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2024 priorities and emerging trends for electric utilities

Written panel series #7

Network IQ

Welcome to the seventh installment of IQGeo’s Network IQ – written panel series.

Throughout 2023 the electric utility industry has faced many technical, operational, regulatory, and environmental challenges, all while continuing its journey for grid modernization. As we move through 2024, we wanted to hear from the utility experts what they predict will be the biggest priorities and emerging trends for electrical utilities over the next 12 months.


We invited Chief Technology Officer, Bill Boswell and Managing Partner, Robert Sarfi from the Boreas Group, as well as Vice President of Utility Solutions, Adrian McNulty and Senior Vice President of APAC, Christian Wirth from IQGeo to share their thoughts. 


“What do you predict will be the biggest priorities and emerging trends for electric utilities over the next 12 months?

Bill Boswell and Robert Sarfi

Chief Technology Officer and Managing Partner, Boreas Group

Boreas Group logo "2024 is lining up to be a significant year in the evolution of geospatial and operations technologies. We’ve reached a stage where there is currently a critical mass of companies that have implemented ADMS with integrated advanced apps, e.g. power flow, DERMS, FLISR, etc. The need for these apps isn’t simply to follow buying trends but rather to support the ongoing grid transformation. Sadly the myth of high-quality data, or even data of sufficient quality to support basic operations, let alone advanced apps, is being exposed.

The ongoing struggles with recent GIS migrations to an explicit connectivity model, combined with decades of data deterioration, is pushing both utilities and vendors alike to change how work is done, and their overall software strategy. There will always be a need for a solid GIS to manage spatial relationships and provide location awareness, but the consensus is that we’re heading to a specialized network management. Software tools that is easy to use and allow for near real time updates of the operational model from the time of energization in the field.

In 2024, we’re going to see the network model break out of the exclusionary GIS groups and reside in the engineering and operations teams, where it rightfully belongs. This entire transformation will be under the specter of a tightening total cost of ownership, much shorter, less expensive, and lower risk deployments, and reduced capital and O&M costs associated with the suite as a whole.

Next year, we’re going to see new tools and processes to better manage the network model in order to support the ever-changing needs of the modern grid. What we’ve done in the past simply isn’t good enough. 2024 is going to be an exciting year for change, let’s call it the year of network model management, and it’s going to make us feel as though we’re finally unburdened and liberated. Quite frankly it feels good just thinking about it!"

Learn more from the Boreas Group on Network IQ industry chat: The challenges of grid modernization for electric utilities

Adrian McNulty

Vice President of Utility Solutions, IQGeo

Adrian McNulty“The electric grid is a complex system, and we should acknowledge the excellent job that utilities do delivering reliable power to us as despite the daily challenges. Many people may think of grid modernization as decarbonization, and while that is a very important aspect, I believe the continued investment in grid reliability will be a priority moving forward.

This can mean many things, upgrading and reinforcing existing equipment, grid automation to digitalizing processes and implementing new systems that support and operate the grid, all with the objective of providing a sustainable and reliable power supply to commercial and residential customers alike.

In 2023 we saw firsthand how companies like IQGeo can help utilities by adopting digital solutions to manage day to day activities that includes both planned and unplanned work. We sometimes use the term mobile-first, this means that modern software architectures breakdown the traditional technical barriers between the office and the field, enabling seamless workflows and data exchange regardless of where the work is performed. These improvements in daily activities have a tremendous impact on overall grid operation.”

Read more insights from Adrian on a new approach to managing the evolution of the electric grid how utilities can keep pace with the enormous challenge of grid modernization.

Christian Wirth

Senior Vice President of APAC, IQGeo

IQGeo_Christian_Wirth_160x160"From an Asian utility perspective, the single most important priority for utility operators in 2024 will be the development of technology strategies to create more resilient grids and networks. Business, technology, and environmental factors will continue to converge and drive this priority. New government targets for net zero carbon objectives, greater dependency on the electric grid, and increasingly severe weather incidents all demand more dependable resilient networks.

Fortunately, utility operators are beginning to recognize that there is an imperative to re-evaluate the role of their traditional GIS-based software strategy. While these GIS systems will continue to play an important role in the management of their grids, operators now understand that they a transformed physical grid also demands a transformation in their software strategy.

The drive to build modern resilient networks demands management software that can rapidly adapt to the evolving grid infrastructure and can be used as effectively in the field as in the office with cloud-based, SaaS solutions. Creating more resilient networks requires a different, “Adaptive grid” approach, and in 2024 I expect to see an increasing number of utility operators rethinking their grid management software tools to meet the challenge of creating greener, more resilient networks."

Learn how Chubu Electric Power Grid, one of Japan's leading electric utilities, are pioneering the creation of a robust and dependable grid through their proactive disaster strategy.

More from Network IQ

IQGeo’s Network IQ series shares insights from experts on important telecom and utility industry conversations. You can enjoy the series through short written options and video interviews.

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While legacy network management solutions still focuses on their GIS, IQGeo is different. Our Network Manager and application software focuses on your network, and how you can more flexibly and efficiently plan, design, construct and operate your increasingly complex networks. Whether you're building a new fiber and 5G network, modernizing your electricity grid for a renewable future, or delivering safe dependable gas services, IQGeo accelerates time to revenue from a single platform. Find out why our customers choose IQGeo

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Together with IQGeo, telecom and utility network operators build better networks to transform their business. The IQGeo software is setting new standards for productivity and collaboration that increase revenue, decrease operating costs, improve customer satisfaction, and enhance safety.

Visit the customer stories page to see how IQGeo is helping them to reimagine the role of geospatial software. 

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2023 Technology priorities for telecom and electric utility operators

On the fourth installment of the written panel series, we asked our industry experts to share their insights on what should be the number one technology priority in 2023 to help telecom and utility operators prepare for the future.

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