What's the Latest Development?

At this year's Distributech conference, which starts today, General Electric is expected to unveil its Grid IQ Insight software, which uses visualization technology and data analytics to track all kinds of data about a utility's power grid, including social media messages from users. If a particular tweet is relevant, the software can pinpoint its location and determine whether there's cause for concern. Additionally, utility workers can use the software to pinpoint potential problems with transformers and other power structures.

What's the Big Idea?

General Electric isn't the first company to create this type of tool; California-based startup Space Time Insight has a product that some utilities currently use to observe power grids in real time, and more are likely to come from other companies in the years ahead. With regards to customer-generated information, the benefits of a system that sucks up data are obvious: "[I]f utilities see an explosion of social media messages coming from a certain neighborhood, they can potentially reach out to those customers first and let them know they’re working on the problem."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at GigaOM