The future of energy and utilities
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Utilities are necessary. So is disruptive innovation.
How can a "utility" be innovative? Leaders of energy companies face challenges on multiple fronts. You must deliver energy that is safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable, but your business models are challenged by alternative energy sources and by consumers who demand more-sophisticated interactions. You must disruptively innovate business processes if you are to increase agility, support responsiveness and reduce operational costs.
With a rise in the use of renewables and alternative energy sources, leaders at energy and utility companies are faced with the business and technical challenges of intermittency, dispatchability and disintermediation. It’s important to assume the role of energy integrator to optimally balance the various supply and demand points. Energy integrators can take action to deliver safe, secure, reliable and efficient electricity service.
Leaders of energy and utility companies also need to revitalize their customer interactions. You can accomplish this revitalization by understanding your customers’ behaviors and expectations more deeply than ever before. You can engage with customers in personalized ways using the digital, social, or mobile channels that consumers prefer. As an energy leader, you must deliver a 360-degree “customer-of-one” experience in order to increase customer satisfaction, to build loyalty and to improve management of energy demand.
Employ analytics to improve operations
The energy and utility sector is rich in data, but being able to quickly and accurately gain insights from that data can be problematic. IBM can help you improve your operations by applying data integration, advanced analytics and visualization to help you monitor and predict issues using virtually all types of data. Using advanced analytics, energy and utility companies can turn business challenges into opportunities, driving rapid time-to-value and real business outcomes.
IBM offers best-of-breed analytics technologies and solutions, including IBM Insights Foundation for Energy, an extensible and scalable foundation that delivers a single view of analytics across your enterprise, to help energy and utility companies drive operational excellence.
Predictive analytics deliver value quickly in today’s complex environment. Executives from UK's National Grid power utility discuss how analytics and strategic asset management is helping them optimize grid performance across 350 different sites.
Data can be predictive, too. Sui Southern Gas Company reduces the loss of gas through leakages and theft (PDF, 674KB) by using analytics to help track and predict changing patterns of supply and demand for natural gas to its 2.2 million customers.
Advanced forecasting techniques and predictive modeling can help plan restoration and balance grid loads before the event happens. In China, a new solution combines weather prediction and analytics to accurately forecast the availability of wind power and solar energy. This lets utilities integrate more renewable energy into the power grid.
Global Intelligent Utility Network Coalition.
1. Alliander - The Netherlands,
2. Centerpoint Energy, Inc - U.S.,
3. CPFL Energia - Brazil,
4. DONG Energy - Denmark,
5. Duke Energy - U. S.,
6 E.ON AG - Germany,
7. ERDF - France,
8. IBM - U.S.,
9. KEPCO of Korea - South Korea,
10. Oncor - U.S.,
11. Pepco Holdings, Inc - U.S.,
12. Sempra Energy - U.S.,
13- Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd,
14. TEPCO of Tokyo - Japan
Cloudy with a chance of optimized IT
Along with big data, the cloud is an integral part of the future of the industry. Cloud computing enables less costly, easier deployment. Use cloud technologies to rein in spiraling costs, standardize and optimize operations, enable secure storage of massive amounts of data, and deploy a company-wide asset management solution.
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) uses a cloud-based asset management solution to provide staff with a single entry point (PDF, 556KB) to request work, manage inventory and track both planned and unplanned work.
Empower your customers with mobile and social
A monthly bill in the customer’s mailbox is no longer sufficient or cost-effective. A more fulfilling, immediate method of interaction is expected, such as instant engagements delivered by social and mobile apps. This new kind of customer engagement supports a strategic imperative: to deliver a 360-degree “customer-of-one” experience.
Give your customers real-time information delivered to their mobile device. Let them know the location of the utility truck that’s on its way to them. When the lights go out, let customers know—through social channels or mobile app interfaces—the details of the outage and provide an estimate of when the lights will go back on. This meaningful interaction can only be delivered using mobile and social technologies.
Protect your power centers
Your organization must have holistic security strategies. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says that 53 percent of the incidents reported were in the energy and utility sector, and smart grids offer more points of attack. And customers access their accounts from a variety of devices, which makes systems vulnerable to attacks.
The future of the industry depends upon a comprehensive security strategy, elimination of unnecessary processes and meaningful engagement with customers. When you want to reduce costs in the face of increasing complexity, your choice of technology solutions can make the difference between being disrupted and being the disruptor.
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Chief Technology Officer - Energy and Utilities industry
VP Global Sales, Energy & Utilities Industry
E&U Industry Technical Leader IOT Europe - Executive Architect
Global Intelligent Utility Network Coalition
Smarter Energy Research Institute (SERI)
More resources for energy and utilities
What does the future hold?
IBM Insights Foundation for Energy
Energy and utility case studies