Why use an integration platform between HES and MDM?

Following are the main reasons why an integration platform or enterprise service bus is essential in the integration between HES and MDM.

The need for multiple HES. Many utilities want to diversify cost, risk and technology and they will therefore operate different types of meters and, hence, multiple HES. Even if a smart meter roll-out is started with only one HES, there is a big probability that, over time, multiple HES will be installed. While it is entirely possible for most modern MDM systems to support multiple HES, it should be noted that differences in interface technologies or data models can cause compatibility issues that can be avoided when using modern integration platform technology.

Grid management use cases. For certain use cases, data like last gasp events, outage alarms or voltage information needs to be transported as close to real-time as possible to an outage management system (OMS) or an Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS). These use cases can also include the need for an ADMS or OMS to send ping requests or on demand meter reading requests to the meters. With these use cases, direct integration between HES and MDM is not the best solution. The “detour” via MDM would add too much latency in these examples.

Smart Meter Operations Center (SMOC). The idea of a SMOC is to enable the best possible operation of the Smart Metering Infrastructure. Some important use cases include value chain checks to see whether the data coming from meters is actually the same data used for billing. Another would be the combining of HES data with e.g. signal strength information from the telecom operator. These use cases are increasingly difficult to implement if HES are directly integrated to MDM because it creates the need for more and more direct integrations for each use case, leading to a spaghetti architecture that’s difficult to control.

Integration Monitoring. Arguably, this is the most important point. Data integrations in the Smart Metering value chain typically handle large amounts of data as well as critical operations, such as connect/disconnect commands. The complexity of these integrations frequently leads to many potential error situations in the value chain. Thorough monitoring of all integration points is therefore an absolute necessity to enable a quick identification of error sources and to avoid the so-called "finger-pointing game" (when different HES and MDM vendors blame each other for failures due to the lack of thorough overarching monitoring.

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