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Smart meter rollouts are happening all over the world, with utilities trying different approaches, technologies and solutions to accomplish objectives including customer engagement, supply reliability and operational efficiencies.

In the smart metering journey so far, success has varied between utilities. While there are quite a few success stories, there have also been challenges, shortfalls and sufferings. The time has now come to consider and analyse the reasons for those unsatisfactory results.

There are many reasons smart meter rollouts can be challenging; however according to Cyient, the most important aspect of any rollout is the expertise and exposure of the solution provider. The solution provider must have exposure to all the key elements of smart meter implementations, in order to provide expert advice and timely recommendations to make the rollouts successful.

Over last few years, Cyient has taken part in some interesting projects and helped customers to succeed in challenging environments. Our involvement in those projects has helped us gain knowledge, wisdom and insight on each and every element of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) implementations and has also made us a strong solution provider.

Mobile workforce solutions

For a European customer, Cyient delivered an innovative solution that entailed developing a generic platform independent framework with an extensible library of ‘meter drivers’ for a Mobile Workforce Management System (MWMS). The integration of a MWMS with smart meters allowed the field engineers to perform various meter service activities such as readings, connections and disconnections, and meter maintenance and replacements much more efficiently. Seamless integration between field and office provided the platform for operational efficiency gains and cost savings. Better work prioritisation and faster work turnaround increased field crew productivity, leading to enhanced customer satisfaction.

Business process integration

In another example, Cyient was engaged by a leading Southeast Asian utility to deliver business process integration between the Meter Data Management System (MDMS) and existing IT systems, such as billing, portal, call management and shutdown notification. The integration was based on Service Oriented Architecture (SOA),  leveraging existing middleware and developing custom interfaces. This helped with accurate billing, support for ad-hoc billing requests, managing tamper/theft/outage notifications, supply automation and smart payment options.

Pre-paid energy management solutions

Cyient also has considerable experience with implementing pre-paid energy management solutions, having taken part in a recent project involving pre-paid solutions for another leading Southeast Asian utility. The solution included various leading AMI products and numerous interfaces with back-office and head-end systems. The two-way communication between meters to head-end to MDMS to pre-paid energy management software ensured that the customer could access near real-time status of their energy balances against the credit, and take connect/disconnect actions as per pre-configured rules. This helped the customer to reduce commercial losses owing to power theft, reduced credit risk and also enhanced customer service and experience.

Where to now?

The above examples have involved AMI rollouts, but what’s next? What do we do with the huge volumes of meter data that keeps accumulating on client and outsourced data warehouse servers? This is a typical issue for most of the utilities who have been a part of the AMI journey so far, but not for our customers.

Cyient has developed an innovative solution to help unlock the economic value of smart meters, by leveraging existing systems and new data sources. For example, we have generated voltage and load profiles of customers and transformers by fusing meter data and geographical data, enabling both graphical and spatial analytics to improve situational awareness.

Utility companies who are gearing up for large scale smart meter rollouts need a solution provider who can hold their hand throughout the journey, from the planning stage until the deployment of the last meter, and then support them with gaining critical operational intelligence from the sudden and continual influx of new data.

Based on their experience on many projects, Cyient knows exactly what needs to be done to make every smart meter rollout a big success.

Find out more about Cyient by viewing their latest White Paper here.

Jessica Dickers is an experienced journalist, editor and content creator who is currently the Editor of Utility’s sister publication, Infrastructure. With a strong writing background, Jessica has experience in journalism, editing, print production, content marketing, event program creation, PR and editorial management. Her favourite part of her role as editor is collaborating with the sector to put together the best industry-leading content for the audience.

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