CDP takes top IBM prize for AMS project

CDP takes top IBM prize for AMS project

A version of this article appears in the March 18 issue of Reseller News.

Supreme Award winner uses new intelligence to create revenue streams, increase energy efficiency and set stage for sustainable future

At a Glance

*New products, a competitive edge, faster ‘to market’ development and more accurate data are just a few of the benefits AMS has realised from IBM InfoSphere DataStage/Cognos 8 solution delivered by CDP.

*IBM Business Partner CDP developed detailed automated business processes – including data validation routines from schedule of AMS’ functional requirements.

*Long-term goals include smarter energy use, more efficient utilisation of scarce resources and tighter alignment of electricity generators, retailers and consumers.

Creating a smarter planet is all about using our resources in a more responsible way. This project represents what can be achieved with a healthy mix of vision, technology, expertise and hard work. Working together to build an incredibly complex business intelligence solution, both IBM Business Partner CDP and client Advanced Metering Services have shown new intelligence can be harnessed to help solve global issues. Most IT projects solve challenges and address specific issue, this project has transformed IT into an enabling technology that creates new opportunities and builds for a sustainable future. --Raymond Skoglund, IBM New Zealand Channel Manager

A world first, Advanced Metering Services’ IBM InfoSphere DataStage / Cognos smart metering initiative is one of the most data-intensive business process initiatives going. With raw data sourced from more than 200,000 smart meters nationwide, AMS is transforming that raw data into valuable information that helps energy retailers and consumers optimise energy use, reduce waste and, ultimately, provide for a smarter, cleaner and more sustainable environment.

Advanced Metering Services Ltd (AMS) delivers advanced metering technology and operational services to customers throughout New Zealand in the retail and commercial sectors. Their aim is to provide up-to-the-minute electricity consumption metrics to consumers and retailers, enabling them to monitor and make more informed decisions on power consumption. In parallel, this will bring significant efficiencies to the way power retailers transact with their customers.

Automated intelligent metering is a relatively new technology concept in New Zealand and already a competitive market is emerging. AMS’ primary goals – which are being addressed by this year’s IBM Business Partner Award Supreme Winner are flexibility and agility, speed of information acquisition, rapid validation and transformation of raw data and streamlined delivery of information to electricity retailers.

This game-changing solution eliminates the need to undertake physical meter readings and the issuing of estimate bills in the New Zealand energy market. This offers consumers huge benefits and added convenience. AMS and CDP have recently enabled one retailer to provide their customers with a portal to view their electricity usage on a daily basis. This helps energy consumers understand the electricity drain used at certain times of the day and how they can reduce their energy consumption. Over time more data feeds will be used to further empower consumers. This is a huge step in the use of technology for energy retailers, businesses and homes.

CDP Group's Craig Catley accepting the Supreme Award from IBM's Jennifer Moxon.

Data is key

Like all major projects, the devil is in the detail. In this case, CDP and AMS initially focussed on getting the data correct. Smart meters capture electricity use on a minute by minute basis. This data is then electronically transmitted to the InfoSphere DataStage data warehouse where it validated, normalised, aggregated and then uploaded into multi-dimensional cubes that are the basic building blocks of business intelligence. As the data moves within these pathways, any inaccuracies or omissions can seriously impact the validity of the final results. CDP and AMS spent considerable effort to define data types, set up rules for data values and put systems in place to validate data ‘on the fly’ so that any data discrepancies can be immediately detected and rectified.

AMS is on an aggressive campaign to promote the use of smart meters. Currently there are approximately 200,000 installed with that number expected to rise to one million by 2015. At present, AMS is processing the data feeds in 24-hour chunks, but anticipates refining the process to support usage metrics in 30-minute blocks. The data volumes require a highly-scalable data warehouse and extremely efficient processing capabilities. The IBM-based system provide both.

As more and more data is captured, the value of this data – to all parties – is enhanced. Both CDP and AMS are working together to add more value to the raw data. As a result of all of this hard work and investment, electricity consumers, generators and retailers will be able to more intelligently manage their usage and set the stage for a smarter, more efficient electricity market.

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