03 Nov Press Release (Nov. 2, 2023)
Utility Broadband Alliance Achieves Record Attendance at 2023 UBBA Summit & Plugfest
Artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and sustainability among key themes at annual gathering of more than 500 industry leaders
From hardening utility infrastructure against storms and cybersecurity threats to integrating distributed energy resources (DERs) and renewables, high-speed private broadband communication plays an essential role in enabling the innovations driving the utility industry forward. At the 2023 UBBA Summit & Plugfest, presented by host utility Xcel Energy, attendees collaborated with their peers, participated in robust technology sessions and enjoyed panel discussions and keynotes from thought leaders across the industry exploring how advanced communication networks are ushering in new frontiers in grid modernization.
Highlights of the event included:
- Laurent Therivel, president and CEO of UScellular, gave the keynote presentation on “Innovation & Inspiration Beyond the Digital Divide,” where he offered a look into the financial, technical and mission-related drivers for telecommunications leaders to advance private broadband adoption.
- Xcel Energy executives Tim O’Connor, COO, Tawnya Fiedler, VP of Application Delivery, and Eric LeVin, Chief Architect, shared their insights on the business value proposition of private LTE and Xcel Energy’s transformation programs in a fireside chat with Anterix CEO Rob Schwartz.
- Representatives from Ericsson, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), Cisco, Motorola and OneLayer participated in a panel discussion on “Zero Trust in a Consumer-Driven World,” where they highlighted the physical and cybersecurity challenges facing modern utilities in a world of bad actors and the urgency of leveraging private broadband communications to ensure safety across the grid.
- Thought leaders from Burns & McDonnell, FieldForce, New York Power Authority and San Diego Gas & Electric provided insights and perspectives on “The Rise of AI in the Digital Grid” and opportunities for utilities to leverage the game-changing possibilities of AI to reshape operations now and in the future.
- Luminaries from Anterix, Black & Veatch, General Electric, Itron and Southern California Edison weighed in on the role of private broadband in enabling the next generation of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), including opportunities to help modernize the grid and equip it for emerging technologies such as electric vehicles and DERs.
“The trends highlighted at this year’s UBBA Summit – from business case development and approval to deployment tactics to AI, grid modernization and cybersecurity – are among the most important issues that will shape our industry in the years to come,” said Wendall Reimer, director – OT operations at Xcel Energy. “It was clear that the growing number of utility attendees and vendor partners appreciated having a forum to discuss these and other vital topics to better understand how adopting private broadband communication can help them achieve their grid modernization goals.”
UBBA once again held its annual Plugfest, the only private LTE live testing event in the US dedicated to collaboration, which featured technology members testing the interoperability and connection of devices to different private LTE networks and failover between private and public LTE networks in a live environment. UBBA also handed out its annual Plugfest Awards to further highlight the work of UBBA members who embody a spirit of collaboration for the good of all utilities to make Plugfest a success.
Finally, UBBA announced that in 2024, the UBBA Summit & Plugfest will be held at the Kansas City Convention Center for the first time. Registration for next year’s event, which will take place during the first week of November, will open in early 2024.
“The growth of the UBBA Summit since its inception more than three years ago provides validation of our mission to grow private broadband networks and clearly demonstrates an industry-wide hunger for collaboration and conversation,” said Ali Mohammed, senior director of Digital Innovation & Transformation at New York Power Authority and chairman of the UBBA board of directors. “The high quality of the content and the engagement we saw was a testament to our members’ passion for championing the adoption of private broadband across the industry.”
To learn more about UBBA and to inquire about potential membership, visit www.UBBA.com.
The Utility Broadband Alliance (UBBA) is a collaboration of utilities and ecosystem partners dedicated to championing the advancement and development of private broadband networks for America’s critical infrastructure industries. Members have access to resources that accelerate their journey toward a secure, resilient and future-proof grid. To learn more, visit www.ubba.com.