Elster's new offering goes "beyond the meter"
By: SGN Staff
Quick Take: Sales of North American metering hardware have stalled. Europe and Latin America are still not fully underway. As a result, most metering vendors are looking for ways to sell additional products and services to existing customers. Previously, they thought of themselves as meter hardware companies. Increasingly, they think of themselves as meter value companies. Today's announcement from Elster Solutions is a prime example. - Jesse Berst
Elster Solutions today announced Callistoâ„¢, a suite of functions previously found in separate applications such as meter data collection, meter data management, data analytics and outage management.
Elster's Vice President of Strategy Joe Orlando refers to this new focus as "above the meter" or "beyond the meter." (Note: don't confuse this with "behind the meter," the industry term for grid-connected devices that sit inside the customer premise.)
The modular Callisto system was designed to help utilities get more value from their meter data. More specifically, to analyze events such as outages, transformer overloading, and voltage losses â€“ and all from a single workspace.
You might think of Callisto as a dashboard or interface into which you plug different modules. Elster has created a starter set already and is partnering with others additional capabilities, including ABB, SAIC, Dominion Voltage Inc. and Milsoft.
Utilities can pull data from the Elster-branded meter data management system, of course, but also from other sources. Elster will license Callisto to utilities that want to run it themselves. For those that want a managed service, Elster has partnered with SAIC to provide that option.
Callisto is indicative of a bigger trend at Elster, according to Joe Orlando. "We are shifting resources from just the meter to providing answers for our customers," he said. Citing a roadmap that stretches to 2015, he said the company is "pulling in solutions from all over the world." For instance, revenue protection and theft capabilities originally developed in Brazil will be offered elsewhere.
Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid News.com, the industry's oldest and largest smart grid site. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the U.S. and abroad, he also serves on advisory committees for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Institute for Electric Efficiency. He often provides strategic consulting to large corporations and venture-backed startups. He is a member of the advisory boards of GridGlo and Calico Energy Services.
Elster Solutions Introduces CallistoTM
New Grid Performance System Answers Utilitiesâ€™ Desire for Improved Operations and Enhanced Customer Service
SAN DIEGO, CALIF. January 29, 2013 â€“ Elster Solutions today announces the introduction of CallistoTM, a new Grid Performance System that transforms how utilities optimize their Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) systems, which play a key role in Smart Grid deployments. Callisto, Elsterâ€™s latest AMI innovation, goes beyond standard functionality to elevate data into information that supports actionable intelligence without the significant expense and frustration of buying and integrating specialized applications.
â€œThe original driver for most AMI investments was meter-to-cash revenue recognition,â€ said Joe Orlando, Vice President Strategy, Elster Solutions. â€œNow, it is about realizing additional benefits from the investment in infrastructure and the wealth of data it creates for utilities. With a new focus â€˜above the meter,â€™ Callisto supports our customersâ€™ desire to have greater transparency and access to the information their AMI infrastructure can provide.â€
Elsterâ€™s Callisto was designed to help utilities analyze events such as outages, transformer overloading, voltage behaviors, losses, demand response, load control and much more. Based on a modular and expandable architecture, Callisto empowers utilities of any size to build on a Meter Data Collection (MDC) and Meter Data Management (MDM) feature-rich platform through a series of optional â€œStackable AnswersTM.â€ Callisto provides the access to the data, information and analytics typically only available at a higher cost and through a significantly complex series of disparate systems.
Callisto, with its innovative, easy-to-use user experience (UX), has a stackable plug-and-play modularity, demonstrating an industry breakthrough designed to help utilities reduce their risk, reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and achieve the exact functionality desired. The monitoring and notification capabilities built into Callisto are designed for the ease of operation that utilities will want for all of their day-to-day activities.
Additionally, utility executives will be able to quickly and easily assess operational performance and make decisions with greater confidence around opportunities, leading to improved business operations, such as better economic control of voltage levels and associated savings; losses from theft; savings from predictive actions in transformer maintenance and outage management. Numerous additional applications are included in the long term portfolio strategy for Callisto.
When more capability and capacity is desired, Elster has collaborated with the worldâ€™s best-in-class application providers for additional capabilities that deliver answers to specific challenges. Well-known companies, including ABB, SAIC, Dominion Voltage Inc, and Milsoft, have joined with Elster to make this vision a reality for utilities. Ensuring a focus on specific challenges, Callisto delivers practical answers to specific problems. Callisto encourages utilities to apply answers at a pace and time that suits them and their budgets. This approach readily assures an attractive TCO, making for a better Return on Investment (ROI) experience.
Orlando continued, â€œBuilt on Elsterâ€™s proven capability and product portfolio, with more than 100 deployed systems currently in operation, Callisto provides the answers utilities and communities require to be successful. This is what our customers expect from Elster and a taste of what we will deliver in the future.â€
Callisto is being demonstrated at the 2013 DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition in San Diego. Visitors can learn more about the Callisto, Elsterâ€™s Grid Performance System (GPS) and Elsterâ€™s answers for utilities at booth #1500.
With more 170 years of experience, Elster Solutions has built a reputation on providing cutting-edge technologies to deliver world class products, systems and services to utility clients worldwide. Elster Solutions has three main areas of business â€“ data analytics, electricity metering products, and Smart Metering and Smart Grid system solutions for electricity, water and gas utilities. Elster Solutions engineers fully interoperable smart metering and data analytics products through custom-made options for utility customers and award-winning end-to-end solutions for the Smart Grid with Callisto, a multi-utility grid performance system (GPS) for water, gas and electricity around the world.