At the heart of web services is the ability for computers and systems to communicate with each other. Imagine the communication between a utility meter and a network management system as the meter sends its last-gasp message before going out of service. This conversation helps identify the location and extent of an electrical outage or break in a gas or water main. Imagine the conversation between the field unit and the network model management system as it identifies which valves to use to isolate the gas main containing the leak. Now, consider all the conversations between the various systems across the utility enterprise; each one building the value of the network model.
Unfortunately, this is not reality. By no fault of their own, the numerous systems and applications supporting the enterprise speak different languages. And rightfully so, most are designed and created by different technology vendors. However, web services provides an interface between different systems which allows them to become language agnostic; a way for all technology solutions to communicate. And this is where the true power of web services adds value to the utility enterprise.
I believe that web services like Intergraph NetWorks expose a system’s functionality. Intergraph NetWorks reveals not just Intergraph G/Technology data, but also its functionality. While Intergraph NetWorks is one end of the conversation, the other side of the conversation is a recipient. The recipient is a system that wishes to communicate with Intergraph G/Technology via Intergraph NetWorks. Using one of the examples above, a field worker might want to use Intergraph G/Technology’s network tracing functionality to identify valves to shut-off in case of a leak, or know if a customer’s location can be served by the fiber broadband network.
While these possibilities are exciting, Intergraph NetWorks’ web service capabilities can go even further. The entity that consumes Intergraph NetWorks’ web services does not need to be a system; it can be a workflow, an interface, or anything that can make a request. In other words, anything that wants to communication with the utility’s network data and functionality. When we start to think about all the possibilities of putting Intergraph G/Technology data and functions in communication with other systems and workflows, the value of the rest of a network management system grows exponentially. To experience just a few of those possibilities, join us for our upcoming Intergraph NetWorks webinar. During the webinar, we will talk about conversations that are powered by Intergraph NetWorks.
Join us on October 18 to further discuss how Intergraph NetWorks can improve the usability of your network and business data and Intergraph G/Technology’s functionality. Register today!
Mike Baker is an executive consultant for Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure's utilities and communications solutions. With more than 25 years of GIS experience, Mike has provided consulting services to many customers in various industries, with emphasis on utilities during his 20-plus years at Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure.