Building a pipeline leak detection solution hand-in-hand with pipeliners

By Angie Schrader
August 03, 2022
Operator feedback for pipeline leak detection software

 

As you can read in Our Story (or you know if you’ve ever heard our pitch anywhere), Flowstate was born out of an operator. When exploring options for leak detection for their diverse systems of pipelines, Bridger Pipeline found that many of the incumbent solutions were not only expensive and time intensive to implement – but they were also found to be unreliable in complex operations and complicated to use.

Long story short, they were not satisfied with the options they found and decided instead to pursue a new solution built on modern technology.

Four years later, although Flowstate now operates as a separate company, we still work closely with the team at Bridger to pursue a system that is not only successful in detecting leaks, but successful gaining trust and satisfaction in the control room.

We want Controllers to love our product. In product development, we call this 'delighting the customer'. Said another way, our directive from our board president is simply “Improve the life of our controllers”. (One way he measures that – “I want our Control Room Supervisor to be Flowstate’s #1 fan.”)

There are a couple ways we have set about that.

Internally, we have a great team of UI/UX developers (user interface, user experience) that work hard to implement good design practices and create a product that is easy and intuitive to use. We use our product every day, so we have advocates like Ben, our Customer Success Manager, giving feedback to the software team on things that work well and things that could be better.

Getting input from pipeline control room supervisor

But most importantly, we utilize our partnership with Bridger. We have regular conversations with control room personnel to understand their needs, how they do their job, and what information they are needing. We conduct user interviews to get feedback on our software to not only adjust things that could be better, but also get ideas on features that could improve their work. A recent interview focused on the Map Dashboard. Our latest software release included several changes incorporated as a result of feedback we received.

  • The map can now expand to full screen view.
  • Users can now move weather cards so they do not cover pipeline segments
  • Segments can now show alarm status

Other feedback included:

  • Ideas on reducing data alarms
  • Feedback on improving the trending tool
Most recently, we have kicked off Project Antilles – a pilot of a new product we are developing to accompany our Leak Detection System (more about that in a future article). Our team uses this tool every single day and we know it will be valuable not only to controllers, but to engineers, field personnel, and more. We will be working with some controllers in the coming weeks to beta test it and look forward to making a tool they will enjoy using.

We love getting customer input. If you would like to talk with us about your pipeline monitoring ideas or needs, we would love to hear from you.

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About Author
Angie Schrader

Angie wears many hats as Chief Operating Officer at Flowstate. She enjoys being a bridge between teams and Flowstate's end users.

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