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
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
As well as subject matter streams:
- Asset Management
- Distributed field work
- Scheduling and Mobility
- Supply Chain
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
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.
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…