T&D World Magazine

Smart Energy Access Layer Integrates Disparate IT Systems

Trilliant has launched its Smart Energy Access Layer, otherwise known as SEAL. SEAL is a new way of integrating disparate IT systems and processes for Smart Metering and Smart Grid, allowing many operational systems access to smart energy data and grid device activity. Additionally, SEAL facilitates energy companies in combining new and regulated processes with other utilities, as well as businesses not in the energy industry, such as telecommunications companies, IT integrators and third party developers.  It can be used across many smart meter implementations to bridge the issues of interoperability, data transfer and partner integration.

Energy companies are under severe pressure from regulators and customers to innovate and open up new services and revenue channels.  However, innovation is sometimes hampered at energy companies by existing internal IT systems, which combine legacy and new systems in an environment subject to strict security and regulatory compliance controls.

SEAL from Trilliant is designed to link these IT systems together so that cohesive smart meter and smart grid processes can be designed without the need for extensive re-writes of existing systems, even where tight regulations do not encourage sharing of data.  It is designed to enable either a utility, or a third party acting as a Smart Meter System Operator, to manage the communications with their fleet of smart assets independently.  By supporting processes such as installation and commissioning of new energy devices, energy companies can, if desired, outsource much of the development and management work needed to build and run such a system, whilst ensuring that data and device control is accessible to authorised parties only.  The ability for SEAL to expedite integration of systems can benefit programmes needing distributed functionality such as change of energy supplier, transfer of asset ownership and can make device interoperability and management systematic rather than design and development by type.

The newly announced layer brings several benefits to energy companies looking to build smart energy systems and manage distributed assets:

  • Security.  Compliant use of industry-standard protocols and TLS-enabled communications ensures that all data transfers and communications with smart energy assets remain risk-free and secured.
  • Lower costs.  The use of standardised messaging and availability of real-time network updates results in a much more cost-effective way of implementing and managing complex data streams.
  • Speed to market.  Because SEAL is able to interface directly with multiple devices and the customers' nominated head-end system, the development cycle to introduce smart services is dramatically shortened as it removes the need for complex and costly bespoke developments.
  • Use of Industry standards.  Utilizing message formats defined by the Common Information Model (CIM), SEAL ensures that all major messaging requirements for smart meter and smart grid applications are pre-defined and can be implemented quickly.

With real-time network updates available through the interface, and message brokering across multiple applications, new smart energy processes can be designed and implemented quickly - for example, smart meter reads can be distributed to other interested parties, and demand response applications can be optimised via real-time interaction with network nodes, systems and devices.  By shielding business and operational support systems from network complexity, SEAL allows the customer to alter functional requirements and responsibilities without impacting the messaging service needed to communicate with devices in the field.  By using a standard-based interface, interoperability for all device and data operations has been achieved.

The Smart Energy Access Layer is designed to integrate with a variety of business logic systems and Head-End systems from IT companies, metering companies, and communications providers.  SEAL is naturally integrated with the Trilliant Platform, which combines the UnitySuiteTM Universal Head End, a global 2.4 GHz RF mesh, high-bandwidth wide area mesh, cellular and other standards-based technologies to give utilities the flexibility to choose the right technology and rollout strategy for their territory and regulatory environment.  The Trilliant Platform today is used globally by utilities and energy retailers who collectively serve more than 85 million residential and business customers.

 

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