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Virtual events for utilities

When COVID-19 novel coronavirus put a hard stop to most in-person tradeshows and conferences this year, organizers quickly retooled many events as virtual.  Whether this change is long-standing or just a blip in event-planning history, only time will tell.

While virtual events do not offer an opportunity for face-to-face interaction and socializing, they do provide some benefits, including, according to Forrester, the following:

  • Attend from anywhere
  • Catch up on recorded sessions after the event
  • Include more colleagues in the event due to lower costs
  • Interact through chats and other online communications tools

So until in-person events are again available, you can educate yourself about what is happening in the industry while maximizing your time through virtual conferences

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Here are 8 virtual events for utilities to consider between now and the end of 2020.

1. The Spring Gas Conference and Expo

August 17 – September 2
Members: $575; Non-Members $1050

This is a technical skills and leadership training conference by the Southern Gas Association for natural gas operators, featuring more than 40 sessions led by industry thought leaders with content curated by experts. Topics include a wide range of topics of interest to gas utilities – from pipeline protection issues to new metering technologies and networks. Aclara will have a virtual booth at the conference featuring our gas utility solutions.

2. The Digital 360 Summit

August 18 – 27

Sponsored by CMG, a strategy consulting and advisory company that manages technology projects for electric utilities, the Digital 360 Summit industry offers sessions covering a wide range of topics including networks, sensors, data, software, utilities, smart cities, mobility, infrastructure, energy, water and wastewater, and smart factories. The virtual summit will feature 300 experts, 16 keynotes, and 11 panels. Senior vice-president of AMI and Services Kumi Premathilake will keynote the August 26 session on sensors and edge computing, and Director of Product Management will participate in the panel discussing grid monitoring and sensors following her presentation.

3. UTC Telecom Technology Conference

August 18 – September 3
Members $395; Non-Members $595

The UTC Telecom & Technology 2020 virtual annual conference and expo offers pre-conference training for education and licensing purposes, and separate summits covering broadband, security, telecom, and UtiliSite issues. The main part of the conference, beginning August 25 and continues through September 3. The RFL brand (part of Hubbell Utility Solutions) is a sponsor and has a virtual booth at the event.

4. EEI Virtual Leadership Summit

September 9 – 10

The Edison Electric Institute’s Virtual Leadership Summit will offer 12 live targeted breakout sessions and four general sessions focused on the cutting-edge issues facing the electric utility industry including clean energy, customer experience, smart infrastructure, and the future. Event sessions, which are complimentary to all attendees this year, with a Q&A chat after each session. Watch EEI Chairman Ben Fowke’s comments on the Virtual Leadership Summit.

​5. ETS20

September 15 – 17
Utilities $399; Government $399; Industry $999

Conducted by research firm Zpryme, ETS20 (Energy Thought Summit) will bring together thought leaders from utilities, government, and technology companies to dig into the decarbonization and sustainability challenges facing electric utilities, including the role of distribution automation. Check out this white paper reporting on research conducted by Zpryme on the present and future of distribution automation.

6. AWWA Virtual Summit

September 23 – 24
Member $220; Non-member $320

This year’s premier water distribution conference, ACE20, was canceled, but the American Water Works Association’s Virtual Summit will offer over 50 technical sessions covering topics including transforming utility management, strengthening public trust, implementing smart water, advancing water treatment, improving water quality, and preparing infrastructure solutions.  Many of these sessions may meet the education requirements of state licensing agencies.

7. DistribuTECH+ Monthly Virtual Series

September 23 – March 2021
Cost TBD

DistribuTECH International and its media partner POWERGRID International are rolling out the DISTRIBUTECH+ Series,  a new virtual platform to provide timely and informative content year-round. This live Series will bring together the energy community through virtual experiences for those looking for perspective and discussion on current and future issues affecting the transmission and distribution markets.

Here is a tentative list of upcoming dates and topics for the series.

  • September 23 – 24: Utility of the Future
  • October 28 — 29: Renewables and Energy Storage
  • November 17 –18: Resiliency Planning
  • December 17 –18: Cybersecurity: Protecting the Grid from Substation to Behind the Meter

Although details on the new series are scarce, you can keep informed by filling out a form on the program’s website.

8.  Grid Edge Innovation Summit

November 30 – December 3
Cost: TBD

The Grid Edge Innovation Summit 2020, originally scheduled for Denver, will be virtual this year. Initially scheduled to include two full days of data-intensive presentations from the leading grid edge research practice in America, the program will now be extended over four days. The summit will still offer industry-led discussions on how data analytics, artificial intelligence, distributed energy resources management systems, virtual power plants, and other digital tools are enhancing grid flexibility and resilience. Aclara is a sponsor of this year’s event. Sign up for updates to receive updated registration information.

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