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Steve Ehrlich: Asset Analyzer

Sept. 4, 2014

Utilities face the challenge of keeping the lights on every day, and this challenge is only made tougher with decades-old infrastructure in place. Analytics provides the opportunity for utility O & M leaders to change the asset and maintenance management game to make keeping the lights on less of an obstacle. With data now available from smart meters, line sensors, equipment sensors, and third-party sources, new maintenance practices can be implemented to improve the O & M bottom line, maximize the usable life of assets, and maintain system reliability and performance.

Bringing all of this together, Steve Ehrlich, senior vice president of marketing for Space-Time Insight will moderate the panel, Asset Analytics: If It Ain’t Broke, Do Fix It at Utility Analytics Week on Thursday, Oct. 23. This session will profile one utility that is “full speed ahead” in this new asset management paradigm.

“In the utilities industry, as in many others, a lot of costly assets are aging rapidly.  Understanding in advance when those assets are likely to fail can avert crisis situations, saving lives and money,” Ehrlich said. “Asset analytics is a relatively new technology that can provide that understanding.  Session attendees will be able to take learnings from key discussion areas back to their organizations and apply them in short order.”

Ehrlich has 25 years of software industry experience and a passion for technology and all aspects of the marketing domain. Space-Time Insight transforms the vast quantities of disparate information spreading across organizations into intuitive visual displays that businesses can use to make informed real-time decisions. From traditional transmission, communications and transportation networks to smart grids and cities, the company’s situational intelligence solution is intended to make critical infrastructure smarter, safer and more reliable.

Ehrlich has found in his years of experience that for many organizations, there is a communications gap between the personnel who operate the core functions of the business and the IT professionals who provide infrastructure for those personnel to do their jobs more effectively. 

“Working in product management and marketing, I’ve engaged in both the definition and marketing of products,” Ehrlich said. “This provides a breadth of understanding of what companies need in their software to solve business problems, as well as an ability to articulate to those businesses in layman’s terms, how the technology can be applied.  Effectively this helps bridge the gap between operations and IT.”

He has also shared his knowledge by presenting on a range of topics, from data modeling to application development and user interface design.  At Space-Time Insight’s upcoming SI World conference, he will be covering big data and visual analytics. He uses concrete examples or hands-on practice in his sessions and seminars.  “I would encourage all instructors to build these into training and session materials,” he said.

Ehrlich has enjoyed the combination of technology and business in his position, having graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa with technical and business degrees. “I sought a career that allowed me to retain my technology roots while allowing me to be customer-focused in the areas of marketing and product marketing.”

He did just that and started his career at Oracle Corp. where he held a range of technical and product marketing management roles. He then went on to lead speech recognition vendor Nuance from startup to market leadership and a successful initial public offering. He also co-founded and led marketing and product strategy for BUZ Interactive and played similar roles at Apptera, a speech applications provider.

Ehrlich continues to believe that people should always aim to work in areas that they are passionate about.  “Loving what you’re working on, or the products you’re working with, goes a long way toward a successful and satisfying career,” he said.

He also love to write and play music, which provides a relaxing break from day-to-day business activities.

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