30. May 2023

Connecting the Energy and the Telecom Industry

What happens when a power outage cuts mobile coverage – but the technicians depend on mobile coverage to identify where the power outage is located? The lines between two of Norway’s most critical industries are blurred. Now, both sides are seeking a change; and the solution might be closer than you think – soon we will launch a tool that bridges the gap between error correction across both the mobile network and the power grid.

You need electricity to get mobile coverage; and mobile coverage to repair power outages. But despite grid companies and telecom companies operating in the same geographical area, it is not a given that information flows freely when incidents occur.

SafeMon is an ideal starting point for closing the information gap between the industries.

Mutual Dependence

Because the energy industry and the telecom industry use SafeMon to monitor their sites – it is relatively easy for us to create a solution that displays the connection between the various measuring points, and thus provide a comprehensive overview of all interruptions across the power grid and the mobile network.

The lack of free flow of information between the energy and telecom industries was discussed during the EkomKraft conference earlier this year, where each of the major telecom companies shared their thoughts on industry challenges and desired solutions.

The grid companies control the uptime of mobile phone coverage. We reckon that 80% of disruptions in the mobile network are due to power outages. Employees across the grid companies, installers, and operating technicians depend on the mobile network to communicate with each other to locate and repair the breach. It is a chicken and egg situation; a mutual dependence, says Lars Erik Gjervan, CEO of SafeBase.

By 2030, the emergency network must be commercialized and based on 5G technology. This places heavy demands on uptime and mobile coverage availability for the commercial actors.

Today, there is no close cooperation between the telecom industry and the energy industry. The average telecom company is rarely confident in which network company owns the power grid in their regions – leading to telephone queues and downtime during incidents.

Many are advocating for implementation of open solutions to make the flow of information easier, so that infrastructure critical to society is continuously maintained.

Critical Infrastructure for Society

As landlines are no longer supported, the mobile network is becoming increasingly critical to society. The mobile network, as well as the emergency network that the telecom companies will be operating within the coming decade, is completely dependent on sustained energy supply. Rune Jøraandstad, CCO of SafeBase, was present when preparedness was discussed at EkomKraft.

Many telecom companies pointed out the challenge in spotting the relations between place names in the notifications from the network company and their own base stations. They all share a need for a common channel designed for free flow of information between the industries, recounts Jøraandstad.

A Foot in Both Camps

The solution is expected to be ready for rollout shortly.

One of our largest customers asked us to make a proposal on how they can gain insight into the state of health of the power grid, since mobile coverage is dependent on the power supplies. They believe we are best suited to do this for them, because we have in-depth expertise in both the telecom infrastructure and the power grid infrastructure.

In SafeMon there are already solutions for:

• Automatic notifications in cases of alarms or incidents

• Insight into remaining battery capacity

• Geographic map data with locations of network and base stations

We are stitching together the various features into a separate application that provide users insight into both networks, says Gjervan.

The solution will be ready over the summer of 2023.

Stay tuned!

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