Avertra builds digital solutions scale with IBM Cloud tie up
IBM has announced a collaboration with Avertra, the global integration services, products and consultancy organization, to help accelerate clients' digital transformation in the energy and utilities industry.
Avertra will host its MiCustomer Digital Experience platform on IBM Cloud, helping to build connected E&U organizations that can run more intelligently and securely.
Avertra is leveraging IBM's Cloud Engagement Fund, established as part of IBM's $1B investment into its ecosystem, to access technical resources and cloud credits to support migration of client workloads to hybrid cloud environments, including IBM Cloud.
Using advanced offerings from IBM Cloud, including the IBM Kubernetes Service (IKS), Avertra can gain more value from its data to help speed the development of new tools designed to improve efficiency for the industry.
A prime example is the Avertra MiCustomer solution, an integrated application suite which their clients can use on the IBM Cloud to manage all aspects of customer engagement, from the initial meter reading to final bill payment. This process includes invoicing, correspondence, automated back office exception resolution, and analytics – all based on a single unified platform designed to streamline operations to help reduce internal costs for E&U companies.
The solution is also designed to give control to consumers, allowing them to keep tabs on their energy usage, predict future usage and have oversight into their overall utility spend, along with other real-time features that support a simpler and more personalized customer experience.
"We view this collaboration as a natural extension of our expanding work with IBM. To date, we've had great success using IBM Watson, and now with IBM Cloud we'll be able to improve the scalability of our secured digital solutions to help build more connected E&U organizations supported by IBM's services. Our mission is to 'simplify life,' and we view our IBM collaboration as a way to simplify how we manage our critical digital assets. We look forward to the next stage in our journey with IBM," says Bashir Bseirani, CEO at Avertra.
Avertra is part of IBM's hybrid cloud ecosystem, an initiative to support global system integrators and independent software vendors to help clients manage and modernize workloads for any cloud environment, including the IBM public cloud.
The IBM public cloud is the industry's most secure and open public cloud for business. With its security leadership, enterprise-grade capabilities and support for open-source technologies, the IBM public cloud is designed to differentiate and extend on hybrid cloud capabilities for enterprise workloads.
"We are seeing the energy and utilities industry accelerating its cloud adoption, particularly to improve communication, function and accessibility to meet the demands of increasingly digitally native consumers," said Evaristus Mainsah, General Manager, IBM Hybrid Cloud and Edge Ecosystem. "Through IBM's Cloud Engagement Fund, we're making it easier for ecosystem partners like Avertra to build secured, integrated cloud solutions by migrating their workloads to an open hybrid cloud environment like IBM Cloud – bringing the value of multicloud applications to their E&U clients."
From increasing demand for innovation in renewable energy to giving consumers more on-demand insight into their energy usage, utility providers can turn to hybrid cloud solutions to help address the needs of a more sustainability-focused, digital society.
The traditional, linear supply chain is gradually being replaced by an ecosystem made up of more diverse participants, interacting in increasingly complex ways in response to four key disruptors: decarbonisation, decentralisation, digitalisation and democratisation.
AI's role in remote monitoring rises
Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company, a subsidiary of OGE Energy Corp, has begun a pilot program that uses AI to help reduce outages caused by equipment failures.
As part of its grid enhancement program, OG&E will leverage collaborative AI-powered image recognition technology that enables engineers to complete distribution pole inspections with greater accuracy and helps to reduce manual review of images.
TRC Companies, an engineering and digitally focused consulting firm with expertise in IT/OT solutions, will provide overall program management for the pilot. eSmart Systems will provide the advanced technology used during the pilot, including a best practice called Collaborative AI, with their Grid Vision solution.
The solution is designed to analyse photographic images of distribution poles to identify defects, catalogue asset inventory and identify risk issues that need to be addressed to better maintain reliability.
The solution is expected to accelerate image analysis and improve the inspection process, while increasing efficiency, improving safety, and enhancing overall reliability. The program will initially focus on woodpecker damage as a specific use case. Woodpeckers can and do cause considerable damage to wooden distribution/power poles in a short period of time and this technology allows OG&E to better respond to deterioration and utilise a consistent approach for repairs and replacements.
"We have been excited about eSmart since hearing about them through our partnership with Energy Impact Partners (EIP). Utilising cutting-edge technology in the form of AI to inspect our distribution poles makes our electric grid smarter, improves our business processes and helps to keep the lights on for our customers," said Zac Gladhill, Director of Grid Integration and Innovation for OG&E. "We anticipate this technology will reduce the amount of time our engineers spend sifting through photographs of poles and "triaging" potential damage. We currently anticipate applying the technology to identify additional uses in our transmission and distribution network if the pilot meets performance objectives."
"Helping our clients integrate and fully leverage these types of advanced technologies is at the core of what we do in digital at TRC. The ability to utilize our expertise in grid enhancement to combine technology with solving clients' issues in new and innovative ways is just one way we are expanding capabilities for our clients," said Ryan Renner, TRC's President, Digital Solutions.
Knut Johansen, CEO of eSmart Systems, said he was excited to be partnering with OG&E and TRC to develop a solution that will help to improve the inspection process, increase efficiency, and improve safety.
IBM and Black & Veatch recently announced a collaboration to jointly market Asset Performance Management (APM) solutions, including remote monitoring technologies that combine near real-time data analytics with AI to help customers keep equipment and assets running at peak performance and reliability.
Faced with aging equipment, tightening budgets, increased regulation and rapidly changing market dynamics, operators and engineers require increased visibility into their equipment performance and asset conditions.
The companies are collaborating on solutions combining Black & Veatch Asset Management Services (AMS) and digital analytics with IBM Maximo Application Suite.
They are also planning to expand the IBM Digital Twin Exchange using Black & Veatch's digital twin asset models. "Digital twins will be a necessary part of the industrial sector's digital future because of the detailed understanding they provide and expert analysis they enable for complex assets," said Dave Brill, Vice President and Director of Asset Management Services with Black & Veatch.