Utilities control center of the future
Embracing advanced digital technology to achieve improved performance, collaboration and informed, data-driven decisions.
The utilities landscape is constantly evolving to meet growing consumer expectations and harness emerging technology to provide clean, safe energy.
This dynamic environment brings with it a need to empower operators to make data-driven decisions.
Faced with increasing system complexity, the arrival of bi-directional grids and a host of new players, it has become essential for utilities to move from standardized operations and manual processes to predictive capabilities and integrated, intelligent decision making; operated from a digitally enabled transmission and distribution (T&D) control room.
Despite this pressing need to reinvent their control centers, many North American utilities remain constrained by outdated tools and analytics systems, manual processes and siloed information. How ready is the industry to transform?
Source: BRIDGE Energy Group® –2019 BRIDGE Index™
Survey reach: Over 20,000 North American utility employees
Only 25% of utilities executives consider their utility to be an industry leader in operational transformation.
The number of utilities that already have an advanced distribution management system (ADMS) in place.
Of utility executives feel transmission and distribution will become more integrated in the next three years.
Of utility executives have increased their complement of operational and information technology personnel.
The ability to significantly enhance operations and facilitate real-time decision making rests on the successful integration of engineering and maintenance data, as well as a deep understanding of human and technological requirements.
Advancing technologies such as extended reality (XR), robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and virtual assistants offer predictive situational awareness and analytics-driven decision-making capabilities that can reduce threats and improve recovery time. In addition, they also empower workers to collaborate and learn more effectively, creating more rewarding roles as they focus on performing value-added activities.
Combining the following capabilities in the control center can help accelerate decision making and reduce human error at a time when the utility is consolidating control rooms, deploying new systems and training workers.
Maintain acceptable levels of grid operations in response to disturbances caused by severe weather events and offer flexibility during a pandemic.
Track employee location, biometrics, behavior and process activities to improve safety.
Accelerate data-driven, automated and/or assisted decision making.
Using data from multiple sources can optimize planning, scheduling, resource allocation and proactively respond to events and emergencies.
Increased hardening and redundancy from physical and cyber threats.
Remote collaboration with field, engineering and operations to effectively resolve issues as they arise.
Real-time, virtual connection to on-site and mobile field solutions using augmented reality, mobile apps, and speed detection.
In an era where reinvention is standard, it is the organizations that can successfully harness and apply new technology to help engage their workforce that will thrive.
The control center of the future is a clear example of the possibilities this approach to progress can unlock. The tools are already in place to convert ambition into action and make this intelligent, integrated vision a reality for network utilities.