In my last blog, I discussed the inevitable (future) shift towards 5G adoption, and the market opportunities this could bring for utility companies. This time, I’d like to turn your attention to 5G’s potential impact on a utility’s internal systems and processes.
We’ve explored the step change in capabilities and new services that 5G will bring at length already here, here and here. The headline is that this next-gen telecoms network will literally up-end the current 4G (and a variety of other technology) apple cart and replace them all with an articulated lorry full of every size, shape and colour of fruit imaginable.
As you know 5G will be designed to support three key service types (and three rather ugly-looking acronyms):
In order to support such a wide variety of service types and requirements, 5G networks will be created as to support hyper-efficient, reliable, scalable, controllable and secure internal processes and systems feedback. And in doing so, they’ll be able to ‘kiss goodbye’ to the multitude of different technologies and systems they currently have to manage and maintain. Say ‘adios’ to UHF and VHF and wireless systems connecting meters to aggregation and data centers. And ‘bid adieu’ to 3G and LTE technologies that connect sensors to monitor the grid, plus the demand-response centers and SCADA servers.
We’ll talk about how 5G can enable utilities to re-model their businesses to find new revenue streams in our next blog. But for now, let’s drill a little deeper into how a 5G network can lead to better internal processes.
At the moment, almost all utility companies – including DSOs (distribution systems operators), but not only them – deploy a wide range of comms networks and technologies across their FANs (field area networks). Utility networks differ greatly due to the umpteen devices providing direct connectivity between user, electrical grid and sensors. Achieving this direct connectivity requires various technologies and systems – UHF, VHF, 3G, LTE etc. But it should be more than possible to replace all of this with 5G only. It also makes good commercial sense for five big reasons:
In essence, 5G will not only be able to support a complex ecosystem that’s only expected to become increasingly intricate in future, but also enable utilities to improve systems within their business, while maximizing revenue opportunities in the world outside.
Marco is Head of Utilities and Critical Infrastructures Vertical Solutions at ECI. As such Marco is in charge of developing opportunities, solutions, sales tools and collateral for the variety of customers in his vertical.