PrimeStone joined the MultiSpeak community in September 2019 to offer utilities an interoperable solution with numerous software systems, to further the mission of helping these companies make their processes efficient.
This post contains relevant information about the MultiSpeak specification and the role it plays in our PrimeAnalytics+ solution.
What is the MultiSpeak specification?
MultiSpeak was born as an initiative between the National Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives of the United States (NRECA) and software providers serving utilities in the electric sector. The goal of this collaboration is to define standard data interfaces to make integrated, profitable, and cybersecurity software applications available, in this way, it seeks to meet part of the commercial needs of public service companies, especially companies in the electricity sector. The vendors, along with the consultants hired by NRECA, meet several times a year to design the required software interfaces, since 1999 to date, with the MultiSpeak the specification as the result of NRECA’s deliberations with the software vendors.
MultiSpeak is not a software product, it is a specification that provides a standard for the exchange of data between utility business applications. This specification allows the exchange of data between applications from different vendors without the need for customized and extensive developments. Software vendors can then use MultiSpeak to develop compatible interfaces with their existing or planned products. This standard specification is of great value to utilities as it enables you to take advantage of the potential of business application interoperability.
Generally, we can say that MultiSpeak allows software systems to talk to each other without customized integrations, solving data incompatibility problems and saving companies time and money.(MultiSpeak, 2020)
It is important to mention that MultiSpeak does not develop a complete data model for utilities, but rather defines the formats and types of data that must be exchanged between the most used computer applications.
How big is the MultiSpeak initiative?
This standard specification is currently used in just over 800 companies that include electric cooperatives, water, gas, and utility companies in 23 countries around the world, with coverage of more than 40 functional points that includes meter reading, interrupt detection, load management, demand response, among many other relevant aspects of the operation of a smart grid. Moreover, it is possible to demonstrate the results of the integration of back-office systems with MultiSpeak by reviewing the use cases, for example, from the MultiSpeak website www.multispeak.org, case studies of use for Wake Electric Membership Corporation and WIN Energy REMC cooperatives.
Is the MultiSpeak specification still in development?
MultiSpeak is constantly expanding and improving as the MultiSpeak Technical Committee meets several times a year to discuss extensions, corrections, or improvements to the specification. In addition to the topics scheduled for discussion, suppliers may submit unsolicited proposals to the Initiative for specification changes at these meetings.
Currently, the most recent version of the MultiSpeak specification is the V5, which was first published in 2015.
What benefits does MultiSpeak bring to software vendors and utilities?
Among the many advantages that this standard specification brings we can mention:
- It helps utilities and vendors develop interfaces for software products from different companies to interact with each other, without requiring custom interface development.
- Using Web services to implement data transport.
- The design of MultiSpeak is extensible, so it is possible to add an unlimited number of additional data objects to the current model, without affecting interoperation with other applications.
- Service-oriented architecture
- MultiSpeak addresses the interoperability demands of enterprise applications required to achieve smart grid goals.
- It enables you to provide better, timely, and accurate customer service.
- Minimizes the need for custom maintenance interfaces that can become awfully expensive.
- It enables the integration of different applications that are written in another language and with other databases.
- Interoperability streamlines business processes, improves employee efficiency, and reduces costs.
- Reduces deployment time and risk when purchasing new automation applications.
How does MultiSpeak integrate into our PrimeAnalytics Plus solution?
We know that our solution is one of the main sources of information for other processes critical to our customers, to improve interaction with these systems and make the solution more efficient, we implemented the MultiSpeak standard that enables the exchange of readings and general information of meters and customers.
Primestone implemented the MultiSpeak specification to build practical interfaces with our PrimeAnalytics + solution, which was developed not only to meet the needs of the utility industry, but also to support interoperability with our customers’ additional software, with a wide range of support applications in these companies such as: customer information systems (CIS), advanced metering infrastructure systems (AMI), interruption management systems (OMS), geographic information systems (GIS), supervision and data acquisition, among others. As well as we adapt to a variety of infrastructure of information technology (IT).
With PrimeAnalytics+ we perform the development of web services based on the defined interface of MultiSpeak to allow communication with other systems, therefore, our solution can contain in itself several communication endpoints.