Get Past the Obstacles to Gain Value from Big Data

By | April 16, 2013

Mastering the 3 V’s of today’s data – volume, velocity and variety – is critical. Utilities are dealing with an unprecedented surge of data —not just from smart meters, but also from syncophasors, transformers, substation sensors, social media, websites and computerized logs – an endless stream of data of all types, shapes and sizes. In fact some estimates show that the increase in data volume is growing to more than 180X the level of data traditionally gathered.

Additionally, utilities must prepare to manage this data whose formats are both structured and multi-structured, depending on the data’s source. Gone are the days of capturing and storing only well-formatted transactional data!

But simply managing data isn’t enough. Utilities must gain ROI from the data. This introduces a fourth V: Value. To find the Value in the data, utilities are challenged to address the integration, complexity, staffing and performance required to make the data useful for analysis.

In other words, to separate the signal from the noise, you must be able to extract meaningful new insights about the utility’s operation and business from the data. From these insights, you can take immediate action so that outcomes critical to your utility and its customers are changed for the better: Identify and fix an issue before it becomes a major problem!

Big utility data becomes enormously valuable when it can be used to:

  • Respond intelligently to variations in supply and demand because real-time loads can be more accurately measured and predicted
  • Recognize fraud early-on due to the identification of patterns in the data for a geographical area or specific smart meter
  • Automatically reroute electric paths based on the prediction and early identification of failures

Now imagine that the queries that can help your utility execute on those strategies to gain ROI from data can be executed up to 35X faster than what it takes to gain insight from methods that rely on more human intervention and analysis.

It’s simply not enough to focus only on the 3 V’s that may be top of mind as utilities grapple with the changes introduced by smart meters, sensors and the need to integrate system information. Getting to the 4th V of Value requires analytics.

To make the case, we thought you’d find it valuable to see what more than two thousand IT and business colleagues identified as the road blocks and bottlenecks they were tackling in their mission to accelerate the value of data and increase ROI.

Bryan Truex


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