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Leveraging the Voice Radio Network for Data Transmission

By Phill Feltham

Improving communications for electric utilities

BY MIKE KOCH, Motorola Solutions

Utility management has never been an easy profession. The stakes rose dramatically when the U.S. government designated energy and communications as two of the top industries of all 16 critical infrastructure industries. Utility managers must live up to the reality of this vital designation. Yet, this designation as critical infrastructure provokes potential contradictions with the realities of for-profit utilities that must also watch bottom-line costs and operational efficiencies on behalf of investors.

Technology investment conceivably is a double-edged sword in a “for profit” environment. Communication technology can improve operating efficiency and the overall resiliency of the utility system. Technology often requires capital investment and utility managers have either just completed, or are in the process of, a major transition from analog to digital radio networks.

As data becomes a greater part of the promise of technology investments, the prospect of further investments and the public process those investments often entail can be daunting.

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