Drawing from his interest that I introduced previously, the backcasting methodology, Tarmo Mere, Segment Director for Electric & Gas at Trimble Energy, encourages utilities to consider their decisions and actions today, in order to gain a better tomorrow. “As for the technologies affecting the utility business, for example the solar power will evolve, and it will become more efficient and more affordable for households and companies alike,” he states.
“If done well, an efficient and accurately informed vegetation management program can save a utility a large amount of money and improve network reliability through more accurately identified true vegetation hazards and reduced numbers, if any, of false vegetation hazards,” explains Sophie Davison, Vegetation Products Manager at NM Group in UK. On the contrary, the consequences of poor vegetation management can get costly. Sophie continues: “Inefficiency or using inaccurate data can lead to outages, regulatory fines, increased management costs and, in the worst cases, vegetation related fires and associated lawsuits.”
Especially with the mobile solutions becoming more and more popular for field work where the working conditions can be extreme and unhandiness soon leads to linemen returning to the pen and paper, ensuring the tools and devices are easy-to-use and support the user workflows is more important than ever. For that, user experience specialists play a very important role in designing the solutions to fit their purpose - work that goes way beyond the user interface.
Looking at the development pace for alternative energy sources, it’s only a question of time when a disruptive innovation wipes over the utility business. So what could be done today to keep the utilities in business, and what does the regulation have to do with it?
I had the privilege to participate in a really cool workshop with representatives from the biggest Finnish electric utilities from all over the country, held last month during the Finnish Trimble User Days. The workshop went by the name of 3D and augmented reality for distribution utilities, but it actually focused mostly on mixed reality - combining and positioning virtual and real objects with one another - and finding ways for utilities to make it beneficial, for real.
Insights to the software development for electricity distribution in the form of interviews with the most inspiring of industry experts.
A Trimblean for 10+ years with a never-ending hunger for knowledge from a less technical viewpoint to the most technical of matters.