Utility 4.0 and next-gen enterprise architecture


In the drive to create a sustainable energy system, new market models and technologies have demanded much more from utility companies, including agility. Ironically, at the time that utility systems were built, the demands of the day called for reliability, scalability and availability—not agility and data integration.

Today the picture is very different. Utilities must adapt to compete in a changing marketplace. They are being swept into the future where digital transformation, cooperation, compliance, cost management and competition require agility.

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Liberalisation of power has transformed slow-footed utilities into fast-acting commercial players. Utilities are still subject to mandates, including supplier changes, DER energy production and consumption information and service quality monitoring. Additional mandates often require utilities to build-out intelligent networks to improve efficiency and reliability in energy distribution. Improved optimisation of the allocation of resources and utilisation of assets is also a frequent requirement. In spite of these (very necessary) mandates, liberalisation offers new opportunities to innovate and win market share.

Increasingly, cloud computing, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, blockchain and cybersecurity are being deployed by utilities in their operations. These are the big current and future investment avenues for utilities. They all have one thing in common: they generate huge amounts of data. In fact, the quantity of data generated is growing each year as more and more smart meters, devices and technologies are being deployed within the energy infrastructure, by utilities as well as consumers.

Much of the utilities’ infrastructure is becoming smart – meaning that it has built-in processing, connectivity, and sensing capabilities. Electric vehicles (EVs), smart home systems, grid management systems, and many more subsystems are likely to interface with utilities and provide them with potentially valuable data.

The challenge for utilities is to make this data useful and generate actionable insights from it. Benefiting from big data is not straight forward. Utilities need an enterprise architecture strategy that allows them to collect the data in consistent ways, transport it, secure it, share it, analyse it and store it.

The team at Greenbird have put together an anthology of articles which speak to these challenges and provide insight into the build vs buy debate, understand the digital integration journey and how to simplify the IT/OT relationship.

Download the digital magazine Utility 4.0 and next-gen enterprise architecture for a comprehensive look at the current state of energy data and IT architecture trends which will help you wherever you are in your digital journey. Enjoy!

Claire Volkwyn
Editor: Smart Energy International