A 4-minute interview with John Engel, Content Director at Clarion Energy and Andy Gay, IQGeo's Utilities Director at the DISTRIBUTECH International 2022 tradeshow in Dallas.
Andy discusses how the latest mobile and geospatial technology can support grid modernization initiatives, and explores the greatest challenges faced by electric utility operators as they radically redesign their grid and processes.
CE: Hi there, I'm John Engel from Clarion Energy. I am here with Andy Gay from IQGeo. Andy tell us a little bit about what you're sharing here at DISTRIBUTECH 2022 and IQGeo.
AG: Good morning John. My name is Andy Gay. I'm the Utilities Director at IQGeo and what we're here to talk about at DISTRIBUTECH is field force automation, streamlining field workflows. Streamlining the creation of the network model in the field and also to provide better tools to workers.
CE: We are seeing drastic grid modernization efforts taking place all over the energy sector and this is one of the biggest topics here at DISTRIBUTECH 2022, distributed energy resources (DER). Electric vehicles are becoming more common and are having an impact on our grid. What do you see as the emerging trend that is coming up in your conversations here at this conference and in the sector at large?
AG: A great question John. What we see obviously like you say, is massive changes to the grid coming in a short period of time. What I see is an unprecedented rate of innovation. New technologies for operating the grid, for modeling the grid, and doing things much more quickly than we've done in the past.
Unlike some past times, there's a lot of funding that's available to drive new technology and modernization of the grid. So, it's very exciting time to be at DISTRIBUTECH.
CE: The IQGeo team is facing this head on and seeing the transformation first hand with your teams on many different networks. So, what are some of those challenges that you've seen, maybe early on in this process as the energy transition is taking shape in the evolution of the grid.
AG: Great question. So, for a technology provider like us, it's all about time to market. How fast can you react? You need to implement tools quickly, but you also need to do it in a fashion that supports change management.
Because we are automating processes, we are changing the way people work, we're melding back-office processes with front-office field work. It's not the traditional new piece of technology. It's also the change management that goes along with creating these new tools and streamlining workflows and actually doing more, faster.
CE: Andy, what are those key technologies as we're watching the grid evolve and in grid modernization? And what do those key technologies need to feature to meet the needs of their customers? What are you seeing?
AG: Well, first of all, from the kind of services we provide, it's giving tools to field workers. Automating processes in the field, providing all the data they need in one place. So along with that comes the need to make it easy to use and easy to train because there is a lot of turnover. Like any other business utilities are experiencing a lot of turnover, a lot of new people, which has got some really good features about it, but the training must be almost automatic. The tools have got to be seamless like using a video game. I use my iPad I get the tools I need. I know how to use them. I'm off and running, even if it's my first or second day on the job.
CE: Andy, how can someone learn more about what IQGeo offers?
AG: It's easy. You can go to our website www.iqgeo.com, you can look up some of the tracks that happened at DISTRIBUTECH and some of the announcements that came out of DISTRIBUTECH this week. Our website has contact information globally in Europe, Asia. We have customers in Japan, Europe and of course, across North America.
CE: Andy Gay, thank you so much.