Powering the future

On Monday 23 September, we opened our newest office, Brabazon House.

Located in Manchester, Brabazon House will play an important role in the country's drive to net-zero carbon emissions.

The smart meter roll-out is a national infrastructure project of the highest priority and this is reflected in the centre's innovative design. Its technical operational areas are protected by tri-factor biometric authentication, including fingerprint and iris scans. Brabazon House features tools to visualise and analyse national smart meter data at a level and complexity never seen before, and is equipped to detect and manage issues as they arise, including cyber activity.

The state-of-the-art facility has a range of cutting edge features geared to delivering and optimising the critical national infrastructure that we are building:

  • Smart meters at scale – Brabazon House’s 19 modular test labs hold 2,400 smart meter testing spaces that can be configured to meet our customers' bespoke requirements. Brabazon House houses one of the largest radio frequency test facility in the UK, and one of the largest in Europe.
  • Big data visualised – with over 70 million messages transmitted every month and growing streaming across the network, our Technical Operations Centre (TOC) uses video walls to visualise the roll-out like never before. This big data view will help smooth individual installations and pinpoint the source of any issues immediately if they emerge.
  • Industry leading security – all visitors are required to give biometric information to enter the facility. There are multiple security zones which increase their requirements to enter, starting with 2-factor fingerprint and badge authentication, to triple-factor authentication requiring an iris scan.
  • Flexible, modular design – the facility can grow or shrink to accommodate the space needed. For instance, with our task of migrating the millions of first-generation meters to the DCC network we will need to test hundreds of technology combinations next year, but this will scale down once the migrations are successful.
  • Innovation spaces – from innovating on smart meters to finding new ways for our customers to re-use the secure network, we have designed the facility to accommodate future technologies, such as 4G, electric vehicles, machine learning, home automation, and even irrigation. Experimentation and testing will be done within a safe and secure “sandboxed” environment.