More than ever, everyone needs what you deliver – but the rules keep on changing. New regulations mean that you have to support new business models after industry restructuring, monitor exact usage with Smart Meters, handle unpredictable distributed generation and respond to new types of demand (electric vehicles, heat pumps). It’s all about introducing more ICT (Information and Communications Technology) – but on a far greater scale and complexity.
Knowing where you’re going, and how to get there, is fundamental. But who has the time to think at a strategic level and research the experience of other utilities around the world. Ericsson is providing teams of experienced experts to support utilities around the world on strategic, technical and organizational projects.
There’s a lot of work to be done before you plug in the first smart meter. Meter and Data Management systems have to be setup that monitor and manage the meters. The meter data must be made available to authorized users (and no one else). And these activities have to be integrated with existing business systems.
Similar to other XaaS concepts, Ericsson can also provide Smart Metering as a Service to help energy providers become more efficient. Ericsson uses it's ICT capabilities to provide a solution that can include meter reading and control, meter management, meter monitoring, SLA management, work force management, asset management, business process management, as well as field services and a 24/7 application operations center.
Smart Grid Communications is a multi-purpose layer within a utility. Utilities are abandoning the old model of using a different proprietary communications protocols for every different activity, to using a standards-based IP-capable infrastructure for all activities (Smart Metering, Smart Grid, Field Force Management, etc.).
Until recently the operational communications infrastructure was managed by a small team handling the SCADA network. With the introduction of smart meters and smart grids the number of communicating devices has leapt from hundreds to millions. New tools and processes are required to manage this enlarged communications infrastructure as an inherent part of the grid.
If the communications infrastructure inside a utility is attacked by remote hackers it’s more than embarrassing and costly – lives can be lost. Planning for cyber-security in a utility requires specialized skills outside of conventional IT practices.
How can you be sure that the latency and QoS requirements of a utility can be met when using mainstream telecoms equipment? Modeling and testing of the networks with real smart grid traffic is essential.
When everything is connected, wonderful things become possible. You’ll find, in Ericsson’s view of our Networked Society, this includes new roles for smart utilities.
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