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DistribuTECH 2022 Debrief: A Growing Groundswell for Innovation in Utilities

A couple of weeks ago, Trynzic attended DistribuTECH 2022. It was an eye-opening conference for our entire team. Here are our main takeaways.

DistribuTECH is the leading annual transmission and distribution event. It certainly lived up to the billing for us. The main themes of the conference all centered around innovation, and there was plenty of productive discussion about how to achieve those necessary innovations.

These important conversations helped us feel right at home. It was a thrill for our team attending the conference to be able to speak to how Trynzic fits into the idealized future of the smart grid.

We wanted to continue the conversation and address any lingering questions about who we are and what we do. In this article, we’ll talk about our thoughts on the conference and the emerging trends. Then we’ll touch on our team’s experience at the Trynzic booth. Throughout, we’ll weave in commentary on how our GridOps solution fits into the emerging groundswell of innovation that will define the utilities sector in the decade to come.

The Biggest Trends Were Around Sustainability, Automation & Seismic Shifts

Some of the most talked-about themes at DistribuTECH included sustainability discussions around decarbonizing the grid and managing the explosive growth of distributed energy resources (DER), which are projected to account for 25% of energy on the grid in the next decade.

Innovation is critical to achieving a sustainable grid that can meet all these new challenges. Among the most discussed topics were automation and machine learning capabilities. The bottom line is there are fundamental shifts happening in all areas of the utility industry, and as a result, traditional utility companies are searching for answers.

GridOps fits right into these discussions. It can help reduce work processes that require you to be in the field – and leverage machine learning capabilities to cut through the noise of faulty or irrelevant meter alerts.

At the end of the day, discussion didn’t center around whether these innovations are needed. They centered on how to get them done, especially given the industry’s general reluctance for change and innovation. As innovators, we must foster that change mindset in our customers. This is, ultimately, what will help them achieve innovation goals and leverage new value streams.

The Need for AMI Data Experts Is Skyrocketing

One area for which there appeared to be growing demand was the topic of AMI data. This worked in our favor because we happen to specialize in it.

New hardware will play a major role in achieving the goals of decarbonization and smarter grid operations. But it would be shortsighted to ignore the impacts of innovative software solutions.

It was good to know that our vision to bridge the capabilities gap between AMI data and better business processes is additive to the innovation discussion. That message drew some intrigue and a lot of great conversations at our booth.

What We Heard from You – Frequently Asked Questions

We sent a well-rounded team to DistribuTECH – to speak to the mission we have and the value we believe GridOps can bring to distribution utilities. There were great conversations with utilities providers and consultants from across the globe. The shift to AMI has been a major focus in the US, but it was great to see there is demand for a way to leverage the full capabilities of the AMI data stream.

With that in mind, here are the questions our booth team got asked the most.

“How do I access AMI data?”

The most common question we got was about accessing the data created by AMI meters. A lot of utility companies are wondering where to even begin after their AMI meter rollout.

There is a growing awareness of the data sitting at the headend system, and utilities are starting to wonder how to access and how to use it.

That’s where being at a conference can come in handy. We had one conversation with a director of distribution whose company was just starting to roll out their smart meters. He wanted to know how to access that head end data. To answer his question, we had one of our principal engineers walk over to the meter company’s booth not too far from ours to get that information.

But to fully answer this question and to make use of the vast amounts of AMI data in your grid, you need an innovative software solution to bridge that gap. Which leads to the next question.

“What is GridOps?”

GridOps is a flexible, secure, easy-to-implement distribution operations software that powers near real-time event-driven work. It does this by leveraging the capabilities of Microsoft Azure PaaS, creating a scalable solution for handling and processing large amounts of AMI data.

Our solution is different from anything currently available in the utilities space. And we’re still in the early stages of bringing it to market, so this was an expected question.

“What is AMIplus

As part of our vision to improve the smart grid, we talk about digital transformation in utilities a lot.  The use of AMI data has fallen short of its promise.

Legacy systems and processes are quickly overwhelmed by the volume of AMI data, which leaves low voltage grid observability not much improved from before. The GridOps platform changes that by turning those inaccessible data streams into immediately actionable information, creating a fundamental progression into a new era of AMI – an era we dubbed: AMIplus.

Conclusion – It Was Great to Get Our Feet Wet

For us, DistribuTECH represented the first big chance to bring the vision of this new era to our industry peers and colleagues. To that end, the show was a rousing success.

But more importantly, it was great to interact in person again with all the attendees. From the booth to the speaker sessions to the informal chats. Thank you to everyone who came and talked to us. By now, we’ve followed up with many of you, and we look forward to continuing the conversation. If you haven’t heard from us yet, you will soon.