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Trends and Outliers

TIBCO Spotfire's Business Intelligence Blog

12/10
2009

Faster, Smarter Utilities Need Faster, Smarter Analytics

j0442296 150x150 Faster, Smarter Utilities Need Faster, Smarter AnalyticsIf you lost electric power while you were asleep, how would you know?

Probably not until you wake up and see the flashing LED clocks on your bedside table, coffee maker or cable TV box.  The same lack of ‘business intelligence’ has been the norm for electric utilities, which may not know about system outages until CUSTOMERS called to complain they were without power.

One benefit of technology upgrades such as SmartGrid, real-time monitoring and predictive analytics, is the ability to know when your invisible assets aren’t working.  This has implications for the electrical grid, as much as homeland security and home computer networks, says John Joyce, president of Ambient Corp. of Newton MA.  Ambient is working with IT companies and utilities to ensure security and reliability, through new applications of technology and business intelligence.

Instead of the current system, which reports on the status of transmission lines every four seconds, the new Smart Grid technologies can take the pulse of electric power as frequently as 30-times-per-second, Joyce told Homeland Security Today magazine.

Other ingenious solutions are emerging to keep lower-power devices charged in case of a blackout.  Solis Energy of Altamonte Springs, Fla. is developing solar rechargers for radios, WiMax networked security cameras and other unattended first-responder gear.  From video surveillance to communication, it’s not just the people and devices that protect us – it’s the power for the devices we rely on — whether batteries or overhead wires.

That’s food for thought in today’s 24-7, always-on, networked world. What’s your Plan B?

David Wallace
Spotfire Blogging Team

Image Credit: Microsoft Office Clip Art

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