The Utility world of today relies on increasingly complex communications solutions to operate efficiently and safely. Utilities depend upon timely information for command and control of their various networks including (but not limited to) generation (or production) transmission, distribution, quality, reliability, safety, load balancing, billing, outage notification and restoration. These requirements for information span electric, gas, water, wastewater, stormwater, irrigation, steam, pipelines systems and other associated industries within the vertical generally referred to as “Utilities”.
DataRemote keenly understands the unique requirements for reliability, accuracy and failover as well as the financial implications of maintaining equipment over long periods of installed operation and life. Faced with technology upgrade requirements, Utilities must often juggle the availability of suitable mediums for carrying information within the installed technology. Legacy equipment often has long life cycles due to regulatory requirements for capitalization, amortization and rate base recovery. Additionally, installed equipment cannot be easily changed due to the in-service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week operational requirements demanded by the very nature of the business. DataRemote has pioneered the ability to interface legacy command and control protocols with the state of the art technologies available. The concept of Smart Grid and the Utility centric Internet of Things (IoT) world have brought increased abilities to drive production, transmission, distribution and quality to new levels of efficiency. Coupled with the increased safety and reliability created by faster and more diverse communications networks, utilities today are able to deliver more with less.DataRemote offers a full line of Utility grade cellular and radio communications solutions to meet the requirements of the industry.
Command and Control
Utilities increasingly rely on Supervisory Control and Data Accusation (SCADA) networks to view, operate, command and control the various disparate systems necessary to deliver electricity, gas, water and steam and petroleum to industry, commercial enterprises and consumers. SCADA generally refers to any centralized system engaged in monitoring or controlling various networks involved in all aspects of production, delivery, safety and quality and use of a commodity. The ability to control entire sites, complexes or networks of various systems is the basis for SCADA. Many control functions can be automated. But, SCADA also provides for direct control of these systems when human intervention is necessary or critical. DataRemote understands the critical nature of these systems and has engineered our solution structure to address the reliability, safety and interoperability demanded by Utility grade SCADA. DataRemote has built our business on providing highly secure, robust, reliable and interoperable systems to meet the demands of the industry.
DataRemote has seen the evolution of communications and SCADA networks evolve from early analog direct wire systems through the era of analog tone, analog in band FSK signaling, analog in and out of band signaling, serial data streams, digital data streams DS0, T1 and other TDM systems and radio systems including cellular. The evolution has occurred in stages all leading to where we are now with the IoT, cloud based, internet flexible communications network.
- First Generation: “Monolithic”
Early SCADA systems relied upon small localcomputer systems. Common network services came much later. As a result, SCADA systems had no connectivity with other systems and operated mostly independently. The communication protocols used were strictly proprietary. Redundancy was achieved by using a back-up computer to beused in the event of failure of the primary computer.
- Second Generation: “Distributed”
SCADA command and control moved into a world where information was shared or distributed across local area networks to provide for redundancy or multiple access points to share information and control systems. This brought about near real time sharing of information. The network protocols used were still not standardized. Information security of the SCADA network was not always in the forefront.
- Third Generation: “Networked”
Similar to a distributed architecture, SCADA networks can be inter-connected through communication protocols. Using distributed architecture, SCADA systems can operate in parallel, with a single supervisor. This permits a more cost effective solution in larger systems.
- Fourth Generation: “Internet of Things”
With the almost ubiquitous availability of cloud computing and storage, SCADA systems have adopted IoT as a medium and architecture to control and improve infrastructure costs while simplifying the maintenance and integration aspects of the network. SCADA systems can now report in near real-time and using cloud environments. This also provides for a more readily comprehensible and managed security envelopethan what wastypicallyfound in many decentralized SCADA networks.
Making the Right Choice
DataRemote is well positioned to assist in network transitions, interfacing legacy equipment with Industrial rated hardware and software solutions that recognize industry best practices while providing for efficient cost containment and high security. Our ability to manage legacy protocols and unique interfaces found in Utilities, makes DataRemote ultimately qualified to serve the industry. We pioneered “moving data over wireless.”