Automated Electricity Metering System "Continium"
The client is IAC of scientific and technical research "Continium".
The system is designed for automated registration, accumulation and processing of detailed electrical consumption information for public sector and industrial customers. Today the electricity sale stage is one of the most important ones both for energy companies and consumers. Any mistakes and inaccuracies on this stage influence economic results of both energy companies and consumers directly. That is why automated electricity metering systems (AEMS) with the technology of data transmission via electricity supply network represent the most prospective solution for public services companies.
AEMS "Continium" is the only automated metering system, used in commercial operation in Russia. The main reasons of similar foreign systems' low competitiveness are their high cost and maladjustment to Russian energy system. Constant perfection of both hardware and software parts of the system is vital for achieving customer satisfaction and maintaining positive image.
The urgency to develop new software for AEMS was driven by the fact of numerous problems in the operation of the previous system, such as the complexity of user interface, difficulties in maintenance, low OS compatibility, and conflicts prevention at ODBC level, outdated database, and security requirements.
The customer provided only a part of formal requirements for the system. Many required features were not documented and customer had only a common vision about them; therefore our analysts performed thorough analysis and specification detailing for the system, and also a simplified prototype was worked out.
All principal drawbacks of the old system were considered and corrected. Thus, the old system consisted of a set of binaries (often with different versions), system's interface was not unified, and in fact each application had its "unique" interface. The system also lacked the possibility of automatic installation and updates of the system, which are a standard de facto today.
We designed and implemented a common basic system environment with a set of pluggable modules, and it allowed to unify the interface and functionality, and also rendered the possibility to use common mechanisms to provide identical behavior of precedents that are different in their essence. This approach allowed making the system flexibly modifiable for different customers' categories.
A strong emphasis was made on the development of the object model of the system with clear hierarchical objects structure and relations between them (using Rational Rose technology). It allowed presenting fundamental components of the system in a formalized form, and also increased the level of understanding both for the customer and developers.
The system consists of the following modules:
- Object management module is used for registration and maintenance of AEMS object structure;
- Local data collection blocks (LDCB) management module is used for LDCB configuration and data collection;
- Data collection and transmission meters (DCTM) management module is used to perform configuration and diagnostics of DCTM technical condition;
- Analysis module is used to analyze and export collected data, display consumption anomalies and control object's technical condition;
- Administration module is used to administer the system's database and users;
- Installation module is meant for automatic installation, update and removal of the system from the user's PC;
- Object's database is meant for centralized storage of all collected data.
Aside from basic functions the system contains a set of extended features for the customer's support personnel.
The system is a complex application, designed for collecting, accumulating and processing the information about resources consumption, basing on data, received from local data collection blocks, and also for keeping information about the system's objects in a structured form.
A special low-level architecture was worked out for the project's purposes that provides such basic mechanisms as:
- Component extendable architecture;
- Identification and authentication mechanism;
- Localization mechanism (multi-language support);
- Repeated actions execution mechanism (scheduler);
- Common mechanisms for data export/import, report generation;
- Common structure for hierarchical data presentation;
- Mechanism for processing and recording of critical situations and critical user actions.
A thorough analysis of high-level protocols of data exchange between devices was performed to develop low-level protocols for interaction via modem, RS-232 and Ethernet channels. Such approach allows implementing other similar communication protocols without any additional expenses.
It was also decided to implement a scheduling mechanism, which is designed not only for user interface convenience, but also for economic purposes, allowing to minimize expenses by using data transmission channels in the most effective way.
The new system also has several features that were not directly mentioned in the requirements, like: automatic version control, automatic project creation by "one-mouse-click", automatic simultaneous creation of multiple builds, containing user-specific information (creation of the project on the enterprise-level for multiple customers).
Benefits for Customer
- The new system is more convenient and effective;
- The new system is based on the stable and flexible architecture, providing effective maintenance and development possibilities;
- The new system is less expensive for support and maintenance;
- Security level was increased due to the strict access rights separation;
- Prior training time was reduced due to common unified design development.
tative via Skype right now.
Duration: 14 months
Team size: 5 people
custom software development company