Powering the digital economy with modern utilities

Published: Oct 24, 2017
Author: Hena Prasanna


The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing everything we used to know about best business practices, and is opening up new avenues for innovation. Utilities are in a unique position in this era of transformation. Not only do utilities need to modernize their approach of delivering core business functions, but they also need to do it in a way that allows them to reliably power this new digital economy.

That’s where the smart grid comes in. There’s a reason the smart grid is quickly becoming the new industry standard. The modern smart grid changes everything, from the way utility services are delivered and consumed to how they are managed. By integrating communications, smart sensor technologies, security and cloud-based services into the grid, utilities are able to automate tasks, improve system reliability, increase productivity and support the evolving needs of customers.

Building and maintaining a smart grid infrastructure involves complex components, including:

  • Smart meters that collect valuable data.
  • A communications network for that data to travel over.
  • Cloud applications to collect and process the data.
  • An analytics system to analyze data.
  • The ability to send real-time alerts.
  • Storage of historical data for reporting.

It’s a huge undertaking for any utility company to try and do this on its own without eating up valuable resources and stealing focus from core business goals.

Luckily, help is out there in the form of smart grid as a service (SGaaS) solutions. With SGaaS, utilities partner with a provider that will handle the burden of building and maintaining the technological infrastructure, software and other components needed to support the smart grid, while keeping the utility company in control of the operations.

On the surface, this seems like an ideal solution to a pressing problem. However, many SGaaS providers aren’t always on the same page as to what a SGaaS needs to provide. Some SGaaS solutions only offer a portion of the functionality that a robust smart grid system needs to perform at its best. So utilities are forced to put together their own piecemeal solutions, which often means working with multiple providers. Utilities then run the risk that each individual SGaaS offering won’t work with the others, or won’t integrate with existing systems, or isn’t flexible enough for future growth. A solution—or set of solutions—that increases the complexity of the job instead of simplifying it just doesn’t make sense.

When shopping for the right SGaaS, utilities companies should check they’re getting a truly comprehensive solution. Look for one that is flexible, secure, simple and timely to deploy. It should offer all the functionality to meet current needs, be easily adaptable for future enhancements, and come from a provider that can be trusted to deliver its services reliably.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can read an in-depth exploration of the challenges and benefits of SGaaS, as well as helpful tips on choosing the right solution, in our new whitepaper.

Please be sure to visit our website to see if Verizon has the right solution for you. 

 

Hena Prasanna is Managing Partner for the Internet of Things Solution Specialist team at Verizon supporting the Energy and Utilities Vertical.