Smart Move: How Utilities are Optimizing Smart Grids and Meters with QA and App Testing
Smart grids, smart meters, Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), microgrids and other rapidly emerging trends are transforming the energy industry and everyday life itself. However, expert quality assurance and software testing is crucial to tap their full potential.
Utilities companies are stepping smartly towards modernization. Smart grids, smart meters, Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), microgrids and other rapidly emerging trends are transforming the energy industry and everyday life itself. However, expert quality assurance and software testing is crucial to tap their full potential.
These are some of the main benefits smart utilities technologies offer, plus a few ways skilled QA can bring out their true genius.
Smart Grids enable utilities companies to improve security, reduce peak loads and lower operational costs. They facilitate integration with newer, greener energy sources and boost business efficiency.
Consumers can bank big benefits too, including a major lift in reliability. Smart grids can cut customer interruptions nearly in half and decrease the number of customers impacted by storms by up to one-third.
Best Practices: The best smart grid QA covers a comprehensive range of functional and performance testing, system and app integration, automation and Storm Readiness Testing (SRT), as well as digital transformation, analytics and monitoring.
Smart Meters collect, analyze and transmit vital information to the utility’s integrated systems. They’re based on AMI technology, which uses wireless mesh networks for data communication between the meters and utility centers.
AMI Systems manage data on millions of endpoints. They capture smart meter traffic and enable two-way communications between customers and the utility.
AMI systems act on data, rather than requiring hardware or field labor, which reduces costs and saves time for utilities. The data-driven structure also enables better informed business decisions for stakeholders and allows deeper, richer visibility into usage trends.
Users gain greater awareness of their energy usage, so they can proactively manage consumption and expenses. The resulting feelings of ownership and control help promote a better customer experience.
Best Practices: QA solutions for smart meters and AMI systems should emphasize shift-left identification of potential problems, zero-defect upgrades and app/system integrations, as well as support for AMI interface connection to the Operations Management System (OMS).
Microgrids are small installations of independent power systems that typically rely on wind, solar or battery power to service a small, defined area if the main power there fails. Microgrids help utilities maintain normal operations while implementing new technology and are increasingly used to maintain consistent power flow in remote or susceptible regions.
Best Practices: Providing safe, reliable and financially feasible microgrid systems presents special challenges, especially in remote locations. Skilled performance and load testing is essential, as is flexible yet rigorous project management. Ideally, choose a QA partner with demonstrated ability in the design, architecture and implementation of single microgrids or microgrid clusters.
The Future Is Now
Smart Cities of the Future, where digital technologies power new systems, are no longer merely a vision—they’re almost here. Be ready with the right IT partner. Learn more about our innovative Utilities solutions.