Enterprise-level SCADA systems
Like many councils around New Zealand, Waipa District Council recognised that their existing SCADA system was due for an update. The challenge with many SCADA system updates, is that due to their complexity and the challenges of changing them, they are often operated for significant periods of time which can create a lot of overwhelm and clutter within the systems. In addition, due to the age of the existing system, it was also implemented using discrete instances all over the district which made commonality and standardisation difficult.
With the current challenges of the out-of-date system in mind, and to continue to support rate payers and the upcoming water reforms, Waipa District Council made the decision to upgrade their SCADA system to an enterprise level system. This level meant it could span the entire district, and utilise the latest technology and standards.
Neo Consulting was approached to support Waipa District Council with this project due to our knowledge and experience in scoping and delivering similar projects. Our experience meant we could anticipate all the interdependencies required for such a project to be carried out successfully.
The challenge with SCADA systems
Tackling a SCADA upgrade can be overwhelming as these systems are complex and consist of multiple layers all working in unison. They span from the top-level operator displays and data reporting tools, through communication networks down to sensors in the field. To support clients to better understand these systems Neo created it’s 9 layer model.
The technical capability of these systems also rapidly continues to change. Therefore, as these systems are only updated periodically, any upgrade should incorporate some or all of the latest updates and developments standards.
Knowledge of how all these layers operate together and what is current industry best practice is important when scoping and delivering these types of projects. Neo has successfully developed strategies to enable staged upgrades and migration of these systems. Staging removes the overwhelming nature of undertaking a complete system implementation or upgrade.
We have worked with many organisations across New Zealand providing the full range of vendor independent advice on SCADA and control systems. With this experience we have developed standard analysis and presentation tools to aid in the understanding of the way to approach the upgrade and maintenance of three waters SCADA systems.
As a result of our previous experience and success with SCADA system upgrades, Neo supported the Waipa District Council with:
- – Reviewed and compared the major SCADA packages used throughout the NZ water sector and provided procurement recommendations
- – Reviewed cloud based hosting services for the SCADA software
- – Manage the development of a new high speed communication network between all the council’s major waters sites
- – Managed the cloud hosting implementation
- – Developed the new SCADA systems overall architecture
- – Developed a set of standards documents for the new SCADA system
- – Developed a complete set of tender documents for open market tender
From tender to outcome
From managing the tender process and evaluating the tenders in conjunction with the Council, Neo project managed the contractors and provided all engineers to contract services. Part of the service also meant that Neo oversaw portion of the testing to ensure quality and compliance, and also managed all the regular fortnightly progress meetings to keep everything (and everyone) on track. It’s no secret that changes to the scope are inevitable for large projects like this, but Neo’s clear scope, planning and management meant that the council was always:
- – aware of any upcoming implications early
- – in full control of the costs
The outcome of having a specific and cohesive scope from the outset ensured the ability to manage the moving parts of this project from tender onwards. The result is that the system meets all the requirements of the specification, providing a modern and reliable enterprise system for the Waipa District Council.
“Neo Consulting’s expertise in designing and implementing Enterprise-level SCADA systems was instrumental in delivering a successful solution for Waipa District Council. With their diligent project management, Neo Consulting ensured seamless integration of the SCADA system, providing real-time monitoring and control of critical infrastructure. Their commitment to excellence ensured a smooth and efficient project delivery, empowering Waipa District Council to operate at the highest level.”
– Akshay Pandey (Waipa District Council)