Smart Grid

Managing baseball and utility infrastructure: it’s all in the field

OK, it’s baseball time of the year, and I thought about team management putting players’ numbers to work to get the best game they can. Maybe it’s a stretch to compare baseball team management with utilities management; but in both cases, you want real, quantifiable information about your field assets. Besides, I like baseball…

Like the clubhouse crew, the utility management team needs to know what it has out in the field: what equipment is there, where it is, and how it’s working. While the clubhouse and utility are both concerned with optimizing today’s performance, the utility staff also must focus on reducing operational risks, keeping up with regulatory requirements, and best serving its customers. And, yes, the reach from the utility enterprise to its infrastructure field components is much greater and much more complicated than the gap between the dugout and the field.

Smart utilities are relying on technology to provide complete, accurate, and timely field data, on demand, for automation and control that supports optimum distribution performance and for availability to other enterprise processes. Many of them are realizing the extended value of cloud-based services to deliver real-time communications to field staff, collect real-time field data from mobile clients, and deliver that data to the office promptly – especially vital for dispatch, outage management, asset management, and work management teams.

With cloud-based services, field data is stored externally, backed up, and secure – relaxing the utility IT resources that would otherwise be needed. The utility controls the frequency and bandwidth used to access the data, for reliable and secure availability across the enterprise.

With infrastructures that are continuously changing, having reliable and adaptable field data management is vital to attaining smart infrastructure status – and that’s ‘major league’ in the utilities world.

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