I had a great time recently at the EEI Annual Convention on June 7-10 in New Orleans, LA. EEI is the Edison Electric Institute, the industry association of the Investor Owned Utilities in the U.S. with international utility membership from all over the world. The Annual meeting is a unique event that includes the attendance and presentations by the CEOs of member utilities. The theme of this year’s conference was “Electricity Matters”, exploring the exciting changes happening all across the electric power industry.
The first day was full of excitement, with presentations from Ted Craver and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. Moniz shared his thoughts about the dramatically changing U.S. energy landscape, outlining the recommendations defined in the administration’s Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), particularly relating to grid modernization, resiliency, and infrastructure investment.
EEI Chairman Ted Craver led a thought-provoking discussion with Elon Musk, CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors, who was joined by Tesla Motors Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder JB Straubel. The three leaders discussed electric transportation, energy storage, and the role of technology and innovation for utilities and their customers. Other sessions on the first day included:
- Approaches to Grid Security and Resiliency – panel moderated by PPL Corporation Chairman, President and CEO Bill Spence, discussing specific actions and approaches the electric sector is taking to improve grid security and resiliency.
- The Role of the Utility in the Evolving Distribution Grid – Company leaders, regulators, and consumer advocates highlighted the role of the utility in four areas: planning, design and operation, infrastructure enhancement and customer education and protection.
- Complying With the EPA Clean Power Plan – moderated by Gerry Anderson, Chairman and CEO of DTE Energy, the conversation centered on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and highlighted how new and innovative technologies can quickly change a state’s strategy for complying with the new rules.
The second day of the EEI Annual Conference was just as exciting as the first, beginning with a general session roundtable discussion with the EEI leadership. EEI Vice Chairmen Nick Akins, Chris Crane, and Tom Fanning, and outgoing EEI Chairman Ted Craver shared their insights on the future of the integrated grid. Dominion Resources Chairman, President and CEO Tom Farrell moderated the discussion, which also touched on transportation electrification and distributed generation.
Additionally, there were four “Electricity Matters” session tracks:
- Microgrids and More—Integrating Diverse Resources into the Grid – Panelists discussed some of the critical questions surrounding the future of microgrids and emerging distributed energy resources.
- Electrification—Utilities Leading the Charge – Panelists considered questions including: How do you address the claim that electric vehicles (EVs) are only for the wealthy? How do EVs and chargers factor into utilities’ long-term distribution planning?
- Leading the Solar Growth Engine – Julia Hamm, president and CEO of the Solar Electric Power Association, moderated a discussion on how utilities are innovating with new technologies and programs that enable the deployment and expansion of solar and other distributed energy resources, while meeting customer needs for reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean electricity.
- Competing for Talent: Building the 21st Century Workforce – Panelists discussed how electric companies are using new hiring and training practices to engage today’s workforce.
Day three marked a great General Closing Session with former CIA Director and decorated General, David Petraeus, as the featured speaker alongside Nick Akins, CEO of AEP. Petraeus talked with Akins about the significant global challenges facing countries and organizations today, including ongoing international security issues, macroeconomic trends, energy policy, and strategic leadership in the 21st century. Petraeus also offered some thoughts on the changing energy landscape in the United States, as it relates to fuel diversity, cybersecurity, and the need for infrastructure investment. He believes that one of the biggest threats to the United States in security terms is cyberspace, especially the infrastructure for which the utilities industry is responsible.
What Does This Mean For Cisco?
The common theme of the conference was that huge changes are not just the future, but are here today. Industry leaders continue to emphasize the need to embrace distributed generation and the requirement to increase the automation and intelligence of the Distribution Grid. Ted Craver, both during his opening remarks at the General Session and his remarks as a panelist on the Role of the Utility in the evolving Distribution Grid, emphasized the dramatic changes in the mission of the distribution grid to connect diverse and variable customer owned energy resources. This represents enormous opportunity for Cisco but also requires flawless execution to address industry concerns for cost, security and performance.
The conference proved to be meaningful, and provided some great topic interaction and discussions between attendees.
