Eskom and Huawei are to jointly develop smart grid solutions for the South African market. The joint innovation initiative was announced this morning at Huawei’s Fifth Global Power Summit at the African Utility Week (AUW) event in Cape Town.

The collaboration aims to accelerate digital transformation in the power industry through the development of Internet of Things (IoT), cloud, communications and cyber security solutions, enabling a smart grid that delivers efficient, reliable and affordable energy to consumers.

With this partnership, Eskom will become the first power and electricity partner in South Africa to leverage Huawei’s OpenLab in Johannesburg. Huawei will provide its OpenLab facilities including a data centre, advanced hardware and software infrastructure and a dedicated technical team. Eskom will contribute with its ideas and expertise, together with the power grid environment for trials and testing purposes.

Eskom CIO Sean Maritz comments: “Eskom’s 2030 vision is to implement a smart grid ensuring safe, reliable and energy efficient operations to enhance our customers’ experience while enabling new energy services.

“Huawei is a leading global provider of ICT and digital infrastructure solutions, with a strong presence in South Africa. It is an important player in the area of smart grids and we believe that our integrated capabilities will advance innovation and transformation of the power grid.”

Eman Liu, president of Huawei Enterprise Business Group in Southern Africa, adds: “We are proud to collaborate with the largest power grid company in Africa.

“In line with our ‘platform and ecosystem’ strategy, Huawei is dedicated to addressing the challenges of digital transformation facing the energy and other sectors in this country. OpenLab will be an important approach enabling us to work closely with local partners to deliver customized solutions in an agile way.

“Together with Eskom, we can quickly verify new smart grid ideas and efficiently create proof of concepts based on intelligent and connected technology.

Eskom will leverage Huawei’s experience in providing its Better Connected Smart Grid Solution to 170 electricity customers in more than 65 countries.

In Nigeria, Huawei helped Ikeja Electric build an advanced metering system with smart meters collecting daily readings sent to a control centre with a 100% success rate. This helped Ikeja increase energy efficiency and reduced line loss by 30%.

In Thailand, Huawei helped the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) build a secure high-speed production network, which also involved jointly creating an Electricity Innovation Centre to advance digital transformation in the power sector.

In South America, Huawei’s IP Hard Pipe Solution helped EPM, the largest public enterprise in Colombia, to achieve reliable transmission of its operational data and move towards unified operation and maintenance (O&M).

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