Emma Ritch
Emma Ritch, ABB

The industrial sector is becoming one of the first proving grounds for the many benefits promised by the Internet of Things, Services and People. New intelligent electronic devices are enabling vast improvements in utility efficiency, security and reliability as part of automated metering infrastructure (AMI) and distribution automation (DA) projects. The core foundation enabling these applications is a robust, high performing and versatile wireless communication network that supports utilities in accessing and analyzing data in real time.

Secure and reliable two-way communications are required to make this intelligence productive in the active grid. Only a decade after the initial wave of AMI deployments, utilities are already demanding lower latencies and higher capacities from their networks to support the multitude of new device types that are becoming available. Reliability of communication is especially important as utilities deploy mission-critical applications, necessitating a flexible approach that assigns the right communications technology for the particular location and application, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach. ABB understands that while it’s tempting to drive a standard or deployment around one wireless technology, a more resourceful, cost-effective and reliable approach is to make use of what a utility has in place, and to fill in the gaps with emerging network technology. To that end, combining wireless technologies in an optimal fashion results in a single highly intuitive network that concurrently powers all critical applications.

Many utilities implement single-purpose communications in their distribution systems with one network serving AMI, another serving DA and yet another for mobile work force automation. Consolidating to one multi-technology network offers many benefits: better return on investment, lower operating costs as a result of standardizing on fewer hardware and software products, the ability to manage the network centrally to increase reliability, and the ability to enforce consistent security and quality of service. No two utility deployments are alike, which makes it even more critical that utilities identify trusted partners who will provide flexible solutions and ongoing support to meet their unique needs.

Just ask our customers, Avista Utilities and DTE Energy. Our wireless technology in combination with Itron’s mesh radios are successfully deployed in the cities of Pullman and Spokane, Wash. The networks extend real-time communications to DA devices, providing centralized monitoring and control to empower Avista to take quick action to avoid and minimize power outages, as well as to determine which DA devices require maintenance or replacement. An integrated ABB Wireless/Itron system is also helping DTE Energy with ABB routers linking hundreds of distribution grid devices that need reliable and low-latency connections to operate properly.

Utilities have an opportunity to unlock the massive business value that the integration of IT and OT teams affords. ABB’s longevity as a proven partner for utilities has given us extensive expertise in helping our customers transform and secure their assets, with a comprehensive suite of infrastructure services tailored to your utility’s goals and requirements. As your utility transforms the smart grid into the active grid, find a proven solution with the flexibility to meet your needs. Improving operational efficiency, reliability, and security are achievable goals when the right technology foundation is in place.

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Emma Ritch
Global Business Development Manager - ABB Wireless
Emma Ritch leads Global Business Development in the utilities market for ABB Wireless. Emma has a decade of experience in utilities as a consultant and analyst. She specializes in market strategy and strategic partnerships for wireless communication networks and data analytics. Before joining ABB, she led product marketing for Silver Spring Networks. As a senior analyst Greentech Media, Cleantech Group and E3 Technology Consulting, she worked with clients including General Electric, Siemens, ABB and Ericsson. Emma studied at the University of South Carolina Honors College and the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Education Program.