August 12, 2011 – Starting in September, SAP will offer a new meter data platform, SAP Smart Meter Analytics.
The latest application leverages Sap’s in memory system to take the mass of data coming in from meters, SCADA and other sources and process it in real time. To build the product, SAP put together a group of utilities, along with its partners, eMeter and Itron, to find a way to integrate all smart grid data into SAP systems, according to Henry Bailey, Vice President of Industry Solutions Group at SAP.
“One of the things that differentiates us is that we’re not only looking at serving the [utility customer],” said Scott Bolick, vice president of sustainability at SAP, “but we’re looking at how utilities can collaborate with the consumer."
Using in-memory computing allows for data to be processed in real time to provide a snapshot or to constantly be updating it. The advantage here is speed, said Bolick. Operators can put in a simple query when they see a perceived energy variance and get an instant answer. “It’s about matching consumption with a lot of other variables,” he said. “You’re searching tens of millions of records in sub-second time.”
The platform has been tested with a German utility with more than a million customers, and will be fully available starting in September. But SAP is not the only company using in-memory technology to meet a utility’s data needs, according to Chet Geschickter, Senior Smart Grid Analyst with GTM Research. Space-Time Insight is a startup that provides situational intelligence solutions for independent system operators and utilities using visual analytics and geospatial software. Space-Time Insights counts IBM, OSIsoft, Accenture, SAP and Oracle as partners.
Although it can’t be done in the cloud yet, SAP is working on taking its HANA technology to the cloud. But even without the cloud, SAP thinks it has a solution that will transform utility operations end to end. “Whether it’s account management or operational,” said Bolick, “they can do it at a speed they couldn’t do it at before.”