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As I write this, the world is in lockdown and I – along with most of the Smart Energy International team – am working from home. It has been heartening to see the positive steps taken by multiple utilities around the world to reduce the stress on consumers by allaying fears of cut-off due to lack of payment, while reassuring them that services will continue unabated. I’d like too, to acknowledge the #HeartForTheSector initiative of my amazing colleagues at Enlit Europe.

Their message says it all!

This approach ties in with the articles on pages 52 and 54 in which we examine the changing expectations of consumers and the responses from utilities. To this end, many are adopting cloud-based technologies or embracing software-as-a-service offerings in order to more rapidly deploy services and offerings to customers at scale.

But it’s not just by way of providing customer apps and new services that utilities are ensuring they are providing a flawless service for their customers. This is particularly evident in our interview with Chintamani Chitnis, Head of Grid Operations, Power System Control Centre (PSCC) in Mumbai (page 38). During an interview, he shared the efforts being undertaken by utilities in parts of India to address the challenge of power quality. Chitnis, who is speaking at the upcoming Indian Utility Week, is one of many interviewees that provide insight into that country as part of our Spotlight on India feature (page 36).

This article was originally published in Smart Energy International Issue 2-2020. Read the full digimag here or subscribe to receive a print copy here.

India is, however, not the only spotlight – we shine that on Africa too and share news and perspectives on the adoption of electric vehicles in South Africa (page 30), the ongoing implementation of AMI across the continent (page 32) and a more general overview of the power sector across sub-Saharan Africa (page 28).

There is so much more to sink your teeth into!

Smart cities across the globe are taking shape in unprecedented ways, and here we particularly examine the developments in Japan and Korea (page 16). What is particularly interesting about these examples is that they are being driven by private sector companies Toyota and Samsung. Toyota’s ‘Woven City’ and Samsung’s ‘Age of Experience’ concepts offer a holistic opportunity for integrating technology, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and sustainability into a cityscape.

Samsung Consumer Electronics president and CEO HS Kim said this was an opportunity to seamlessly combine hardware and software to create personalised experiences to transform how we care for ourselves and our family, how we can customize our homes to meet our individual needs, and how we can build safer, more sustainable intelligent cities.

This will additionally be facilitated by communication technologies and we explore that in some depth in the articles on pages 19 and 24.

Don’t forget, lastly, to read the wonderful selection of articles from our sister publication, Power Engineering International.

Kelvin Ross, who has taken the reins as Editor in Chief of our International brands, is working closely with the teams to ensure a continuation of the excellence of information and insights that you have come to expect – while continuing to reflect the evolving energy sector globally.

As always, we welcome your comments, responses and news stories and encourage you to continue reaching out to us during this particularly challenging time for the industry and our world.

Be well and keep yourselves safe.

Claire Volkwyn

Editor – Smart Energy International editorial@smart-energy.com