Situational Awarenes for Key Infrastructures
Every company which manages a key infrastructure intends to prevent accidents, to optimize resources, to improve safety and to protect their property. Achieving these objectives is complicated by many limitations imposed by national and supranational authorities, uncertain government measures, aging infrastructures, high maintenance expenses and the increased utilization of renewable resources. Modern IT instruments are becoming a necessity for achieving high efficiency.
Companies that manage key infrastructures work with data acquired from various systems. Since the data come from different places, users are often forced to switch among various systems and applications and to laboriously search for necessary information and put them together. Data are often of different formats and the connections which are important for a given situation are often missing. In real life, data from, for example, meteorological stations, trading systems, measurements, social networks, etc. need to be combined. Just the availability of the data itself is not sufficient. A complex view is missing – visual understanding of the situation from the time and space perspective. As a result, reactions come often late and are not optimal because of the missing connections. We need a solution that allows us to react faster with better efficiency and lower expenses. The Space-Time Insight platform represents such a solution.
Main Uses of the Product
Space-Time Insight (STI) is an instrument designed specifically for operators of critical infrastructures spread over a large area. In order to manage such an infrastructure, a large volume of unlinked data related to geospatial and time relations needs to be analyzed (see Fig. 1 for additional details).
Thanks to a wide spectrum of the prepared data interfaces and in-memory computing, STI analyzes and assesses data acquired from many different sources in real time. STI is prepared to process enormous volumes of data (big data) without replacing existing databases or unnecessary replication of available data.
Individual results are displayed in the time and spatial context by utilizing various map documents. Users can access required data immediately from a single screen.
STI provides a complete view of the data and all their relations. It thus allows for their understanding and supports fast and optimal decisions.
A part of STI is formed by standard modules for many industrial areas. These modules are ready for immediate use.
Fig. 1 – The Space-Time Insight (STI) solution
In the energy sector, STI is mainly used for securing reliable operation of transmission and distribution networks, for simulating impacts of the incorporation of renewable resources into the system, for solving problems related to reading electrometers in smart networks or for securing physical safety of key infrastructures and assets.
Moreover, STI addresses the impacts of individual meteorological phenomena and vegetation or application and control of work teams in the field. STI assists in the process of managing crisis situations and provides documentation for security units, such as for instance plans of access routes, safety procedures, data from camera systems, etc.
Examples of its use in the electric energy sector, logistics, telecommunication, public services or insurance industry are provided below.
Fig. 2 – Integration of meteorological data
This standard module addresses support of a fast decision making process and reliable operation of transmission and distribution networks. Users can access data from company (ERP, GIS …), control (SCADA) and trading systems, meteorological data, measured values and information from social networks at a single location. At the same time, STI does not replace any of these systems and does not duplicate any of the company data.
The module allows for monitoring the behavior of the infrastructure in relation to various network characteristics (for example, voltage, currents, deviations of phase angles from WAMS, etc.) and external variables, such as meteorological information (for example, thunderstorms, lightning, climatic conditions, sun radiation, humidity, temperature, rime).
STI supports dispatching control via so-called Alert Management – which notifies about problems before an undesirable event / condition occurs (for example, device malfunction, infrastructure outage, etc.). At the same time, it allows the analysis of the impacts of outages on particular areas or the visualization of calculated indicators (for example, ampacity).
Undesirable situations can be solved not only in real time but they can also be simulated and replayed. As a result, incorrect steps can be easier to avoid in the future.
Fig. 3 – System control
Smart Meter Intelligence
This module supports fast and efficient solving of problems related to reading smart electric meters. Continuous monitoring of their conditions reduces their operation and maintenance expenses. Connection with other data sources allows for a faster implementation of corrective measures for electric meters that could not be read. Efficient management reduces errors in the input values for invoicing and also shortens delays in between individual recalculations. Moreover, network thefts can be located and prevented in an easier manner. STI thus significantly assists in the process of protecting company revenues.
In this case, STI reduces damages caused by unexpected equipment outages as well as its maintenance expenses. The lifetime of the equipment exposed to unfavorable climatic conditions (lightning, frost, sun radiation, etc.) can vary from the lifetime specified by the manufacturer. The same applies to devices exposed to overloading or to devices operated with non-optimal settings. Not knowing real conditions often leads to unexpected failures. Every such outage has a negative impact on customers and the cost of its correction is high.
The module focuses on the impacts of the integration of renewable electricity resources (RER) into the system. Their integration as well as their consequent use is accompanied by many difficulties. These include incorrect predictions of meteorological conditions or insufficient reserves of conventional resources.
