NNS Deploys New Mobile Devices

Published August 3, 2021

Thousands of Newport News Shipbuilding employees are getting a smartphone upgrade as part of a massive project to replace more than 3,500 company-issued devices.

NNS is replacing Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphones with new Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphones. Thanks to strategic partnerships with Verizon Wireless and Samsung, the phones are being upgraded at “minimal to no cost” to the company, said T54 Manager Josey Frakes.

He said the new devices, which feature a new Android management standard called Android Enterprise, will make a real difference for employees and will support various communication and collaboration apps such as Jabber, WebEx, MyTime and SharePoint and even internal apps developed by Dogfish Labs or NNS IT, such as Sparc, Big Blast and Onsite.

“Every shipbuilder who has a smartphone or smart device is now going to have expanded capabilities with Android Enterprise, allowing easy to access applications for instant install from a managed NNS Google Play Store,” Frakes said. “It offers a degree of flexibility where we can take advantage of future state technologies. These are going to be companion devices for anything and everything work related moving forward.”

T54’s Mobility and Executive Support teams, in addition to contractors from Nuvo Solutions and Bell Techlogix, are collaborating to distribute the devices – at a pace of more than 100 per day. Shipbuilders who are due for an upgrade receive a text message and are asked if they would like to pick up their new device in person at an on-site location or have it mailed to them.

Those who choose to pick up the device on site can then schedule a time and date. They will likely notice some process improvements.

“We’ve come up with ways to shorten the timeline,” said Marie Greene (T54). “We’ve developed a process where we can do a lot of preloading on the phones ahead of time. When the user comes, they’re not there for 45 minutes. They may be there for 15 minutes.”

Smartphones that are shipped to employees require only a few simple steps for set up. NNS will receive residual value for returned Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphones through a buyback program.“We have permission from Cybersecurity to do that as long as they are completely wiped and in good working condition,” Greene said. “If the phone has some damage or we were not able to wipe it, then we follow a different process.”

Frakes said the goal is to have all of the new smartphones deployed by the end of September. “It is a huge effort to make this happen on such a broad scale,” he said. “All of the teams have come together, devised a plan and made positive agile adjustments along the way to facilitate this, and we are very pleased with the ongoing success of the upgrade.”