Accenture Launches Smart Grid Data Management Solution

Originally published 18 March 2010

Accenture recently launched the Accenture Intelligent Network Data Enterprise, a data management platform to help utilities design, deploy and manage smart grids.
 
The Accenture Intelligent Network Data Enterprise (INDE) enables utilities to manage, integrate and analyze real-time data generated by millions of disparate sources throughout a utility’s smart grid network.  Transforming the data into actionable and predictive insights allows a utility to take actions to increase operational performance. Designed to help utilities accelerate smart grid implementations while reducing deployment risks, INDE comprises a robust and configurable suite of software applications, management tools, databases, analytics tools and processes that perform several critical functions.  The standards-based solution architecture complements existing systems and processes to resolve the complex challenges inherent with smart grid deployments.  A reference architecture at its core, INDE is software agnostic and a repeatable solution that can be configured to meet the specific requirements of a utility.
 
The INDE solution architecture plays three critical roles:

  • The software layer between “raw” data from the grid and the utility’s existing operations and enterprise IT systems.  By aggregating this data INDE, like a central nervous system, allows utilities to manage complex operations and improve business performance and customer operations.
  •  The integration platform unifying a diverse array of smart grid ecosystem products such as communications, smart meters, intelligent network components and sensors. 
  • The visualization capabilities to better observe and manage intelligent device components.  INDE provides a platform to use analytics to derive insight from raw data that has been transformed into events and other meta-data. 
 
“A smart grid is expected to generate up to eight orders of magnitude more data than today’s traditional power network. Transforming and analyzing this data into useful business and operational intelligence is one of the biggest challenges facing our industry today,” said David M Rouls, managing director, Accenture Smart Grid Services.  “Our experience from working with utilities in implementing smart grids tells us fundamental change is required in many areas.  One key area is the need for utilities to address the challenges of turning data into valuable insights to drive enhanced business value, performance and customer service, to protect existing investments and produce lasting competitive advantage.”
 
INDE provides utilities with key capabilities such as:
  • A comprehensive, field-tested smart grid blueprint methodology;
  • A sensor network architecture that enables utilities to monitor network performance thereby anticipate faults, optimize asset management and improve reliability; 
  • An open, standards-based data acquisition, transport, event processing and storage architecture;
  • Powerful analytics capability that transforms low-level grid data into higher level information that enables business actions based on insight,
  • A visualization platform that integrates data from multiple sources and creates graphic representations of analytical results that can be readily understood.
 
The INDE solution architecture was first applied at Xcel Energy’s SmartGridCity, the world’s first fully-functional smart grid city, in Boulder, Colorado. The INDE solution has been successfully deployed and proven to operate across several smart grid enabling technologies.
 
INDE’s functionality can be enabled by an array of third party technologies.  In addition, Accenture plans to offer utilities the option of implementing the INDE solution based on a pre-configured suite of Oracle technologies. The Oracle-based version of INDE will accelerate the design of smart grids and help reduce the costs and risks associated with smart grid implementation.
 
Stephan Scholl, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Oracle Utilities said, “Oracle and Accenture share a common vision of how the smart grid will enable more efficient energy choices for utilities and their customers.  Our combined expertise in delivering mission-critical smart grid applications, security, data management and systems integration can help accelerate utilities toward a more intelligent network now and as future needs arise.”
 
David M Rouls, said, “Data management and real-time analytics is one of the crucial components to a smart grid strategy and deployment.  Ultimately the success and costs benefits of responding to reliability, security, asset utilization or customer care issues lie in the immediacy of insights and information.”

SOURCE: Accenture Launches Smart Grid Data Management Solution