If there’s one industry where being kept in the dark is a very bad thing, it’s the energy and utility sector. Keeping the lights on and limiting outages is an imperative for energy providers. This has led suppliers to examine how digital transformation (DX) can improve their ability to maintain service availability to all utility customers, helping to balance energy generation and transmission with consumption.
To maintain “always-on” service, IT professionals require real-time, actionable, traffic-based intelligence in order to detect any potential service degradations that might impact critical power generation and transmission performance. Armed with these invaluable insights, providers can rapidly address issues before they become service outages.
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), many utilities are embracing DX to improve uptime and reduce maintenance costs by leveraging predictive maintenance analytics. In fact, the WEF cites PPL Electric reporting that shows a 38 percent improvement in service reliability through the use of improved analytics.
This DX trend has seen the gradual rollout of always-connected, online smart meters to homes around the world. The energy industry is hoping that the adoption of these digital smart meters, which use wireless technology to provide customers with real-time usage data and access to account information, will influence how consumers use energy, while enabling companies to benefit from the direct engagement with their customers.
Beyond helping consumers self-regulate their energy usage, greater connectivity will enable energy suppliers to not only read meters remotely, but also benefit from automated consumer energy usage reporting and easier billing. At the same time, a growing reliance on real-time data, including the intelligence captured by remote line sensors and other connected equipment installed along the network grid, will enable energy companies to more effective regulate voltage levels, review efficiency, and manage routing and generation.
To ensure that network and associated applications and services are operational and remain in compliance with regional authorities, such as North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), IT needs the right tools to achieve service assurance. This means capturing traffic data throughout the IT environment, in order to gain the insights needed to proactively triage performance issues in real time. By monitoring performance, IT gains an opportunity to pinpoint bandwidth contention, slow connections, and service degradation, and then take appropriate corrective or preventative actions. When service assurance is achieved, energy suppliers are able to remain compliant, while at the same time delivering an exceptional customer experience.
As they pursue DX initiatives, energy and utility companies can benefit from business analytics powered by smart data. This data is the best source of actionable insight in today’s digitally connected world. NETSCOUT’s patented Adaptive Service Intelligence™ (ASI) technology generates smart data based on software-centric pervasive instrumentation of traffic-flows that are collected and processed at the source – from physical and virtual (SDN/NFV) infrastructure on-premises, software-defined data centers (SDDC) and hybrid cloud environments - to produce service contextual metadata in real time.
In an increasingly complex, vulnerable and connected world, our service assurance and security solutions, in tandem with our smart data, provide extraordinary performance, service quality and operational excellence. With NETSCOUT, energy suppliers gain the confidence to operate, innovate and compete at the highest level.
For a more in-depth look at how DX is impacting the energy and utility industry, download the NETSCOUT white paper, Assuring the Enterprise in the Digital Era – Energy and Utility Sector, by clicking here.
~Written by David Pitlik, Content Creator, Speechwriter, Technology Consultant