T&D World Magazine
futuristic helicopter

There was excitement in the air – literally, with two drones and this futuristic helicopter on the Distributech Show floor.

We are increasingly seeing utilities worldwide turn to drones, helicopter and fixed wing planes to survey, inspect, maintain and construct lines.

I have flown with my AEP buddies to inspect a 765kV line under construction and to watch linemen placing spacer dampers from buggies.

The sky is the limit.

Ricks Ramblings: Wednesday Show Floor Musings at Distributech

Sometimes you go to a booth and find that there is a small meeting room somewhere in the back of the booth. That was not the case at the Elster booth. The meeting room was essentially a see-through plexiglass cylinder in the center of the booth space. But once inside, I didn’t seem so exposed. Chief strategic thinker Ron Pate absolutely blew my mind when he described Elster’s new Connexo Platform. A wonderful mix of proprietary (speed of communications transfer) and open architecture greeted me. Expect Elster’s platform to make waves.

A stop at Trimble had me meeting with George Karayannis, the energy sales director. Trimble has quite a robust Outage Management System and we will look to cover utility roll-outs. I hadn’t realized that Trimble has worked their offerings down into the bread-and-butter functions of the distribution company. And George is one energetic individual  who makes me laugh. I want to hang around him some more.

Over at Siemens, I met with Mike Carlson, the head of the Smart Grid business. He spent stints at other companies including Xcel Energy and is a walking Wikipedia of contacts in the smart grid space. We had the opportunity to chat distributed resources, microgrids and all things smart grid.

I also enjoyed my stop at Varentec. I was hunting up my friend Deepak Divan, but he was sequestered in a back room in a meeting. Maybe it was for the best as I had a chance to talk with Andrew Dillon, founder, about how their advanced power electronics enable power flow control on the distribution system enabling volt/Var control and more.

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