Architecting AMI data management for now and the future


Energy efficiency, demand management, securing energy, global climate change – all important and critical issues facing the utility industry today and driving initiatives such as advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and the smart grid. Avoiding information overload and making data useable, actionable and accessible will be a significant challenge.

Traditionally, the meter to bill data streams and the operational data streams are isolated within the utility. The users and managers of these systems are not familiar with one another’s business processes or systems. AMI changes this paradigm and challenges us to consider alternatives. AMI data is arguably equally important to billing and managing the grid. A data manager for AMI now has two responsibilities: meter data management (MDM) and operational data management (ODM).

MDM graph

MDM and ODM in AMI

Smart grid benefits require timely recon- ciliation of opera- tional data sources, such as AMI, SCADA and distribu- tion automa- tion. The ODM must have flexible, powerful and smart tools to make this volume of data manageable, useable, actionable and accessible internally and externally.

The PI system
OSIsoft’s long standing reputation for advancing and embracing standards, and years of experience in operations is reflected in the PI System today. In addition to traditional meter data management functions such as validation, editing and estimation (VEE) and data framing for billing determinants, PI reconciles and aggregates meter and operational data for a more informative view of the grid.

PI AMI smart connectors and PI business gateways seamlessly integrate with the PI System’s scalable architecture and ability to automatically manage tens of millions of data streams (meter readings) and events for a more informative view of the grid and for presentation to billing and other back office systems:

  • PI AMI smart connectors interface AMI systems to the PI System. These connectors automatically discover meters, configure the data points and collect data. They are designed to leverage templates which will allow mass changes to meter attributes and configurations.
  • PI business gateways receive, schedule and respond to service requests from CIS, CRM, OMS and other back office systems that require bidirectional communication and data from the AMI systems for functions such as connect/disconnect, last gasp, ping and on-demand reads.

Benefits of the PI System include:

  • Highly configurable for easy adaptation to changes in devices, data and business rules
  • Cost effective, highly scaleable, real time infrastructure that easily supports integration with all AMI and smart grid participants in an evolving industry
  • A secure mission critical data source and robust architecture that stays intact while everything else changes
  • Standard capabilities that allow users to determine circuit profiles, feeder efficiencies, optimise load, evaluate grid and asset health – all in an actionable environment.

Both MDM and ODM roles must be able to manage extremely large volumes of data from a variety of sources with multiple data frequencies and latencies. To be an effective tool for utilities, a data manager needs to:

  • Be flexible to adjust to changing business environments
  • Be scalable
  • Be highly available
  • Self discover and configure device additions and changes
  • Support aggregations and complex calculations
  • Support VEE, versioning and auditing
  • Synchronise with other systems of record
  • Manage event data at very high frequencies Store multiple years of large amounts of data online
  • Support multiple hierarchies
  • Reconcile data with other source systems
  • Provide security and health monitoring of IT systems
  • Provide easy-to-use data access and visualisation tools for a variety of users.