Reflecting on DistribuTECH 2018


Last month saw the 2018 DistribuTECH conference go live in San Antonio, Texas. We had a great time, meeting clients, colleagues and industry experts. NM Group Area Business Manager, Matt Churches attended and, now the dust has settled, has taken some time to reflect on the event.

What were the major themes at DistribuTECH? The big themes this year were Grid Hardening, Work Management Systems and Asset Optimization. I had a blast discussing how these challenges affect all the delegates who came by the stand.

In your view where the hot topics in the distribution sector industry? I guess the short answer is Technology. Operators are always looking to ‘harden the grid’ and reliability is at the forefront of distribution networks. If technology can automate and streamline processes, then this will always be a hot topic.

The interest at the conference was around how we use technology to help increase network efficiency and to assess the cost benefit when determining investment. Unsurprisingly, another major topic was natural disasters. Operators want methods to reduce response time and increase reliability in the face of a natural disaster.

So what is the latest must have technology?  Smart Grid technology is still up there. While many utilities have already made the investment and are implementing smart grid, not all have completed the integration and many smaller utilities are waiting for the price point to come down to invest. Smart meters seem to be the most popular piece of hardware while other hardware is secondary and comes at a later phase.
Also virtual and augmented reality is something that has created a real industry buzz. We demonstrated a HoloLens and Augmented Reality platform and there is genuine excitement around the possibilities of this technology.

And what were people most interested in at the NM Group stand? In my opinion people were most drawn to Caydence®. The 3D Asset Management system is unique and really lets people see that value of their data by showing it in a 3D environment. That definitely got the most attention at our stand.


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