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Solutions Online - Smart Cities / Telecom Issues and News

Solutions Online - Smart Cities / Telecom Issues and News

Utilities Are Quickly Adapting New Telecom Networks

Change is sweeping through utility telecommunications at a furious pace, as nearly 60 percent of electric and water providers are planning for replacement, upgrades or new communications infrastructure in the next five years. “This change is challenging utilities to adapt to transformative technologies ... Read More

Cyber Security to Move from the Headline to the Bottom Line

With growing awareness of the risks from cyber attacks, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) this past April took steps to enhance U.S. cyber security standards. Their plan seeks to improve the resiliency of critical network operations in electric generation, distribution and transmission systems ... Read More

SCADA Project Positions Electric Company for the Smart Grid Future

With aging assets, an imminent facilities consolidation and regulatory compliance issues looming, United Illuminating (UI) sought a supervisory control and data acquisition master ... Read More

Smart Analytics Improve Operations, Reduce Risk

Utilities are finding solid benefits by using analytic tools to monitor infrastructure for potential problems while predicting operational and financial impacts. A flood of data threatens to overwhelm utility managers as they face new and ... Read More

Some U.S. Utility Regulators Balk at Smart Grid Rate Recovery Efforts

The evolution of the smart grid is encountering resistance with some U.S. state public utility regulatory commissions. Although both state and U.S. federal government funding programs have encouraged the expanded use of smart metering, in some instances utilities have been denied ... Read More

Three Pillars of the Smart Grid

As the integration of smart grid technologies continues to grow, it is undoubtedly reshaping the landscape in which utilities operate and how they approach their business ... Read More

Smart Integrated Infrastructure: A New Future

The vast majority of today’s global infrastructure operates in a metaphorical vacuum. Governments, municipalities and, all too frequently, critical service providers look at infrastructure networks as individual and unrelated systems. This practice leaves them open ... Read More

Site Concealment Helps Wireless Carriers, Boosts Coverage

Imagine for a moment that you’re visiting relatives in a western U.S. city and during an afternoon of shopping, you’ve stopped for a cold beverage at a sidewalk café. As you’re relaxing in the sunshine, you admire the lovely palm trees—or are they really palm trees ... Read More

Promoting Smart Meters to Customers

Consumers are not always in a trusting mood these days. While the benefits of smart metering may seem apparent – better control over usage, known costs, potentially lower bills – those advantages can be ... Read More

Integrated Infrastructure Achieves New Synergies

Electric utilities have spent countless hours improving processes for reliable, cost-effective energy production and delivery. However, in a system made more complex by distributed energy resources ... Read More

ISO Certification Delivers Tangible Benefits to Clients

Earning ISO certification is a major accomplishment for a company. The designation instills confidence that the ISO-certified supplier provides services that meet wide international acceptance and can back up its claims about quality ... Read More

Harnessing All the Data of Smart Integrated Infrastructure

The Landscape of Critical Human Infrastructure – Energy, Water and Telecom – Is Getting "Smarter," and It's More Data Driven and Interconnected. A Black & Veatch growth platform, Smart Integrated Infrastructure (SII) is designed to help clients take advantage of the opportunities to improve ... Read More

Pushing the Boundaries of the Smart Grid

The concept of a “self-healing” electric grid is coming closer to fruition through automation efforts, which have been built on the foundation of “smart” advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). Now the next step in the automation progression involves ... Read More

Cloud-Based Services Can Help Smaller Utilities Bridge IT Gap

Small businesses of all kinds are now enjoying access to the latest software and technology advances as a result of scalable, cloud-based subscription services. Despite their relatively recent introduction, cloud-based tools for administrative, finance and customer relationship management have helped ... Read More

Utilities Find Big Cost Advantages in Proactive Data Analytics

Utilities are beginning to discover that the increasing amount of data generated by their facilities – and the analytics derived from that data – are enabling them to develop plans to proactively manage their utility assets. Capturing and converting the right data at the right time into ... Read More