Connecting the system data with meteorological data allows for modeling resource integration and increases the accuracy of production predictions. This reduces the expenses for regulation as well as for balancing the generator's business position.
Fig. 4 – RER integration optimization
In logistics, STI contributes to the reliable operation of transportation networks. Individual operators are informed about incidents and possible corrective solutions in a timely manner. STI provides online monitoring and visualization of key information on map documents.
Everything can be gathered at a single location – for example, crew time plans, expected delivery time, warehouse status information, transportation and meteorological information.
By interconnecting such information, STI optimizes the use of resources. More accurate predictions of delivery times can be made, transportation routes can be rerouted in case of traffic jams, information about available parking spaces can be obtained and/or impacts on related processes and customers can be analyzed.
STI includes concrete references related to road and railway transportation and to distribution services.
Fig. 5 – Real-time route tracking
STI expands the abilities of specialized applications that are often customized and used for controlling telecommunication networks. Some of these abilities include information administration related to backbone lines, coverage overviews via BTS (Base Transceiver Station), and operational analyses, i.e., of workloads, number of connected devices at a certain location, etc.
Other benefits include assessments of the impacts of meteorological conditions and efficient management of critical situations such as outages – in STI, the number of affected stations, including their geographic locations and closest service teams, can be quickly determined. User-defined dashboards allow for acquiring summaries about the number of customers connected at the given location prior to a given outage and for assessing financial indicators, for example, the outage cost per hour.
Apart from monitoring the status of the actual infrastructure, STI allows for real-time monitoring and analyzing customer preferences, such as used applications in various regions, including visualizations on maps and dashboards.
STI is mainly used in the field of waste management and water treatment and distribution and by security services – the police, fire fighting and rescue/emergency units.
In the field of waste management, STI assists in the process of efficient management and optimization of resources – for example, thanks to its connection to meteorological systems, it allows for determining priority areas in road maintenance. Key data are accessible from a single location – for example, the list of maintained roads, maintenance time plans or work procedures (including procedures for removing snow from cities during calamities).
In the case of security units, the product is also used for securing cooperation with these units. Necessary information (access routes, ownership of buildings, contact lists, etc.) can be made available to them via STI, which can significantly speed up the solution of critical situations.
For the needs of the police, STI allows the storage of criminal records and reporting and solving of misdemeanors and criminal offences. This information can be further analyzed and visualized based on given regions and various time periods.
STI represents a very valuable instrument for insurance companies used for settling insurance events. Data related to insurance events, transportation and meteorological phenomena are well-arranged and available at a single location. However, the single greatest added benefit is their interconnection – employees of insurance companies can thus determine insurance frauds and abuses of insurance events more easily. For example, this facilitates the verification of accidents reported by the police, traffic jams and traffic limitations. For meteorological phenomena, insurance company employees can determine locations of lightning, precipitation or floods. Furthermore, insurance events can be verified by checking/comparing them against reports of other clients at the same location or by displaying the history of reported events, thus securing their efficient and fast settlements.
The volume of stored data in all companies has been growing year by year. Enormous volumes of structured as well as unstructured data are available to individual companies. Regular systems are no longer capable of handling such volumes of data in real time. We are convinced that, in the 21st century, situational geospatial solutions will become a necessary part of every company which has activities and assets spread over a large area. STI can significantly improve the operational reliability of infrastructures, reduce operational expenses and increase satisfaction of clients as well as employees.
7 reasons to acquire STI
About Space-Time Insight
Space-Time Insight changes the way how public services and other organizations manage their distributed infrastructure. Our next-generation situational solution makes critical infrastructures more intelligent, secure and reliable. The solution shifts form traditional transmission and communication networks to smart networks and cities. Space-Time Insight allows companies to visualize and analyze their infrastructures in different locations and at different moments, to quickly react to problems and to surpass their objectives in the areas of performance and reliability.
About Unicorn Systems
Unicorn Systems is a renowned European company providing the largest information systems and solutions in the area of information and communication technologies. We have focused on providing high added value and a competitive edge to our clients for many years. We have been operating on the market since 1990 and since then we have created a series of high-end large-scale solutions that are extended and used among the most important companies in a variety of sectors. We have the best references from companies in banking, insurance, energy and utilities, communication and media, manufacturing, trade and the government. Our customers are not only the largest companies but also market leaders. We have detailed knowledge of the entire spectrum of all business sectors. We understand the principles of their operation as well as comprehend the specific needs of our customers.