Traditional Asset Monitoring vs NarrativeWave

Traditional Monitoring vs. NarrativeWave—Why You Need Both for Proactive Asset Management

Traditional monitoring for renewable energy assets is a must have. It does a great job of monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) of assets so that operators can meet contractual obligations with their clients. This is a necessary function of asset management. That said, the data retrieved from traditional monitoring isn’t doing enough to improve performance.

Thousands of daily alerts via traditional monitoring systems usually don't include context. The process creates a daily struggle for asset management teams to manage their workloads. Instead, they're left with spending significant time to determine what is actually a problem, what needs immediate attention, and priorities among the long list of issues. The reality is, a typical asset management team has two to three people getting thousands of alarms every day. It is impossible for them to investigate all of these alerts and prioritize which require action.

For instance, if you get an alert that an inverter is down, why is it down?
Was this an unplanned manual outage, utility outage, or does the inverter need to be fixed?
If the latter, what are some possible root causes to add to the work order details?

Asset management teams are spending too much time and money trying to figure out what repairs are needed. Plus, executing those repairs efficiently takes additional time because they don’t have root cause analysis and/or historical records of what repairs actually fix the problem.

In order to address the needs above, a solution is needed that can ingest large amounts of data from multiple sources (monitoring platforms, in-house solutions, Power BI, etc.) and automatically create actionable insights—making asset operations much more efficient.

This article covers the differentiating value of making NarrativeWave the front end of your asset management operations to not just meet contractual KPIs, but actually improve asset performance while reducing downtime.

NarrativeWave builds on traditional monitoring for intelligent asset management

NarrativeWave is not a replacement for traditional monitoring, but rather a way to maximize your monitoring investment.

Traditional monitoring systems are already connected to your assets, collecting important data from sensors on discrete performance indicators. These are the building blocks for being able to better understand your assets. However, the performance alerts are too low-level to provide guidance on the best way to manage and improve asset performance.

Asset management layers for improving performance and reducing downtime

NarrativeWave layers on top of traditional monitoring to turn asset performance data into actionable insights. It takes in the asset performance data and alerts and performs analytics to look at logical combinations of alerts, combined with context and historical data, that would indicate an actual problem. It then serves up only those alarms for performance events that need to be addressed.

Perhaps even more important, it prioritizes the issues and provides the  context and actions that should be taken to resolve them. This keeps operations focused on what is important.

NarrativeWave eliminates alert fatigue

Going back to the typical scenario of two to three engineers facing thousands of daily alerts, it’s no wonder that they’d be completely overwhelmed and desensitized to these alarms. That’s alert fatigue—with no way to manage them, notifications become ignored and useless. NarrativeWave eliminates alert fatigue by filtering out the noise and only notifying on issues that require action.

Most traditional monitoring systems allow you to set thresholds that trigger alerts from a single metric going above or below a set threshold. NarrativeWave adds a new layer to threshold configuration allowing you to only have alerts triggered when multiple issues occur that when combined indicate an event of interest.

NarrativeWave dashboard clearly showing performance and issue priority

These more intelligent alerts also come with automated prioritization and a path view of automated analyses including custom calculations and data quality checks. This makes it simple for engineers to validate and trigger non-automated actions. This intelligent approach to alarm management allows the asset management team to eliminate alert browsing and sorting. It also significantly reduces alert validation and investigation, keeping engineers focused on issues that are automatically prioritized in order of criticality.

NarrativeWave reduces downtime and costs

Having more intelligent alerts that are prioritized for asset management goes a long way to help reduce downtime, like Enel Green Power who saw a 90% reduction in downtime. Perhaps an even bigger impact, comes from NarrativeWave’s ability to provide the probability percentage for the root cause of each issue. NarrativeWave tracks the problem resolution of each issue and whether a repair worked or didn’t. NarrativeWave can then match up that success rate to the automated action plans so that the engineers investigating the alert can recommend the fixes, and even the equipment needed for repair, that have the highest chance of successfully resolving the problem.

Reducing downtime saves money and improves performance. But sometimes, the problem is managing performance to a set threshold, even when device communication is lost.

NarrativeWave makes asset management more efficient

Having the right information on what needs to be fixed and how to fix it is huge, but things can always fall apart with poor communication. NarrativeWave makes asset management more efficient by automating processes and communication, especially in regards to maintenance and repairs. With the click of a button, the asset management team can get the right information on the issue, including context and repair, to the right people. The system notifies those that need to take action, such as ordering a part or making the repair, as well as notifies those who need to be aware of when the repair is happening and the eventual outcome.

NarrativeWave automatically communicates if the repair can be done by the asset management team within the UI or if it requires a site visit. If the repair needs to be done on site, NarrativeWave can automatically create a work order by pushing data to the customer’s preferred SAP. This saves the asset management team significant time and ensures that nothing falls through the proverbial cracks of communication. Between fewer alerts and process automation, the day-to-day operations of asset managers are radically improved. This also allows companies to scale assets with growth opportunities without needing to scale asset management.

NarrativeWave enables custom changes to optimize asset performance

Since all assets have nuances due to weather, the surrounding environment, design, etc., asset management requires agility. User workflows need to include the ability to adjust thresholds, change trigger alerts based on seasonable asset performance and/or degradation, and automatically prioritize actions based on root causes.  Inverters experience more shade during winter months, others may experience large fluctuations during hurricane season. Traditional monitoring does not offer edit-ability within their UI, which results in noisy alerts and unnecessary truck rolls.

NarrativeWave python editor allowing asset managers to customize analytics

NarrativeWave puts the control in the hands of asset managers, enabling custom changes to data analytics. NarrativeWave has a simple editor to allow asset managers to optimize insight trees and workflows. Additionally, if asset managers are skilled in python, they can make edits directly at the code level. This gives asset managers the ability to handle things like insulation resistance based on lessons learned during winter months when inverter availability is lower. Then they can change again in the spring as inverter availability increases through the summer. All of this can be done by users directly in the solution, without having to interact with NarrativeWave support.

Fast onboarding makes adding NarrativeWave simple

Traditional monitoring keeps you operational, but NarrativeWave enables you to truly manage and optimize performance. That said, most operators are wary of adding another solution when traditional monitoring installations were a long, arduous process. NarrativeWave onboarding is much faster and requires much less effort from asset management. A typical implementation of NarrativeWave takes 90-180 days and requires just one hour or less of time from asset management each week.

Not only is the process relatively pain-free, it includes an audit of all the customer’s data sources: asset hierarchy structure/mapping and overall data quality to uncover issues holistically. NarrativeWave’s customer solutions and interactions involve client success, data science, and product teams to strategize ways to help grow your operations. In fact, NarrativeWave uses its own solution to proactively monitor client performance. For example, NarrativeWave support receives alerts if/when data ingestion issues happen to ensure clients are notified before they are even aware there is an issue.

Fast onboarding and ongoing technical support make adding NarrativeWave an easy decision. The solution pays for itself many times over by increasing the efficiency of asset management, reducing downtime and associated costs, as well as improving the performance of renewable energy assets.

Traditional monitoring just isn’t enough for operators looking to continue to grow while improving profitability.

Benjamin Decio
Benjamin Decio