DISTRIBUTECH 2024: A Pulse Check & A Peek At The Future

DISTRIBUTECH 2024: A Pulse Check & A Peek At The Future

By Jamal Syed, HEXstream President & CEO 

I am back in Chicago after spending much of the week at DISTRIBUTECH. Another terrific conference. Another chance to connect with friends old and new. And another opportunity to get inspired by the great work being done in the energy-transmission space. 

My takeaways: 

  • Artificial intelligence has evolved from being mere buzzwords to being a true differentiator among utilities. What I noticed most in many conversations at the show was the varied applications of AI, such as with meter data deaggregation. And while applications of AI are varied, this much is consistent: there is a tremendous need for a solid data platform to enable successful AI campaigns. 

  • Utilities are committed to decarbonization and embracing DERS and DERMS in order to reach their net-zero goals, particularly as electric vehicles are altering demands on the grid and, in response, utilities are prioritizing capacity planning. 

  • Smart meters are the wave of the future, enabling utilities unprecedented control over / access to meter data. In particular, I noticed a need among utility leaders for guidance on correctly mapping smart meters with transformers all the way up to the substation level. This relates, again, to the need for strategic capacity planning. 

  • Outage management continues to be top-of-mind here at DISTRIBUTECH, where attendees displayed a great appetite for a centralized data backbone that brings together different data silos together. In tandem with the larger digitalization trends among utilities, we see that data from multiple operational units must be properly combined to provide better ETR projections and customer-communication. 

As the president and CEO of HEXstream, I am always inspired by my peers in the utilities arena when I attend this show. DISTRIBUTECH is a yearly reminder of the incredible talent in this field, a tremendous way to get a pulse-check on trends in this space, and a forum to forecast not just where we’re headed, but to steer our peers in those directions. 

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