This article discusses various challenges faced by the utilities industry in retaining knowledge and important institutional awareness as trained engineers are closing their retirement age. Utilities need to find a way to hold onto critical knowledge and important institutional awareness of these long-time employees while letting go of the obsolete information that they also hold. However, through various technological innovations, the industry is trying to take full advantage of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the wired and wireless world. Advanced Meter Infrastructure—the so-called Smart Grid—and the suite of devices known as the IoT will play a key role in the transition to a new workforce, and change the types of workers utilities employ. This latest technology will require new skill sets to construct, operate, maintain, and decommission. Digital technology, combined with and contained in such devices as cameras, strain gauges, accelerometers, microphones, and the like, can replace the senses of workers. Software coupled with computing power can improve the speed and accuracy of the engineering calculations or better analyze risk. Robots or unmanned vehicles can carry tools and sensors where it is dangerous or uneconomical to send workers.
The Merger of Technology & Talent
Marc Goldsmith is the founder of Marc Goldsmith & Associates, a Boca Raton, Fla., engineering consulting firm. He was ASME President from 2012 to 2013.
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Goldsmith, M. (January 1, 2017). "The Merger of Technology & Talent." ASME. Mechanical Engineering. January 2017; 139(01): 34–39. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.2017-Jan-2
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