THE ROLLOUT OF SMART METERS AND METERING SYSTEMS: A LOGISTICAL CHALLENGE
Experts and other interested parties will be gathering at the Metering Days conference in Fulda to discuss the topic of smart metering. In light of increasingly decentralized energy markets, smart meters and metering systems are a fundamental component of the energy system. The German federal government is planning to expand the use of smart meters; this means that energy providers, grid and metering point operators, as well as their service providers, are facing complex logistical challenges in parallel to their day-to-day business. Bosch Software Innovations will describe how the rollout process can be optimized by using software.
Rolling out smart meters and metering systems quickly and on a large scale is a major challenge, as the volume in question in enormous. What is more, the rollout must take place while normal operations continue, including replacements, new installations, and repairs. Hardware, organization, logistics, and IT systems are major cost drivers that must be kept under control.
A software solution provides support
To reduce financial, organizational, and logistics risks, as well as to maintain an overview of the situation, the rollout must be perfectly orchestrated. This includes every step of the process, from planning, management, and budget-to-actual comparisons to optimization. Here is where a software-based management system such as the Bosch Software Innovations Rollout Process Manager is ideal. It can be used to simulate different scenarios and plans, and to estimate the related costs. Previously imported master data such as annual energy consumption data form the basis of these simulations, which can determine where it would make sense to carry out necessary meter replacements immediately.
Optimization and automation
The software solution can also optimize the rollout process in terms of capacity. Here, the focus is on the cost-efficient use of existing human resources in a manner that reflects their qualifications. Moreover, the Rollout Process Manager can help automate a number of processes through the interplay of existing IT systems. As a result, inventory levels of the devices to be installed can be assessed and orders placed automatically at the right time. Task packages can also be generated and transmitted directly to the technician. If he or she executes these using a mobile device, the data can be seamlessly fed back to the system. Integration with the Smart Meter Gateway Administration is also possible.
Software: a smart partner
Thanks to the monitoring function, providers can constantly check whether the rollout is running smoothly and on schedule. They can also see, for instance, the ways in which repair processes affect planned meter replacements. Various functions can be used for management and control purposes following the rollout as well. The software platform that Bosch Software Innovations uses for the Rollout Process Manager is based on inubit BPM, the Business Process Management component of the Bosch IoT Suite, and this provides a great deal of flexibility. Adjustments to accommodate future regulatory requirements and changes to the legal framework can be made quickly and securely. Energy provider EWE has already recognized the advantages. “The rollout management system will allow us to significantly reduce our costs, all the while making major quality improvements in the planning and implementation phases. With the upcoming transition to smart meters, these areas are going to become much more complex. With Bosch Software Innovations, we have found a partner that offers innovative software technology and has a wealth of expertise in the area of smart metering,” said Heiko Fastje, managing director of the EWE subsidiary EWE NETZ.
Bosch Software Innovations experts will be on hand at the Meter Days conference on September 22 and 23, 2015 to give interested parties information about the Rollout Process Manager. On September 23 at 2:30 p.m., Markus Rüger, project engineer for metering system rollout at EWE NETZ, and Matthias Gutschmidt, product manager for smart metering at Bosch Software Innovations, will provide insights on initial experience with roll-out implementation. Their presentation, which is part of the conference program, is entitled “Plan, carry out, monitor, and optimize the rollout – but how?”