Tech Utilities Ellis Fox Blog

Tech for tomorrow – keeping utilities switched on

IoT and smart technology are becoming the accepted norm in society with people familiar with the ability to switch on security alarms or lights remotely using smart devices. For utilities companies, smart sensoring is being used to be able to better predict demand and areas of routine maintenance. But technology’s offerings go far beyond that. Utilities are ideally positioned to take advantage of what technology has to offer, but will they?

Maintenance & Augmented Reality

The problem with utilities maintenance is that outages happen despite routine maintenance being implemented. And when they do it causes major disruption and requires immediate attention. What happens when the best technician for the job is hundreds of miles away on another site?  Enter augmented reality. Using AR technology a more junior technician can work on the problem under the guidance of the senior technician, in real time, as though they’re on site too. This can save maintenance costs as well as operational down time and help deliver a better end user experience.

Using Tech for better Resource Management

As the trend towards using renewable energy sources such as wind and solar gain more traction, utility companies are not going to be the only ones generating electricity, for example. However, they will be best positioned to manage the process. Being able to generate and sell energy back to the grid is going to require complex monitoring and pricing structures and applying AI technology to existing utilities infrastructure is one way to achieve this.

Keeping this technology up to date will come at a cost, which they may not always be able to pass on to the consumer, so utilities will look for other avenues to generate efficiencies. This may include looking at alternate ways to store energy through power sensors, rather than using batteries or mains which can place utilities companies at the leading edge of developments in the industry.

Data & cybersecurity

Cloud technology will see utility companies start to use and share the data they collect more efficiently. This will help predict demand and capacity but it will also require implementing strong security measures. Putting the management of a city’s utilities in the cloud may facilitate better management, but it also creates an opportunity for hackers which could have a major impact on communities. As much as technology has to offer, implementation should always take into consideration the associated security risks as well.