The utility industry is undergoing a transformation. While there is a struggle to store and analyze the ocean of data recorded by state-of-the-art distribution devices, performing some analytics locally—within the devices themselves—promises to unlock new operational value and cost-effectiveness. Known as Distributed Intelligence (DI), which is the process of distributing analysis, decision-making, and action to the edge of the grid by moving the solution closer to the problem.
This results in a significant reduction in latency of action, greatly improved situational awareness, more accurate analysis, and advanced event detection. It also helps evolve distribution grid operations and enhance the customer experience.
Importance of Distributed Intelligence
Distributed intelligence is important because it provides power and control to edge devices, resolves issues quicker, manages transactions and power flows in real-time, predicts and manages energy needs across the entire network, delivers consumer-based insights to improve safety and address usage, and empowers an open and vibrant ecosystem of solution providers.
Tampa Electric Company, a utility in central Florida, recently performed both lab and field testing for DI applications wherein the results far surpassed the capabilities of cloud-based analytics for three common use cases on the distribution grid; and field testing confirmed the results across thousands of customer meters, while also revealing other valuable, real-world applications for the data.
These results mark the beginning of a paradigm shift.
By moving analytics into devices at the grid edge, Itron is simplifying how utilities convert data into insights and helping utilities deliver greater benefits through advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). Now, with a DI platform that can deploy data-intensive applications for current and future use cases, utilities will realize continuous ROI growth over an AMI investment’s entire life.
In addition, they will have the technological foundation to enable advanced grid operations and innovative business models with the emergence of distributed generation and smart-home solutions.
The future of our modern grid is dependent on leveraging more DI at the grid edge to help manage growth, reliability, and safety.
Learn how Tampa Electric is exploring and validating the value of distributed intelligence and why DI apps surpassed the capabilities of cloud-based analytics.