A (near) real time view of a secure data network


Written by Robbie MacIntosh, Director of Technical Operations at smart DCC.

Last Friday (8th March) there was a buzz of excitement across the Data Communication Company (DCC) office as we watched in near real time the smart meter installation that would see us hit the half a million milestone for second generation meters (SMETS2) on our secure data network.

We were gathered around our Technical Operations Centre (TOC) and were able to see that the install happened in Leighton Buzzard area of Bedfordshire. Developing the TOC here at the DCC has been a great experience and it’ll bring many benefits to our customers.

I want to use this milestone to give a bit of insight into the TOC and why it was created. It’s been developed in the DCC to manage the end to end service provided to customers, it has highlighted and filled the gaps that occur between the suppliers of the sub services (Data Service Providers (DSP) and Communication Service Providers (CSP)). It means we can monitor and manage the service near real time.

In managing the end to end service we have developed a monitoring methodology based upon 4 tenets.  Rate, Speed, Volume and Payload (RSVP), we have modelled and created real time dashboards that allow us to monitor and manage the service effectively as a customer experience level.

It’s been great to hear positive feedback from customers who’ve commented on the benefit they’ve seen and have even proactively asked for more from us. Through the TOC we’ve developed several insight and analytical models to share with customers to assist in driving their processes and success rates in interacting with us. By consuming and integrating more and more data and information sources we are creating an insight rich platform and service that will really help to drive a different behaviour that the industry is not used to.

It’s been an exciting project to work on and get the TOC into live operation and this week we’ve heard that the TOC has been shortlisted for two awards at the Real IT awards for “Turning Data into Insights” and “AI/Machine Learning Project of the Year”. Getting onto these shortlists is fantastic recognition for the team who’ve been forward thinking, innovative and brought thought leadership into the developed of the TOC.