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DistribuTECH, Cisco, Business and Technical (IT and OT) Solutions. See them all in San Diego February 3rd-4th

January 23, 2015 at 10:29 am PST

DistribuTECH #1

Once again Cisco will be taking part at DistribuTECH this year, and we look forward to welcoming you onto our Booth 3413 (map below). The event is being held at the San Diego Convention Center is southern California from the 3rd to the 5th February You’ll learn how utilities worldwide are working with Cisco, together with our partners, to lower costs and deliver more services on a single, intelligent, secure platform. 

HAK22620 - for webWe at Cisco get a lot of requests from customers to meet up and discuss their special problems whether to do with IT or Operational Technologies (OT), business process issues or industry-related concerns such as regulations, security or compliance. After a short discussion we often find that they are not alone. Many of the challenges they have are similar to those other organizations in the industry. That’s where our expertise comes in. We can show you where we’ve helped customers in the utility sector already.

As a result, I’m happy to tell you that there will be opportunities to meet up with industry experts and technology specialists at our booth to discuss your most pressing concerns and how Cisco and and our partners can help. Here’s how: to schedule a booth tour or customer/partner meeting, contact Samantha Bullock. Sandra will help make it happen.

We’ll have an exciting set of demonstrations available, showing Field Area Networks, Industrial Cyber-security (THE hot topic these days), Collaborative Solutions, Substation gridblock, and Fog computing in the form of Cisco IOx and partners. More about them in our next Energy Industry Blog! Read More »

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Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) Case Study features Cisco, NetApp and SAP along with Benefits

December 9, 2014 at 9:04 am PST

Many parts of the world are undergoing structural reform in terms of their utilities and services, and Electrical Utilities are no exception. Privatization was opening up both opportunities and challenges for the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC). “With greater competition on the horizon, the company needed to push its efficiency to the next level”, says a new Cisco case study that talks about the business challenges and how Cisco is helping EAC address them.

As the case study mentions, EAC uses SAP applications for almost every area of business, from materials and warehouse management to enterprise resource planning, finances, and human resources. By improving performance of these SAP applications, EAC realized that it could boost productivity and help departments run smoother across the organization. So that’s what it’s doing.

EAC Quote

 

So  EAC turned to Cisco and our partners to provide a solution that could help EAC take cycles out of the business whilst still maintaining agility and resilience and allowing them to scale for the future. That solution has, at the heart of it, the Cisco FlexPod environment, built around Cisco® Unified Data Center solutions and NetApp storage (supported via the FlexPod Cooperative Support Model), and helps get gets the most out of SAP applications.

Some pretty compelling Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) numbers are expected, along with other valuable business benefits as outlined in the case study:

EAC TCO Graphic

  • Reports that used to take 24 hours to complete take far less time -- great for managers to get visibility into the business sooner
  • Faster closing of monthly financial periods -- faster visibility into the Utility’s performance
  • Faster migration of user applications down from two to three months to just one month so users can be up-and-running with less delay.
  • Backups that used to take 40 hours can now be completed in only 45 minutes, getting systems up to speed faster than ever.

All-in-all an impressive improvement. I’ll leave the last word to Phanos Kolokotronis, IT manager and CIO, Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) as he states in the case study:

EAC IT Quote

To read more about EAC, the business, and the solution offered with product lists from Cisco and the Cisco Partners (which includes Oracle for the database along with the Oracle Customer Care and Billing application; SAP ECC6; Esri GIS and the Aspect Contact Centre software) click here.

Let us know if you have a similar story you’d like to share and, as always, please engage us with comments telling us  your views.

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Join Cisco at European Utility Week 4-6 November 2014

EUW2014

Join Cisco at European Utility Week 2014  (4-6 November, 2014 in Amsterdam) to gain perspective on key industry issues and learn why utilities worldwide are choosing Cisco to lower their costs and deliver more value from their operations on a single, intelligent and secure platform.

I’m looking forward to meeting up with you at the European Utility week this week. It’s a chance for Cisco to show you some of our newest offers and solutions, but more importantly for us to hear from you at our booth and during the conference.

Come experience our range of industry use case demonstrations and our Ecosystem of Cisco and partners solutions that cover the Utilities and related industries: Field Area Network, Grid Security, Grid Operations, Fog Computing, Distribution Automation, Data Analytics, and a lot more besides!

Over the course of three days, industry leaders come together at this event to discuss the challenges that lie ahead and agree on a path of action that will involve the adoption of specialized and technical solutions. Cisco will be showing several demonstrations and experts will be on hand to talk to you about your care-abouts and discuss how Cisco is highly relevant to your business. Industry partners such as ATOS and Intel will also be sharing their demonstrations at our booth.

