NEW YORK CITY, NY — As the technology for building smart grids and smart gadgets expands further into the market, companies are grappling with a massive explosion of data that must be managed as homes, businesses and vehicles all become energy-generating as well as energy-using sources.
To help manage that data overload, Accenture today unveiled its Intelligent Network Data Enterprise (INDE), a new platform to help utilities design, deploy and manage smart grids.
The software and database suite is designed to help utilities accelerate their smart grid deployments while at the same time reducing the risks of deployments by making it simpler to manage and analyze the real-time data generated by the millions of new data points in a utility's network.
The INDE incorporates a software "layer" between the raw data from the grid and the utility's existing IT infrastructure, helping smooth the integration between the two.
The software also brings a consistent presentation of all the varying smart grid components, ranging from sensors and smart meters to network and communication units; together with a system to visualize all this data, the INDE allows utilities to more quickly and deeply gain insight into what the vast amounts of data mean to the grid.
"A smart grid is expected to generate up to eight orders of magnitude more data than today's traditional power network," David Rouls, managing director of Accenture's Smart Grid Services, said in a statement. "Transforming and analyzing this data into useful business and operational intelligence is one of the biggest challenges facing our industry today."
Accenture first put the new system to work in Xcel Energy's SmartGridCity project in Boulder, Colo., as a way of testing its compatibility with a number of smart grid technologies. Accenture also plans to make the INDE suite compatible with a set of Oracle technologies.
"Oracle and Accenture share a common vision of how the smart grid will enable more efficient energy choices for utilities and their customers," Stephan Scholl, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Oracle Utilities, said in a statement. "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."
Among the other tools included in Accenture's Intelligent Network Data Enterprise:
• 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; and
• A visualization platform that integrates data from multiple sources and creates graphic representations of analytical results that can be readily understood.
More details about Accenture's new smart grid IT tools are online at Accenture.com.