Transforming distribution grids with IoT and IR4.0

Vijay Jaswal, Chief Technology Officer, Middle East and Turkey, Software AG.

Energy has been at the core of human advancements over the last millennia. It is the essence and the heart of everything that humanity requires to survive and is required to power our industries, agriculture, technology and the Internet which consumes 10% of the worlds electricity! The sector is going through numerous challenges currently including an increased demand for energy, especially cleaner renewable energy to ensure environment protection.

From a distribution perspective many providers distribute electricity on old creaking analogue infrastructure where up to 50% of power can be lost between power station to urban consumer area. Some energy providers also suffer from energy theft, where entire villages illegally tap into a grid for free electricity, which is not only illegal, but very dangerous.

Becoming more digitally savvy is one of the core directives of most energy providers globally. The ability to operate in the most operationally efficient manner is fundamental to energy organisations in the world and bar none. Harnessing technology for increased responsiveness to customers, to have immediate visibility to ascertain how the business is performing, as well as to provide pro-active alerts to potential issues are all essential.

Part of becoming more digital would also include infrastructural transformation of the grid from analogue to a digital smart grid. Information technology and operations technology must both intertwine. In fact, the modern distribution grid will be the essence of Industry 4.0 by merging physical and virtual worlds, converging the electric grid with the Internet of Things.

Software AG operates in the areas of digital transformation, integration and IoT, and can help deliver electricity sustainably, efficiently and securely using smart power grids. Energy consumption can be monitored in real time and energy distributed based on consumption—for example, supply more power to industrial zones when residential zones require less.

By using live IoT data for demand-based power generation and distribution, operating costs can be lowered, efficiency increased, and environmental goals met.

Advanced distribution management systems using Software AG’s IoT-enabled technologies can reduce outages by as much as 60 minutes through accurate predictions of incident locations and identifying nested incidents. Several global organisations are rapidly adopting Software AG’s Trendminer as a self-service industrial analytics software for smart factories and Industry 4.0 operations and Cumulocity and ARIS to harness data to drive business futures.

One thing is certain that the sector will be more digitally ready and will harness technology to support its operational needs. The power grids of the future will most definitely have more IoT sensors on them. They will need to be more adaptable and configurable, to accommodate changes such a renewable energy sources, increase efficiency, and become future-ready and more sustainable.

Vijay Jaswal, Chief Technology Officer, Middle East and Turkey, Software AG.
Vijay Jaswal, Chief Technology Officer, Middle East and Turkey, Software AG.

Key takeaways

  • Becoming more digitally savvy is one of the core directives of most energy providers globally.
  • The ability to operate in the most operationally efficient manner is fundamental to energy organisations.
  • Harnessing technology for increased responsiveness to customers, to have immediate visibility are essential.
  • Part of becoming more digital would include transformation of the grid from analogue to a digital smart grid.
  • Information technology and operations technology must both intertwine.
  • The modern distribution grid will be the essence of Industry 4.0 by converging the electric grid with the Internet of Things.