IoT in Smart Grid Applications for Smart Cities: DistribuTECH 2020 Take-Aways

Sam Johnson Sam Johnson, Account Manager, Digi International
February 05, 2020

It's always great to look back on a phenomenal event and talk about the take-aways. DistribuTECH 2020 has come and gone until next year, and what a week it was! From IoT smart grid and smart city innovations to much needed happy hours, and everything in between, the event allowed some of the utility and energy industries' top professionals from across the globe to meet, connect, collaborate, and have fun.

Presentation/Knowledge Hub takeaways

DistribuTECH does a wonderful job giving all attendees the ability to take part in their Knowledge Hubs. These provided industry professionals with the opportunity to hear from leading companies in the market to learn about the up-and-coming IoT applications in smart energy and smart cities and ask questions.

Some of the hot topics and take-aways this year included the following: 

  • The future of the Smart Grid and how to be ready for change. This topic, hosted by OMICRON, covered problem-solving applications, such as how smart grid testing has advanced with automation to "re-energize" the system for customers that are not directly connected to a damaged circuit.
  • Discussion of “digital twins” and why utility companies should take note of the technology. This topic was hosted by Bentley Systems and delivered by David Foltz of Sensus, a Xylem brand. It covered how digital twin technology enables organizations to identify data quality issues, visualize these issues on a map, and resolve them using smart rules and machine learning.
  • How to monitor data and use analytics correctly to make profitable decisions for poorly monitored grids. Delivered by Duke Energy, Boston Consulting Group, and Energisa, this topic discussed how utilities are not new to data analysis, but smart grid analytics offers a more direct link between IT and OT. It covered the importance of understanding anomalies and patterns to help predict failures or future needs, and grow ROI.
  • Electric vehicle infrastructure discussions from sedans to trucks. This topic was hosted by ABB and delivered by Ben Kellison of Wood MacKenzie. Nearly 250 million electric vehicles are projected to hit the roads globally by 2040, and this new and expanding market is now in need of infrastructure across all areas including homes, businesses, commercial locations, and more.

It's exciting to see all the developments and solutions supporting efficiency, automation and greater insights for smart energy. As a provider of enabling technologies for automation, machine learning, IoT connectivity and smart cities applications, we always enjoy the opportunity to connect and exchange technical insights with our partners in the commercial and industrial spaces.

Digi’s Demo and Products Exhibited

Digi International was back exhibiting this year, and we had the privilege to showcase an array of solutions from our product portfolio. On the large show floor, Digi International was located near the Smart Cities Zone. We were fortunate to have a steady stream of new and existing customers stopping by to chat about what’s new with Digi and our product offerings, and see our customer demo!

Customer Demo – EnTek

Digi presented a low-cost wireless demand response solution in collaboration with our partner, EnTek. Our demo showed a simple, cost-effective load shedding application for high-load appliances. For this customer demo, we showed the Digi XBee 3 Cellular module in action. It allowed our team to showcase the immediate response of the command (On/Off) with a simple SMS message, while talking through how a deployment would look at a large scale.

Digi was represented by both North American and Latin American sales reps, which enabled us to have great discussions in multiple languages – English, Spanish and Portugese. This helped form meaningful relationships and better understanding around our products and IoT in the energy, utility and smart city markets throughout the Americas.

Note on multi-lingual support: If you are needing a discussion around solutions for smart energy, smart grid and smart city solutions, please reach out to our teams from our Contact Us page. And you are welcome to add a note if your preferred language is Spanish or Portugese.

Conversations in our booth surrounded a range of showcased Digi solutions and their ideal applications in smart energy, Industrial IoT (IIoT) and smart city applications:

Innovation: Cool Digi Products and Demos at the Show

WS2 showcased their new Emergency Response Kit featuring a Digi cellular router at the Tessco booth. The Emergency Response Kit provides a rugged and protected solution for high-speed Internet almost anywhere. Enclosed within a military-grade pelican case, the Emergency Response Kit utilizes a Digi WR54 cellular router. This allows you to perform your mission-critical tasks, almost anywhere, without compromising the safety and security of your data.

If you missed us, feel free to reach out for a consultation around your application needs.

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