The requirements for connecting branches or company subsidiaries are not only a technical issue but are also substantially driven by costs. In order to keep up in a global environment chain, operators have to keep their costs low and ensure lean, fast processes. This means basically that branches and subsidiaries have to be managed and administrated centrally. An elementary part is the IT infrastructure connecting all users within the network securely, economically and without great effort.
Together with some Teldat colleagues I recently attended the annual conference of EUTC (European Utilities Telecom Council), which brought together some of the main actors in the development of the Electric Grid, not only from Europe, but from all over the world.
The Grid is evolving at a huge pace to be able to cope with the enormous transformations that are taking place both in generation and consumption of electricity. The sessions provided much insight into how these changes are affecting the Electric Grid and what will need to be done in order to adapt to them.
The grid: electrical generation and consumption
Electrical generation is quickly becoming distributed through the development of new electrical plants (mostly renewables). In addition to having to control more generation points, the complexity greatly increases due to the variable output of many of these new plants.
As for electrical consumption, the Grid needs to cope with important upcoming challenges, such as the use of electric vehicles, which demand very large amounts of power while they charge. When correctly managed, the batteries on these vehicles could also serve as backup power in certain scenarios. Some consumers also use solar power to reduce their electricity consumption during the daytime. These are only some examples of the large changes in electricity consumption that are developing. Taking into account and adapting to this fast changing environment is vital to maintain the reliability of the Electrical Grid.
Teldat´s presentation at EUTC
The Conference sessions explored the innovations that are being applied in the Smart Grid in order to maintain and increase its reliability in the face of the increased complexity that is developing.
Various Conference sessions by all actors involved in Smart Grid deployments explored how to adapt and upgrade the Smart Grid’s communication network (the “Smart” part of the Grid) in order to cope with the new scenarios. The solutions that were studied included the transition from legacy SCADA networks to modern packet-based solutions. Current deployments were reviewed and new possibilities were proposed in order to ensure that the Electric Grid can remain stable and secure. In fact security was one of the main issues analyzed, given that the Electric Grid has become part of the critical infrastructure in developed nations, which rely on it for the wellbeing and everyday needs of their citizens. Sessions did not forget to explore how to make the whole Grid interconnect while blocking outside attacks which could compromise its integrity.
My presentation focused on the challenges and opportunities faced when bringing network connectivity to the outer parts of the electrical network: the smaller secondary substations. At these locations the DSO (Distribution System Operator) companies typically cannot provide network connectivity using their own infrastructure and must rely on public networks or deploy new networks in order to assure proper connectivity. Teldat can offer a solution for these cases based on its successful Regesta-PRO ER router line.
And although only a few would say so, it is. The facts says that Oxford University was founded in the early XII century, and the Mexicans founded Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire in the early XIV century.
The perception of time is one of the most subjective sensations in the world. Only when significant events that have taken place over a period of time are reviewed and recognized, one becomes aware of how far it has advanced and the accomplishments that have been achieved.
Very recently, 3 years have been fulfilled since the merger of Teldat SA and Funkwerk Enterprise Communications GmbH, which gave birth to the European leader in communication equipment. A global company present in four continents, with more than 5.000 distributors and a worldwide client base that includes the most important carriers and companies from all market segments. Three years that have gone past very quickly, but in which changes within both parts of the company have been very deep, changing what was an ambitious project into a successful reality.
As in every integration process, the way forward during the past three years has not been easy and it has been necessary to combine different cultures, different business models, different ways of doing things and different structures. And three years later (already!) after overcoming some difficult situations and after much dedication and much hard work from both the German and Spanish teams, increasingly more and more projects are addressed successfully with the undifferentiated participation of both parts of the company. Moreover, it is assumed that this is just the beginning, because Teldat’s competitive advantage lies in its members’ diversity and their unity’s strength. This is exactly what makes Teldat the European leader within its market sector.
Many may think that this is not an adequate post for a technological company and they would be right. However, one thing that makes Teldat a different company to the rest, is that we believe it is necessary to go beyond pure business itself (in our case that is technology) and show certain issues that give us personality as a company. This weekend, the world has commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s fall, something relevant and of special interest to at least half of those who make up our organization. This post’s origin, over time and the integration, finds itself in the commemorative ceremony that has taken place in Madrid and that finalized, via a spectacular event with the transformation of Madrid’s Alcala gate into the Brandenburg gate. There are few graphical images that resemble our company’s transformation into what is today’s great European company. Only three years after.
Wi-Fi has been one of the technologies that has increased most in the last years, especially due to the large spread of mobile devices. From laptop PC’s to tablets or smart phones, wi-fi is being used by companies internally to improve their work processes, but also many companies (especially service companies) offer their clients Wi-Fi, as an added value service. Indeed keeping clients connected to the Internet efficiently, is a huge added value, which keeps client satisfaction extremely high, because who doesn’t need to be constantly connected? Whether it’s for personal reasons (access to social media, messages or phone calls via Internet) or for professional issues (emails, access to company networks, etc.). The answer is that an extremely large percentage of the population need constant connectivity.
