Connecting the future of Utilities & Telecommunications

August 22, 2016 Brian Bell

In this blog post, Brian Bell, utilities & telecommunications industry manager for Esri Canada, notes how the needs of customers in these industries have increasingly become common in recent years. As such, it makes sense to address these challenges using GIS solutions, best practices, as well as events that cross both industries.

The coalescing of technology and business needs between the Utilities and Telecommunications industries has been occurring at a rapid rate these last few years. Chalk it up to the explosion of Internet-connected devices, the near-ubiquitous presence of Wi-Fi/cellular data, the ever-changing consumer and regulatory pressures on large enterprises or any combination thereof; these major forces are transforming these two industries in ways and at a pace that are both exciting and daunting.

For Esri and those of us who support these industries, we have seen this merging of needs coming for some time. Whether under the umbrella of Smart Grid, the Internet of Things (IoT), Fibre to the Home or Suite (FTTH/S) or a myriad of other topics, these organizations are faced with a number of shared challenges. For instance, smart meters require a significant communications infrastructure to transmit real-time data, which allows the electricity company to deliver more efficient and reliable service. 

In fact, we’ve seen a large number of customers use the ArcGIS platform and templates across both industries to address these types of challenges. Where traditionally, we might have seen an electric utility adopt and engage with templates designed to manage assets, organize crews and report on energy losses (leaks and theft), it’s just as common now to see them working with these templates to optimize repeater placements, validate cell coverage and manage their fibre loop.

As these two industries move closer together, we’re seeing increased adoption of the solutions, templates, best practices and processes that now cross both industries.  It makes sense to also address the commonality in the events we run for the Utilities and Telecommunications industries. In October, we will launch Esri GeoConX, which integrates the best elements of the Electric & Gas User Group (EGUG) and Telecommunications User Group (TelUG) meetings.

This new event will enable customers from both industries to share and learn from each other in a new way, and I'm confident it will be extremely rewarding for both sides.  It is commonplace now for utilities to have major reliance on communications infrastructure, and the telecom world has proven time and again that they can innovate more effectively when collaborating with utilities (learn more in this article: “Smart Energy Catalyst Award winners from the recent Global TM Forum in France”). 

There are numerous reasons to attend and participate, and I encourage you to do so. I'm sure you'll return to your office with new insights from your peers, contacts that can help you further explore these new ideas and strategies for gaining new value from the investments you've already made (and continue to make) in GIS.

I'll see you there!

About the Author

Brian Bell

Brian Bell is the Utilities Industry Manager at Esri Canada. He is responsible for providing strategic leadership and vision for advancing the use of Esri technology, as well as maintaining and developing relationships with customers and business partners, in the utilities and telecommunications markets. He advises utilities across Canada on GIS & enterprise system implementation planning strategies. Brian holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Queen's University and a post-graduate GIS Applications Specialist certificate from Sir Sandford Fleming College. He is an accredited member of the Project Management Institute (PMP) and is Esri Canada’s representative for various industry associations including the Ontario Electricity Distributors Association and the Canadian Electricity Association.

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