Importance of Critical Communication for the Reliability of Electricity
We take electricity for granted, and its disruptions are the rare occasions when we even think about it. However, ensuring its reliability is an extremely complex and onerous task. With generation sources rapidly evolving, the demand growing manifold, clean energy on global focus, and cyber-threat risks increasingly becoming real, the disruptions in electricity too are becoming that much more possible.
June 30, 2022. By News Bureau
We take electricity for granted, and its disruptions are the rare occasions when we even think about it. However, ensuring its reliability is an extremely complex and onerous task. With generation sources rapidly evolving, the demand growing manifold, clean energy on global focus, and cyber-threat risks increasingly becoming real, the disruptions in electricity too are becoming that much more possible. Electricity outages can cascade into recursive negative financial impact upon the producer and distributors besides a dent in their reputation. Some of those often make international headlines, adversely impacting the country’s credibility.
Earlier, the reliability of electricity used to be about the dependability of the energy fuelling the power generation stations. The distribution lines laid in various terrain often dispersed across harsh conditions and spread over thousands of kilometres, also was a reliability factor. Today, the shift of power reliability is towards ensuring ‘instant reaction agility’ that needs remote monitoring, instant operator connections, predicting and rectifying asset malfunctions, reduced latency in a reliable, safe, and efficient way.
Such agility requires combining the most robust communication technologies available to not only meet the current needs but also to be able to preserve current investments when transitioning to future grid requirements. In tandem with the evolution of electricity to electricity 2.0, its mission-critical communications, called Unified Critical Communications, has progressed to Communications 2.0, ready to serve the needs of future grids.
Unified Critical Communications (UCC) ensures the consolidation of multiple communication networks into one converged intelligent network. Also, it ensures interoperability between multiple-equipment vendors and technologies, facilitating collaboration and innovation within the networks. To imagine Communication 2.0, one can envision the traditional substation transforming into a ‘digital’ substation, having advantages analogous to modern-day mobile telephony over the traditional landline phones. Such a new age-critical communication in electricity allows transmission of varied and humongous data with ease, allowing a host of proprietary apps to function on the network to facilitate and ease different functions. This, in turn, creates greater reliability of the networks.
Another crucial advancement that UCC brings is its ability to harness Artificial Intelligence to the myriad data that flows through these communication networks. The use of AI in UCC helps human actions because of the higher predictability and reliability of the data under analysis. AI helps make faster decisions, an imperative in critical utilities like electricity. The communications networks of electric utilities are extremely complex. Hence, a bespoke AI solution, one that is dedicated to solving the challenges, current and in the future, can be of significant use.
In our AI solution, CN-SHIELD, primarily, we kept two aspects in mind while developing the same. Firstly, it must be rapidly deployable in a multi-layered environment like an electric utility. Secondly, the AI solution must directly help reduce failures, improve efficiency, and increase reliability in electric utilities.
There is much discussion regarding declaring electricity as a universal human right. And it is, without doubt, for individuals and businesses alike. And if electricity is not an optional utility today, then its reliability is a necessity.
- Shriprakash R. Pandey, CMD, Commtel
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