Kubernetes Can Unlock Digital Transformation and Renew the Utilities Sector

The utilities industry is undergoing a massive digital transformation. Providers today are facing a sea change: in addition to the disruptions and possibilities sparked by technological advances, environmental awareness has increased, and customer expectations have evolved. Better infrastructure is required to operate in a digital world and meet heightened standards.

To build a competitive advantage, organizations in this space must stay at the forefront of new approaches to delivering utility products and services. Doing so is a complex matter, particularly given the decentralization of traditional utilities supply chains (thanks, for instance, to community or consumer solar projects) and evolving market demands (like those sparked by droughts or other natural disasters). Many actors are responding with IT solutions—from smart grids to smart metering—in order to make the customer journey seamless, reduce costs, and benefit the environment.

These factors require innovative approaches capable of managing, monitoring, and optimizing utilities operations so as to keep offers cutting-edge and prices competitive. One tool for accomplishing this is Kubernetes (K8s), an open-source container orchestrator first launched by Google in 2015. In the changing utilities landscape, Kubernetes gives leaders a means of adopting a smart approach to digital transformation, amplifying data insights and guaranteeing compliance, and energizing the customer experience with a move to the hybrid cloud.

Get smart about utilities with Kubernetes

We often take utilities such as electricity, water, and waste collection for granted. But when these services are interrupted, the consequences are stark. That’s why utilities providers can’t afford to take the wrong approach to digital transformation—any response to technological and ecological change, governmental regulation, or customer demand needs to be as smart as it is sustainable.

The scale and stakes of such an undertaking requires intelligent solutions such as those offered by Kubernetes. This digital tool lets utilities providers deploy and orchestrate application bundles (or “clusters”), thus laying the groundwork for forward-thinking approaches to monitoring and upkeep. With K8s, users can spin up cloud-based applications that facilitate dialogue between, for example, the countless IoT-nodes of a smart electric grid and the employees (and devices) dedicated to preventative and reactive maintenance. Connectivity like this doesn’t just modernize operations—for consumers, it literally keeps the lights on.

In addition to enabling organizations to respond to infrastructure and customer demands in real-time, Kubernetes can be key to securing market share. By allowing providers to automate the deployment of clusters across the hybrid cloud (regardless of whether those clusters are operating at the point of production, distribution, or consumption), leaders in the utilities space can avoid friction when segmenting authorization and access, streamlining manual tasks, and turning creative ideas into market-ready offerings. This increases organizational agility and thus empowers partners to operate utility businesses at scale.

Amplify data insights and boost compliance

Smart cities, smart grids, smart metering: these and other IT-based solutions to the shifting utilities market produce huge quantities of information. From the countless data points generated by IoT sensors in intelligent power plants to those produced by waste management tracking systems, a pivotal challenge facing providers is how to make the most of the endless streams of application data.

Even if these systems are buttressed by K8s, however, the question of data storage and access remains. This is where Diamanti’s Kubernetes platform comes in: supported by end-to-end data back-up and recovery, Diamanti’s centralized interface provides analytic tools for predicting, managing, and optimizing consumption and costs. In other words, with a holistic picture of demand and usage, energy companies can make informed decisions about future generation and procurement.

Diamanti’s platform doesn’t just magnify the insights contained in this data—it also protects organizations against risk by ensuring compliance with regulation. Much like natural forces can impact the utilities environment on a dime, the laws governing this space can change quickly and without warning. A smart deployment of K8s allows leaders to weather each regulatory storm and dedicate themselves to innovation.

Energize the customer experience with a move to the hybrid cloud

By unlocking the benefits of a K8s-based digital transformation, organizations can channel their energy into improving the customer experience. While some consumers are increasingly asking for transparency regarding their own consumption due to growing concern over environmental issues, others are becoming producers and providers themselves. After purchasing and installing solar panels, for instance, owners might turn to their utility company not to purchase energy but to sell their excess electricity.

With Kubernetes, utilities companies can more ably meet these needs. One way of doing this is to put the data being gathered from cloud applications (e.g., by way of Diamanti’s platform) back into customers’ hands. For example, K8s clusters on the hybrid cloud can give those with solar panels a window into their energy savings. Elsewhere, water utilities might rely on Diamanti’s centralized analytics to give consumers a holistic picture of usage or real-time snapshots of water quality. These consumer-facing interfaces and apps are poised to enhance the user experience, increase customer loyalty, and grow revenue.

For utilities, digital transformation is at once an inevitability and an opportunity. By allowing Diamanti to power a worry-free adoption of Kubernetes, providers and their customers alike can enjoy a bright and sustainable future on the hybrid cloud.