Texas in March

Texas in March

By Chris Lenzsch, Solutions Manager, Dell

Texas in March, the best month of the year.  Birds are chirping, spring is springing and the state is alive with activities. All the kids from kindergarten to college and their families are off enjoying spring break, Texas wild flowers are just beginning their annual spectacle of sights and smells, South by Southwest is in full swing, discs are flying at the annual Centex ultimate tourney, barbecues and crawfish boils are rounding into shape, the rodeos are kicking and bucking up a storm everywhere, and of course the Energy Thought Summit is ready for another visit…and all of these taking place with the Spirit of Texas in mind.

What is the Spirit of Texas? Please forgive me Texans, but this South Jersey native who has lived in Texas for 31+ years creating five native Texans along the way would say – Freedom, Resilience and a Git-it-Dun attitude!. The freedom for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without undue government burdens. The Spirit of Texas that has shone itself through the “come and take it” state independence victory at San Jacinto against superior odds with shouts of “Remember the Alamo”, the great cattle drives along the Chisholm Trail, the  rebuilding of Galveston after one of the worst natural disaster in American history, the leadership in the space program at the Johnson Space Center where “failure is not an option”, or the exuberant young ball players bringing the first World Series championship to Houston (Go Astros!) and providing hope to the entire community after the worst flooding event but also the best community cooperation ever seen..

Let me indulge you guys, excuse me y’all, for a few minutes and take a very quick look at how we can perhaps view some opportunities and challenges within our utility space…and develop ideas for solutions with the Spirit of Texas in mind.

As our world continues to explode with new technology like Industrial Internet of Things, Cloud Services, Hyper-Converged Infrastructure, Machine/Deep Learning, Artificial Intelligence and other buzz words du jour, the most important thing to remember is this – it’s not about technology, it’s about business!  In the end, technology enables business to perform better and safer. That’s technology’s job – to enable better and safer. So what are some of the business and operational efficiencies ideas that we heard from the industry on challenges they are facing that will make business better and safer? We recently worked with Zpryme on a paper to answer those questions.

With the IEA expecting $8 trillion in grid modernization investments over the next 25 years, we must plan and attack the full utilization of this modernization in the best ways possible. One such way is to develop and deliver an Integrated IoT ecosystem from the Edge to the Core to the Cloud in a way that is fully resilient, scalable and extensible as technology and business processes continue to change. We believe an Integrated IoT ecosystem properly deployed will enable improvement in areas such as integrated renewables and DER systems, micro grid integration to the grid, provide additional Volt/VAR services and distribution automation, will better integrate wide scale EV charging infrastructure, and will enable the full scale utilization of advanced analytics that can be performed at the edge of the grid, within core utility IT systems, in the Cloud, or in a hybrid of them all.

Is our industry ready? Absolutely. The good news is that 86% of respondents in the paper believe the integration of Edge, Core, and Cloud infrastructure is important for effective Integrated IoT ecosystem initiatives. In addition, it was astutely recognized that the conversations should not be about just IoT or grid infrastructure; it must also address how new technologies at the Grid Edge integrate to core utility operations and drive transformation through improved analytics. Finally, and even better, more than 70% of respondents believe there is a clear ROI for improved operational efficiencies.

So in the Spirit of Texas – what are we waiting for, Let’s Git it Dun Pahdners!