Cisco smart grid strategy: Marching further down the unification path

Tools

By Jesse Berst

 

Cisco has just announced three additions to its smart grid portfolio. Taken together, they reinforce several themes:

·         The gradual merger of IT and OT

·         Cisco's ability to pull products and expertise from other sectors and apply them to the smart grid

·         Cisco's ability to allow legacy systems to play in the IP world

·         Cisco's determination to deliver multiple applications over a single platform

 

As evidence that these themes are resonating with customers, Cisco revealed that it racked up an additional 175 customer deployments worldwide in 2012. I spoke with Cisco vice presidents Lionel Chocron and David Goddard about the three new offerings announced today:

 

1. Cisco Utility Operational Network Solution is a suite of products that give operators a single view of multiple networks. Or perhaps a better description is that it merges siloed networks (including legacy networks) so that all kinds of information – telemetry, AMI data, voice, video – can be delivered over a single network.

 

2. Cisco Connected Grid Design Suite gives engineers a unified view of both the electric and the communications networks – unified modeling, unified design, unified configuration, unified monitoring, etc.

 

This should prove of great value to substation engineers, who are being asked to integrate more and more IED's and cope with more and more communications networks. "We have been able to document time savings of up to 90%," Chocron told me. "That moves the time to set up from weeks to days." The suite has been extensively proven out by China State Grid among others.

PRESS RELEASE

Cisco Builds on Connected Grid Portfolio

New solutions help utilities modernize the grid, manage integration complexity and improve workforce coordination

 

SAN JOSE, Calif., Jan. 23, 2013 – Cisco today announced expanded solutions to its Connected Grid portfolio based on the Cisco GridBlocksTM architecture to help utilities modernize their electrical grid. The new portfolio includes the Cisco® Utility Operational Network solution, Cisco Connected Grid Design Suite, and Cisco Incident Response and Workforce Enablement solution.

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These three new solutions help utilities modernize, manage, and improve everyday grid operations, by providing operational network solutions for mission-critical grid monitoring and control systems; unified electrical and communications network modeling and design resources for rapid and reliable grid implementations; and integrated communication solutions to improve coordination between field personnel and enable faster service restoration. The Connected Grid Strategy ties into Cisco's broader idea of the Internet of Everything, connecting people, processes, data, and things.

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New Connected Grid Solutions:

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Cisco Utility Operational Network Solution

  • Cisco Utility Operational Network Solution includes a package of architecture, design services and products for utility wide area networks that provides utility operators a highly secure and flexible multi-point network to support grid modernization efforts.
  • Utilities are provided time-sensitive protection communications, telemetry data, business information traffic, voice calls and video streams delivered over a single network.
  • The new solution replaces the need to manage multiple aging time-division multiplexing (TDM) based and siloed networks that were built around rigid, point-to-point architectures that are unable to handle multipoint power and information flows.

Cisco Connected Grid Design Suite

  • Cisco Connected Grid Design Suite includes a set of hardware appliances, software applications and services to manage the complexity of new technology integration in substations by providing utility engineers with a unified view of electrical and communications networks.
  • The new solution will help utilities accelerate deployment with unified modeling, design, and configuration of these substation networks. It also enables the post-deployment visualization and performance monitoring of the network
  • The design suite improves reliability and compliance improves while lowering deployment costs.

Cisco Incident Response and Workforce Enablement Solution

  • The solution includes a set of architecture services and products to improve field communications and coordination.
  • Disparate fixed and mobile communication systems, IP-based dispatch, and physical security systems are integrated to improve coordination between utility field crews, dispatchers and remote experts.

Cisco's Connected Grid strategy is to provide an end-to-end, highly secure and interoperable networking infrastructure for electrical grids that allows utilities to better manage power supply and demand, improve the security and reliability of energy transmission, and optimize operations. By delivering multiple applications over a single, intelligent and highly secure platform; electric utilities benefit from both lower total cost of ownership as well as create value from new services and functional integration.

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Cisco has more than 250 customers worldwide adopting the GridBlocksTM architecture and Connected Grid solutions. These include advanced metering infrastructure, substation and utility data center deployments in North America; as well as wide area, substation, and distribution networks in Europe and Asia.

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Supporting Quotes:

Lionel Chocron, vice president and general manager of Cisco Connected Energy Networks business unit: "Through our industry leadership on security and system interoperability, Cisco has seen strong customer and partner growth with utilities worldwide adopting the GridBlocks architecture and Connected Grid solutions. These new solutions will help utilities and our partners meet their grid modernization objectives by enhacing automation and security across their operations."

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Roger Hey, Future Networks program manager, Western Power Distribution (UK): "Project FALCON is a critical step in future networks program. It's developing and testing out some of the tools for our tool kit, and for the residents of Milton Keynes it will be improving the level of service and performance of the network for our city."

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Lu Hong, director, Automation Department at State Grid of China Corporation: "State Grid of China Corp. is leading the world by deploying full IEC 61850 Digital Substation architectures. For such large-scale implementation the management of IED configuration and its communication network is very complex and time consuming. Cisco's Design Suite enables our engineers to streamline substation network discovery, design, modeling and testing processes. It also helps validate and keep track of configuration changes, which meet our operational needs very well."

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Oscie Brown, general manager, SCANA Services, Inc: "Cisco IPICS enabled unified incident management for the PSNC gas business, allowing us to centralize dispatch operations across three states and 50 different radio channels."

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Supporting Resources

To learn more about the Cisco Utility Operational Network solution, Connected Grid Design Suite, and Workforce solutions visit: www.cisco.com/web/strategy/energy/connected_gridservices.html or visit us at booth 3314, Hall D at the Distributech show next week

About Cisco

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected. To learn more about solutions for utilities, please visit www.cisco.com/go/utilities. For ongoing news, please go to http://thenetwork.cisco.com .

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