My last experience of Amsterdam came when I was 21. Spending six months “finding myself” in Europe, I stepped off a train in this beautiful city, and “found myself” staying a couple of weeks. The city then – as now – was welcoming. My passes through youth hostels and strangers’ homes introduced me to a city of tilting gabled buildings, quiet canals, the art of the Old Masters, and tiny cafes. The people welcomed me with open arms, and they escorted me through jenever (Dutch gin) tasting houses, fields of tulips, and cozy boat rides along streets both beautiful and some notorious. Here, years later, I am very much looking forward to returning to the wonderful memories of my youth while attending the 2017 European Utility Week, October 3rd – 5th.
Nothing demonstrates the need for utilities to digitize more than the hurricanes hitting the United States over past few weeks. With 6 million households currently without power, a digital grid will point utilities to the source of the outage more quickly and efficiently, and rerouting protocols will help get those customers back online in a much shorter time than in the past.
Also in the news last week, a hacker group calling itself Dragonfly 2.0 apparently gained direct access to the US and European power grid controls (Hackers gain direct access to US power grid controls. Wired. 2017, September). In several instances, the hackers reached deep enough into US and Turkish systems to post actual control panel screenshots of their victims. These attacks seem to be probing events, looking for weaknesses to possibly exploit at a later time, but this, too, demonstrates a critical need for utilities to modernize and lock down their systems with the latest secure encryption technology.
This is what European Utility Week is all about.
At European Utility Week, you will find innovative ideas on how to connect, optimize, and secure global energy systems. You will see the latest developments in grid optimization, renewables, energy storage, smart metering, smart cities, smart homes, energy services & efficiency, energy trading, intelligent buildings, data management, analytics, IoT, cybersecurity, and smart gas and water systems. And at the center of all of this will be Cisco.
Cisco will demonstrate how our digitization solutions empower utilities to thrive today, to monetize the grid, and to ensure agility for tomorrow. You will see how to reduce risk, improving the network with the latest IoT security, and doing so while increasing safety, operational excellence, and compliance. You will also learn how Cisco can enable smart meters, and connect your assets, fleets, and consumers to add value through new services.
We’ve got a couple of new introductions for you to see, too. Come visit us at booth 1H11 and take a look at our new 807 Industrial Integrated Services Router. This small footprint cellular router has powerful capabilities and a very low power draw, allowing you to put 3G/4G LTE where it’s needed. It’s perfect for field device enablement.
Also at our booth, we’ll be demonstrating some new features for our popular 829 Industrial Integrated Services Router. I talked about this powerful piece of equipment in my augmented reality blog post a few months ago (Augmented Reality: A New Reality for Utilities). We’ve expanded the cellular capability of this unit to include dual SIM “active-active” radios. What does this mean? It means you can enable the router to connect to two separate cellular carrier services. Why is this important? Modern utilities often span widely disparate geographies, with random coverage offerings from cellular networks. With dual SIM “active-active” radios, a repair truck can traverse two different carrier coverage areas and still maintain connectivity. It’s all about reliability and efficiency, and Cisco offers that and so much more.
There’s much to see and do in Amsterdam next month. I hope to see you there!
Visit our website to find out more cisco.com/go/smartgrid