The utility industry is entering a new chapter, with the active introduction of smart devices and the use of IoT for monitoring, automation, and analysis purposes. There is a noticeable shift in the way utility providers are positioning their solutions, making them more customer-centric and easy to use. With The added emphasis on asset lifecycle management, utility providers are actively able to cut their costs and streamline their business, while also reducing downtime.
The advancement in technology needs new investment to upgrade the already existing power grid infrastructure. Many businesses are adopting Distributed Energy Resources (DER) to reduce their spending and have the ability to sell power back to the grid. Utility companies are moving beyond the commodity-based model, where the primary goal was cost-effective supply acquisition. As the utilities industry continues to modernize, DER solutions can help in the transition to smarter grid facilities. The adoption of next-generation smart meters allows for greater utility management for both provider and customer. Providing real-time utility usage, it will be ideal for other utility industries like gas and water. In the water utility space, global irrigation is going through significant changes. With utility providers facing challenges due to scarcity, climate change, and increased crop production, smart irrigation systems are the way forward. By managing the irrigation process through sensors, businesses can increase yield rates while at the same time reducing their water consumption. Providers are also offering remote monitoring and control solutions for renewable resource, which allows for real-time visibility into plant performance, maintenance, and production requirements.
This edition of APAC CIO Outlook brings you the "Top 10 Utilities Technology Solution Providers - 2017." This list gives you some of the most prominent organizations in the industry. The proposed list envisions assisting companies to gain from the services of the right Utilities Technology Solution Providers who suit their specific requirements and help them enhance their expertise.
Wireless and cloud-enabled real-time utility solutions
Recently, a water utility provider in Australia urgently needed to automate water quality measuring throughout thousands of kilometers of water pipeline infrastructure across the city’s suburbs. They needed to be certain that the water flowing in the pipeline was safe to drink. The water utility company was in dire need of a system that could operate remotely without any mains power supply and which could measure the chemical components of the water in real time, rather than days later in a lab. This led them to OzGreen Energy.
OzGreen’s TracWater robotics were able to measure water quality in the pipeline in real time at less than one per cent of the cost of conventional people-based water sampling — using systems that function without any external power supply. This successful implementation of physical and chemical drinking water quality measurement enabled the water utility to ensure it was meeting water quality standards to the tap across thousands of kilometers of water delivery pipeline. All this was made possible because of TracWater—the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) enhanced robot to analyze the water quality in water network pipes. OzGreen Energy’s TracWater robotics offers wireless, real-time, and remotely powered measuring technology to water utility providers— saving time and money.
However, the actual benefits of accurate, real-time wireless power and water measuring are not always about ensuring drinking water quality and reducing NRW (nonrevenue water); it is about revolutionizing the power and water industry. Headquartered in Brisbane, Australia, OzGreen Energy is causing such a paradigm shift as the umbrella company for Metertrac and TracWater. The firm offers wireless and cloud-based high-speed, big data, measurement and verification systems to commercial and industrial customers—with remote monitoring of water, gas, and energy. MeterTrac is a cloud-based adaptive, intelligent, and real-time reporting system for energy usage; TracWater is an AI enhanced robot to analyze water attributes in water network pipes. The systems carry out management processes 24*7 in real-time and employ robotics and wireless networks to make water and power distribution monitoring cost-effective, fast, and safe. “Our systems work as plug and play models which allow the customers to add modules as required. For instance, if the client already monitors water quality and also wants to monitor power or gas they can simply add the module. Data on assets, processes, and resources are collected using remote sensors and robots, with rapid intelligent alerts and all battery powered. Even though the architectures are innovative, no data has ever been lost, even during floods, cyclones, power and telecom outages,” says Len McKelvey, CEO, OzGreen Energy.
Leveraging cloud-served and real-time wireless data, the firm offers high speed and far distance reach capability. This enables utility companies to get fast and accurate supply quality information; thus providing them the ability to get previously unavailable instant critical operational data from distant and hidden parts of any power or water network. According to McKelvey, the firm has the competence to collect, analyze, and report data streams from any location in the world. For instance, the expertise in power engineering has enabled OzGreen Energy to connect commercial buildings in the USA, as well as factories across Australia to its real-time energy management centre, to measure highly detailed power engineering parameters on power circuits. The firm utilized the MeterTrac system to measure the power of each circuit—enabling power engineers to view real-time summary information and then to drill down. “Powered by predictive data engines, the information of the past can be analyzed with algorithms to be predictive for the future. This improves power demand and consumption modelling for detailed power engineering,” adds McKelvey.
According to Philip Hubble, Chairman of OzGreen Energy and previously head of Dell’s European Operations, the firm sees themselves as a valuable player in leveraging the cloud for the utility industry across the three sectors—water, power, and gas. “Our vision for the future is to be firmly embedded as a partner to utilities, offering engineering solutions leveraging the cloud,” says Hubble. Apart from this, OzGreen Energy is developing partnerships to bring its power and water solutions into commercial, industrial, and residential sites worldwide.