We look forward to seeing you there!

EUW-Ploor-Plan2

 

Click here or on the picture to see an online floor plan

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Field Support for New Workers with Mobile video Collaboration – Wherever They Are

Holding onto “Tribal Knowledge”

Recent data from the Department of Energy (DOE) indicates that approximately 60% of electric utility workers will be eligible for retirement in the next five years. The impending loss of the most skilled and knowledgeable workers in the industry has put many utility companies on red alert.  This potential workforce crisis means that companies have just a few years to transfer what’s often referred to as, “Tribal Knowledge” from those retiring to those who will have to fill their shoes.

Many utility workers hold positions within their companies for nearly 30 years, so one can easily imagine the amount of intangible knowledge and varying experiences that each worker has. What companies really need is a way to tap into the experienced worker’s knowledge while traveling in the field.  Better yet, they would like to find a way to limit travel in the field; traveling hundreds of miles to analyze and solve problems poses its own set of risks, from driving hazards to on the job injuries. When something goes wrong on the grid, lives are at risk.

Challenges in the Field

Much of the information and knowledge needed by today’s utility worker is stored in a computer or in the cloud, and is not accessible in the field by the organization’s workers. Because of this, institutional knowledge and expertise decreases. Many companies today are purchasing collaboration solutions, including web meeting software, video and Internet-based phone systems. This package is intended to upgrade collaboration across business units, address the issues of lost tribal knowledge, increase workforce effectiveness and manage company priorities arising from their aging workforce. Challenges faced include a slow, sub-optimal rollout plan, forced by lower company revenues. Analysis points to automation of capture and storage of knowledge, utilities could take advantage of their expert employee’s skills and leverage their knowledge for less experienced workers in the field, thereby giving a good return on investment for early deployment of mobile collaboration.

There are three immediate problems to resolve: access to Tribal Knowledge, better utilization of experts for training, and improving safety for the mobile workforce traveling in the field.  Companies remind us on a regular basis that training a utility lineman can take 10 years or more – and the average age of the current power lineman workforce is 47-years-old.  Utilities are also focusing on retention of younger employees, who are generally more technologically savvy and who expect work access to tools they use outside the workplace, like smart phones and other wireless technologies.  In fact, new or younger workers prefer to work in an area with new technology. Mobile devices such as smart phones and ruggedized tablets can be especially useful in the field where workers can get access to advice from experts in real-time or even start a meeting -- all to create increase access to institutional knowledge.

One component of Cisco’s solution is expert locator software. Employees such as line workers and technicians would have the ability to be connected anytime or anywhere via a five-product Enterprise Collaboration solution: Expert Locator, IP call control with video IP phones, web meeting (Webex), an immersive video solution (TelePresence) and ruggedized mobile video (Librestream Onsight).

New technology can change the way utilities conduct business

Workers would use mobile video in the field to show details of problems to experts throughout the company, senior workers could provide advice and support for repair of damaged equipment in the field without having to travel to the field. Experts can also quickly convene and escalate meetings to resolve a problem via the web and Telepresence. If a worker is on-site and there are challenges with a device, the worker can start a meeting, have the ability to share and give/get advice in real-time. Because of this, repair times go down while safety goes up.

How can Cisco help your organization support new collaboration and create a mobile workforce? Find out more by visiting our solutions page and share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Welcome Cisco’s Donald Graham to The Cisco Energy Blog

Please welcome Donald Graham, Practice Advisor, Manufacturing & Energy Practice, Business Transformation Group to the Cisco Energy Blog.

dongraha

Donald Graham, Practice Advisor
Manufacturing & Energy Practice
Business Transformation Group

I am pleased to introduce Donald Graham, a Sr. Vertical Practice Advisor in Cisco’s Business Transformation Group, to the Cisco Energy Blog. I his role Donald is responsible for helping to catalyze and accelerate customer business impact from technology investment across the Utilities and Smart Grid Practice.   He draws upon 20 years of private and public sector experience where he assisted companies through development of technology transformation strategies.  His areas of expertise includes; Internet of Things (IoT), Smart Grid and Utilities, Security, Workforce enablement, Organization Transformation, and Business/IT Alignment.

Before joining Cisco Systems, Donald worked at IBM Global Services, where he assisted Fortune 500 clients, such as HSBC, Gore, New Zealand Diary and Citibank in developing global and business architectures for organizational transformation strategies.

He is a graduate of New Jersey Institute of Technology, BS, Industrial Engineering,a  Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE), a member of IEEE Power and Energy Society and Marine Corps veteran.

He has presented on a wide range of Technology and Business events such as:

We look forward to his industry insights and thought leadership. Welcome Donald!

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