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Smart-Grid Analytics

Intelligent networks support better decision making.

Fortnightly Magazine - October 2008

utility is using software from Obvient Strategies to pull data from work management, asset management, outage management and other legacy systems and display it on dashboards tailored for each major business function such as field force management and operations.

As utilities put more intelligent sensors on the grid, such as smart meters, they need some way to collect and use the information from those devices. As a result, another stream of analytics applications comes from smart metering and intelligent grid device vendors wanting to help utilities better leverage information coming in from their devices. Thus, vendors like Itron, GridPoint, Current Communications Group, and Landis+Gyr are offering analytics applications to support their devices. Although most of these applications cannot make complex decisions in real time, they do enable utilities to make use of newly installed devices for operational decision making.

Finally, utilities are making better use of traditional business intelligence applications. Although not heavily marketed for intelligent grid applications yet, more traditional business intelligence applications, such as those from SAS, IBM (Cognos), Oracle (Hyperion), or SAP (Business Objects), can assist with some decisions. Utilities can collect information and track key performance indicators (KPIs) across business areas and sort through performance and budget factors. Vendors like SAP are looking at how they can leverage their capabilities in the smart metering/meter data management space, but are not yet aggressively pursuing broader intelligent grid applications.

Nevertheless, over time the industry will find more ways to use the increasing amounts of data available in smart grid systems. Advanced analytics will allow companies to turn this complex data into useful intelligence that will support operational and strategic decisions.