Founded in 1915, Black & Veatch is a leading global engineering, consulting and construction company, specializing in Energy, Water, Telecommunications, Federal, and Management Consulting. Black & Veatch’s annual Strategic Directions Report identifies top of mind issues based on a compilation of data and analysis from an industry-wide survey. The complete report is available from the Black & Veatch website.
“The annual Strategic Directions report series captures Black & Veatch’s global engineering and thought leadership expertise across key elements of the critical human infrastructure market.… This report represents the evolution of Black & Veatch’s inaugural Strategic Directions: Utility Automation & Integration report, with an expanded focus on automation and integration and utilities’ efforts to harness data to make operations and service delivery more efficient.”
— Black & Veatch 2015
The major sections of the report address:
- Utility Telecommunications
- Utility Automation
- Data Analytics
- Smart Communities
The report notes that utilities and communities, with the proliferation of smart devices, automation and the use of analytics are transforming development and delivery of key infrastructure services to become more responsive, efficient and resilient.
Especially relevant to Cisco’s engagement with the utility industry and communities around the world is Black & Veatch’s observation that as legacy equipment is replaced or upgraded, IP-based technology is creating new opportunities. Connected devices on utility telecommunications infrastructure is now widely recognized as “…an essential element of the Internet of Things (IoT).”
Advanced metering Infrastructure (AMI) has often been thought of as synonymous with “Smart Grid”, but the expectations of real-time pricing or even time-of-use (TOU) rates and demand side management are far from the top of the list of top areas enabled by increased data management and analytics. The top three listed in the report are:
Asset Management (67%)
Capital Investment (45%)
Customer Service/Engagement (27%)
More than 63% of electric utilities report plans to replace, upgrade or build communications infrastructure in the next 5 years, with IP leading the way as the network protocol standard including SCADA systems.
“Some utilities are completely embracing a converged mentality and running everything over a shared infrastructure, while others are moving more cautiously by keeping protective relaying and other mission-critical applications separate from the converged network.”
The report notes that some utilities are more focused on the cost of maintaining and replacing outdated equipment and are unconvinced that smart grid technologies and automation are critical, but concludes, “Staying on the sidelines carries risk.”
Budget concerns dominate the obstacles to new technology implementation, and convincing stakeholders is key to addressing cost and perception issues.
The report concludes that the adaptive planning enabled by IP communications and advanced analytics allow leaders to effectively address core management functions of Strategic Options Assessment, Asset management and Operational Planning.
“For organizations that provide essential services, this represents the greatest transformation in utility operations in decades. For the smart city, it will facilitate the transformation to becoming a better place to live and a more friendly and desirable place to do business for generations to come.”
Black & Veatch and Cisco partner to create architectures for electricity, natural gas, solar and wind customers that provide secure and optimized network integration for smart grid environments. If you’d like to know more about our work together, contact me by commenting on this blog.
Tags: Black & Veatch, electric utilities, Energy, internet of things, IoT, Smart Grid, utilities
My morning commute usually takes about an hour, on a good day, and it’s only 25 miles from home to office. As I was sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic — yet again — I began to think of the global nature of this problem and how much time and money is being wasted. According to the most recent Urban Mobility Report, traffic congestion causes U.S. citizens to spend an additional 5.5 billion hours in transit and expend an extra 2.9 billion gallons of fuel. This equates to a staggering cost of $121 billion.
In addition to the monetary toll of traffic congestion, there are also the pressing concerns of safety and the effect on our environment. In its Global Status Report on Road Safety (2013), the World Health Organization emphasized that worldwide more than a million people die each year in road traffic incidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for age 4 and every age 11 through 27, in the U.S. alone. Transportation creates nearly one-third of greenhouse gas emissions according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
At the same time, major global trends are driving the need for significant changes in transportation around the world: Read More »
Tags: connected roadways, Internet of Everything, internet of things, IoE, IoT, Last Traffic Jam, Transportation
As Cisco prepares for Cisco Live Melbourne #clmel, I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight our @Ciscocloud Intercloud partnership with Telstra
The following Q&A session between executives of our partnered companies identifies the unique challenges of our current business environment and the rapidly changing needs of our customers. Interviewed by Stuart Robbins, the participants in our inaugural blog are Ken Owens, Cloud Services CTO from Cisco, and Tim Otten, GM Cloud Strategy and Platforms from Telstra.
Q: Cisco’s strategy is to create solutions built upon intelligent networks that solve our customers’ challenges. As a key technology partner, Telstra’s diverse customers present unique opportunities for a new generation of solutions for those customers – can you tell us about how our combined capabilities will help those customers be successful?
[Otton, Tim J] Networks are increasingly important to the delivery of services as we shift to “the Cloud,” and the concurrent profusion of data, workforce mobility, distributed application environments, and the hybrid infrastructures supporting those applications. Both Cisco and Telstra are committed to delivering highly secure, high-performance intelligent network capabilities.
These networks must be thoroughly responsive to an ever-changing set of user and application requirements – adaptive, flexible, and resilient. Both companies have a rich tradition of global insight gained from a relentless focus on customer requirements.
[Owens, Ken] Telstra is one of the industry’s most advanced solution providers, with a noteworthy history of successful technology transformations in telecommunications. From the earliest days of IT outsourcing, and managed hosting, and now as we shift to the Cloud, Telstra has provided true leadership to the industry during these transformations.
