Powering an engaging, user-friendly digital experience for key stakeholders to easily monitor battery performance without compromising security
Design a live dashboard so members of the public, researchers, and industry participants can monitor battery performance
ElectraNet delivers safe, affordable, and reliable solutions to power homes, businesses, and the economy. A critical part of the electricity supply chain, ElectraNet’s transmission network safely transports electricity over long distances to metropolitan, regional, and remote areas. It specialises in asset, project, and contract management. ElectraNet’s clients include power generators, South Australia’s electricity distributor, SA Power Networks, and large directly connected clients.
ElectraNet was required to establish a publicly-available portal that provides real-time information its new 30-megawatt large-scale battery and its performance. While this condition aligned closely with ElectraNet’s user-centred thinking, the mechanics of creating the portal proved to be more of a challenge than ElectraNet originally anticipated. The business did not have the internal resources and capability to build the portal. However, since the portal was a key requirement tied to the project’s funding, ElectraNet needed to find a way to create it within a short timeframe to meet the project’s objectives.
Electranet worked with internal procurement to award the digital implementation work to Optimizely partner, Empired based on the existing relationship and other project work that was being completed.
Steve Sturm, Applications and Solutions Manager, Networks and IT Delivery, ElectraNet, said, “We looked at some live dashboard examples in the industry to get an idea of how to approach this project. A key challenge was that the portal needed to present information that could be equally well understood by members of the public as well as by researchers and engineers. They needed to drill down into the data to get a comprehensive view of the battery’s performance. Therefore, one of the first things the team had to do was figure out how to present the data to make it incredibly user-friendly.”
The requirements also included knowledge-sharing functionality so that people from various government agencies and industry participants interested in the project could learn from this project. Ensuring that information could be transmitted and stored securely formed part of the brief. Steve Sturm said, “The glossy part of the project was the battery performance portal and that’s where ElectraNet needed the most help. Working alongside ElectraNet’s in-house designer they helped deliver a portal that would showcase ElectraNet as a smart, efficient, professional, cutting-edge brand.”
Electranet’s established relationship with Empired ensured we worked collaboratively and in an agile manner to pick up on potential issues and solve them early, avoiding any significant delays to the project.
Steve SturmApplications & Solutions Manager, Network & IT Delivery ElectraNet
With a short timeframe to get the portal up and running, Empired and ElectraNet established a multidiscipline, agile team that could focus on everything from designing and coding the website to figuring out how to get the data from the battery’s SCADA system to display in the portal. This saw the project team, ElectraNet and Empired, bring design and technology together to deliver a truly userfocused solution.
The solution Empired devised involved connecting the battery’s SCADA system to the Microsoft Azure platform and to Optimizely Content Cloud. All the data comes directly from the battery to the portal and is refreshed every four seconds, delivering the real-time statistics required to all stakeholders.
The information available on the portal includes high-level performance data and users can select indicators from multiple points in the battery and drill down to get more detailed information as required. They can choose different indicator combinations to review, then compare those against other combinations or against each other over time.
Users will be able to look back up to two years to identify historical trends or events. Showing the history as well as the live panels is important for knowledge sharing purposes. Furthermore, the portal includes a knowledge sharing tab which hosts static content that provides further information about the battery itself and the project. By focusing on users rather than the technology, the project team could develop simple, intuitive user experience workflows that guided the user through what would otherwise have been a complex process.
Steve Sturm said, “With multiple stakeholders interested in learning about this project, it was important we provided visibility into the project and the battery’s performance. “Simultaneously, the portal is aligned with ElectraNet’s corporate brand with clear co-branding applied while keeping the portal simple and clean, and meeting industry and compliance standards.”
Security and control were non-negotiable In order to protect a number of commercial aspects of the project, security was a key concern when developing the portal. It was essential to prevent the data transmission from becoming a potential entry point into ElectraNet’s corporate network where malicious actors could, potentially, access critical operational systems.