IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2020 - 30

Small and medium electric distribution utilities have a limited
number of IT personnel and resources and require a scalable,
cost effective, and cybersecure solution.
the standardized interface solutions. The interface adapters are the fundamental components that enable standardized, cost-effective, and scalable connectivity between two
systems. Compared to the existing custom interfaces, the
standardized translators reduce the need to install and pay for
additional interface updates when systems require modifications to their internal database structure and model. With
standardized interfaces, the connection is completely independent from the internal database. The translators simply
send standardized XML messages from one system to the
other. For example, using an interoperability standard, system 1 (OMS) sends a message to system 2 (AMI): "Is meter
number 12,345 energized?" The AMI system receives the
message and searches its internal database to check for the
answer. It returns a message via XML: "Yes, meter 12,345
is energized." This is accomplished through a standard interface in a much simpler fashion since the OMS and AMI

S

OM

CIS
A
CAD

S

M

WF

GIS

AMI

DR

figure 5. The secure and seamless integration for interoperable systems. WFM: workforce management. (Source:
Tony Thomas, NRECA; used with permission.)

Staking

GIS

AMI

EA

CIS

OMS
IVR

figure 6. The differentiators of the standardized interface
solutions.
30

ieee power & energy magazine

are compatible through a common interoperability protocol,
which saves time and money.
Standardized interfaces are attractive to software vendors
because they eliminate the risk of exposing any of the "secret
sauce" inside the database models to competing companies. As
a result, rival software providers are willing to collaborate and
integrate with each other to improve their services to the utilities. Interface standardization produces a win-win scenario:
the interfaces have a low cost, and software companies feel
safe because their proprietary information and solution methods are not exposed. Utilities are the biggest winners because
they integrate disparate systems (including ADMSs) without
worrying about expensive and unsecured custom interfaces
that require costly modifications when vendors update software. At the end of the day, interoperability standards enable
grid optimization and modernization for the future.

Interoperability Standards:
Benefits and Considerations
Standards reduce the need to convert data into different formats through expensive means to reach the desired
results. Data connectivity and analyses become easier and
faster when there are standards, thus promptly responding
to requests and providing timely information about energy
usage and account management, among other applications.
Interoperability standards enable real-time data sharing
between software systems. This simplifies the compilation
and analysis of highly technical information so that it can
be understood and used, resulting in significant cost and
time savings. Standardization simplifies software integration between current utility systems and future additions by
leveraging a shared standard for data exchange.
Testing and certification are critical. A standard testing
harness complete with digital badges assures utility purchasers
that the products they buy have passed rigorous interoperability testing. Digital badges are weblinks granted to vendors that
pass interoperability tests administered by independent testing
organizations. The weblinks/digital badges can be added to a
vendor's webpage and, when clicked, provide the type of certification and its date of expiration. Rigorous testing programs
also assure software vendors of the reliability of the interface
and reduce further development and maintenance costs. Most
importantly, testing and certification mitigate future cybersecurity issues. Standardization helps utilities save time and
improves the member-consumer experience. Consumers want
to be "in the know" regarding their energy usage, have quick
response times to inquiries, and keep the lights glowing at an
january/february 2020



IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2020

Contents
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2020 - Cover1
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2020 - Cover2
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2020 - Contents
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2020 - 2
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2020 - 3
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2020 - 4
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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2020 - Cover3
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2020 - Cover4
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