A conversation with Mayur Rao, the Smart Grid Integration & Security Lead for EMEA for OMNETRIC Group.
His aim is to help utilities asses the IT/OT convergence opportunity, create strategic integration roadmaps and implement solutions to improve their grid and business performance. His team is focussed on pushing the boundaries of innovation by leveraging collaborative partnerships, and developing best practices that optimize performance and enable utilities to fine-tune their control of an increasingly complex grid.
What is your presentation about?
At OMNETRIC Group we spend all of our time helping energy companies to bring operations technology (OT) and IT together to improve performance and get more from a digitized grid. While utilities get that they need to embrace IT/OT integration, they don’t always know how to move beyond the strategy phase. So this presentation will be about recognizing what you need to get right to make IT/OT integration happen, and how to go about it. We’ll share what we’re doing to make integration easier, and talk about how to get a roadmap in place to help integrate processes, technology and information.
What do utilities particularly need to focus on in IT/OT integration projects?
We see four critical success factors for TSOs and DSOs looking to master IT/OT integration and reap the rewards of a digital grid. These are architecture, standards, security and culture. Getting these four things right sets the foundation for operating the distribution business of tomorrow. The complexity of the new energy landscape demands an architecture that will accommodate complex, multi-directional, collaborative business processes.
Standards bring the interoperability that’s a pre-requisite for successful integration, and weighing up the risk of exposing OT systems to the IT world is critical to avoiding performance degradation, business losses and a damaged reputation. Then there’s the human angle: getting IT and OT organizational silos to move in the same direction.
How did you get into the industry and what do you most enjoy about your role?
I initially started out working with automated train control systems and then moved into the utility control systems space. I have since been working in the utility industry for around 17 years and have enjoyed being a part of its evolution, working across a span of many different areas including transmission, distribution, security and energy markets. I joined OMNETRIC Group from Siemens at its inception in 2014.
I enjoy having a hands-on, collaborative approach to shaping technologically innovative solutions for our customers. I really appreciate the opportunity to work in multi-disciplinary teams that bring engineers, IT experts, data scientists and cyber security specialists together to tackle customer challenges. Combining these disciplines in a single team and coming at IT/OT challenges with a deep understanding of the OT side of the equation means that we are disrupting how things have been done previously, and it’s exciting to be a part of that.
What are you hoping to achieve in the future in your professional life?
There’s a lot going on in the energy industry. Innovations such as social media and analytics, for example, continue to push the boundaries of the possible in terms of inclusiveness and iteratively extracting business value from IT/OT integration. Then there’s the movement towards distributed energy resources bringing dispersed and unpredictable energy flows into play that have to be harnessed. Helping clients navigate the energy landscape throws up new challenges every day, so there’s never a dull moment.
Working at OMNETRIC Group puts me at the heart of that dynamic environment and I look forward to continuing to help utilities navigate the ups and downs and transform for the digital age.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
I live in the San Francisco Bay area, which is quite geographically diverse and allows us to explore locally. Hawaii is one my favorite spots to unwind and is a hop away.
Join Mayur Rao on 24th May for a webinar entitled IT/OT Integration Approaches For North American Utilities at 12PM EDT/5PM London.