Enable real-time monitoring.
Utility assets extend across large and remote areas, making collecting and acting on data quickly enough to enhance operations a challenge. 5G supports real-time monitoring and control of poles, lines, transformers, and substations by enabling faster communication between devices and servers on the edge. Timely alerts of equipment failure or hazards allow immediate dispatch of crews to make repairs and restore service, keeping downtime to a minimum.
Improve operating efficiencies.
5G and edge computing promote more efficient use of utility resources. Your utility will require less bandwidth to transmit data to edge servers rather than data centers or the cloud, improving overall network performance and capacity available for other services. Costs will also be lower. In addition, processing generation and consumption data on the edge can help you optimize energy flow, detect anomalies, and lower power delivery cost. And in an outage, edge devices can quickly locate available power sources that can be diverted to support grid resilience and minimize downtime.
Enhance data security and privacy.
For many utilities, adding thousands of IoT devices and sensors to the network creates a real security concern. But with less data transmitted over the network, edge computing decreases vulnerability to security threats. And the addition of 5G makes it easier to closely track performance and safety of edge activity. 5G’s software-defined architecture and strong authorization and authentication protocols also enhance security—and the support for network slicing means you can create virtual networks to protect specific services and devices.
Reduce maintenance costs.
5G and edge computing together allows utilities to shift from passively reacting to equipment issues to proactively using data from IoT devices, smart sensors, and cameras to predict problems. Local edge computing systems can process and analyze data and help you determine if crews should perform preventive maintenance. By taking an active role in problem resolution, utilities can keep maintenance budgets and schedules in check.