Key challenges for gas sector revealed at AGA Conference

day 1 booth

IQGeo recently attended 2019 AGA Operations Conference & Biennial Exhibition. As one of the best events for the natural gas industry in North America, it was the perfect venue to launch our next generation geospatial platform to the sector.


The need for new solutions and technology is well understood by AGA delegates. Plagued by ageing processes and infrastructure, the question for gas utilities is not whether they embrace digital transformation in order to remain competitive and compliant, but what this process looks like. Many delegates are searching for solutions they can use today to face their current challenges and more importantly, plan for the long term. These issues focused on four main areas:  


  1. Making the most of digital data
  2. Data from smart meters
  3. Flexible solutions in a complex regularity environment
  4. Ageing infrastructure and adopting new technologies

Pete Batty interview at stand 2-1


  1. Making the most of digital data

There is genuine excitement among operations leaders in gas utilities about the opportunities that digitization offers, and they are now looking for ways to make use of all this data. They want to understand how to make the most of digital data moving forwards; how to visualise it and how to make it useful in the field. This is particularly true when it comes to the digitization and automation of inspections and process improvements for emergency response given the industries overriding focus on safety. Delegates at AGA were very interested in finding out how this could work for them. They see the value, now they want to see the solution. 


  1. Data from smart meters

Much of this new data is coming from the widespread adoption of smart meters, which shows no signs of slowing down. In 2019, ABI Research predicts that a total of 193 million units will be installed in the energy and water industries,  a 3.2% increase from the 151 million installed in 2018[1]. Smart meter installation in the water and gas sectors is expected to record a double-digit increase while the market for smart electric meter shipments contracts. The overall smart meters market is expected to generate up to $14 billion in revenue by 2026. It’s not only smart meters that are generating more data in the gas industry but organizations such as NYSearch and others are pushing for more automated sensing not only in equipment but also in pipes.


day 1 booth

  1. Flexible solutions in a complex regularity environment

For a highly regulated sector such as gas, compliance will always be a priority. It is an increasingly complex regulatory environment, with regulation from bodies including Congress, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Office of Inspector General (OIG). Gas utilities are seeking technology solutions that can help them with compliance now, but that are also flexible enough to help them manage the inevitable regulatory changes that will take place in the future.


  1. Ageing infrastructure and adopting new technologies

In operations and distribution disciplines, getting multiple systems to work together is a big problem. Utilities struggle with antiquated processes and an ageing infrastructure that must work together to keep up to date with the demands of the modern networks, while allowing utilities to continue growth and operate safely. ABI Research predicts that the utility industry will spend US$14 billion a year to 2023 to modernize and build infrastructure but in order to do so, utilities need the right systems to underpin and manage this growth. 


Cropped stand with people

Next generation platform for the gas industry

Visitors to our booth were excited by the announcement of our next generation geospatial platform because they agree there is a need to go beyond legacy GIS and the associated complex processes that hamper digitalization of their business. There is widespread acceptance that the migration process being imposed on customers by legacy GIS vendors is broken and does not provide the needed path to the future.  Gas utility companies at AGA explained how the increasing complexity of their business combined with greater safety and regulatory standards is demanding new solutions that provide more responsive and real time customer service.


IQGeo offers a new approach to management of data and assets with a mobile first, reality-centric platform that blends technology and reality. Specifically built for utilities , IQGeo’s next generation geospatial platform is helping utilities improve operational safety, deliver high value services and increase customer satisfaction.


Fore more information on our next generation platform, see our dedicated blog that explores legacy cartography-centric vs. a digital reality-centric geospatial strategy.