IT and Communication Trends for Critical Infrastructure

Communication Trend
Bobby Harris | VP of Market Strategy and Development | UTC | CIO Look

Critical infrastructure such as electric, gas and water utilities rely on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions to deliver reliable, efficient and affordable services throughout the world. UTC is the trusted resource for ICT solutions, collaboration and advocacy for utilities and other critical infrastructure industries. The growing convergence of IT and OT within utilities is quickly becoming a catalyst for greater interoperability and real-time communications.

New discussions involving “smart city” technologies are starting with the electric utility infrastructure. The new Envision America initiative announced by the White House is issuing a challenge to America’s cities to become smarter by accelerating deployment of innovative technologies that tackle energy, water, waste, and air challenges. UTC brings together government, the research community, utilities and cities to discuss innovative solutions to problems citizens care about – like reducing traffic congestion, fostering economic growth, improving sustainability, fighting crime and improving the delivery of important critical infra-structure services.

Quickly emerging issues around cyber and physical security are bringing a new challenge to cities and utilities large and small. Not a single week goes by without a news story about a company or government agency being hacked and millions of personal, customer or otherwise sensitive information exposed. Disruption of critical infrastructure by a cyber-incident is a serious concern for utility executives and technical practitioners. UTC believes that cyber security is the 21st century reliability challenge. To help our members address this challenge, UTC is implementing a comprehensive, holistic strategy that provides practical tools and information about handling cyber security challenges in a utilities environment.

With billions of data packets and millions of endpoint connections, utilities are exploring optimization and efficiency solutions from a multitude of vendors, including large established companies as well as entrepreneurial solutions built on the latest protocols. The key decision point for packet-based communications networks is not only cyber security, but also latency with the communications network. Machine-to-machine and grid edge computing interacting with central computing and data analytics demands real-time communications over secure networks.

How will telecom providers address the massive growing list of smart devices, which gather terabytes of data for critical infrastructure processes? Join the conversation at UTC Telecom & Technology 2016, which will take place in Denver at the Colorado Convention Center May 3-6, 2016.

About Bobbi Harris

Bobbi Harris is the VP of Market Strategy and Development at UTC. She is a smart city industry expert with more than 15 years of experience focusing on environmental issues and sustainability technologies to address water and energy challenges, including smart water infrastructure, smart grid, cleantech and green building initiatives. UTC is a global trade association dedicated to creating a favorable business, regulatory and technological environment for companies that own, manage or provide critical telecommunications systems in support of their core business. Founded in 1948, UTC has evolved into a dynamic organization that represents electric, gas and water utilities, natural gas pipelines, critical infrastructure companies, and other industry stakeholders.