphalt labourer in 1983 for Colas, working for Hammersmith and Fulham Highway Authority. Communication was, to say the least, very basic! There were no mobile phones, instead, we used CB radios, which is short for Citizens’ Band radio, a system of short-distance/two-way radio communications using channels. As you could expect, CB radios did not seem to work very well on a Friday afternoon! If we had any issues throughout the day, we would update the scheduler by CB radio, find a phone box or the supervisor would have to visit site.

We worked completely on paper basis, and those would be handed in every night, mostly covered in asphalt and dirt, with no images of the work that had been completed and a load of scribbled measures and notes.

I later got promoted to a supervisor in the Mid 90’s, and part of my job role was to visit sites and complete post inspections, which involved looking through piles of completed paperwork, selecting 40 a day, and making photocopies of the paper track sheets. I would then go home and spend over an hour with my map book, planning the route for the next day. We had no Sat-Navs back then, so I would often have to pull over and check the map for directions. Once I reached my destination, I would take pictures with my polaroid camera and staple those to the paperwork. Back at the office, if photos were defective in any way, I would have to fill out a form and pass over to administration, so they would manage the defective works. The whole process was very time consuming.

It was around year 2000 that I started seeing the first signs of technology being used mainly for image capture, which was a breakthrough for the utility sector as it allowed us to better manage compliance for many reasons: for quality purposes, New Roads and Street Works Act (NRSWA) legislations and the increase in Coring and Hazardous Area (H.A.) Inspections.

In 2005, Streetworks Information Management System – SwIMS -V1 was developed and, as expected, it really helped contractors to manage updates, such as images taken out on site, status and information of each job -all in one place!

The game changer came in 2012, when Streetworks Software developed a works mobile app, which updated tasks and raised reinstatement in real time, saving time, reducing risk, and therefore, reducing costs altogether.

Streetworks Software continues to innovate within the Utilities Sector, stay tuned for latest news  and updates.

For a complete end-to-end solution for your company, please contact us HERE

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