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Scalable and secure information and communications technology will be essential to enable the interoperability of future electricity distribution networks. This will be mainly driven by the need to process, analyse and share increasing volumes of data produced by sensors monitoring the condition of network assets, smart meters from residential and commercial customers, distributed generation, and responsive loads. Complexity is further introduced as these diverse data-streams will be gathered at different rates and analysed for different purposes such as near-to-real-time system state estimation and on-line condition monitoring of network assets. However, the nature of active networks dictates that all relevant information will need to be exploited by interoperable applications across an enterprise or business as a whole. This paper presents novel Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and high performance computing tools and techniques to enable near-to-real-time state estimation across large-scale distribution networks whilst concurrently supporting on the same computational infrastructure for the condition monitoring of network assets and advanced network restoration solutions. These platforms are promoting and supporting the emergence of new distribution network management systems, with inherent security and intelligent communications, for smart distribution network operation and management. We propose cost-effective scalable ICT solutions and initial investigation of realistic distribution network data traffic and management scenarios involving state estimation. Furthermore, we review the prospects for off-line trials of our proposed solutions in three different countries.