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Big Data

The buzzword of the day is ‘analytics.’ But what does it mean?

Fortnightly Magazine - March 2012

now has to get more real-time. It’s also become an information-sharing world.

Vishwakarma, Infosys: Some of the data unification amongst these silos might not be possible due to regulatory reasons. For example, data from the reconciliation system for bills may not be shared with the power purchase department. The bigger problem is the willingness to share the data, because when you’re talking about the unification of the information, and then when you create analytics, who owns the data?

Lewis, Infosys: The tools are there, which would typically fall under the domain of security: setting up the systems so the access privileges are clearly role-based, password protected, and so-forth. I wouldn’t say it’s simple, but today it’s a lot easier than it has been before.

Jackman, Oracle: One of the mistakes people make is thinking that people have no data ownership. Everybody still owns the data they own, but with the assistance of the IT folks, data governance sits above and [allows] an enterprise view so you can actually pull this data altogether. You don’t need to have all of that data centralized.

Devereaux, Oracle: It might not physically be one massive centralized database, but it is a single enterprise data model for the operations, from customer all the way through distribution and other pieces of the business. Everyone contributes, and everyone also has access to that full enterprise view of the data, so that they can do analysis now that they never would have been able to do because of organizational barriers.


Fortnightly: How will analytics be important in dealing with factors like renewable energy sources and electric vehicles?

Meyers, Telvent: In Ontario we’re starting to integrate small wind turbines into the network—a few this year and a couple hundred next year, and maybe 500 the year after. Five years from now, if everything works right, they’ll probably have enough that it will really have an impact on the grid.

Jackman, Oracle: The mashup of customer data with transformer data here in the U.S. is going to be a major factor when you start looking at the rollout of electrical vehicles. If electric vehicles take off at a pace, the sizing of transformers will change quite dramatically. Fast chargers draw the equivalent of a house.

Vishwakarma, Infosys: With plug-in hybrids, you absolutely have to use data and analytics to figure out the optimum charging program for a neighborhood or a wider geography.

Fortnightly: When it comes to analytics, what are the biggest concerns for utilities?

Hunn, Onzo: I think the nature of the fear is just the sheer volume of data. It’s a bit like a child that was allowed one Mars bar to eat per year, and then taking them into a Wal-Mart and showing them the sweets section, and saying, ‘You can live in here.’

Puckett, KEMA: I still work with a client that has customer-read meters. One has to appreciate the utilities that are on the bleeding edge of this technology.

Wambaugh, UISOL: You have to change the business, you have to change some of your standard processes,