The number of installed IEDs is increasing constantly, as is the frequency of firmware updates.
How can managers respond?
Stefan Schöner: The number of workflows needed increases in line with the complexity of the equipment, the installations, and the system as a whole. A suitable data management solution should be able to mirror the status of the system 1:1 in order to seamlessly support these workflows.
In the case of firmware updates, ADMO 5.10 simplifies their initiation and execution and provides an overview of the versions in use. In addition, the asset manager can start the update for all the devices of a particular manufacturer at the same time. The required data (for example, the device firmware) and any additional comments or instructions can be linked directly. The status field in the ADMO device overview indicates that an update is required.
Firmware updates that are planned but have not yet been carried out can alternatively be set up as commissioning or maintenance events. The data is available to the engineer whenever it's required, even when they're working offline in a substation.
The management of ADMO software licenses is often hopelessly inflexible and restrictive.
Isn't there an easier way of doing this?
Stefan Schöner: Absolutely. Until now, our customers have always had to request a new license key whenever an existing user was replaced. This has been modified so that administrators themselves are able to revoke and reassign license keys. A license assignment can be revoked up to three times a year. In addition, license management is simplified by providing an overview of those that are already in use.
Graphical presentation in particular can be an enormous help in making sense of all the data.
What's new in this area?
Stefan Schöner: The premise at the heart of a properly functioning data management system is to make the data so useful that it results in better decisions and actions.
InSight 2.10 supports customers in this respect with three new widgets for calculating and preparing the statistics used as indicators for the reliability of the energy grid. The monitoring of grid reliability in the power industry is based on standardized indices, such as the duration and number of interruptions. This data is evaluated by ADMO and visualized in InSight.
Moreover, the new "Events" widget provides an overview of all the events handled by ADMO and the associated data. The big strength of this widget lies in its very powerful filtering options, which make it particularly useful for maintenance planning and controlling. From there, it's a simple matter for the user to create an email containing the prefiltered data.
Why do you think some users find it so difficult to tear themselves away from homemade workarounds and switch to a professional solution?
Stefan Schöner: There are many reasons why users would like to stick with their own solutions. A homemade Excel worksheet can be created quickly, easily and cheaply - but that's normally where the advantages end. In my experience, the main obstacles are familiarity and the "not-made-here" syndrome. Humans quickly get into routines that they fervently cling to. This applies to working processes in exactly the same way as it does to food, the stuff we buy and, unsurprisingly, the use of new technologies. We frequently stick with something we know until pressure from somewhere else compels us to make the change. Unfortunately, because pressure has been applied, it's sometimes the case that the prevailing conditions are not what they were and that the preferred solution is now way out of date.
I welcome every opportunity to take a closer look at a customer's individual situation and the specific challenges they're facing. The benefits and advantages of a professional solution will usually be readily apparent and make the changeover much easier.