Utilities facing communications crossroads; listen to webinar to learn more about the options
It’s an exciting time in the utility industry, with smart-grid technologies promising new levels of reliability, flexibility and functionality for critical-infrastructure entities, such as providers of electricity, water and gas. But, as exciting as the possibilities are, there are so many options that sorting through them all can be confusing.
In an attempt to outline the potential options and considerations for utilities, we’ll be hosting a webinar—sponsored by Avtec—entitled “What’s Next for Utilities Communication?” at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, Nov. 6.
First, there is the transition from analog to digital technology, which continues to be a focal point within the private-radio industry for myriad user groups. Wendell Little, IT communications operations department manager for Con Edison in New York, will provide insights into the thought processes his utility used when making decisions regarding the analog-to-digital transition, both from the perspective of dispatch and for users in the field.
In addition, Little will share some preliminary thoughts that ConEd is contemplating as it prepares to take the next step in its communications evolution during the next couple of years.
Little and other utility officials have a lot to consider, because there are more technological options than ever. However, one of the challenges that utilities have always faced is finding the spectrum necessary to support their communications needs.
Brett Kilbourne, vice president and deputy general counsel for the Utilities Telecom Council (UTC), will talk about the various initiatives to secure airwaves for utility communications. One potential option is for utilities to partner with FirstNet, the entity charged with building a nationwide broadband system for public safety. Last week, UTC and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) submitted a filing outlining legal justifications and business considerations that should be considered in such partnerships.
Utilities also have a relatively new option. Pacific DataVision (PDV) recently purchased nationwide 900 MHz spectrum from Sprint and plans to offer enhanced-dispatch services using Motorola digital-radio technology beginning early next year. In addition, PDV has announced plans to petition the FCC for permission to consolidate its spectrum licenses into a contiguous 3×3 MHz swath that would allow the company to offer broadband dispatch services using LTE or another technology.
Joining us on the webinar to outline Pacific DataVision’s perspectives and ideas—including the company’s plans to focus on critical-infrastructure customers, such as utilities—will be PDV Vice Chairman Morgan O’Brien, who is best-known in the industry as the co-founder of Nextel Communications, which was sold to Sprint in 2005.
Personally, I’m looking forward to hearing what these three experts have to say about this exciting era of utility-industry communications. Please join us on Thursday to hear the webinar live and/or listen to an archive of the event when it fits in your schedule. Either way, registration is free.