Super-umbrellas covering smart cities

October 22, 2013 | 00:00

Super-umbrellas covering smart cities

In most cases new applications and innovations are the result of developments within a certain industry. Specialized companies have their own laboratories and research departments, or they collaborate with universities. Their findings mainly flourish within a particular field. Other discoveries find their way to a whole range of applications outside the industry they were originally designed for. Smart appliances in the energy sector illustrate both ways to the market.

Getting smarter (c) European Utility Week
While at the World Energy Conference in Korea energy sources, policies and politics were discussed, in Amsterdam the European Utility Week was dealing with ‘the smart energy revolution’ including utility management and smart energy value streams. Whatever the major controversies in the energy sector are, the market and its main drivers are marching ahead like legions creating their own future.

Both conferences have their own banners referring to the same issues: getting more efficient, more in control, improving metering, saving energy, the power of data, enhancing security and of course getting smarter, the totem of them all. In practice it means that the number of appliances monitoring or controlling plants, processes and complete organisations or even cities, is growing. Naturally this demands an integrated approach, minimizing the risk of incidents and failures. Such an integrated security and safety solution has been developed by the Swiss based company AGT International under the name of Safegrid.

Their ‘smart’ solution acts as a super-umbrella covering smart sensing, analytics, cyber-security and collaboration, providing greater safety and security and optimized asset maintenance for distribution and transmission grids. In a way the system provides a double safeguard by helping grid operators manage threats and risks before they emerge. AGT even claims their system ‘predicts’ potential problems, which is quite a statement.

EER asked AGT’s chief Corporate Development Officer Jens Wegmann if this claim can be substantiated. ‘Our solution encloses all available data and processes in place, so there is no more to know. It enables operators to visualize and manage complex environments within the scope of the grid and its functioning. So yes, the system looks ahead based on real-time information every minute of the day.’

‘Is Safegrid providing operational efficiency and emergency response especially for industrial grids?’

‘That is certainly the case, but our solution covers a wide range of applications beyond plants. Take a major city like Singapore. This is a well-organized metropolis with already a lot in store for securing buildings, traffic and other city-bound activities. Obviously a smart city will only flourish if the system is reliable and safe. What AGT is aiming to accomplish is validation of data and facts and henceforth an optimization of risk management.’

‘What can we expect in the near future?’

‘As the ceo and founder of AGT Mati Kochavi says, we have to make the world safer by leading integration of devices and new information sources. People may think: “What else do we expect in a world that has entered the Era of Information.” But we try to anticipate on the cascading of security. We are not just offering a complementary tool, but we are going from prediction and stimulation, making use of intuition and experience, to the implementation of a knowledge cloud.’

European Utility Week is not the only conference annex exhibition on ‘Smart’. There are similar events in Asia, Latin America and Africa. In Amsterdam alone more than threehundred mainly European and American speakers shared their intentions, views and activities. Major companies like Siemens IBM, E.on, RWe, GdF, Toshiba and Cisco were present. Remarkably enough there were no speakers from Russia.


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