Information Technology (IT) is the life force behind any organization. Behind the scenes, the Directorate of IT team defends the Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) daily by safeguarding the data highways. The IT directorate focuses their mental fortitude on finding weaknesses in the architectural framework, while at the same time, introducing useful virtual tools for the safety of the labor force. CCAD recognizes the efforts between IT and the Safety Office, warfighters behind the scenes, that have developed a tool using Microsoft Power BI to ensure workforce readiness.
Like many locations in the United States, Texas, has been experiencing extreme heat, and employees must guard themselves against heat exhaustion and fatigue. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body overheats due to excessive activities and cannot cool itself and can lead to dizziness, nausea and fainting, left untreated even heat stroke and death.
According to the Army Public Health Center, Heat Illness Report, April 2022, “There have been 117 heat illness cases (93 heat exhaustion cases, 24 heat strokes) diagnosed since the beginning of this calendar year; one hospitalization occurred due to heat exhaustion. Additionally, the number of heat illnesses doubled from March 2022 to April 2022.” across the Army
The depot proudly introduced a Heat Sensor App to assist the workforce with monitoring real-time temperatures in their work area. Now, artisans can quickly identify safety risks and react accordingly.
Connie Salas, IT Director, said, “It is exciting having access to Power BI and the suite of Army 365 tools to implement solutions for people to be able to use data efficiently in their daily tasks.”
Army 365 is a new U.S. Army initiative to help improve information sharing with added cybersecurity measures thru cloud-based capabilities.
Multiple Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) devices collect temperature readings. The numbers are then translated into a visual representation within a Power BI or Heat Sensor dashboard. The WBGT Heat Sensor dashboard is link to an internal webpage providing access to the Army’s Work/Rest Table and water consumption requirements. Microsoft Power BI is a powerful program that allows staff members to share and collaborate on reports.
The advantage of this technology is that leaders can confidently make faster decisions and initiate actions based on the availability of current information published to CCAD's Microsoft P1 Premium Capacity Workspace. In the case of the WBGT Index, this platform helps to find quicker solutions to situations that could escalate to mishaps by alerting supervisors of hazardous environmental conditions.
Kevin Martin, CCAD Safety Engineer said, “The Safety and Occupational Health Office needed a reliable way to communicate heat stress conditions to supervisors and the workforce. The high temperatures and high humidity of South Texas summers creates dangerous heat stress conditions for CCAD workers working in unconditioned workspaces such as aircraft hangars”
CCAD represents one of ten organizations within the entire Army 365 platform that owns Microsoft Power BI Premium Capacity. Other organizations include Headquarters, Department of the Army, Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) and Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems, and LetterKenny Army Depot.
While broadening relationships, Marc Carter, IT SharePoint Lead, leads a team of other premium capacity managers in the Army 365 tenant. Carter provides best practices and helps develop governance documentation for the Army’s BI platform.
Employees can view the Heat Sensor Dashboard created by a, from a government mobile phone, desktop, laptop, or zero client device using a web browser. Jones said, “Having a central location where the enterprise can have employees review temperature [in their work areas] can help them correlate their work rest cycle charts.”
“Past IT networking had allowed for online monitoring and reporting of heat stress by using SharePoint business information integration; but increasing restrictions due to cyber-security forced the monitoring off the network” said Martin “The lost connectivity reverted the monitoring and reporting to manual mode, delaying relevant current situational conditions to decisionmakers. We needed a solution that would restore online heat stress information.”
Cloud-based access to CCAD’s WBGT data is made possible through a Data Gateway service that Marisa Lopez, IT Specialist, implemented. Lopez built the Microsoft Power Gateway servers within Army regulation specifications and compliance. "We verified that there weren't any vulnerabilities and met all cybersecurity compliance requirements," said Lopez. In addition, she was an early adopter in creating visuals through the desktop client and sharing content to the Premium Workspace.
Lopez pioneered presenting Power BI reports and dashboards during weekly cyber-security meetings and established the Compliance App to share timely visualizations of IT compliance data. This visibility of real-time data in a meaningful but simplified approach from different data sources enable IT to make informed decisions quickly and act immediately on areas of risk.
Carter said, “Truly a great team effort and one that I’m proud to be a part of.”
The Compliance App and the WBGT Heat Sensor app are just two examples of how Power Bi services enhances CCADs ability to operate currently and demonstrates its capability to be expanded to other areas of data analysis.
Salas said. “We have an amazing team of professions that began getting hands-on experience in the tools, developing, and delivering prototypes to evaluate the best way to create value. Within our organization the prototype solutions have provided better insights, improved collaboration, enabled discovery and improved decisions at every tier level.”