The need for the energy industry to address rising costs, inefficient distribution systems and increasing outages coupled with governments requiring digital networks has resulted in the evolution of smart grids.
These intelligent electrical grids use digital technology to increase operational efficiencies, support demand and provide more reliable power all while reducing costs. Smart meters linked to an extensive communication infrastructure are the backbone of smart grid networks. The communications infrastructure built by the energy utility companies must be secure, monitor consumption and manage distribution—in real time. To ensure reliability, the IEEE Smart Grid forum has more than 100 standards defining the smart grid framework.
Managing complex systems with disparate hardware and software has been a challenge to the telecom industry for some time. As a result, network management software has evolved to feed data into real-time systems views for operators, who then can change parameters as needed for optimal operation.
This same software can be used to manage smart grids. While the data is different, the types of monitoring and information reliability requirements are the same. For smart grids, the management software must support service assurance, report outages and corrections, show consumption and plan distribution of services. The similar capabilities and requirements between telecom and utility management software include:
- Network management software displays trending patterns and can provide service assurance.
- Performance management modules aid in predicting service disruptions
- Fault management component compliments the technical and service assistance center operations by streamlining work flow management, providing data to improve planning, and addressing service disruptions due to network outages
- Network planning and operations support systems supply data that can improve returns on capital investments
- The business analytics components can predict usage patterns based on geographical locations to improve capacity planning and support roll-out of new services.
- Real-time remote monitoring and management reduces dependence on technicians and further automates service delivery.
By 2014, it is estimated that the smart grid sensors market will more than double from 2012 levels and that sales will top $100 million in 2015.
NOCVue can be easily customized to manage different elements
Many utilities are contracting out smart grid management at significant cost and, sometimes, inconvenience. Each vendor uses different software components to manage the information and provide decision-making data. As a result, utilities must either adapt to off-the-shelf software or spend on customization.
As part of our engineering consulting practice, we have developed standalone network management software that can be easily adapted to provide the data management and monitoring capability needed to manage smart girds. The software is tested, field ready and can very quickly be installed.
For more information on this product, NOCVue, contact Rekha Poosala (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Written by Rekha Poosala, Marketing Manager, Velankani Communications Technologies, Inc.