By John Tabor
Improving grid communication helps utilities better serve their customers and decrease costs. This issue of Utility Products' brings you three feature articles that discuss how we can improve customer service and maximize efficiency. In "Internet of Things Drives Growth for Smart Grid Innovation" by Michael Troiano, how businesses and consumers can connect and monitor assets from virtually anywhere is discussed. Troiano outlines how, as the smart grid is drastically changing the way businesses operate, technology is equipping utilities to deliver power more efficiently, improve operations, reduce costs and restore power faster.
Paul Hull's article, "Serving Them All," addresses the importance of customer service. We are servants and members of the public, Hull points out, and as utility service providers, we should know what our customers like and don't like. Hull also discusses choosing the appropriate technologies based on your needs, dealing with difficult customers, and practical considerations.
Another article, "GPS Fleet Tracking to Improve Field Service" by Steven Payne, outlines how embracing cloud-based global positioning system (GPS) fleet tracking can address a number of operational areas. "Overall, a GPS fleet tracking solution can increase efficiency and streamline communication between the office and the field," Payne reports. GPS fleet tracking offers utilities simplified scheduling, real-time visibility, improved customer service and more.
We also have a great lineup of product focus articles in this month's issue. Andrew Lund's article, "2G Cellular Network Shutdown: Are Your Migration Plans Ready," takes a look at why a 2G network is not a long-term solution for connecting long-lived utility assets. As carriers begin to phase out 2G cellular networks and shift to 3G/4G technologies, utilities would be wise to be prepared, Lund advises.
Outages caused by wildlife such as birds, snakes, raccoons and squirrels have always been a problem for the electrical grid. In "Utility Realizes Wildlife Outages can be Prevented," Cantega's precise-fit cover up, Greenjacket, is discussed and how it can provide a cost-effective and comprehensive solution. With the widest array of cover up available, the company's project teams can develop a solution to prevent bird and animal caused outages from occurring.
"Challenges and Solutions for Substation Security, Applying Smart Thermal Technology to Prevent Intrusions" by John Romanowich, addresses how hazards such as theft and vandalism are common and represent an immediate challenge. Romanowich outlines how automated smart detection systems can cover large distances and see what the human eye would miss while delivering immediate, actionable information to enable you to make fast response decisions.
Other great product focus articles in this issue discuss compact surveillance radar and protection beyond fences for electrical utility substations, infrared inspection for power transmission and distribution applications, and how to prepare for threats to the US power grid from weather-related power outages.