Building a Remote Industrial Workforce During the COVID-19 Outbreak
MARCH 2020 - GrayMatter and GE Digital Offer No-Cost, 90-day Remote Access Licenses to Industrial Operations
GrayMatter and GE Digital are helping water utilities rapidly expand remote access licenses to protect employee health and maintain safe drinking water operations during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Utilities typically have some remote licenses, but not nearly enough to give offsite access to every employee. For example, one regional municipality employs thousands of workers, but has only 300 remote user licenses to access its connected systems — industrial and otherwise.
“No one is licensed properly for what they will need to support an organization working remotely,” said Aaron Knight, GrayMatter Director of Co-Innovation. “Organizations are trying to figure how to become remote organizations, and everyone is going to solve it slightly differently.”
The temporary remote access licenses, provided at no cost, allow water utilities and other types of industrial facilities to run with minimal onsite personnel at a critical time, he said.
Purchasing hundreds of additional licenses under normal circumstances would cost upwards of $100,000.
“Clearly, being remote is the flexibility all companies are striving for so that they can enable mobile workers and help ensure the safety of those workers and customers,” said Matthew Wells, Vice President of Digital Product Management at GE Digital.
Remote access license trials typically last 90 days. That will potentially be extended, as it’s unclear when work-from-home advisories will end.
“After 9/11, everyone prepared with contingencies to have hundreds of employees work from a single backup location,” Knight said. “In this case, people need to be able to work on a semi-permanent basis from hundreds of different buildings. It’s disaster planning extended.”
Installing the remote licenses is straightforward, and each client determines how to use them. Knight said non-GE customers can take advantage of a remote system access solution on a trial basis as well.
“GE Digital understands from our own internal challenges in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic that we also have a responsibility to be there for our customer’s overall safety while supporting their operational continuity with digital solutions,” said Paul Epperson, Sr. Director, Americas Channel Sales at GE Digital.
“Our ability to answer the call for our customers relies on an ecosystem of channel partners, such as GrayMatter, who was been an instrumental thought leader in championing remote access for our joint customers during the crisis, but also supporting the customers locally going forward as they implement these remote abilities.”
“Organizations are trying to figure how to become remote organizations, and everyone is going to solve it slightly differently.”