Utility Program to Tackle Big Data Challenges

GE has launched its Grid IQ Insight Innovative Utility Program (IUP) to focus on combining ideas and sharing expertise in big data, visualization and advanced analytics specific to distribution, transmission, customer service and consumer-related operations. The GE-led IUP brings industry experts together—most recently at GE’s Software Center of Excellence—to share best practices, use cases, relevant governance, data challenges and regulatory impacts to show how the analysis of big data can bring significant value.

“Many utilities are challenged by the opportunities surrounding big data,” said Joan Soller, manager transmission operations, Indianapolis Power & Light Company. “Working side by side with other industry-leading utilities and with GE, we can help navigate the journey from very large volumes of data to tangible, credible outcomes based on real applications of analytics.”

The emergence of the 21st century utility, which will need to be more customer-centric, productive, efficient and reliable than ever before, has led to an influx of big data to analyze. An overwhelming percentage of operational data from utilities is currently underutilized. This requires utilities to invest in projects to get in front of the increasing gap between raw data and the need for digestible information. GE’s Grid IQ Insight lays the foundation to enable the IUP to manage and analyze critical data, while integrating the results into an easy-to-display visual interface. Together, GE and IUP members will be able to create real business outcomes out of large quantities of raw data, enabling utilities to make the jump to the next level of advanced grid analytics.

“We are living in an ever-growing world of big data, where the creation of data vastly outpaces our ability to intelligently utilize it,” said Michael Carlson, general manager—software solutions for GE’s Digital Energy business. “The goal of this reliable, cost-effective utility program is to take mass amounts of raw data and transform it into informative, useable insight. The IUP utilizes the voice of the customer, along with our Grid IQ Insight software to translate big data challenges into solutions.”

GE’s approach with the IUP aims to address big data issues one case at a time, utilizing analytics to produce tangible, measurable outcomes for the electrical utility industry. IUP members will access GE’s rapid prototyping initiatives (RPI) approach to quickly assess the impact of operational analytics and assess the business outcome and its value to utilities. The RPI is a short-duration, low-risk method used to validate the feasibility and value of a specific use case around big data, analytics and visualization. In addition, the IUP will use GE’s scalable analytics platform and share deep domain knowledge to address challenges such as:

  • How to maximize asset management and investment through meter and edge device analysis and life cycle management.
  • How to minimize outages and maximize reliability through predictive outage analytics and service restoration.
  • How to maximize grid efficiency through better and more accurate load forecasting.
  • How to achieve greater customer engagement through customer segmentation and social media trending analysis.

Grid IQ Insight was introduced earlier this year, focusing on grid operational analytics. It is designed to bring information value from the volumes of data acquired from various operational systems. The Industrial Internet is a next-generation platform pushing the boundaries of “minds and machines.” GE’s goal is to connect and combine the myriad machines, facilities, fleets and networks that arose from the Industrial Revolution with the more recent advances in computing, information and communications systems brought to the forefront by the Internet Revolution.


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