Australian Utility Week – Key Takeaways

Our Utility Practice Lead, Rhubesh Goomiah, attended The Australian Utility Week 2016 conference held in Sydney last week.

The conference focused on the theme of ‘Building the Digital Utility’, in this post Rhubesh shares some of his key takeaways from this event.

This was my third consecutive attendance at this event and this year Matt Feltham from our NSW/QLD region co-presented with Ivan Beirne from Unitywater as part of the ‘Analytics in Action’ track. Their presentation focused on the tangible benefits delivered by the business intelligence solution that Altis has assisted Unitywater in implementing. Ivan gave some great examples of how the solution is being used in his area to help improve asset performance and utilisation and better target asset investment.

As in the previous years, there were multiple tracks available as part of the two-day conference programme. The sessions that I ended up attending covered a broad range of topics from the Internet of Things (IOT) to water smart meters and the decentralisation of the energy sector. Some of the presentations that caught my attention included:

  • A long-term Altis client, TransGrid, demonstrating how they are experimenting with Augmented Reality technologies to facilitate the work of field employees and improve their safety.
  • The CEO of another Altis client, Vector, describing how his organisation is embracing the change in the energy sector and adopting new technologies like solar, battery storage and electric vehicles instead of being disrupted by these technologies.
  • A university researcher highlighting the future potential of water smart meters from a customer and smart home perspective. Interestingly, some of the use cases highlighted such as leak detection and appliance fingerprinting are already being trialled by one of our Victorian water clients as part of a project that Altis is currently involved in.

There were also a number of start-ups present at the event, with most of these new entrants in the sector being technology companies which have been capitalising on opportunities around IOT and data analytics. For example, a new electricity retailer in NSW is offering an integrated solution of advanced pool automation services and electricity to swimming pool owners and operators. Their cloud-based solution integrates data from installed sensors with AEMO and weather data to optimise the operation of pools and reduce electricity costs for their customers. Another start-up is building a database of addresses with rooftop solar after having developed a machine learning algorithm to scan satellite images and identify rooftops with solar panels.

For traditional utilities, embarking on the digital journey clearly offers a range of opportunities for innovation. In particular, by using analytics to capitalise on the ever-increasing amounts of data that they are collecting, they can re-invent the way they engage with their customers and manage their assets.

To find out more about how the changing landscape of data and analytics can benefit your utility organisation, please contact us.

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