Last month I boarded a plane and headed across the pond to the United States to attend the Fall Maximo Utilities Working Group conference (MUWG). As I lead utilities for Vetasi and understand the UK utility industry, I was really looking forward to seeing how they do things in the U.S.

Aside from the sheer size and scale of both the utility companies present and the event itself, the real difference with this conference was the targeted real-world Maximo material in domain specific streams. Being very professionally run, there were time slots and events to facilitate networking, providing ample opportunities for users to mix with each other, as well as with a wide variety of vendors.

At the welcome and initial networking event

At the welcome and initial networking event

As a utility conference the content was already targeted, however there were further refinements to provide content specific experiences from:

  • Electrical T&D / Water & Waste Water / Pipelines
  • Transportation / Fleet
  • Power Generation
  • Nuclear

As well as subject matter streams:

  • Asset Management
  • Distributed field work
    • Scheduling and Mobility
  • Supply Chain
  • IT

Naturally there was an IBM focus, and IBM support the event, so as you would expect there were informative updates on IBM product enhancements, particularly around the Utilities Industry Solution, Scheduler Plus and Anywhere, Spatial and GIS their interoperability. However, it was refreshing to hear the references to and the air time given to 3rd party complementary products such as DataSplice Mobile. There was a balance and an honesty to the presentations bursting with an impressive breadth of real world experiences and subject matter expertise.

Terry Saunders, Worldwide Utilities Industry Leader from IBM led a fascinating talk titled .. “Architecting the Future with Algorithms, AI, AR, Cognitive and Big Data”.

In this session Terry discussed how IBM are harnessing developments in artificial intelligence, machine learning and industrial IoT to architect the works and asset management solutions of the future.

Renewing acquaintance with Terry Saunders, IBM

Renewing acquaintance with Terry Saunders, IBM

IBM’s Asset Performance Management suite is the umbrella solution set that includes Insights for Energy (now known as Maximo Asset Performance Management for E&U), Asset Health Insights and Predictive Maintenance Insights. The algorithms behind these tools already have many man years of tuning and is a vision of the future  tools becoming available to the spectrum of users, from asset owners and managers, reliability engineers, maintenance teams, operator maintainers through to strategists, identifying the most appropriate areas to target capital expenditure.

This is an exciting area where multiple strands of technology are spliced to produce advanced capability with truly engaging visual insights to not only provide accurate real time and historical analysis of asset related activity, but also the ability to predict the future and provide scenario-based simulation capability to predict different future asset states, over selected time horizons based on adjustable parameters.

The algorithmic engines driving the analytics take feeds from many and varied data sources. Separate exciting enhancements in technology are enriching the structured data derived from unstructured formats such as digital imagery and video footage from drones, helicopters, wearables etc., and informing the algorithm engines that drive the analytics.

Alex Houston, RP6 IT Project - Maximo Lines Lead  from NIE and I at the event.

Alex Houston, RP6 IT Project - Maximo Lines Lead  from NIE and I at the event.

I found the 3 day event a fantastic source of information (not to mention a great opportunity to network) and I wasn’t alone in finding the whole experience extremely valuable, I accompanied a valued customer Northern Ireland Electricity to the MUWG, here’s Alex with his review of the event…

About the author

Bernie Kane is an experienced Enterprise Asset Management professional having implemented EAM systems worldwide since 1994.

His keen interest in disruptive transformation and innovation to push the boundaries of traditional EAM and enable wider business benefits to be realised through technology driven change, sees Bernie running and partaking in industry specific roundtables and conferences and sharing those experiences and learnings with his customers. Bernie has been on both sides of the fence. Starting out as a time served maintenance engineer before graduating with a BEng (hons) as a controls and systems engineer and becoming a Project Manager implementing an EAM solution client side.

This, combined with supply side managerial experience, P&L responsibility and a stint on the board of a small software company, make him a well-rounded professional who understands the needs of customers and how solutions can be crafted through supply chain collaboration to the benefit of all parties, whilst having some fun along the way!


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