May 16, 2019
Electricity is the lifeblood of the digital age - but we're living in an era of technological possibility that could scarcely have been foreseen when the electrical grid was first hooked up more than a century ago. The rapid growth of renewables has altered the energy mix, while other technologies like smart meters, electric cars and batteries are changing the electrical system, which has yet to fully adapt. One tool that can wrench the grid toward the digital future? GE Grid Solutions' new MDS Orbit, a device that helps utilities manage the flow of information across and among wireless networks and locations. Barely larger than a hardcover book, the Orbit knows all the newest digital languages - 3G, LTE, Ethernet and more - and it's a terrific translator.
Jack of all trades: 'It will be a great enabler for the digital transition we've been talking about,' said Vera Silva, chief technology officer at GE Grid Solutions. For instance, if part of an electrical network goes down - say, during a storm - the Orbit can seamlessly switch to a different communication mode, such as from LTE to radio, so utilities don't lose access to critical assets. The Orbit is also playing a role in digital substations, those crucial nodes on the grid that act as middlemen between the power plant and your home. The device helps collect information from sensors that make sure substations are running at their peak, and will allow utilities to control the grid in real time - meaning no more calls to your electrical company when the power goes out. The company's already on it.
Know what else you can do with wireless technology? You can click here
to learn more about the MDS Orbit.
Being able to walk around inside a human lung sounds like the stuff of science fiction - or 'Honey, I Shrunk the Pulmonologist' - but we're getting to a place where it might be possible. Well, virtually possible. At GE Healthcare's Global Center for Excellence in Medical Imaging in Buc, France, a couple of employees - video game enthusiasts, naturally - are working on technology that will give docs the ability to 'enter' their patients' organs to look for things like tumors and lesions, using MRI and CT scans, bespoke software and off-the-shelf virtual-reality headsets. Turns out virtual reality and its futuristic cousin, augmented reality, aren't just for gamers and Snapchat developers anymore. They're also being used to train technicians, repair infrastructure and even save lives.
What if none of this is real? Elsewhere in France, field engineers at GE Grid Solutions control enormous cranes that lift high-voltage circuit breakers into place in electrical substations. But because they're still in training, they're doing it on VR headsets in the comfort (and safety) of a conference room in suburban Paris. Already, technology like VR and AR is enabling technicians in the field to get real-time interactive advice from experts anywhere around the world, and someday it might let them skip the fieldwork altogether - they'll be able to send robots into dangerous repair situations, for instance, while controlling their movements from afar.
GE Reports compiled a roundup of recent stories about how VR and AR are changing the future of work. Check them out here
LIGHT IN THE DARK
A police officer in Mooresville, North Carolina, was shot and killed in the line of duty earlier this month, shaking the small community and inspiring citizens and local businesses to show their support. North of Charlotte, Mooresville is home to the headquarters of Lowe's Cos., a critical retail partner of GE Lighting. When he heard about the shooting, Lowe's President and CEO Marvin Ellison reached out to the GE Lighting team with a request: He wanted help to turn the community blue in honor of Officer Jordan Sheldon, who was a K9 officer and a six-year veteran of the department
. Sheldon was 32 years old.
A community comes together: In quick order, the GE Lighting team donated and shipped 7,000 blue lightbulbs to the Lowe's team in Mooresville for residents to place outside their homes. Locally, the GE Lighting team helped unpack every lightbulb to hand out to mourners at a service for Sheldon. Additional bulbs were available at no cost for shoppers in local Lowe's stores.
- QUOTE OF THE DAY -
'We need to give them the right controls to activate the right resources in real time, orchestrated by a good maestro.'
- Vera Silva, chief technology officer of GE Grid Solutions
Quote: GE Reports. Image: Getty Images.
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