Like Cisco, they view their customers’ strategic objectives as Priority 1 and will do whatever is necessary to make their customers successful. For more than 25 years, Cisco and Telstra have guided the market through each new technological shift, with exceptional people leading the way.
Q: One aspect of the changing enterprise landscape is the “blurred” boundaries between large enterprises in business ecosystems. While the basic principles remain important (resilient architectures, reliable networks, responsive applications), what are some of the emerging challenges in this “ecosystem first” world?
[Otton, Tim J] The business landscape has changed. Cloud, Mobility, Social Media, advanced analytics, and open platforms are also changing the landscape for service creation and innovation. Increasingly, service creation will emerge both within and beyond (intra- and inter-organizational) boundaries to better serve a growing number of mobile users and a project-oriented workforce.
In order to support connectivity as well as enable full integration with many external partners and providers, businesses are now required to ‘open’ their IT environment. Increasingly, organizations are choosing to expose their own systems and proprietary data to third-parties, creating “greater value” by encouraging innovative use of a company’s intellectual assets. Software applications are distributed, both geographically and architecturally. All of these factors alter the connectivity/security paradigms of traditional enterprise IT.
[Owens, Ken] Tim is right on, and the exciting element of this model is that it’s driven by the customer! This is not a consumer fad or one-time remodel, this is the pace and speed by which business must adopting to the requirements of their customers and the rapidly changing marketplace. A successful business today requires a flexible set of services and capabilities to quickly adapt to this changing landscape. Together, Cisco and Telstra have a proven track record of enabling innovation to address the changing needs of the businesses we support.
Q: Providing exceptional products and services to Enterprise IT is familiar territory to both Cisco and Telstra, and this common ground is one reason why the Cisco-Telstra partnership makes great sense. As we move beyond IT, we’re also being asked to directly address the needs of business departments (marketing, product management, customer support). How do we adapt to meet those needs?
[Otton, Tim J] We need to develop a deeper understanding of the different “lines of business” within the Enterprise. We need to better understand what drives their business and the market environments in which they operate. In other words, we need to become an enabler of business solutions rather than simply selling more technology. Our focus needs to be increasingly on the business outcomes we can deliver to our customers.
We need equip our sales teams to communicate those solutions, to be able to engage customers in conversations that start with business issues and proceed from there to provision enabling technologies rather than starting (and often finishing with) technology alone.
At the same time, we need to better support IT departments so that these services can be integrated into the overall Enterprise network architecture- – -ensuring that these distributed services are secure, and optimized to perform reliably. Telstra and Cisco need to be seen as enabling partners, and not just suppliers.
[Owens, Ken] The needs of the business can be vast, complicated, and rapidly evolving to meet the needs of a changing marketplace. Cisco and Telstra are leaders in business transformation. The key to success in this ever-changing environment is to provide leadership with speed, agility, innovative leadership to assist each customer’s ability to adapt to the changes. Of course, Tim’s right, we also need to help IT executives quickly transition not only their technology, but also their processes and practices.
Q: The recipe seems simple enough = one part: exceptional technology with the associated expertise, and one part: an evolved partnership methodology (i.e., Partnership 2.0) that will serve as the foundation for what our companies can accomplish together.
One last question. Imagine what success looks like for the joint Cisco-Telstra effort in two years: what are the core behaviors/values that we’ll be most proud to have embraced, when we glance back? In other words, what are the central organizational principles that will serve to anchor this new style of ecosystem development?
[Otton, Tim J] My vision for the partnership is that we have developed an advanced understanding of the requirements of stakeholders – whether it be IT, LOB, or end-users – within the customers we served and are singularly focused on the business outcomes that we can jointly deliver for our customers.
[Owens, Ken] The demands of Enterprise 2.0 require an infrastructure that is both elastic and reliable, flexible yet secure. Organizations, too, will require those very characteristics. To accomplish this,“Governance 2.0” and “Partnership 2.0” become framework components of that new ecosystem in service of our customer’s transformed world. As Tim stated, the business outcomes and continuously delivering business value are the key principles.
Thank you Tim for you time to discuss the joint journey we are embarking on.
Tags: application, application portability, Big Data, Borderless Networks, Cisco, cloud, Cloud Computing, data center, ecosystem, InterCloud, IoE, IoT, IPv6, network, partner, SDN, security, Service Provider, strategy, telstra
Around the world, banking customers express similar frustrations: they believe the value they receive from their banks is declining, at a time when their trust in those banks already has eroded.
What’s more, according to a Cisco survey of 7,200 banking customers in 12 countries, four out of five customers would trust a non-bank, such as a technology company or retailer, to handle their banking needs. Some of those disruptive competitors are succeeding where banks fail: by engaging customers with convenient transactions and value-added services.
The Cisco study found that Internet of Everything (IoE)-enabled services can help restore the value customers expect from banking institutions. IoE — the networked connection of people, process, data and things — makes it possible for banks to offer a more relevant, engaging, and convenient experience for customers.
Of the $19 trillion in global economic value Cisco estimates IoE can create over the next decade, 7 percent ($1.3 trillion) is accounted for in the finance market and could be addressed with concepts included in this survey.
The digitization of business and society is happening at a rapid pace and people are looking for improved, digital services that make life easier. Banks need to embrace this pace of change and deliver relevant services or risk becoming obsolete in a market where other providers are stepping in to fill the gaps.
Read More »
Tags: analytics, banking, CCS, Cisco, Cisco Consulting Services, data, digital, Financial Services, hyper-relevance, innovation, Internet of Everything, internet of things, IoE, IoT, Wim Elfrink