In my search for other employment opportunities, I have decided that I can’t just ride on the heels of my past work experiences at Aclara. I need to dig my heels in a bit more to get a broader perspective on the industry in general, and step away from the narrow TWACS-based industry viewpoint. In saying this, I’m not sending a jab to Aclara/DCSI, but rather stating that I am recognizing my need for looking at the bigger picture. What does smart-grid mean anyway? In my previous world, it only covered “Field Area Network”, i.e. AMI/AMR in the distribution network. In the brief amount of time I’ve spent researching the big picture, I see that it’s alot bigger than I expected!
The Smart Grid space can be divided into multiple segments by various domain standards (i.e. protocol standards):
- Enterprise Level – i.e. ebXML, CIM/GID, SOAP/Web Services
- Control Center – CIM, ICCP, DNP3, IEC 61850
- Field Area Network – Proprietary, i.e. TWACS
- Substation – DNP3, IEC 61850
- Wind Farms – IEC 61400-25
- Consumer – ANSI C12.22, Zigbee, Wifi
- Distributer Resources – IEEE 1547
- Commercial – BACNet, OpenADR
While this is a very technical standards-body based list, for me, it shows all the areas where I need to start looking to learn more. Presently, my understanding is in the Field Area Network Domain as well as the consumer domain, in my working with ANSI C12.19 and C12.22 in relation to mapping meter data to our transponders and making the data available for use by the master station software. Here’s an observation: there are a whole lot of standards at play here! Wow. Talk about complex!
Furthermore, I was recently talking to a friend at Cisco who was telling me that there is a big movement going on in their organization to take a leading role in the Smart Grid space. Now that I see things from a bigger picture with so many different network control systems from the field, to inter-grid control systems, to billing systems, substation automation, not to mention an umbrella of security, I can definitely see how they plan on making inroads into this market space.