Leveraging Data Hierarchy across MMS and APM platforms

Industry: Power Utility

Use Case: Build AF to support advanced analytics

The global utility industry is undergoing rapid change, driving the need for Digital Transformation. In this environment, advanced analytics, condition-based maintenance and monitoring, and some forms of prognostics or AI may be contemplated. However, if the base data is not reliable, then the chances of “Red Herring” alerts increases dramatically.

Nova Scotia Power (NSP) is an industry leader in formalized Asset Management. They recognized that in any project where data is being exchanged between systems, there are always gaps that can impact data quality and trust. NSP’s existing MMS (Maintenance Management Systems) and Asset Performance Management (APM) solutions such as GE Predix APM (formerly Meridium) have a common equipment hierarchy that are used for diagnosis and analytics work by a broad team representing Operations, Engineering and Management. Aligning these around a single PI Asset Framework (AF) hierarchy, to visualize discrepancies, and to enable multiple views of the asset, offers users a ‘one-stop shop’ approach that can support advanced analytics with trusted data.

The Element AF Accelerator is helping to align flexible hierarchical views across our maintenance, APM, and operations systems Mike Greene, Operations Technology Leader, Nova Scotia Power


To provide users with all available digital information related to an asset using a browser, NSP needed to upgrade their OSIsoft PI servers and leverage the existing data hierarchies across MMS and APM platforms. NSP had some legacy OSIsoft PI Servers with no PI AF capability and a long history of PI tags that, in some cases, had a reasonable structure, but in all cases, were not associated with physical assets. This required constant attention from subject matter experts. The review of the PI tags was always reliant on either a ProcessBook or Excel workbook which invariably resided on individual users’ laptops. Due to demographics, many of the more experienced Operations and Engineering personnel are retiring and the transfer of knowledge has been a huge challenge requiring an investment in extra time and resources.


NSP chose the Element AF Accelerator packaged solution that combines Element’s PI AF experts using a proven industrial data methodology and its AssetHub™ software to build smarter AFs in as little as 30 days. Working with NSP’s Enterprise Asset Management employees, Element’s Forward Deployed Engineers (FDEs) helped to construct PI AF templates for all their high fail asset classes. The existing hierarchy for 5 multi-unit Coal generation thermal plants were imported into AssetHub and contextualized using a sophisticated asset data contextualization process to construct a comprehensive PI AF representing the NSP data hierarchy.

Af Overview


AssetHub was used to construct a PI AF hierarchy that replicated the hierarchy from NSP’s MMS and APM solutions. The common look of the hierarchy, and the ability to associate previously random tags to physical assets, will enable NSP to start transitioning traditional PI ProcessBook and Microsoft Excel standalone client visualizations to server-based PI Vision.

Nova Scotia Power Af

Thousands of existing tags and thousands of newly created tags were contextualized with their physical Asset IDs for use with PI Vision and PI Analytics. The unique Asset ID can be used as a URL key to jump users fluidly from one vendors visualization to another. Being able to present multiple views of the asset in several web panes offers a ‘one-stop shop’ for diagnosis and analytics work by Operations, Engineering and Management users.

With the end goal of data transformation in mind, AF Accelerator is helping to construct a future Web Portal where individual views will be consolidated into a single asset view with multiple panes. This will enable any user access to the as-designed, as-operated, and as-maintained view of any asset.

Nsp Hierarchy For Web


Nova Scotia Power (NSP) is a fully-integrated power utility proudly serving 500,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers across the province. A 1,700 strong team help manage $4.1 bn worth of generation, transmission and distribution assets producing more than 10,000 gigawatt hours of electricity each year.

Increasingly focused on sustainability, NSP is embracing radical change with a move away from coal and oil-based generation. The shift to renewables prompts the need for significant transformation across the business to meet its 40% renewables target by 2020.