Network Convergence Offers Savings and Technologies to Utilities

Reducing the number of networks a utility owns and maintains can help reduce the overall complexity of the utility network. Gas, water and electric utilities are finding that this also makes it easier to manage and secure the network, while reducing operational costs ... Read More

Utilities May Increasingly Build Their Own Private Networks

Smart grid investments are increasing utilities’ telecommunications network requirements, as growing connectivity is creating new types of data and control functions. This means utilities are challenged to leverage all available spectrum choices, including public and private carriers ... Read More

Black & Veatch Leads Rally for Safer Telecom Standards and Training

Safety incidents in the telecommunications industry have taken a sharp increase over the past 18 months. Injuries and fatalities are rising dramatically, and Black & Veatch is using its influence as a leader in this segment to drive a turnaround ... Read More

Utilities Pushed to Adopt New Cybersecurity Standards

New government standards appear well-timed for improving the resiliency of critical network operations in electric generation and transmission systems and combatting cybersecurity and physical security threats. In April 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decided to adopt the ... Read More

Staying on the Sidelines of the Automation Movement Carries Risk

Advances in smart grid and automation technologies are prompting utility operators to upgrade their networks for efficiencies and cost savings. But at the same time, a new Black & Veatch report finds a landscape of smart utilities with a high number of cities and privately owned ... Read More

Utilities Must Prepare for New Roles in the Smart City Transformation

Electric utilities are facing a need and opportunity to transform their business due to the bidirectional nature of distributed generation and energy storage. This is just one of several fundamental changes that the smart cities movement is driving to reshape how fundamental services are delivered ... Read More

For Smart Cities, Opportunities Abound Through Smart Analytics

According to Scott Stallard, it’s not just about the data. Rather, it’s about smart data that prompt specific actionable events that reduce costs or improve performance. That’s the kind of data he wants to see more utilities get involved with. Stallard, Vice President for Black & Veatch’s ... Read More

Customer Education Is Key to Successful Smart Utility Initiatives

With utility service providers increasingly joining the smart systems movement, it has become clear that continued progress greatly depends upon customer buy-in, either through rate cases or the customers’ own installation of smart devices at the home. Creative education efforts can ... Read More

Smart Rates for Smart Utilities Require the Adoption of Unbundling

The electric utility industry is in the midst of unprecedented change. Despite these changes, most utility rate designs remain largely based on formulas devised more than a century ago. The fallacy of applying 19th century rate structures to 21st century electric utility services is ... Read More

Private Industry Has a Role to Play in Developing Smart Cities

Private industry, seeing the potential for new revenue streams and aiming to capitalize on consumer‰Ûªs interest in all things digital, is eyeing opportunities to engage and collaborate with city decision-makers on smart city initiatives. Cities, in turn, recognize the need to improve their ... Read More

Adaptive Planning Opens Door to Smarter Utilities

A more informed utility is a smarter utility. One way that utilities are getting more informed is the use of predictive analytics developed for Adaptive Planning solutions. As the concepts involved with Adaptive Planning are embraced by the industry, utilities will find a better understanding ... Read More

Moving from Frame Relay to Network Generation IP

Most large utilities use carrier frame relay services for their private local area network connections. However, due to changing technologies, these utilities are facing sunset dates when these services will no longer be available. This, combined with telecom carriers‰Ûª own favoring of next ... Read More

Using Smart Rates to Facilitate Compliance with Prop. 26 in California

In November 2010, California voters approved Proposition 26 (Prop. 26) to more clearly define the difference between taxes and fees within the state‰Ûªs constitution. Most notably, the measure required a two-thirds supermajority vote within the legislature or among the electorate for many new ... Read More

Evaluate Manufacturer Throughput Claims for Wireless Radio Data

Wireless data radio manufacturers are not unlike data networking equipment manufacturers in that they all claim to have the fastest data transmission speeds and lowest latency. Each will boast their unique design is superior and faster than everyone else‰Ûªs. But experienced networking professionals know ... Read More

