Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Eskom and Huawei partner on smart grid initiative

Steve Rogerson
May 25, 2017

South African utility Eskom announced a smart grid joint innovation initiative with Chinese technology giant Huawei at last week’s African Utility Week in Cape Town.
The Huawei-Eskom collaboration aims to accelerate digital transformation in the power industry through the development of IoT, cloud, communications and cyber security, enabling a smart grid that delivers efficient, reliable and affordable energy to consumers.
Under the partnership, Eskom will become the first power and electricity partner in South Africa to leverage Huawei’s OpenLab to develop smart grid innovations. The Huawei OpenLab recently established in Johannesburg is Huawei’s sixth global OpenLab, with other OpenLabs in Suzhou, Munich, Mexico City, Singapore and Dubai.
“Eskom’s 2030 vision is to implement a smart grid ensuring safe, reliable and energy efficient operations to enhance our customers’ experience while enabling new energy services,” said Sean Maritz, chief information officer at Eskom. “Huawei is a leading global provider of ICT and digital infrastructure, with a strong presence in South Africa. It is an important player in the area of smart grids and we believe that our integrated capabilities will advance innovation and transformation of the power grid.”
For this partnership, Huawei will provide its OpenLab facilities including a data centre as well as advanced hardware and software infrastructure and a dedicated technical team; while Eskom will contribute with its ideas and expertise, together with the power grid environment for trials and testing purposes.
“We are proud to collaborate with the largest power grid company in Africa,” said Eman Liu, president of Huawei’s enterprise business group in southern Africa. “In line with our platform and ecosystem strategy, Huawei is dedicated to addressing the challenges of digital transformation facing the energy and other sectors in this country. OpenLab will be an important approach enabling us to work closely with local partners to deliver customised solutions in an agile way. Together with Eskom, we can quickly verify new smart grid ideas and efficiently create proof of concepts based on intelligent and connected technology.”
Huawei says it is dedicated to working with partners to accelerate the smart transformation of the power industry. It is focused on providing future-proof networking technologies such as PLC-IoT and eLTE-IoT that empower smart metering and power distribution automation.
Eskom will leverage Huawei’s experience in providing its smart grid to 170 electricity customers in more than 65 countries. In Nigeria, Huawei helped Ikeja Electric build an advanced metering system with smart meters collecting daily readings sent to a control centre with a total success rate. This helped Ikeja increase energy efficiency and reduced line loss by nearly a third.
In Thailand, Huawei helped the Provincial Electricity Authority build a secure high-speed production network, which also involved jointly creating an electricity innovation centre to advance digital transformation in the power sector. In South America, Huawei’s IP Hard Pipe helped EPM, the largest public enterprise in Colombia, to achieve reliable transmission of its operational data and move towards unified operation and maintenance.