What’s on the minds of utility CIOs?
Like many of you, I attend a lot of energy industry events, and whether the event is big or small, I always relish the opportunity to spend quality face-time with people who can teach me something. Without a doubt, utility CIOs are folks who fit the bill.
A couple months back I had the good fortune to attend the CIO Utilities Summit in Phoenix with some Intel and McAfee colleagues. The event was small with an intimate agenda that included many meetings and lots of networking. We were glad that utility executives were willing to openly share their challenges with us. One thing we heard loud and clear was their belief that system vendors are not producing interoperable or secure products for their environments. Consequently, some utilities have slowed the adoption of many devices within their ecosystem.
As part of the agenda, it was our pleasure to deliver a keynote and a joint presentation to about 75 mid- and C-level executives. We wanted to contribute to the discussion by raising awareness of Intel and McAfee’s role in creating a smarter grid, a message that was well-received by most at the event. Many were eager to learn more, and scheduled follow-up meetings with us. If you couldn’t attend the summit and are interested in some face time, let me know.
In addition to talking about interoperability and security, we participated in a many conversations around Cloud technologies and Big Data. The distributed intelligence that is being added to the electric grid and to buildings produces enormous amounts of data, and promises to produce much more. How will this data be captured, processed, stored, and analyzed? Some of it needs to travel over communications networks that may or may not be owned by the utility. Many wondered about the advantages of ownership versus partnership. Other topics of interest included managing a Bring Your Own Device strategy for utility employees, and NERC CIP compliance was on the minds of most.
On our side, we’ll keep plugging away at these challenges and explaining how Intel-powered devices can play a role in the solutions. We’ll also be covering this all in more depth on Grid Insights, so stay tuned. What other challenges are you facing with grid modernization and how are you approaching them? Let us know.