In January, I shared Delta’s Industry Outlook for 2018 noting changes and innovations that we expected to see shaping our industry. In that post, I wrote about how:
- The use of asset performance management will continue to grow.
- Solutions for grid and utility cybersecurity will be top of mind.
- Emerging technologies like AR will continue to shape the workforce.
- There will be an expansion of Wi-Fi and a greater proliferation of cloud-based networks.
Looking back on the year, let’s review how these key outlooks are driving the utility industry.
Asset performance management
As identified in T&D World’s recent article, Asset Performance Management Comes of Age, “Utilities that have invested in digitizing their grid have positioned themselves to reap significant rewards as a result.” Asset performance management will enable a utility to rationally prioritize capital planning for aging asset replacement.
Further, collaborations like the recent one between Siemens and Bentley Systems show how those in the utility industry can benefit from asset performance management and how APM may evolve to include predictive analytics, necessary for pre-emptive asset actions, in addition to monitoring current performance.
Cybersecurity has remained top-of-mind, but as noted in a recent Smart Energy International article, a persistent attacker will eventually breach critical control systems. The article goes on to discuss the rising threats in utility cybersecurity and offers these important notes:
- Insist on systems that require more than a promise and a “handshake.”
- Be dynamic rather than static or reactive regarding cybersecurity.
- Cybersecurity can always be improved.
At Delta, we’re aligned with these viewpoints and that’s why we’ve made sure our Delta Smart Grid Network™ (DSGN™) conforms with the latest security protocols to protect network access and data integrity, from the point of device registration through the catalog and retention of cloud-based storage.
According to ABI Research, total AR market revenues for the energy and utilities industry are expected to grow to US$18 billion by 2022, with platform and licensing, and smart glasses hardware comprising the majority.
Further, a recent Electric Light & Power article, Today’s Reality, Augmented Reality: Improving Field Worker Efficiency, Security and Quality, notes the following:
The maturing and integration of smart glasses, wireless communication, mobile devices and augmented reality software is opening up new solutions to age-old problems that utility operations managers and their field crews encounter every day, such as:
- An expansive set of field assets that make it difficult for field technicians to be experts with all equipment, increasing maintenance time and exposing potential safety challenges.
- Lack of time and qualified inspectors to complete the number of required inspections.
- Safety risks due to lack of experience with the broad array of tools and assets.
- Pressure to reduce costs while improving restoration times.
- Inability to easily record field work for further evaluation, inspection, and training.
- Loss of institutional knowledge due to retirements or attrition.
We at Delta embraced this technology through the development of our PowerVISR™ hardware. We strongly believe that customer-centric, future hardware platforms will follow this increasing trend for augmented reality integration. You may read more about how AR is solving utility issues, here.
Wi-Fi and cloud-based networks
According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, “Wi-Fi is the most commonly used wireless communications technology; the primary medium for global internet traffic; a driver of nearly $2 trillion in global economic value; and growing, with 3 billion devices shipping in 2018 and 9 billion devices in use.”
Additionally, through Wi-Fi Offload mobile operators are able to relieve the congested mobile data networks with additional capacity from unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum. This allows them to facilitate combined carrier-class Wi-Fi and mobile services and profit from offering customers a vast service improvement with convenient ‘always-on’ data connectivity.
Delta’s technology and business model aggressively supports all three noted principles; Wi-Fi proliferation, Wi-Fi offload and cloud-based networks. Our unique Wi-Fi enabled Delta Smart Grid Network unleashes the power of a truly connected smart city, embracing the most commonly used wireless communications technology, while delivering Internet wherever there is power.