How Fingrid is keeping the lights on with the Internet of Things

Social Strategist for the Internet of Things, IBM

Electricity grid managers really have their work cut out for them these days. In addition to aging infrastructures and grids that are being stretched beyond their intended limits because of urban growth, grid managers are often faced with shrinking budgets. For some cities, rolling blackouts are one way to address the budgeting problem. That tact may not shock residents, but I recall experiencing rolling blackouts when traveling for business—which reminds me that I need to get a battery-operated curling iron and always remember to take my cell phone into hotel bathrooms. You just never know when the lights will go out.

Fingrid is the national electricity transmission company in Finland that owns Finland’s high-voltage grid and is responsible for transmitting the electricity from the producers and generators to distribution companies and heavy industry. This process requires Fingrid to manage a variety of assets, from the power lines and towers to the substations across the country.

The quantity and variety of assets is vast, so vast that instead of asking how many socks do you own, Fingrid asked themselves how many systems they had managing their assets. Before long it became very clear that Fingrid needed an integrated system. The system needed to ensure that once master data was entered into the corporate systems, other systems could then extract the data. This solution is called Electricity Verkko Information System (ELVIS). ELVIS integrates eight systems, and the interconnection of data is what Fingrid believes will take them to the next step toward experiencing the value of the Internet of Things.

Knowing where assets are using spatial data, having the maintenance history of those assets and connecting this data to cost elements was the focus of a discussion with Marcus Stenstrand, Grid Manager at Fingrid. Stenstrand explains that by deploying IBM Maximo Asset Management at the core of the ELVIS system, Fingrid can tie costs to its assets and apply analytics for deep, real-time analysis. Strenstrand also points out that being able to do real-time fault diagnosis in minutes, as opposed to days, enables Fingrid to increase efficiency and help reduce risk that ensures well-informed decisions and offers an enhanced experience to customers.

“The Internet of Things for Fingrid,” Stenstrand says, “is really to take it to the next level and do even deeper analytics, to get even more data in, analyze all this data and predict the future.”

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