Utility Week

UTILITY Week 20th February 2015

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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utILIty WeeK | 20th - 26th February 2015 | 23 Operations & Assets the tsunami resistant house (pic- tured). Is hydrodynamic design and concrete, waterproof structure, enable it to withstand the worst tidal waves. Solar panels on the roof make the structure self-sufficient. If you have an asset or project you would like to see featured in this slot, please send your pictures and details of the project to: paul.newton@fav-house.com or call 01342 332085 Pipe up Dominic Thasarathar W ith the arrival of AMP6 comes a change of gear for the UK's water industry. As regula- tion moves to outcome-based measurement, utilities seek to maximise performance in the associated total expenditure environment. The post-privatisation emphasis on big infrastructure programmes created expertise in delivering capital pro- jects. As that period wanes, how can the industry quickly transition to excellence in asset operations? There are three ways in which cloud computing might help: • Infinite computing. Crunching statistical data to predict mean time to failure for rotating equip- ment, using pattern-recognition to identify signs of stress in project supply chains before they manifest themselves, and mining big-data to understand how shiing demographics will change demand patterns. These are just three examples of the type of algorithm- based approaches utilities will increasingly employ. The ability to rent on-demand and (theoretically) unlimited parallel processing power in the cloud will clear the way for this type of exercise. • Generative design. Take a complex challenge and let an algorithm find the optimum answer. Input the boundary conditions and desired out- comes and let that algorithm flex its infinite computing muscle. This may sound like science fiction, but generative design is being researched in several sectors. The construction sector is exploring its use to optimise spatial layout and the manufacturing sector for component design, so why not the water sector for infrastructure? • Phone a thousand friends. Having the right mix of skills, when you need them, particularly as the industry's trading environment is changing, can be tough. As the cloud continues to shrink the distance between people, could utilities take advantage of some of the new business models for the supply of talent? Extending the workforce virtually offers flex- ibility and a bigger pool of ideas. From "how much value is le in this asset?" to "is there a non-infrastructure solution to this infrastruc- ture challenge?" and "how can we predict changing customer preferences before they affect us?", the nature of the questions utilities have to answer is changing. That's going to underwrite new ways of thinking, new approaches to problem solving and powerful new tools. For many, the future for water may be in the cloud. Dominic Thasarathar, senior manager, construction, utilities, natural resources, Autodesk "How can cloud computing help the water industry transition to excellence in asset operations?" "Big water infrastructure programmes created expertise in delivering capital projects"

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