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IDIS Association: How to standardize and certify user-specific functionalities 

For IDIS, Jovan Vujasinovic

The second season of Smart Talks is dedicated to utilities and massive rollout.

This is continuation of the interview with Mr. Nenad Medjeral who is a Chairman of the Technical Board of the IDIS Association since 2018. In this second part of the interview, we discussed the importance of having standardized and certified user-specific use cases, talked about country specific requests and the work progress behind it, and Mr. Medjeral shared what he considers to be his most valuable lesson.

If you haven’t, click here to read the first part of the interview with Mr. Medjeral.
 

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Due to the specifics of the region, it sometimes happens that utilities have customized requirements. In such a case, is it important that utilities specify user functions covering those requirements and create a certification process for them? If so, do they receive assistance from IDIS Association?


The IDIS Association already predicted such situations and is willing to specify region or country specific functionalities. Such request should come from of an organization representing a region or country specific market (CS-org). It should not be single utility. Upon request, the IDIS Association may support the development of ”country specific extensions” (CSE). 

Once the work is triggered, CS-org should set up a working group which will jointly work with IDIS Technical Board on the specification. If it happens that the newly specified use cases or functionality might be beneficial for other markets, these would be included in the IDIS specification and supported by the IDIS certification program. Rest of region specific functionality will remain as a part of country specific specification. Certification of CSE is responsibility of “country specific organization”. The length of such an endeavor depends on the level of the extensions and level of changes in the certification program. Once released by the IDIS Association and the CS-org, the documents will be made publicly available.

How important is it for extensions to be covered by a certification program? 

Certification or testing of conformance according to the companion specification is one of key tools used to achieve interoperability. Considering that the main request on CSE is to have same level of interoperability as for the IDIS specification, I would strongly recommend to have the certification program for CSE in place. There can be different models how to set it up. It can be organized by CS-org and run by utilities, or an independent testing laboratory, or any third-party company. 

What happens if one country has only one utility? Is it possible for IDIS Association to partner with just one utility?

That would be unlikely. It would be extremely difficult for the association to develop and support specification for utility specific functionality. If the utility’s resources for specification are limited, they should turn to standardized solutions and companion specifications which are well-accepted by other markets. The solution can be forming cross border regional CS-org, then partner with the IDIS Association. There is quite high possibility that utilities in such regions have similar needs.


Does the IDIS Association have any plans to expand from smart metering to smart cities, smart cars, etc?

The IDIS specification is based on international standards developed for smart metering, but that does not exclude application of these standards in other application domains. It should be also considered that the domains like smart cities or EV charging are relatively new compared to smart metering and international standardization is in development. The association closely monitors the progress in the international standardization and DLMS UA work related to these domains. Anyhow there is still a lot of work to be done in smart metering, so I believe the association will keep focus on it. 

Do you see IDIS Association working closer to other similar organizations in the future? Do you see the potential for merging different organizations, alliances or associations, which deal with the standardization of different or similar technologies?

The association is already work closely with other similar organizations. It is worth to mention DLMS UA, which specifications are used as a base for the IDIS specification, G3-PLC alliance, which technology is used as one of the IDIS certified communication profiles. The good example is also the latest collaboration with OMS-Group on specifying the interoperable multi utility use cases. The association is open to collaborate with other associations and alliances to work on new customer use cases, to support new applications and integration of new communication technologies.

There is variety associations and alliances providing specification for different application domains and technologies. If these have quite similar drives and scope of activities, there is always potential that such associations may merge to get stronger “voice” on the market. To understand, if such process brings consolidation of the specification and benefit to the end customer, the drivers for the merging should be understood.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?
I have learned how important a team’s commitment to the common goal for delivery is. Even in a team that includes experts from competing companies, but they are committed to common goal, great accomplishments can be made and deliver work that benefits customers and industry.

Conclusion:

IDIS Association is willing to standardize user-specific functionalities but it requires more joint utilities on the level of the state or region. In other cases, utilities can do it with their own resources or with external consultants.

As a result of the joint work of IDIS Association and joint utilities (CS-org) , a set of newly defined functions that are generally common, will be included in the IDIS specification and will also be added in the IDIS certification program. Other newly defined functions are related to the region and for them the joint utilities itself should provide a certification program.

To cover all user-specific functions with appropriate specification and certification programs, the utility has three options: together with IDIS Association, with its own resources or with external consultants. 

What do you think this decision depends on?