InnovationForce launches Connected Utility program allowing utilities to innovate in 90-day sprints with industry partners to rapidly achieve grid modernization goals
Sept. 13 2022, RALEIGH, N.C. InnovationForce, the company developing the world's first purpose-built SaaS-based platform to automate and democratize innovation, recently completed the first 18 months of its Connected Utility Lab with Portland General Electric (PGE), identifying about $340 million in potential savings from the first set of use cases driven by leading technology ecosystem partners including Intel, Google, the 5G Open Innovation Lab (5GOIL) and Expeto.
The Connected Utility is a turnkey program that includes everything a utility needs to rapidly experiment and advance grid modernization innovation efforts, including:
Use case library with over 100 use cases that are ready to deploy with solutions from ecosystem partners
Automated innovation workflows and dashboard reporting
Innovation management and advisory services
This novel approach to innovation allows utilities to contract with InnovationForce to deliver the Connected Utility innovation program “as-a-service” with a packaged number of use cases paid for as a monthly flat fee. Through the Connected Utility, utilities can rapidly experiment with ground-breaking technologies in their own service territory and capture their own day-in-the-life learnings. The goal is to deliver production-ready use cases that will drive grid modernization from the cloud to the grid edge in rapid 90-day sprints.
“Over the last year and a half, we’ve seen wildfires and ice storms. Each of those events has tested us and caused us to think differently about how to apply technology to make the grid of the future,” said Larry Bekkedahl, PGE Senior Vice President of Advanced Energy Delivery. “The Connected Utility started as a lab focused on how to deploy 5G in the utility space. But it’s gone way beyond that to change how we think about connecting our customers, employees, and the devices to deliver reliable, affordable, safe, and ultimately clean electricity.”
“Across the nation, regulated utilities are looking for ways to rapidly experiment with emerging technologies that will quickly advance grid modernization to achieve carbon neutral goals by 2030 and beyond,” said InnovationForce CEO Kim Getgen. “The Connected Utility is designed to provide utilities with everything they need to jump-start innovation and deliver tangible results quickly. We are grateful for PGE’s leadership and thank our ecosystem partners that created a dialogue to push the art of the possible and rapidly advance the utility of the future. We are proving that ecosystem innovation is an excellent way to attack climate change.”
According to Caroline Chan, Vice President of Intel’s Network and Edge Solutions Group and General Manager of the Network Business Incubator Division, “Providing a consistent, reliable, and smart grid is of national security interest. Intel is working with the ecosystem enabling a new era for utility companies to take advantage of a software upgradable infrastructure that drives innovation at a much faster pace using 5G and edge computing.”
"The Connected Utility program is a way for utilities to quickly evaluate new technologies and test them in a field trial to determine how they will perform in an effort to prevent wildfires, meet decarbonization goals, and keep crews and customers safe,” said Michael Anderson, CEO of Expeto. “In this current climate crisis, I couldn’t think of anything more important.”
“You’re working with a collective group who are solving problems spanning across different geographic locations, and the Connected Utility is creating a glue that can put it all together so that we can actually take action,” said Josh Herman, Senior Account Executive for Google. “If I can get to the data and answers in a very quick manner, I can make the best decisions that will positively impact the customers in my service area.”
The Connected Utility process is automated by InnovationForce’s patent-pending SaaS platform that automates workflows between innovators inside and outside a utility to drive an ecosystem that helps scale and accelerate innovation. A utility can tap into a bigger pool of resources and technology possibilities by sharing the innovation workload across the wider ecosystem. For the first time, InnovationForce dashboards report real-time progress and roadblocks to innovation. This is the future of innovation where utilities engage with the wider collective to solve their most pressing problems and can measure the overall effectiveness of their innovation performance.