Innovating Like Edison: Utility workers with superpowers?
Dr. John J. Simmins is a technical executive at the Electric Power Research institute, EPRI, where he leads research in augmented reality, social media, data analytics, and visualization to improve grid resilience. Prior to joining EPRI, Dr. Simmins was with Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, where he managed engineering and operations applications. He earned a B.S. and Ph.D. in Ceramic Science from Alfred University.
Data analytics, internet of things (IoT), augmented reality (AR) ... it seems like in the very near future, everything will be trying to tell us something. Smart meters are a reality but are smart poles and smart helmets right behind them? And if your pole wanted to tell you something, what would it be and how would you know?
With the advent of smarter, smaller, and less electrically needy devices the sky is the limit as far what can be intelligent and what kind of data can be collected. The challenge is to turn data into information and understand that information in the context of the environment in which it was collected.
It's really not a new idea, visualizing critical information in context. L. Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz, envisioned such an ability in his book The Master Key. In that 1901 book, the protagonist, a boy named Rob Joslyn is given a pair of eye glasses that allow him to see markings on the foreheads of people that correspond to their character: G for good, E for evil, F for foolish, etc.