MultiSpeak is an initiative to standardize the application program interfaces (APIs) used by electric utilities. An important goal of MultiSpeak is to define what data needs to be exchanged between software applications to support the business processes commonly used at utilities.
The initiative is a collaboration between the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and software vendors. MultiSpeak was originally targeted at small electric utilities and covered a limited number of back-office applications for reading or disconnecting meters. The initiative has since expanded to provide guidance for a range of applications used by utilities of all sizes, increasingly including water and gas services as well as electric utilities. MultiSpeak defines data objects and specifies message structures so that vendors or utilities can write a single, common interface that facilitates communication between different types of software.
MultiSpeak standardization has three major components:
Common data semantics - Data semantics are an agreement about a specific item used in a business process, such as a customer or a service outage, which might be exchanged in the context of the outage management business process. Data semantics are documented in the form of an extensible markup language (XML) schema.
Defined message structures - Once an agreement has been reached on what data need to be exchanged, it is necessary to define message structures to support the required data interchanges. In MultiSpeak initiatives, the XML-formatted data payload is carried as part of a web services call for real-time exchange and as part of a batch file for off-line transfers.
Documentation to support specific business processes - MultiSpeak uses Web Services Description Language (WSDL) files to document the methods and define which messages are required to achieve goals. Web services method calls are linked together to accomplish each potential step in a utility business process. Such steps can then be strung together to support complete business processes.
See also: Common Information Model
Scott Neumann compares the Common Information Model (CIM) with MultiSpeak.
Contributor: MultiSpeak Initiative