A mobile evolution: How one utility widened its internal network

Georgia Power expanded—securely—from management-only BlackBerries to include employee-owned smartphones and tablets.

A little more than five years ago, Georgia Power Intranet Editor Kirk Martin’s manager came to his office with a new company-issued BlackBerry to show it to him, ask him to get one and start checking into how to use one for e-mail and Web browsing.

“In 2005, almost nobody was developing for mobile, and, internally, we certainly were not,” Martin says.

Martin soon pieced together a working mobile version of the company’s internal news portal, Citizen Online, which he called Citizen Wireless, for use on the BlackBerry devices that executives and managers were getting from the company.

That basic framework stayed in place until last summer, when Georgia Power and its parent, Southern Company, revamped Citizen Wireless so every employee companywide could view it on his or her own mobile device, be it a BlackBerry, iPhone, Android or any other.

“There was sort of an unrecognized tipping point” that was reached, Martin says. With the change, the number of devices that can access Citizen Wireless has more than doubled.

Early development

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