Custom Collection Engine (CCE)
Traditionally, collection systems for Advanced Metering and Smart Grid applications have been developed to work with specific functional partners making it difficult for utilities to use AMI/ Smart Grid infrastructure based on overall system selection. Additionally, when new/updated components of the headend software are introduced, there is no simple functional way to test the new components/systems within the production environment without providing a full upgrade of the system. Finally, when utilities acquire new businesses, this inflexibility makes system integration very complex and costly.
Wise Men is proposing a new software component called the Custom Collection Engine (CCE) which is implemented on top of any data collection system interfacing metering/sensor networks within the utility. The CCE will provide abstraction to the underlying collection engines by utilizing their given functionality and provide the utility a common interface, both programmatically and visually, enabling vendor independence when selecting new meters, sensor systems or integrating acquired systems. The CCE also supports different versions of the same underlying collection engines to enhance migration strategies as well as to provide a common user interface both within the utility infrastructure and mobile applications.
As the Smart Grid space is expanding to Grid Modernization and IoT Integration, the choice for technology selection is also becoming more complex. The “Master” headend system which will interface with many different collection systems, through vendor APIs, will provide a common interface for the various teams, within a utility, that will be independent of the underlying infrastructure.
For example, at one of the utility companies, there is an OpenWay Collection Engine operating with the HW metering infrastructure. If this company were to implement the RIVA platform, a new headend (OpenWay Operations Center) would have to be installed; new user and programmatic interfaces need to be learned and developed. By providing a CCE, both systems could be operated and interfaced with the same look & feel and programmatic framework.
On the other hand, if the same company acquires another company, it is possible that a new metering or sensor technology may have to be integrated with their current systems. The easiest path would be to utilize an CCE which would again provide a single interface to the underlying system for operators and back office systems. Of course, work would need to be done to integrate the new software systems into the CCE, but systems, users and mobile devices would have seamless access to the new systems once those CCE integrations are performed.
By providing this integrated view of the overall systems, integrated state management across many components within the grid infrastructure is totally possible. New visualization and state management tools can be integrated, allowing for a broader and more insightful view of the overall infrastructure. All of this while providing a common system interface, reduces training time and costs helping to maintain common procedures and troubleshooting guides, to reduce system down time.
The CCE utilizes a common interface to multiple versions across various vendor systems and maintains a common set of operational functions. Simultaneously providing integrated systems state visibility from a single interface point, a more holistic view of the underlying AMI, Grid Modernization and IoT sensor systems can be realized.