The most popular and comprehensive Open Source ECM platform
Oracle has issued a new report outlining how the use of Big Data provides the potential to be transformative for the utility industry. The report is called “Utility Transformations: Big Data, Bigger Opportunities”. This is a companion report from Oracle to the one about Big Data discussed on yesterday’s blog.
Like most other industries, utilities struggle in their management of data. The report notes that in the industry, 45 percent of business managers say that they struggle to be able to report information, and 50 percent say that they’re losing opportunities where useful information could be provided to their customers. 64 percent say that bridging the gap between data collection and data use is one of their company’s top three priorities.
Rodger Smith, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle Utilities, said that “Well, if you struggle to get it to your management, then you’re struggling to do much with it. Most utilities aren’t necessarily prepared either with the right people or the things to actually handle it.”
Those findings and comments aren’t too much different from what other verticals are also experiencing.
But what is interesting in this Oracle report is the examination of how utility companies are increasingly collecting more data from their systems. The introduction of ‘Smart Grid’ technology is the example of one change in the industry that is bringing about dramatic increases in data volumes being collected. In the past, utility companies relied on the use of monthly meter readings. With the introduction of Smart Grids, data is now being collected typically at four hour intervals. The report notes that this change reflects a 180 times increase in the volume of data being collected.
Other areas where the data that utilities are collecting is increasing include:
- Outage/distribution management systems
- Customer data/feedback
- Alternative energy sources
- Advanced sensors, controls, grid-healing elements
Brad Williams, vice president of industry strategy for Oracle Utilities, said that “For instance, our customers are telling us they see significant operating issues in Southern California areas that have high penetration of rooftop photovoltaics. When a big cloud cover comes and electricity production drops it impacts distribution. We’re trying to establish better models of distributed generation.”