Utilities are what power our lives. From electricity to running water, utilities are responsible for providing the majority of creature comforts that we enjoy. As discussions of climate change and global warming continue to emerge, it is becoming more and more apparent that our current approach to supplying power and water cannot be maintained indefinitely. The realization that we all need to start thinking about the future is causing the development of technologies with a focus on providing renewable energy for years to come.
In the last decade, we have started to seriously explore solar power, energy supplied by wind, and desalination methods. Utilities are beginning to look around at the developments and wonder where they will find themselves as future technology continues to emerge and replace our old ways.
Here are a few ways utilities will be impacted by the technology of the future:
- There will be an increased focus on data: As new technologies develop, there is a stronger focus on data. In order to increase efficiency and decrease waste, utilities will rely on data to paint a picture for analysis. Having consistent, historical data will be helpful for analyzing the use of resources. In addition, utilities will be able to determine where they can afford to cut back, effective methods for maintenance management, and best practices for handling events to avoid inconsistencies in service.
- Focus on customer relations: In a world where customers expect certain comforts and conveniences, customer relations will become more and more important. Consumers frequently use the internet to find the lowest price from competitors and are no longer happy to accept what they consider to be poor service. Reviews and word of mouth (or maybe word of keyboard) travel at lightning speeds. Focusing on good customer service is no longer a luxury, but a requirement. Check here for tips on improving customer service at your utility.
- Utilities will need to prepare for renewable power: It is no secret that our fossil fuels are finite resources. In addition, the harm being done by pollutants has countries across the world seeking out sources of clean, renewable energy. As the providers of water and energy, it will fall to our utilities to prepare for renewable power. This could mean updating or installing new infrastructure, and may even mean complete overhauls of current approaches.
- Infrastructure will need updated or replaced: As innovations in technology occur and alternate forms of energy become the standard, utilities will need to update or replace infrastructure to accommodate the demands associated with these different forms of energy. This might involve adding solar panels and windmills to supply power or installing desalination hardware to make salt water drinkable.
- Staff will need to be continually trained on new innovations: New technologies can be intimidating. The systems can be complex and even the interfaces associated with these technologies can be daunting. Keeping your staff aware of emerging technologies can help prevent then from being stressed out about the future. Don�t overlook a training budget�it will give your staff the knowledge and skills needed to keep all of these expensive new systems running smoothly.
Regardless of which practices lead the way, our utilities will need to adapt to increased demands and advancements in technology.