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January 27, 2022

Powering tomorrow: challenges and opportunities in Utilities

In this webinar, recorded live on 26th January 2022, four experts in the field of IoT / M2M connectivity discussed the challenges Utilities and Renewables companies face over the next decade, from ageing infrastructure to cyber security to climate change.

Industrial IoT in the time of COVID-19

First, Damian Lewis from Inmarsat revealed the findings from a recent research project into “Industrial IoT in the time of COVID-19“. In Electrical Utilities, Inmarsat discovered that IoT projects represented the highest proportion of overall IT budgets. When executed, IoT projects were delivering a 30% cost saving over a five year period.

But connectivity was plaguing these projects. 75% of the electrical utilities companies surveyed encountered connectivity problems, and 59% of respondents stated that terrestrial networks like fibre and cellular are not entirely suitable for their needs. Despite this, only 32% are using satellite connectivity – far below the survey average of 47%.

Unpredictability is the new normal

Christian Strarup from Cobham Satcom looked at the challenges Utilities companies face, with more and longer outages due to extreme weather. There is also governmental pressure to fix the issue without raising costs for consumers. Christian’s slides include a list of considerations Utilities companies need to make in order to shore up their infrastructure, and ensure that they can continue to deliver services under increasingly unpredictable weather conditions.

You can download Cobham Satcom’s eBook which goes into more detail on these topics here.

Weathering the storm – case studies

Liz Wilson from Ground Control looked at three examples from the Utilities and Renewables sectors, where companies have already started to respond to these challenges. In the first case study, we hear about a critical gas pipe which needs reliable sensor data in order to operate safely, and utilises satellite connectivity for reliability and security.

The second case study sees renewable energy company RWE using real-time data on water levels and precipitation to know when to increase the amount of energy they can supply to the grid. Because their reservoirs are out of terrestrial connectivity range, they’re leveraging satellite in a clever and cost effective way to extract the data.

Finally a community windfarm in the Shetland Islands who’ve anticipated that extreme weather *will* impact their infrastructure, and taken proactive steps to minimise the damage.

PSTN end of life – case study and impacts

Finally, Nigel Garnham from Atos looks at how British Utilities companies are responding to the switch off of the PSTN network, exploring a range of connectivity options. Ageing infrastructure impacts many Utilities companies worldwide, and the technologies that Nigel advocates you should investigate to future-proof your infrastructure are widely applicable.

We hope you enjoy the webinar!