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All Places > Electric and Gas > Blog > 2018 > January
2018

Network Management News

for Utilities and Telecommunication Companies

We have exciting news to share.

  • New ArcGIS platform release: On January 18, Esri released ArcGIS Enterprise 10.6 and ArcGIS Pro 2.1, representing a significant step forward in the ArcGIS platform, especially for utilities. Read about the new features here.
  • New ArcGIS extension for utilities: An integral part of the ArcGIS 10.6 platform is the new ArcGIS Utility Network Management extension. We call this technology, simply, the utility network, and it represents the future of network management. We showcased the power of this new extension at DistribuTECH 2018.
  • Upcoming utility release for ArcMap: This summer we will release ArcGIS 10.6.1. This release will also include the next desktop utility release for ArcMap and the geometric network, and it will be supported until January 2024. This gives you plenty of time to plan and prepare for your migration to the utility network.

The Utility Network: A Quantum Leap in Network Management

The utility network launches a brand-new way for you to manage utility and telecom data. You can:

  • Share your network model with real-time systems
  • Create schematic diagrams automatically and make them accessible in the platform
  • Visualize your network assets in 3D
  • Build non-spatial network connectivity
  • Model devices inside other devices
  • Edit your data with ArcGIS Pro, the most modern GIS desktop software available
  • Create attribute rules and enforce rich business logic to prevent errors
  • Support annotation across the platform
  • Author ArcGIS Pro projects and share them using your ArcGIS portal

Esri will continue to expand the capabilities of the utility network over the next months and years.

In the spring, Esri will offer data migration tools to help you move to the new utility network.

Our summer release of the utility network will include:

  • Attribute rule enhancements
  • Client-side evaluation of rules
  • SDK developer enhancements
  • We have many other features coming in later releases including:
  • Mobile geodatabase support
  • Partial posting
  • Custom validation tools
  • A telecom model that includes fiber cables
  • Domains dependent on the value of other fields
  • Support for dimensioning
  • Better data export ability, including support for the IEC standard Common Information Model (CIM)
  • Support for disconnected editing

Continued Support for ArcMap and the Geometric Network

To give you time to prepare for a migration to the new utility network, we will continue to support ArcMap and the geometric network, including a new release this summer.

In 2015, we created a special utility and telecom release, 10.2.1, which we promised to support until June 2021. Once on this release, you did not have to upgrade your desktop technology. You only had to install utility patches as they become available. This made keeping up with the latest technology simple and easy. However, you have made requests related to security and platform support that we cannot accommodate with the simple patch process.

So, we are providing another option.

In the summer, you can upgrade to our 10.6.1 release, which will continue to support ArcMap and the geometric network. This is not a migration—it is a straightforward upgrade, similar to the patches you’ve already been installing. This release will allow us to offer necessary security and platform improvements. It will also be supported until January 2024, giving you more than two years of additional support with these familiar tools. In addition, we are working closely with Schneider Electric, who will be certifying ArcFM on ArcGIS 10.6.1.

We will continue to offer patches to both the 10.2.1 utility release and the 10.6.1 utility release.

The Road Ahead

The road ahead for network management is the utility network.

  • We have updated the Road Ahead for Network Management white paper.
  • We have posted our vision for the utility network on the ArcGIS blog.
  • We have also posted new blogs with information specifically for electric and gas
  • Our partners have also been preparing to offer their solutions as enhancements to the utility network. We urge you to talk to them about their plans and how their solutions will further enrich the utility network.

We look forward to your feedback. If you have questions or concerns please reach out to your account manager. They will bring the right resources to you.

Stay tuned for more updates on our exciting new technology.

   I recently read a blog about GIS in which the author used the term “broken record." The term dates back to the days when people made phonograph records (remember?) out of a breakable material. A crack caused the phonograph needle to get stuck in a groove. That part of the song repeated over and over. I have also been guilty of speaking like a broken record. I have said and written many times that a modern GIS is a platform for transformation. So here goes again.

   Some utilities still believe that a GIS is an application to make utility maps better and faster. Maps just like the old paper maps. That’s good and bad news. The good news is that GIS has modernized the use of maps at utilities. The bad news is, all too often, utilities continue to focus on the physical aspect of the map. The paper map. They focus on the look and feel. How to manage white space. What information to include on the map. What scale and size of the map. Sure, we often create pdf versions of the map, but they are, after all, electronic versions of paper maps.

   Repeating myself. GIS is a platform, not a just a map making machine. According to Phil Simon in his seminal book, The Age of the Platform, a platform “allows people to reach and connect with one another and obtain information.” This simple notion is transformational. A GIS or location platform simplifies the sharing of information in a spatial context.

   I used to work for a power company for years. I know that the simple sharing of up to date network information can be a challenge. Not having current and accurate data in the office and in the hands of field works has implications. Lost productivity. Longer restoration times. Safety issues. Violations of regulations. The ArcGIS platform is like the modern social media platforms. Where communication and sharing of information are immediate. Repeating myself again, the platform is not so much about the look and feel of a paper map. Instead, the value is its ability to access information, to create awareness of what and where something is happening and to analyze what might happen – all in real-time.

   Speaking of real-time. The new platform has the capability of consuming all kinds of real-time data from SCADA, AMI and ADMS systems to vehicle location data to social media platforms.

   At DistribuTECH 2018 in San Antonio, Esri will be showcasing its latest release, ArcGIS10.6. It is a true location platform. The new release enhances its already industry-leading technology. It adds new tools for greater spatial and big data analysis. It continues with its world-class image management. Esri will be showcasing its next generation of utility network management. The platform facilitates communication, collaboration, and coordination of activities, assets, and workers. Just like author Simon describes.

   Esri is the leader in network management for utilities with its database-driven connectivity model. Since the platform is services based, network functionality is across all platforms. It is not just available on the desktop. Esri has done this while keeping geographic based techniques.  Users have relied on these techniques for years. Esri has added 3-D network capability, detailed equipment modeling, containment, structural attachment, built-in schematic diagrams and much more.

   Esri has relied on its utility partners for years to build domain specific applications on its industry-leading platform. This will continue in earnest with the new Esri release. For example, Schneider Electric will be showcasing its new ArcFM11 and Designer11 products they built on the ArcGIS 10.6 technology. Esri will be also be hosting twelve partners directly in its booth.

   It’s still worth repeating and repeating (perhaps like a broken record, if anyone still remembers what that phrase means anymore.) A modern GIS is a platform for transforming how utilities work.

   Come to Esri’s booth 2525 and witness what a complete GIS platform really looks like and how it can transform your business.