A global survey of executives at leading utility companies by power and automation technology specialist ABB has revealed the increased importance of integrating information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) for effective asset management.
According to the study, which covered over 200 executives at leading electricity, gas and water utilities, IT-OT integration is considered a key component of any effective asset management strategy. While 80 per cent of the respondents believe IT-OT integration is valuable for asset management, 58 per cent either have or are planning to have, a strategy leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) for asset management. About 55 per cent of those surveyed reported that the importance of asset management had increased over the past 12 months.
The internet allows things, services and people to be interconnected, improving data analysis, boosting productivity, enhancing reliability, saving energy and costs, and generating new revenue opportunities through innovative business models. The industrial internet and cloud services also offer the benefit of bringing world-class analytics within reach of smaller production facilities. For over a decade ABB has been developing and enhancing process control systems, communication solutions, sensors and software that support the concept of the Internet of Things, Services and People (IoTSP).
Massimo Danieli, Managing Director of the Grid Automation business unit within the company’s Power Grids division observes that utilities, now more than ever, see the need to bring together once disparate technologies and systems to better understand their increasingly complex asset base and share those insights with people across the organisation, in order to improve planning, productivity and safety. Commenting that it was very much in line with ABB’s focus on IoTSP as part of their Next Level strategy, he added that the company’s comprehensive portfolio put them in an ideal position to support their customers in integrating the worlds of information and operational technology.
Respondents to the survey see numerous benefits in the IT-OT integration. On a scale of 1-5, they ranked better long-term planning (4.86) as the highest priority, followed by increased staff productivity (4.43), improved safety (3.98) and better use of capital (3.68).
The study ‘Bridging IT and OT for the Connected Asset Lifecycle Management Era’ was conducted in collaboration with Microsoft Corp. and market research firm Zpryme.