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From cloud to smart meters

Zafar Anjum | Sept. 24, 2014
A tête-à-tête with Susanna Shen, CIO, Towngas, Hong Kong

We can remotely capture the meter reading and can also send signals to the smart meters, especially when we like to... because we can control the rough switching on and switching off of the meter and it is especially important in case of emergency we would like to switch the bar to prevent any disasters from happening.

And this integrated cloud solutions has been running. We also did the piloting in 2013 to make sure that the whole end-to-end process works well.

Besides cloud, what are some other new technologies that you are using?

Of course, mobility. More in HK than in China. Together with our customer information systems, we are also having some mobility but it is not yet widely used yet because it is still on the pilot stage. But in HK it has been wildly adopted in the workplace. They carry their tablet and have all the orders on them.

Is there any new technologies that you are considering to use?

Big data and analytics. Both in HK and China, I can quote you an example. For the smart meter, I mentioned to you that it's a two-way communication. Actually, we can collect a lot of data from the smart meters. In fact, we are now able to collect the data every second in real time.

With all the data collected on the meter reading, actually we can know the consumer behaviour. There is something that we are going to do for the analysis of the data that we collected.

What do you think are your main challenges today as a CIO?

I think getting the right people is quite challenging because technology has been changing so fast. And we have to train our staff to keep up with the new technologies. And also, it is very demanding. I am around in the market just looking for mobility applications development. The salary (demand) is jacked up so high and then it is also very difficult to find those mobile application developers. 

What keeps you awake at night?

I sleep very well every night (laughs). In our group, apart from City Gas, we also have another business stream called New Energy. This is another challenging area because this is a new business that started about five years ago and the business operation model has been changing a lot. 



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