Caterpillar is hosting a power generation online community, an interactive forum where consulting specifying engineers and other power generation professionals can exchange ideas and best practices. Past experience of purchasing or working with Cat® Power Generation equipment is not required to participate and there are no registration fees.
“The goal of the online community is to provide a place where users can find answers to questions and interact with their peers,” said Dave Lucas, manager of marketing communications, Caterpillar Electric Power division. “Caterpillar is hosting the forum, but the primary goal is to help people in our industry connect with each other around the clock and around the world.”
Caterpillar launched a test of the online community in October 2008 by inviting a select group of professionals involved in designing, specifying, purchasing, installing, and operating power generation equipment. To date, users from 119 countries have generated more than 110,000 page views. The section spurring the most activity is power generation sustainability, featuring discussions on topics including alternative fuels and emissions requirements.
Other topics such as site design, standards and regulations and system components are also fueling conversation. Users who cannot find an existing topic of interest to them can easily initiate a new discussion by creating a new thread. Blogs and opinions of Cat experts are also featured in the community.
Cat online community users are leveraging several social networking features, such as the ability to give “kudos” to other members whose input they value. Users can highlight the response that provided the best solution to their specific question and move the discussions they find most interesting to the top of their view of the community.