Kauai’s remoteness and ruggedness presented unique challenges that Timberline responded to through innovative use of technology. As with most projects, understanding the client’s requirements and constraints is paramount to project success. For this project, the client’s needs were very complex, and significant interchange between KDOW and Timberline was necessary.
Can You Hear Me Now? As such, Timberline immediately recognized that the time zone difference between Albuquerque and Kauai, and KDOW’s lack of email and internet access would create an impediment to effective communication. (These days, we expect everyone to have email and internet everywhere all the time; however, in 1999 KDOW had neither email nor internet access!) To help alleviate this problem, Timberline encouraged KDOW to adopt e-mail and web access for their employees, a program they had been contemplating but had not yet implemented. Once KDOW had that access, Timberline set up a database-driven website to communicate project requirements, facilitate system design, and provide a repository for project documents. Then as the design progressed, KDOW was able to participate fully, despite the distance and time zone difference.
In addition to these logistical challenges and the normal issues involved in the design of a SCADA system, this particular project included four unusual and complex problems, the solution of which required innovative applications of technology: hurricane survivability, corrosion and pest control, communications across rugged terrain, and the challenge of communicating alarms to a mobile workforce with varying needs and capabilities.