Electric Utilities Focusing on Cybersecurity

The year 2015 marked a turning point in the evolution of the U.S. electric industry’s outlook toward security. The uncertainty surrounding the transition from Version 3 to Version 5 of NERC-CIP (North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection) has significantly ... Read More

Why Data Analytics Must Be Part of Your Next Infrastructure Project

It used to be that the quality of infrastructure was measured by its lifespan. Water systems might last a century, and power plants at least half that. Those were measurements of solid assets, well worth the investment. But today, dependable infrastructure is just not ... Read More

Cities Introduce Smart Programs in Divergent Manners

Cities across the globe have followed multiple tracks in their quest to become “smart.” It isn’t a question of right or wrong. However, two key themes are emerging in their approach – either start with a pilot project that produces quick results, or undertake a comprehensive master plan that ... Read More

Building Smart Cities Will Require Creative Funding Approaches

Cities struggling with finding funds for smart city initiatives might be wise to connect the issue with another that almost all municipalities have in common – aging infrastructure. “There is an essential aspect in connecting the investments in smart technology to the imperatives of ... Read More

Smart Water Programs Seek Valuable Data for Improved Operations

Water and wastewater systems use hundreds and sometimes thousands of data-producing instruments, but much of that information remains isolated. There is little two-way communication, so the vast amount of data stays buried, just as the water infrastructure itself is mostly buried and out of ... Read More

Large Complexes Find Growing Benefits in Energy Self-Generation

Large commercial and industrial complexes are increasingly showing more interest in how power is consumed at their facilities, and how they can more efficiently manage their utility costs. These companies are discovering many options that have only recently opened up due to new technologies and ... Read More

Utilities Discover a New Era of Engagement; the ‘Customer of One’

Utilities are entering a new era of customer engagement, spawned by the growing connected device market. To be successful and sustainable, utilities should focus on creating a simple and personalized dialog with each customer – a concept that could be described as the “Customer of One” ... Read More

Cities Are ‰Û÷Smartening Up‰Ûª for the Future with IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) ‰ÛÒ the concept that all devices that can be connected will be connected ‰ÛÒ is starting to take root in cities in various parts of the globe. IoT is being used to better manage energy, water, transportation and safety ‰ÛÒ but what exactly does this look like in first-adopter cities ... Read More

Data Analytics Is Key to Developing a Long-Term Smart City Roadmap

Communities that were “first movers” in the smart city arena are ending their test phases and expanding to a second phase, yet it is clear that communications technologies and data analytics should be adopted to help lay the groundwork for a broader roadmap ... Read More

Utilities Show Growing Interest in Drone Technology

The interest in drone technology by electric, water and natural gas utilities is growing at a rapid pace, and this relatively new application for utilities seems positioned to eventually become a best practice as the usage is woven into more projects. According to Black & Veatch’s 2016 Strategic Directions ... Read More

Utilities Can Better Secure Customer Relationships

As falling costs for distributed energy resources reduce the barriers to entry, new players like solar and battery storage developers are establishing relationships with utility customers. This is raising new concerns that without action, utilities will lose their cherished one-to-one customer ... Read More

Next Generation Mines Will Incorporate Advanced Communications

The mining industry is increasingly leaning on technological innovation to improve safety, operational efficiencies and performance. With that comes the requirement for extensive and intelligent communications networks, all laying the foundation for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) ... Read More

Utilities Progressively Move toward Automation Programs

Old and obsolete equipment and lack of integration of automation into the overall enterprise – coupled with reliability mandates – have created an environment ripe for the adoption of distribution automation and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) programs for utilities ... Read More

Leaders Opting for Dual Paths to Smart City Development

Adoption of smart city initiatives appears to be dividing most city governments into two camps – those that opt for incremental add-on or pilot programs, and those that pursue some form of root-level master planning. There are advantages and disadvantages to each course. According to the ... Read More