The Open Field Message Bus™

(OpenFMB™) is part of SGIP’s EnergyIoT™ initiative, bringing the IoT and advanced interoperability to the power grid. It is a framework for distributed intelligent nodes interacting with each other through loosely coupled, peer -to-peer messaging for fielded devices and systems at the grid edge. It is simply the application of industrial internet technologies and techniques to enable the Smart Grid.

The OpenFMB™ framework provides a specification for power systems field devices to leverage a non-proprietary and standards-based reference architecture, which consists of internet protocol (IP) networking and Internet of Things (IoT) messaging protocols.

The framework supports Distributed Energy Resources that communicate based on a common schematic definition and then can process the data locally for action (control, reporting). OpenFMB™ supports field-based applications that enable:

Scalable peer-to-peer publish/subscribe architecture
Data-centric, rather than device-centric, communication including support for harmonized system and device data
Distributed logic as well as centralized logo

What is the origin of the Open Field Message Bus (OpenFMB™)?
What is the role of SGIP with OpenFMB™?
Which utilities and test beds are participating in OpenFMB™ simulations, tests, and interoperability demonstrations?
How will the OpenFMB™ be formalized?
How will the OpenFMB™ be formalized?
How will OpenFMB™ interoperability be achieved with other utility protocols
Why not just use IEC 61850, CIM, MultiSpeak . . . ?
How will OpenFMB™ be physically implemented?
How will OpenFMB™ security be developed?
How can I participate in OpenFMB™?
Why isn’t … included in OpenFMB™?
How can I participate in OpenFMB™?

The Open Field Message Bus (OpenFMB™) was designed to address interoperability with fielded devices and systems – real equipment and real systems operating on the grid. The OpenFMB™ PAP project is utility-led and the project team is composed of advanced technology utility, vendor, consultant, and standard’s development volunteer experts, all focused on developing a framework that leverages today’s technologies in a powerful, yet simple way.

The OpenFMB™ framework is based on the following guiding principles:

Guiding Principle Details
Based on operational and functional requirements
Use cases drive functional and operational requirements
Requirements determine and limit scope and success parameters
Features added only when requirements demand them
Flexible architecture
No “one size fits” all solution
Framework is compatible with multiple data models, communications, protocols, and technologies
Support multiple methods of communication and integration
No reinventing the wheel
Use existing standards, architecture patterns, and requirements where possible
Be consistent with other industry IoT solutions, such as Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) IIoT Reference Architecture
Time to market is key driver
Solution must be good enough to meet market needs, not “perfect”
Focus on business value and objectives
Add features with most impactful business value first
Due to limited resources, focus on high value use cases first
Address “nice to have” features in future updates
Collaborate with standards bodies
SGIP coordinates with the NAESB, IEC, and other relevant SSOs as required
Minimize or eliminate duplication of effort and scope
Coordination takes time and effort, but it’s worth it
No stranded resources
Consider topology and needs of existing environment
Use of existing resources and ability to add new functionality without “rip and replace” is a key success criteria
Modify solutions as necessary to address existing environment
Security built-in from the beginning
Security is a functional and operational requirement
Apps run in the field autonomously and require secure, reliable operation
Solution must be reliable and trustworthy

Published on Oct 16, 2015

This SGIP OpenFMB™ Overview animation provides a fun and informative story of how the Open Field Message Bus (OpenFMB™) framework is used to create interoperable systems on the grid. The framework leverages existing information models and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to create multi-vendor machine-to-machine interoperability on the electric grid.

SGIP Members can become part of this exciting new project by going to the OpenFMB™ Project under the Priority Action Plans (PAPs) group (or click here) and add yourself to the roster.

If you are not a member of SGIP click here to join today.

From the landing page, click on “add member” under ROSTER and follow prompts.

To view current, participating companies, click here.

OpenFMB™ was started in early 2015, and is part of SGIP’s focus areas. The start-up meeting was held in Phoenix, AZ in early March, and, from there, the project took off.

Centered around creating a new paradigm that defines how distributed applications and open interfaces can enable interoperability peer-to-peer data exchanges between distributed power systems devices on the electric grid’s field area network(s), an OpenFMB™ framework would provide a specification for power systems field devices to leverage a non-proprietary and standards-based reference architecture platform, which consists of internet protocol (IP) networking and Internet of Things (IoT) messaging protocols.

The OpenFMB™ project participation is open to all SGIP members.

The team meets bi-weekly on Thursdays 2-3 pm (ET) and tries to meet face-to-face several times a year.

The team also meets in person as necessary, typically at quarterly intervals, at test bed, R&D, and utility locations. The OpenFMB™ project is Co-Chaired by Stuart McCafferty, Hitachi, and Stuart Laval, Duke Energy Manager of Emerging Technology Development.
Utilities, Smart Grid vendors, and test bed organizations are highly encouraged to participate in this exciting EnergyIoT™ interoperability effort.

The OpenFMB™ project team is developing a project plan and schedule for next year. Our current plan is to identify new use cases (currently exploring Distribution Automation, DER, and other distribution system-related business drivers), and focus our efforts around an Application Programming Interface (API) and cyber security. More details will be provided as the team reaches consensus.

Using the highly successful Green Button PAP as a template, the SGIP contacted the North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB) to create an OpenFMB™ task force to draw upon the experiences of OpenFMB™ simulations, tests, and interoperability demonstrations and develop an initial OpenFMB™ framework by early 2016. NAESB OpenFMB™ meeting schedules, agendas, and other documents are available on the NAESB website.

The first standards deliverables are an OpenFMB™ specification and reference architecture using the microgrid use cases as an example. The project plan has a draft completion date in December 2015, and a NAESB Board ratification vote in 2016Q1.

The logical architecture for the specification is a layered approach with the following layers:

OpenFMB™ Pub/Sub layer – supporting multiple protocols such as DDS, AMQP, MQTT and other publish/subscribe middleware clients
OpenFMB™ Interface layer – supporting multiple information models and profiles, configurations, and interaction patterns
Application layer – supporting field applications and equipment/protocol-specific adapters for protocols such as Modbus, IEC 61850, DNP3, C12, CoAP, XMPP, and others.
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