On August 14, 2003, customers in Northeastern US and Canada experienced one of the worst blackouts on record affecting nearly 50 million people. In the U.S. alone, cost estimates ranged between $4 billion and $10 billion dollars. When the U.S.–Canada Power System Outage Task Force came back with the Final Blackout Report three years later, they ultimately identified four major outage root causes, and one of them was inadequate tree-trimming.

An outage of this magnitude is an extreme example of vegetation management criticality. Transmission and distribution companies are well aware that failure to maintain vegetation results in economic loss for both the utility and customer, and incurs significant costs to restore power.

Vegetation management programs, however, represent one of the biggest maintenance expenses for utility companies. They are exceedingly complicated and have high exposure to risks. Because many companies still rely on manual processes and unscalable technologies to inform their practices, balancing system reliability with the cost of service can be extremely challenging. This is where technological advances in imaging and AI can provide a crucial benefit to society.

In February this year, the Weather Company, an IBM business, introduced a new solution to reduce power outages by helping energy companies predict where trees may threaten power lines. The Weather Company Vegetation Management – Predict applies advanced analytics models and artificial intelligence to geospatial-temporal data such as historical weather, satellite, and aerial imagery so it can automatically identify potential outage threats.

Introducing IBM Maximo Asset Performance Management Vegetation Management Solution

In response to client needs, IBM has taken the next step in vegetation management capabilities. We are incorporating the Weather Company technology into our IBM Maximo Asset Performance Management (APM) solution to provide the industry’s first end-to-end solution that injects intelligence into existing vegetation management workflows.

The IBM Maximo APM Vegetation Management solution ensures that vegetation leaders can now obtain greater visibility into the state of vegetation, which changes the way decisions are made and improves how utilities operate. Leaders can make better plans with intelligent workflows that visualize vegetation and prioritize highest-risk areas where actions can make the most impact.

The solution enables transparency in contracting, auditing, and regulatory processes with remote monitoring and evidence-based reporting capabilities. Scoring models can recommend actions by combining various data sets made available through APM Vegetation Management. This allows vegetation management leaders to spend less time on obvious actions and focus on more complex decisions.

When you don’t have to respond to an outage crisis, schedule unnecessary maintenance with your contract crew, or run an arduous manual audit of the contractors’ work to ensure safety regulations are met, you will start to realize the real business value of the IBM Maximo APM Vegetation Management solution.

Schedule a consult to learn more about this solution or come to the IBM booth at the Trees & Utilities Conference on September 10-12 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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