Utilities Evolve to Digital Process Control

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utility operations

Upgrading utility management technology can seem like a Herculean effort at first glance. Perceived complications with integration, training, and maintenance might lead to a “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” mentality. This way of thinking has kept many control room settings stuck in the past and is especially untrue with regards to the utilities sector.

Essential utility providers, like power, water, and gas companies demand the most up-to-the-second information from their SCADA displays and layouts. Historically, operators in these facilities could only recognize system issues as they happened, with an entirely reactionary response. This method presented obvious limitations. Analog tools and equipment have given way to more streamlined and efficient digital utility management systems, and the results speak for themselves.

Facilities such as the New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) Integrated Smart Operations Center (iSOC) were constructed entirely around digital equipment, monitoring tools, and applications. Rather than relying on reactive measures when systems go down, advanced software suites allow operators to work proactively. With new diagnostic tools and predictive analytics software, process control operators can forecast equipment failures and outages before they ever become customer-facing issues. This advance in data analysis helps utility providers keep overall costs down, while simultaneously monitoring more of their coverage areas in greater detail.

As with all process control room operations, the need for an easy-to-use system is paramount. A collaborative visualization solution must be ready to host local and web-based applications, while also providing remote access capabilities so that decision-makers are always informed and prepared to act. All-digital utility control rooms are becoming more prevalent across the country. This transition to a more data-driven workflow and control room environment doesn’t need to be as daunting as one might think. Partnering yourself with a trusted turn-key solutions provider will not only ease the transition, but also ensure that your investment is well spent.