Top 10 Companies Innovating Using the Smart Grid
Smart grid innovation doesn’t always have to be about technology. Tendril’s Energy Services Management...
Smart grid innovation doesn’t always have to be about technology. Tendril’s Energy Services Management platform helps utilities and energy service providers better understand the uses and needs of their customers. The platform even uses gamifacation in the form of leader boards so one user’s usage can be compared to another. Tendril wants the platform to help “deliver the right message to the right customer, every time.”
9. Silver Springs Networks
Silver Springs Gen4 Communications Module is one of the leading smart grid platforms on the market. It offers cellular connectivity, the ability to form what Silver Springs calls Micromesh, high data rates, and the ability to automatically customize the amount of data usage within the network. Many of these features are unique to Silver Springs, making them a leader in energy smart grids.
Opwer’s innovative thermostat management system looks to change the way customers engage with their thermostats using smart grid connectivity. Based on a customer’s usage, utilities will let them know they’re eligible for a smart thermostat. Once they receive their thermostat, the customer can customize their usage to suit their needs. The customer’s utility will track their usage and make setting suggestions. These include savings figures for adjusting the thermostat. The thermostat’s app will also let the customer know what others are doing in terms of keeping costs down and will make suggestions on how they can proceed.
7. Schneider Electric
Using their “prosumer solution,” Schneider Electric aims to make controlling the smart grid from a business and homeowner standpoint much easier. Using customized software, “prosumers” can help with demand response programs, automate and manage their usage, and improve overall power reliability, making for a more stable grid with less price fluctuations.
The company’s PureWave UPS System offers uninterrupted power and operates with a reduced carbon footprint. It’s highly energy efficient and can be coordinated seamlessly with a backup generator. S&C claims to allow up to 60 seconds of power, enough for the company’s self-healing grid to work.
Siemens offers its SIGUARD suite of smart grid management tools in three separate forms, which can be used independently or in conjunction with one another. It offers it’s Dynamic Security Assessment (DSA), Protection Security Assessment (PSA), and Phasor Data Processor to ensure smart grids run safely, are protected, and produce data that can be analyzed and used to improve service and efficiency.
Itron is utilizing the smart grid to better implement electric vehicle charging station, which they hope to make more efficient and better suited to the needs of EV owners. The stations offer a wide host of analytic data that can be used to help improve and assess future needs and features. They’re also Wi-Fi enabled, making local access a breeze.
IBM tackles the smart grid from all angles. From people, to data, and of course security, IBM is a leader in the smart grid industry. In addition to patrolling the physical grid, IBM uses analytics to beef up smart grid security by using data and trends to indicate suspicious patterns that may be security breaches. IBM is thinking on a large scale and is working to provide support to make bigger grids a safe reality.
Cisco, like IBM, takes a very much multi-faceted approach to its smart grid operations. Its GridBlocks Architecture sets it apart from the pack, though. Cisco aims to make grid improvements in the short term that will effectively impact the long term. Their hope is to make grid technology more accessible and affordable, a key factor they see playing in to the success of the grid in the long term. They believe that moving in phases will help transform utilities over time.
ABB has a number innovative smart grid projects underway. Working around the world, ABB is helping implement smart grid technology for a wide swath of people. ABB is focused on not just grids, but smart cities. Using smart grid technology, ABB hopes to make energy monitoring and usage easier for residential and business customers. They essentially are aiming to take the smart grid beyond just the grid.
Top 10 ways to prepare for COVID-19
Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s Top 10 ways organisations can prepare for a pandemic, via effective operational risk management.
As the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop, many businesses are left uncertain as to whether their risk mitigation plan is sufficient.
In a recent webinar conducted by the research and advisory firm just 12% of 1,500 people believe that their business is highly prepared for the impact of COVID-19, while 56% believed themselves to be somewhat prepared, and 11% believed themselves to be very unprepared.
“Most organizations have done some pandemic planning but still have many unanswered questions about whether they have done everything they can to manage risks,” says Jim Mello, Senior Director, Advisory, Gartner.
Establish a preparedness framework
Establish a team that represents all critical business functions. These people will report directly to executive management and are responsible for prioritising the importance of business activities and organise them in tiers for response and recovery.
Monitor the situation
It is important to ensure that organisations monitor the rate in which the infection is spreading and its severity. Many rely on the World Health Organisation for information.
Be sure to revise revenue forecasts and communicate with investors, as well as suppliers in regards to any potential finance issues. It is important to ensure that the business has the working capital to ride it out.
Ways to ensure this include: working capital checks, seeking loans or government-sponsored financial relief.
Extend personal hygiene and cleaning protocols
It is important to comply with any changes to workplace regulations. In addition, it is important to establish protocols for staff returning from infected areas, as well as extending existing hygiene activities.
Ensure close monitoring of absenteeism rates for signs of problems. It is important to identify critical staff in order to make sure the company can continue to function in their absence and be prepared for up to 40% absentee rates.
In addition to reviewing HR policies and procedures, it is important to maintain a level of sensitivity when it comes to engaging with employees and workplace preferences.
Establish a communication programme
People can feel out of the loop quickly. Establish a spokesperson appropriate for the situation who can maintain lines of communication. In addition, organisations should establish pre-approved messages and scripts for various stakeholders.
Review the impact on the operation
Although this may seem overwhelming, the team established to represent all critical business functions should identify key areas to consider. It is important to maintain a connection with the reality on the ground in countries affected.
Key questions to consider: is transport functioning? Have holidays been extended? Where can operation continue and where do they need to stop?
IT business functions tend to be relatively well-prepared for business continuity. However, it is important to assess the supply chain for critical equipment and keep extra inventory if required.
In addition, organisations should keep in mind remote data centre management and cloud options for critical systems as well as enabling remote working programs and rescheduling any non-essential IT work prioritising key applications.
Review pandemic plans to identify any gaps in response
Conduct a preparedness exercise by validating roles and responsibilities as well as recovery requirements and procedures, in order to identify any gaps in the recover capabilities and resource needs.
Following the establishment of a pandemic plan, identify three lessons learned, key observations or improvements for the exercise. After establishing these organisations should priorities the short and long term follow up actions.