After participating in several utility conferences in the first half of this year, it is clear that the utility telecommunications and smart device marketplace is stronger than ever and filled with new technology solutions. Utilities and cities around the world have multiple technology solution options from which to choose, so one wonders why they are not moving forward with system modernization, digitalization, and optimization plans.
The truth is many are moving forward, albeit slowly, with strategic discussions and plans for future work. However some are paralyzed by the overabundance of technology solutions, and perhaps, if we are honest, a little fear of making the wrong choice. There are plenty of solutions available "as a service" and many with lower-cost attributes, so expense isn't necessarily the barrier. I see the solutions with the most success are those with a migration path, which allows the utility to roll out the new technology in the most critical areas first and then migrate the others as the project moves forward. It is important for utilities to feel in control of the project while gaining assurance that their vendor partners will be there for the long run.
Another challenge I see around the world is that municipalities and communities create "400-page-plans" to appease one faction or another, and put it on a shelf but never implement anything. So for some, it is time to stop planning and start doing. Smart Cities, Smart Communities or Smart Villages all start in one place...with the first step.