Remote Management Systems
Why Data Management Services ?
The companies operating in the sector of natural and energy resources are now facing new challenges: market deregulation, the evolution of the legislative context, growing competition from international operators and the obligatory need for a higher level of service.
In response to these challenges, Natural Gas Distributors and Traders must undertake to optimise operating efficiency by resorting to cutting overheads and refocusing their efforts on developing value-added services for end users.
An adequate level of service cannot be guaranteed without adopting automatic control systems able to identify situations of waste or even danger in real time, but the use of sophisticated remote control systems, spread throughout the basic elements of the process, has always had a negative impact on a company’s profit and loss account and its profitability.
Significant savings in operating costs can also be achieved through the optimisation of metering systems, in order to improve accuracy and reduce the difference between resources produced and supplied and total turnover. Moreover, data regarding the detailed profile of consumption levels, which are guaranteed by an efficient metering process, also provide the basis for assuring a higher level of customer service.
In order to achieve significant benefits from an optimisation of measurement and control systems, Distributors need expertise, time and capital to acquire the necessary infrastructures and to finance and manage renewal.
DMS (Data Management Services) is a package of innovative services used to manage key plant data and aimed at optimising the measurement and control processes that are of interest to all operators in the supply chain of gas distribution.
The prime aim is to offer a valid instrument for plant control, enabling an organised knowledge of the process, a means of forecasting demand and formulating marketing strategies that are indispensable in all situations where it is necessary to manage a “user” in the context of a deregulated market.
All the players in the gas supply chain benefit from this service which, by reducing management costs and without requiring initial investments, allows customers to delegate plant safety and control effectively to third parties, as well as the auxiliary services relating to measurement, thereby focusing their own resources on the “core business” and on new value-added services.
The package of services that make up DMS includes 5 independent base modules that can be used independently in the event that the company opts for a mixed strategy of “contracted-out” and “DIY management”.
Measure Management includes a plant inspection phase in which experts from Fiorentini Services will check the conditions of the plants and suggest interventions and the most suitable types of service. Successive phases will
include the supply of equipment on lease and their installation in compliance with current statutory requirements, preserving previously installed apparatus wherever possible, even if provided by other suppliers; the “all- inclusive” type service also includes plant maintenance and spare parts for the entire duration of the contract.
Data Acquisition enables data processed by peripheral systems (even managed by other suppliers) to be acquired through the Fiorentini Services Centre (DAC) which is operated under extremely secure conditions. The purpose of data acquisition is to control plants and/or fiscal metering. All incoming data are first sorted using sophisticated algorithms which certify their validity, regenerating corrupt data if required. Data is then stored for a period of not less than three years in the database at the Services Centre and made available, using export files, to customers on request. Access to the Services Centre database is regulated by efficient security procedures that assure a high level of confidentiality. Any alarms in the process directly alert the personnel who can be contacted using sophisticated information instruments, like voice synthesisers and SMS messaging.
Data Processing is carried out by software modules which allow aggregate data to be obtained, starting with “raw” data acquired by the Fiorentini DAC or imported from the DAC managed directly by the customer; these are particularly useful because of their simple and immediate interpretation.
Data Analysis provides sophisticated modules based on the experience of experts in this sector, offering irreplaceable tools for the analysis and management of the distribution process. Among the numerous tools, it is worth mentioning those which enable applications used to manage Virtual Measurement , the real-time Quality control of gas or the short, medium, long time Forecasting.
Using Data Presentation processed data can be presented to the operator and any other authorised parties on Internet and using normal browsers. Sophisticated Firewalls are used to monitor the security and confidentiality of the data base, while a complex system of access hierarchy management allows menus and functions to be adapted to the various types of on-line operator: for example, traders can be allowed access to data on all their customers, whereas individual customers can only access their own.