Utility Asset Management is Evolving: The Three Tools Utilities Need

January 8, 2018 Kreg McCollum

According to ReportLinker research, the market for utility asset management will surpass $4 billion by 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.25% over 5 years. While reports from Research and Markets forecast the utility analytics market and digital utility market will grow at faster CAGRs, the utility asset management market remains larger by dollar amount because of the size of territories, number of assets, and intricacy of utility infrastructure. The growth in utility asset management is heavily impacted by increasing grid complexity and investments in grid modernization, among other factors.

As this market develops, the research shows that utility asset management programs will continue to require the implementation and integration of advanced communication and sensor technologies. These advanced technologies provide more data than ever available before and bridge the gap between information technology and operations technology in ways that were not possible even a decade ago. Asset management is evolving from a static, accounting-ledger type of system to a dynamic, action-based system.

Transforming Asset Management

The goal of today’s asset management programs should be to move from a collection of data to providing actionable asset management outcomes.  To generate these outcomes, the program must be accurate, accessible, consistent, and integrated.

Utilities are looking for technological solutions that will transform their asset management programs, allowing accurate modeling and remote investigation. These solutions are driven by:

  • Increasing volumes of data
  • Increasing accuracy of basic data
  • Increasing speed of data analysis
  • More intuitive interfaces to examine and analyze data
  • Increasing availability of actionable information to manage and decrease costs and risks

Utilities are moving from data mining (gathering vast amounts of data) to data analytics (finding ways to gain insights from data) to data-driven action. Or more specific to asset management, utilities are moving from physically cataloging assets to digitally cataloging assets to creating a digital mirror of assets that provides instantaneous insight and analytics.

Risk-Informed, Condition-Based Approach

To aid this transformation, a digital asset management solution must take a “risk-informed” and “condition-based” approach. This means safety, reliability, and cost risks are ingrained in the decisions around the program and that the work is performed when it makes the most sense based on the key customer satisfaction, regulatory, and environmental considerations.

To build this approach, the same accurate information must be used across the utility enterprise – not just asset management. Using consistent data throughout the utility breaks down silos, encourages innovation, and allows for operations to be run based on a single version of truth. This is fundamental to the future success of digital asset management. 

The Right Toolbox

So what do utilities need to successfully implement a risk-informed, conditioned-based approach? Three tools are critical to program success:

  1. Precise, accurate data: As mentioned, consistent data should define the single version of truth across the utility, so precise, accurate data is essential. Each physical asset must have an accurate, corresponding digital asset.
  2. Advanced analytics: The data alone cannot provide insight to inform utilities of risks and conditions. Utilities need powerful algorithms to process and analyze the data in order to move from simply cataloging assets to, instead, assessing the performance, condition, and inherent risk of assets.
  3. Visual context: Asset management actions may be easier to define in the field, but field work is manual, tedious, and expensive – and can even be dangerous. A digital utility can look at the results from the algorithms and can – in many cases - make accurate decisions without going into the field.

Using Roames technology, Leidos works with digital utilities to efficiently verify, assess, and manage every asset in their systems.

strategic-utility-asset-management-navigating-sea-of-data-whitepaper-download-now.jpg

 

To learn more, download the white paper Strategic Utility Asset Management: Navigating a Sea of Data.

 

 

 

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