4 Ways 5G Edge Computing Can Accelerate Utility Transformation

4 ways 5G edge computing can accelerate utility transformation.

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Natacha Baroni, Head of Energy Product Marketing at T-Mobile for Business

Nearly every utility uses Wi-Fi and cloud computing to support field and business operations. But for lower latency, higher bandwidth, better security, and greater resilience, processing and analytics are moving to the network edge.

Instead of sending the ever-increasing amounts of utility data to centralized data centers or to the cloud, multi-access edge computing (MEC) puts computation, storage, and power closer to where it’s generated. For example, with MEC customers receive responsive, reliable processing locally for the massive amounts of data from distributed energy resources connected to a smart grid.

Gartner predicts that 75 percent of enterprise-generated data will be created, processed, and analyzed on the edge by 2025. Here’s a closer look at how 5G-powered edge computing can streamline and enhance your utility’s operations.

5G for utilities

5G-powered edge computing platforms for utilities.

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts when you combine the efficiency of edge computing with 5G’s speed, capacity, and low latency.

The following use cases for edge computing and 5G demonstrate several ways utilities can benefit:

Live data, optimization, security, & cost

Four MEC benefits.

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.

Proactive intervention

T-Mobile for Business can help.

The right wireless network is essential when building your 5G edge computing strategy. T-Mobile has the largest 5G network nationwide and can meet utility connectivity needs now and going forward. For further information, contact T-Mobile for Business.

T-Mobile has America’s largest and fastest 5G network, imagined for tomorrow but ready to give you an edge today. At T-Mobile for Business, we’re focused on providing your business with connectivity solutions and the dedicated, exceptional service you need to help you stay ahead. T-Mobile experts will work with you from beginning to end to help you select a network solution and achieve your modernization goals. To learn more about how T-Mobile is fueling digital transformation for today’s energy companies, visit our energy industry page.

About the author:

Natacha Baroni.

Natacha Baroni is the Head of Energy Product Marketing at T-Mobile for Business, with over a decade of experience enabling customers in the energy industry improve efficiency, digital transformation, and safety. Specializing in marketing and product management, Natacha uses her experience to bring industry and customer perspectives into the development of business initiatives and go to market strategies to best meet industry needs.

Natacha holds a B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and an MBA from Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis.

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