Hotels are probably one of the most mature markets who offer their clients Wi-Fi and we can’t really imagine staying at a Hotel without Wi-Fi connectivity. I believe that most of us would not stay at a Hotel without Wi-Fi. Indeed, so much so that to date, most of us expect this service to be included in our stay at a Hotel without any extra charge! Even small rural hotels have Wi-Fi for their clients now.
Nowdays, which type of companies offer wifi-conectivity?
So who apart from Hotels, offer Wi-Fi connectivity now? Without thinking too hard…resorts, casinos, hired apartment, timeshares, airports, convention centers, coffee shops, restaurants, museums, palaces and shopping malls would offer Wi-Fi services. The latter (museums, palaces, shopping malls, etc.) are slightly different, in that yes, they do offer connectivity as a service to their clients, but they can also offer clients information on the site that they are visiting for example, to increase the service offering. However, these type of organizations can also use Wi-Fi in another way. That is, to track the movement of their visitors, to obtain data on most visited spots, areas of most interest, etc. However, this would be a totally different concept to what is being analyzed in this post.
Moving on, there is a new concept in Wi-Fi connection being offered more and more, which is quite different to what we have talked about so far, but has the same goal. The concept is Wi-Fi for travellers on buses, trains and other forms of transport. It is becoming more and more frequent, because it improves the client satisfaction of travelling. Similar from the client perspective, allowing always on connectivity, but a hugely different concept for the company that has to offer the service, as far as the set up and maintenance is concerned. Wi-Fi on a moving vehicle, with all related issues to capturing and maintaining signals whilst in movement, is not a minor task at all!
An unstoppable process
Indeed, all the markets segments that we have mentioned have different type of clients. A casino client would be entirely different to a commuter on a train or a museum visitor would differ from someone having a meal in a restaurant. However, in the end these clients all need to have Wi-Fi connectivity to access the network and for that connection to be of a high quality.
As was mentioned at the beginning, Hotels is probably the most mature market as far as Wi-Fi as a service to clients is concerned and that other markets may not be as developed in Wi-Fi, but this is moving at a very fast rate. How long will it be until we will have the same situation with transport, where there will be many more means of transport with Wi-Fi than without? When will we have a situation where we decide not to go to a certain shopping mall, because they do not offer free Wi-Fi connectivity? What is clear, is that it will not be very long at all.
Within Teldat we are totally aware of this fact and that’s why our company is investing heavily in this area to offer all these market segments the best Wi-Fi solutions. From specific devices for Wi-Fi connectivity to our router devices that include a built in Wi-Fi option, to Wi-Fi on trains or other types of vehicles
The increasing interconnectedness between the fields of information technology and telecommunications is not new. We all know that these two worlds have grown more and more together and still do (keyword: convergence). On the one hand business communication requires professional telephony and professional routing, but on the other hand, no company, especially in the SME segment, wants to buy only a PBX in order to fulfill their telecommunication needs and no company acquires a router, and let it be as professional as possible, only for routing. The SME segment wants one device for both needs. They are driven by costs but at the same time, they want all professional benefits like larger companies as well.
Besides costs and efforts, deep integration into their technical environment and into their workflows is a must. Standardized interfaces in applications and devices, sometimes even certified by third-party suppliers, are the fundamental requirements for a seamless integration. Further challenges, such as usability, flexibility, security of investment, mobility and as a matter of course security have to be guaranteed at any time. Particularly mobility has stressed the requirement of security lately. Over the last few years the number of private smart phones and tablet PCs has continuously increased and many of these users also take advantage of their devices for business purposes (key word: BYOD or bring your own device). The convenience of eliminating the difference between “in the office” and “on the road” changes daily business while availability and communication use remain unaffected. This balancing act between mobility and security is certainly one of the biggest challenges.
Besides various challenges mentioned above which we have to overcome in the SME segment, we come to the conclusion that it is essential to have some kind of “PBX with business routing” or a sort of “router with professional telephony” for SMEs. It is necessary to find a solution that can cope with telecommunications as well as with information technology in order to fulfill all business needs for SMEs. From the perspective of the customer the crucial question that he asks himself is: What kind of device would be the professional solution? And who is able to really offer both? An IT company selling routers with telephony? Or a telecommunications company offering PBXs with professional routing? Isn’t there a real ICT company which offers both? As a matter of fact, there is. Teldat. Possibly the largest European manufacturer of ICT devices for the business market, offers true convergence. Its Bintec brand stands for professional routing and its Elmeg brand for professional telecommunications solutions. The Elmeg hybird 120 and 130 is the true converged solution to meet all communication demands of SMEs and even freelancers and home offices.