The Dilemma Between Housing Data and Asset Management feat. Mary Susan Knauss

Ep. 16
November 13, 2022


One of the top experts in the field, Mary Susan Knauss, is a Geographical Information Science Professional with expertise in geo-spatial asset inventories. She is also our guest on this brand-new episode of the 4M Utility Strategy Podcast.

On this podcast, we discussed the fascinating history of utility asset management, who is in charge of what, how it all came to be, and what issues the industry is facing today. Mary specializes in Integrating technologies into working organizations & information engineering & architecture.

During this episode, Mary talks about the issue of various data sources and highlights the importance of housing utility data in one centralized system. She also explains why progress has been slow in updating the way asset managers house and share utility data with each other in order to have accurate data in real-time.

Mary has over thirty years of expertise in the field since she began her professional career at AT&T in 1981 where she managed their systems operations center for seven years. Currently, Mary is serving as a board member of the Hudson Development Corporation and as president-elect of the NYS GIS Association. From 2006 until 2019 Mary was a Senior Transportation Analyst for the New York State Department of Transportation. She developed GIS/ mobile GPS Solutions for Departmental inventory and asset management. She also managed their Geospatial analysis to support contract & construction planning.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Maintaining separate records in this day and age is a thing of the past.

“For each of us to be effectively maintaining separate records for this one space, it is getting a little silly in this day and age. We now have the ability to share data this way. We didn't before, but now we have to get there because it really makes much more sense. The DOT used to be furious with AT&T, the cable companies were even worse. They just paved the road. And then somebody would come around and ditch the middle of it to lay a new cable TV line. The question arises of do you cut me, it's like you just chopped gears off of my useful life and, I can't even sue, right? It was sort of baked into your right-of-way franchise. Well, maybe we should have thought a little more about what that meant. Learning how to play together is very important, but I don't think we'll get there until we understand we need standards.”

This is a huge industry issue

And one of the big mistakes, from my perspective, is the habit of proprietary information and not going for integration… There was no legal body that was twisting their tails to do it. They just realized they'd make more money if they found something in common. Ethernet. It's no longer proprietary. it's a standard you can build to. And a lot of that, comes down to documentation and standards, it's another layer of interoperability, it's how it all comes together. First it was the fiber optic wells. How do we do it? How do we do those joins, right? What's the technology for that, you actually have to get it out from the field to where you're bearing it. The people who do it, have to understand what they're doing. So it's a lot of information to keep organized. So you need an information system that allows you to adapt to your changing technology and your changing knowledge base.

Real-Time control of your assets is a huge advantage!

In the private sector, they don't care what happened before it. They care about if you can help me now going forward? My crowd, especially in the financial data services market, had the money to pay for anything that would get 'em an extra couple of milliseconds on the market to trade. And you can't do that without real-time control of your assets, where they are, how they're behaving, how they're getting there. Is the construction crowd just kind of catching up with that kind of demand? I think it is. That's why when we built tools for the maintenance operation guys, what we learned in the industry from quality practices.

Co-hosts: David Horesh (Director of Marketing) and Ophir Wainer (Director of North American Business Development)

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