Tags: Cisco, collaboration, digital, Disruption, Energy, future workforce, Internet of Everything, IoE, IoT, operational technology, OT, transformation, utilities
“Drill, baby, drill” makes for an easy mantra when it comes to energy exploration, but the oil and gas (O&G) industry moved past simply drilling long ago with the introduction of digital information processing. For example, integrated production modeling was introduced in the 1970s. With the recent turmoil in the energy industry, the stakes are even higher for O&G companies to work smarter and more efficiently. Forward-looking businesses are making the transition to true digital transformation, which requires the adoption of the Internet of Everything (IoE)—the networked connection of people, process, data, and things—throughout the entire O&G value chain. According to a recent Cisco study, of these four IoE elements, essential “data” is the component most in demand—and the element that needs the most improvement.
Survey respondents identified “data” as the area of IoE they need to improve most to drive insight and value.
However, in many cases it’s not data that’s lacking; O&G firms are awash in data generated by sensors and machines spread throughout their far-flung operations. The struggle comes in capturing real-time operating data closest to the point it’s created, analyzing it in real-time and applying the results to improve functional and business capabilities. To capitalize on the wide range of data IoE generates, O&G firms must overcome three key challenges:
- Automating the collection of data
- Integrating data from multiple—and often far-flung—sources
- Analyzing data to effectively identify actionable insights
Read More »
Tags: analytics, Cisco, collaboration, Data Science, digital, Disruption, IIoT, Internet of Everything, IoE, IoT, oil and gas, oil prices, operational technology, OT, thought leadership, transformation
In case you missed it, here a summary of Karen Walker’s latest blog on the IoE Blog site that reaches out to all those in the Oil and Gas Industry:
“…we recently published a new report that shows a global oil and gas (O&G) industry awash with disruption, and primed for digital transformation. Low oil prices have upended the sector, spurring an urgent rethinking of strategy by oil and gas executives—and accelerating the adoption of IoE.”
Karen Walker, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Cisco and interim CMO, highlights some of the key findings from the report:
“To become agile enough to compete in the IoE Era, the oil and gas workforce must possess a mix of technical skills, industry knowledge, and business acumen. With talent shortages due to massive numbers of professionals retiring over the next few years—and a lack of necessary digital skills among those who remain— O&G firms need to make bold moves to transform their workforce strategy:
- Extend the reach of existing expertise –Video-based collaboration can help bridge the expected talent gap by making the most of professional expertise that is spread too thin, as well as providing ongoing training throughout the organization.
- Attract digitally-savvy talent – As up to 50 percent of oil and gas workers prepare for retirement in the next five to 10 years, who will be the next generation of workers that replaces them? An earlier Cisco report showed the next wave of digital transformation will be all about capturing timely, actionable insights from the deluge of data being generated by the Internet of Things (IoT), a key enabler of IoE.
- Bridge the silos – In addition to analytics expertise, O&G companies will need employees who can see and work across the boundaries between IT and operational technology (OT).
- Create a culture of innovation – O&G companies don’t compete just with each other for top talent, they compete with the likes of Google and Facebook. The best and brightest data scientists and software engineers want to be on the leading edge of innovation, not mired in “the way we’ve always done it”.”
Read the full blog to find out further insights here:
…and, as always, let us know what you think!
Tags: analytics, CERAWeek, Cisco, collaboration, Data Science, digital, Disruption, future workforce, IIoT, Internet of Everything, IoE, IoT, Karen Walker, marketing, oil and gas, oil prices, operational technology, OT, transformation
Digital disruption is transforming virtually every role in every industry. Every day I see how the proliferation of online, mobile, and social interactions has created the need for completely new marketing strategies—and completely new skillsets for marketing professionals. We can see this same disruption across industries, as the Internet of Everything (IoE) creates fundamental transformation through the networked connection of people, process, data, and things.
For example, we recently published a new report that shows a global oil and gas (O&G) industry awash with disruption, and primed for digital transformation. Low oil prices have upended the sector, spurring an urgent rethinking of strategy by oil and gas executives—and accelerating the adoption of IoE.
