Digital in Utilities – Hype or Hope!!!

Digital is one of the common buzzwords in the market. It combines capabilities of the latest and greatest technology stack, like social, mobile, analytics and the Cloud (SMAC), the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and virtual reality and, most importantly, amplifies them by encompassing a seamlessly connected enterprise experience.

With latest reports showing 4.7 billion mobile users, 3 billion people on the Internet, 1.7 billion Facebook users and 1 billion WhatsApp users, digital undoubtedly has already been incorporated into our daily life and work routines.

Digital is changing the world and enterprises all over the world have been gearing up to embrace this new way of doing things. Utilities, too, cannot afford to be unaffected by the digital evolution. However, with utilities carrying a tag of being late adopters of the latest technology changes, it would be thought-provoking to evaluate the impact of digital on them.

This article delves into this phenomenon of digital and its impact on utilities.

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Convergence of IT & OT – An Intelligent Asset Management

6 Years old blog of mine, very relevant even today; probably more relevant.

Gartner & many other analysts have written about “convergence of IT (Information Technology) & OT (Operational Technology)” in past. Here i would try to explain how this convergence would result into intelligent assets, considering some recent industry developments in asset management space like (i) maximo being integral part of IBM’s smarter planet theory and, (ii) ABB’s Ventyx acquisition.

5-7 years ago EAM packages were kind of standalone packages where the assets in focus were primarily the heavy production machines or transport assets. Though EAM packages & SIs implementing them had capabilities of integrating these packages with SCADA, Distributed Control Systems (DCS) etc to get the maximum out of the implementations, but not many clients were able to truly leverage the benefits emerging from these integrations; mainly due to lack of maturity towards softwares, packages & IT systems within the operations & maintenance (O&M) departments. Before someone starts building opinion about maturity of O&M departments, let’s also understand that O&M departments have to be managed with utmost precision and a slightest mistake could be a matter of life & death, as against the jobs done by white collar folks where they easily get a chance to correct their mistakes without critical losses. Hence, the O&M folks really needed compelling reasons to go for a flawless integrated system, hence the reluctance.

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