Big data is being put to good use with Grid IQ Insight, which was launched by GE in January as a Predictivity solution aimed to turn the mounds of data being gathered by utilities into actionable information.

Grid IQ Insight provides utilities with advanced analytic capabilities to meet their business needs and create a stronger connection to the machines that power the grid. It applies analytics to make sense of big data collected from intelligent machines to better predict, manage, model and forecast potential problems that a utility’s electrical grid may face.

The software strategically monitors influential data – such as electrical usage, grid performance and weather history – creating an interconnected “ecosystem” of people and machines to better equip utilities with the information and tools needed to optimize their electrical distribution systems.

Utilities can then apply the information and knowledge gained through Grid IQ Insight’s advanced analytics and visualization to ensure a more efficient and reliable energy supply to their end users.

“Applications like Grid IQ Insight are contributing toward the emergence of the industrial internet,” said Michael Carlson, general manager—software solutions in GE’s Digital Energy business. “These innovations will enable the integration of people, machines and big data with analytics, creating a living network of information capable of developing more reliable and efficient energy solutions in the future.”

One example of Grid IQ Insight’s application is its capability to monitor social media for outage information. A typical utility’s customer base is estimated to be responsible for about 320,000 tweets daily. Grid IQ Insight software is able to analyze all of this social content to identify postings that can help locate a trouble spot or outage in a utility’s electrical distribution system. In many cases, the outage location can be detected before the first customer calls the utility to report a problem.

In addition to analyzing outage data, Grid IQ Insight is designed to provide crucial information regarding renewable energy generation. While renewable energy provides clean energy to the grid, it can be hard to supply guaranteed power due to the variability of the weather. Grid IQ Insight combines past, present and future weather patterns and forecasts to help maximize the amount of renewable energy a facility can integrate into the grid. The software also allows utilities to optimize which source of power is most efficient at a given time. Combining this energy with the readily available power from traditional power generation facilities helps to establish an efficient reliable electrical grid.