By Rajalingam Arikaarampalayam

Technology, education, and interactivity with over 10,000 leading experts across a broad spectrum of industries¬¬¬––Huawei Connect 2017 delivered all of this and more throughout the three days of the event (September 5th to 7th) in Shanghai, China.

Huawei Connect 2017 was a well-attended event with more than 20,000 attendees from over 120 countries. This impressive event consisted of more than 600 speakers and over 200 presentations and sessions. The theme and tagline of this conference was: Grow with the Cloud.  Huawei strongly believes that the cloud drives digital transformation and impacts businesses as well as individual lifestyles. Thus, companies seizing these opportunities will gain a competitive advantage over its peers.

While there was a wide selection of different technologies on display at the event; from a digital grid perspective, the focus was mainly on distribution automation (DA), smart meters, substation automation (SA) and monitoring robots. Currently, the majority of these applications are not leveraging cloud solutions; however, Huawei recognizes and highlighted that these applications will eventually leverage cloud solutions in the near future and the same was resonated throughout the conference.

Wired to Wireless

Sessions focused on how communication technology is shifting from mobile Internet to Internet-of-Energy (IoE) enabled by increased deployment of the RS232 and RS485 type bus. There is also a shift happening in terms of transmission networks moving away from wired to wireless, networking modes from bus to cellular, and application scenarios from onsite inspection to remote monitoring and real-time management. Such real-time management is achieved with the help of communication technologies including Bluetooth, ZigBee, 4G, and 5G.

The smart grid sessions covered topics ranging from building IEEE PLC IoT standards for interoperable PLC IoT ecosystems, IoT and Big Data roles in enabling bi-directional power flow, and the role of private wireless networks for next-generation power networks.

From these sessions, I learned what were the current issues facing the transmission and distribution industry and about the key solutions that have been developed in recent years. IEEE P1901.1 is working on developing standards for Medium Frequency Power Line Communications for Smart Grid Applications. This standard will enable the interoperability of products developed by multiple vendors. Huawei is one of the key contributors for developing this standard, as it partners with IEEE in developing this standard. Similarly with the role of Big Data, it is expected that more than over 50 billion IoT-capable components will enter the energy sector by 2020. These components are expected to generate huge volumes of data and lay the foundation for the energy Internet in the long run.

Industrial Robots and Technology Convergence

The highlight of the event was the opportunity to interact with architects from Huawei’s power solution team and transmission business units of Huawei. This helped me gain an understanding of the convergence in the application of technologies across various sectors including smart cities, smart water, smart power, smart oil and gas, and smart grids.

It has been estimated that more than 2 million industrial robots are running over 100 unmanned factories and creating a significant impact on all industries. Furthermore, the vision of smart grids might be achieved faster with solutions such as 5G, Internet of Things, and cloud. The future of grid management will be strongly influenced by data generated from millions of sensors and cloud intelligence. Additionally, I had a chance to network with a diverse group of attendees involved in various businesses including solar, smart healthcare, smart water, data centres, smart factory, smart city, and IoT solutions.

The entire conference was a great opportunity to understand the smart grid industry as a whole. I am grateful for the Huawei team (including those I met – Louie Liu and Eric Xiewei) who invited me for the Huawei Connect 2017 conference.

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