Custom Collection Engine (CCE)
Traditionally, collection engines 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 systems within the production environment without providing a full system upgrade. Finally, when utilities acquire other utilities, this inflexibility makes system integration very complex and very costly.
Wise Men has built a new software component called the Custom Collection Engine (CCE) which is implemented on top of any data collection system which interfaces with metering and sensor networks within the utility. The CCE provides abstraction to the underlying collection engines by utilizing their given functionality and provides the Utility a common interface, both programmatically and visually, enabling vendor independence when selecting new meters. 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. This CCE becomes the “Master” headend system which then interfaces with many different collection engines through vendor APIs and provides a common interface for various teams and is independent of the underlying infrastructure.
A large utility which is also Wise Men’s client, was using the OpenWay Collection Engine with the HW metering infrastructure for many years. If this utility were to implement the RIVA platform, a new headend (OpenWay Operations Center) would have to be installed; new user and programmatic interfaces would have to be developed. By providing a CCE, both systems could be operated with the same look & feel and programmatic framework. Secondly if the same utility acquired another utility, it is possible that a new metering or sensor technology may have to be integrated with their current systems. The easiest and cost-effective path was to implement the CCE which provided a single interface to all the underlying system for both operators and back-office systems. There was work that needed to be done to integrate the new software systems into the CCE, but 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 integration across many components in the grid infrastructure is totally possible. New visualization and state management tools can also be integrated, allowing for a broader and more insightful view of the overall infrastructure. All of this 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 different vendor systems and maintains a common set of functions. Simultaneously providing integrated systems state visibility from a single interface, a holistic view of the underlying AMI, Grid Modernization and IoT sensor systems can be realized.