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January 8th, 2008
GE Energy Releases Oracle-Based Geospatial Solution For Electric Distribution Utilities

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PR – GE Energy has announced the availability of its new geospatial network design and maintenance product portfolio built using Oracle® Database, Oracle Spatial and Oracle Fusion Middleware. GE Energy’s Smallworld Electric Office* powered by Oracle is designed specifically to meet the needs of the North American electric distribution market. Oracle is providing the geospatial database and application server mapping software and GE Energy’s Smallworld business is providing the industry application layer for a solution that has significant impact for customers.

In addition to Oracle Database and Oracle Spatial products, the Smallworld Electric Office product incorporates standard Java architectural patterns and integration services found in the Oracle Application Server product including Oracle JDeveloper, Oracle TopLink® and Oracle Fusion Middleware MapViewer. The Java® desktop client application provides high-performance, geospatial applications for the end user and includes both the user interface and application logic in the same ‘tier’ to provide highly interactive and responsive graphical applications.

The Smallworld Electric Office product provides a range of benefits to utilities seeking standards-based geospatial asset management solutions, including:

  • Automated asset design tools including CAD-based precision placement tools to reduce labor costs by shortening the time required to lay out designs while improving design accuracy.
  • Enforcement of the workflow process, particularly in an organization where many designers with varying skill sets are planning networks in the system.
  • An overall workflow paradigm that is focused on the utility business process, from planning and design through the as-built process, with seamless integration with operational systems to provide more timely delivery of approved designs to the operational network.
  • A standard deployment model throughout the utility enterprise by leveraging IT standards such as Web services, SQL, XML, as well as an Oracle and Java/J2EE application environment.

Utility market trends show that many utilities are under pressure to lower their cost of ownership for IT systems, including geospatial asset management. In many cases, the reduction of internal development staff and IT outsourcing make this issue more severe. As a result, companies increasingly seek products to meet their needs with minimum customization, ease of install/upgrade and low maintenance.

Following the announcement by GE Energy last year on its strategy for a new line of asset management products based on Oracle, analysts have recognized the impact it can have. For example, a Gartner industry research report stated, “While most other GIS vendors support Oracle Spatial, GE Energy’s move goes further in that it will remove the proprietary GIS layer altogether. By having one less application layer, GE Energy, in theory, should lower overall cost of ownership by reducing licensing as well as simplifying user support and development.”

“GE Energy is a recognized leader in providing geospatial software solutions for complex networks with its Smallworld GIS product line,” said Bob Gilligan, general manager of GE Energy’s transmission and distribution business. “We now are delivering on our product development plan to meet our customers’ needs around IT standardization with a new utility geospatial product line based on Oracle Spatial, developed in Java and deployed on a standard industry model. With this product release, GE Energy continues to deliver key building blocks for enabling an intelligent grid.”

GE Energy is in the process of extending this platform across other primary market segments the company serves, including the electric transmission, gas distribution, pipeline, and telecommunications industries.

GE Energy is a certified partner in the Oracle PartnerNetwork.

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