This disruption is one of many factors impacting the oil and gas workforce today—from field workers all the way to the executive suite. Not only will new skills be required in an industry transformed by IoE, but new digital processes will also be needed to transfer knowledge, collaborate to solve problems in real time, and capture insights from a torrent of digital data.
To become agile enough to compete in the IoE Era, the oil and gas workforce must possess a mix of technical skills, industry knowledge, and business acumen. With talent shortages due to massive numbers of professionals retiring over the next few years—and a lack of necessary digital skills among those who remain— O&G firms need to make bold moves to transform their workforce strategy.
- Extend the reach of existing expertise –Video-based collaboration can help bridge the expected talent gap by making the most of professional expertise that is spread too thin, as well as providing ongoing training throughout the organization. Video and web collaboration can effectively bring remote experts to any location, without the need for travel. For example, Saipem, an Italian oilfield services company, has employed high-definition video conferencing to cut travel costs, boost productivity, and provide subject-matter expertise throughout the company and with partners.
Real-time collaboration tools are increasingly important for far-flung oil and gas organizations.
Read More »
Tags: analytics, CERAWeek, Cisco, collaboration, Data Science, digital, Disruption, future workforce, IIoT, Internet of Everything, IoE, IoT, IT-OT convergence, marketing, oil and gas, oil prices, operational technology, OT, transformation
Scott Gurvey (the famous New York bureau chief and senior correspondent of the PBS broadcast Nightly Business Report for more than 20 years) has written a thought-provoking piece on “The Network” (Cisco’s Technology News Site).
Safety is the key in the Oil and Gas industry. Whether it’s people, infrastructure, or the environment, the industry is grappling with sometimes controversial issues.
Scott talks about the Keystone XL Oil Pipeline, new technology and the relative safety of different oil transport methods. He quotes James Stafford, the editor of Oilprice.com, as saying that even though moving oil through pipelines is generally considered safer than the alternatives of rail or truck transport, the number of pipeline accidents reported each year remains “unacceptable”
That’s where the new technologies of the Internet of Things comes in. The Operational Technologies (OT) requirements have been different to the IT needs in the past. In my view that’s because of several reasons. The different technologies used for each area gave rise to concern that folks have had about security between networks is one.
Read the latest Thought Leadership for Oil and Gas
Another is that there was also a lack of visibility, and it was difficult for parts of an organization to collaborate with another to sense problems in real time and deliver the right resources to solve them. That’s changing as IT and OT converge. Probably not fast enough for most people’s liking, but that’s owing to the cultural changes needed.
Back to Scott’s article. I’m not going to steal his thunder on ‘Pigs’ (well, Smart Pigs, but still not the kind in your hot dog!), drones (the peaceful kind), or the Analytics challenge the industry faces today. You’ll have to read his article for that.
But I do want to give a plug for the recent thought leadership in the oil industry that Cisco recently conducted (A New Reality for Oil & Gas: Complex Market Dynamics Create Urgent Need for Digital Transformation), which I was proud to contribute to. In it the analytics issue comes to the forefront and IT/OT convergence and Collaboration are seen as essential catalysts for change, with an overarching emphasis on ensuring end-to-end cybersecurity. Read it to see the details. Some might surprise you.
As always, you can learn more about Cisco in Oil and gas here: www.cisco.com/go/oilandgas, and read the latest Secure Industrial Networks with Cisco White Paper (don’t worry, it’s only 3 pages!), by clicking on this link: Secure Industrial Networks with Cisco.
And I almost forgot – if you’re interested in Cisco’s relevance to oil pipelines and that part of the industry, here’s something to whet your appetite: Cisco Connected Pipelines At-a-Glance.
Happy reading! And remember, stay safe out there!
Tags: A New Reality for Oil & Gas, a new reality for oil and gas, analytics, Cisco Connected Pipelines, collaboration, Connected Pipelines, drone, IT, oil and gas, OT, pig, Scott Gurvey, Secure Industrial Networks with Cisco, security