The electric power system has been getting smarter for decades, as new technologies allow better analysis and greater control. But most utilities have implemented these technologies in a piecemeal...
20/20 and looks at their activities. Sure enough, one of them has been coming in exceptionally early and has been going to offices where he normally would have no business. eTrust 20/20 enables the security team to bypass reams of log data by showing a detailed view of the suspect's movements over time, in a 3-D representation of the facility. Physical access, Web access, e-mail activity, even shots from a surveillance camera are all presented as requested, organized by date, time, location, or data types. Tracking is based on a rules database, similar to the policy databases commonly used for setting network access rights.
Plant Design and Construction Automation
Every public utility has to manage physical plant assets. This involves maintaining and remodeling older buildings and plants, and specifying, designing, and building new ones. Even in a field as old and conservative as industrial construction, VizSim is creating opportunities to reduce design time while creating more useful and cost-effective building designs.
The Beck Group of Dallas has developed an innovative building design and estimating tool that it says is helping them not just build better buildings, but to build them faster and at lower cost. Their tool is called DESTINI (Design Estimating Integration Initiative), a parametric design tool that takes building design a step beyond CAD, into the future of automated design. It does this by allowing the designer to specify a type of building-several low-rise office campus styles are currently available-choose from a list of available materials, specify the size and number of floors, and step back. In a few minutes the program selects the appropriate components from its large library and assembles them into a 3-D rendering of a building. At that point the designer and client may modify the design, experiment with different floor plans or building types, rearrange the interior, and generally make the building fit the client's needs. Another button causes the program to develop a bill of materials, a cost estimate, and a timeline.
The system also calculates energy consumption. The designer also can experiment with different types and placement of windows, and she can even rotate the building on the lot in increments of as little as 1 degree per move, recalculating energy requirements at each step.
When the design is approved, DESTINI then creates design development drawings, which are finished in AutoCAD prior to starting the job. Each iteration of design change and new drawings takes just a few minutes, so it is practical to look at dozens of variations. According to Beck, DESTINI can reduce the time from initial customer meeting to groundbreaking by as much as 40 percent. This is another case where VizSim saves time and money in the real world.
The Market for VizSim Systems
Training, security, CAD/CAM visualization, and virtual prototyping are among the other likely VizSim applications for the public utilities industry. VizSim is no longer a science fiction technology; it is a large and growing industry.
CyberEdge Information Services conducts an annual survey of the VizSim marketplace. Last year, the study showed the international value of the