Location Intelligence | Pitney Bowes
The foundation of a smart city — Confirm helps Aberdeenshire better streamline and manage public works.
Scottish council area spanning 2,439 square miles
Resident population of more than 250,000
Responsible for nearly half a million public works assets, including 3,400 miles of roads and 1,600 bridges
Streamline operations by consolidating multiple inspection, maintenance and repair systems.
Improve interdepartmental communication and collaboration.
Provide better citizen services by making it easier to report public works problems.
Streamlined operations and maintenance associated with roadway and drainage ditch care
A more holistic, “street scene view” of all Aberdeenshire public works assets
Reduced duplication of effort through improved collaboration across departments
Easier resident reporting via a web-based console
Aberdeenshire is a vast rural council area in northern Scotland. Its rugged landscape includes craggy mountains, an extensive coastline, small towns, farmland, and Balmoral Castle (Queen Elizabeth II’s summer residence). Aberdeenshire Council is responsible for managing all the public works assets in its council area. These include 45,000 street lights, 1,600 bridges, 3,400 miles of road, 70,000 drainage ditches, cemeteries and playground equipment. All told, Aberdeenshire maintains more than 422,000 assets.
“With Confirm, we have a method for recording and sharing information on these assets. That makes a big difference.” — Dave Clark,
Principal Systems Development Officer,
The inspection, maintenance and repair of Aberdeenshire’s public works is handled by staff from numerous departmental teams working in 30 maintenance locations. The council needed a way to consolidate the multiple software systems used in its asset management cycle. It wanted employees to be able to communicate easily across departmental teams, thereby streamlining work processes. It also needed to simplify resident reporting, such as when a resident finds a streetlight outage or new pot hole. And Aberdeenshire knew it would eventually have to find a way to more effectively tackle flooding and other weather-related issues that affect roads.
Aberdeenshire Council deployed Confirm® infrastructure asset management software solution from Pitney Bowes®. This solution provides public bodies with the insight needed to make informed decisions on asset repair and maintenance.
The council uses the solution to improve employee collaboration, and to better track the status of its assets. The council also uses ConfirmConnect®, a mobile asset management program that uses smartphones and tablets to enable the real-time flow of information between headquarters and field workers. Seventy Aberdeenshire inspectors use ConfirmConnect in the field, recording any asset flaws they find and feeding that information into Confirm® software.
Finally, a public portal allows residents to log in, note problems they’ve found with council assets, and point out the problem area on a map – important because many roads in this rural area are unnamed.
“With Confirm, we have a method for recording and sharing information on these assets,” explains Dave Clark, Principal Systems Development Officer with Aberdeenshire Council. “That makes a big difference. Previously, we had all this information on separate systems and there was no possibility for approaches such as joint working and developing a single unified model of our assets.”
"What we've been able to achieve using Confirm is to understand our assets, where they are and what state of repair they’re in. Then we can apply this new technology and understanding of what’s around us to provide better services to our citizens." — Dave Clark,
Principal Systems Development Officer,
Confirm® software has enabled Aberdeenshire to consolidate disparate inspection, maintenance, and repair software systems into a single solution. Hundreds of dashboards record the status of more than 90 types of assets, while improving workflow and communications, reducing inefficiencies and helping Aberdeenshire move toward a more holistic “street scene” view of its assets. This view allows the council to see not just its assets, but its assets in relation to each other, helping to build a smarter city.
Improved communications have helped to break down departmental siloes. When a problem arises with a bridge that affects nearby roadways, for example, Confirm promptly alerts professionals in separate road and bridge departments, enabling them to work in tandem to ease traffic conditions. Improved communications also affect the public at large. Using the corporate web portal linked to Confirm, residents can more easily report issues.
The solution has worked so well that Aberdeenshire is now piloting a program to integrate Confirm with GIS and IoT technologies to help coordinate and ease the effects of flooding in the region.
Aberdeenshire has more than 70,000 drainage ditches (known as gullies in the United Kingdom). Water from these ditches can spill over onto roads if the ditches become too full. The pilot program employs IoT devices to trigger an alert on Confirm when water reaches a predefined threshold in the drainage ditches. This information helps Aberdeenshire understand which ditches need to be cleaned. It also helps Aberdeenshire determine where to deploy expensive drain-emptying machinery.
Dave believes this program will be as successful as others tackled with Confirm. “What we've been able to achieve using Confirm is to understand our assets, where they are and what state of repair they’re in. Then we can apply this new technology and understanding of what’s around us to provide better services to our citizens,” he says.