The energy and utility sector is something most of us take for granted. We pay them for warm showers and to heat our homes, and no doubt we will all be reaching for the thermostat over the long winter months ahead to keep us extra cosy. However, behind the scenes, these companies have to embrace digital transformation and harvest massive amounts of data in order to grow, evolve, and meet the demands of the future.
The industry is constantly up against challenges; from pressure to reduce emissions, increasing demand, and providing competitive prices to their consumers. Google Cloud has a wide range of industry-leading and energy-specific solutions aimed at helping these businesses digitise faster, and respond to these demands.
Why data is important for digital transformation
The most valuable asset many companies have is data, and in order to be successful, energy providers must adapt to change, stay current, and realise this. They need to be able to store, read, and analyse data properly, in order to gain a competitive advantage and solve complex business challenges.
Google’s BigQuery can help businesses bring different data sets together in order to gain those insights, and Google’s AI-powered solutions are the key to unlocking analytics capabilities within your data sets. In this case study, you can learn how Energyworx, an energy supplier in the Netherlands, uses GCP and smart analytics to harvest their data to better plan for future energy demand, and find ways their customers can save on their electricity use.
If you would like to learn how to use smart analytics to help your business grow and evolve, download our Smart Analytics White Paper here.
A deeper dive into AI and ML energy-specific solutions
Powerful AI models use data analytics to provide actionable insights, and these models can help inspections at scale. This is extremely useful for energy and utility companies who have large areas they need to monitor, such as energy grids, wind farms, or solar panels. Google Cloud’s Visual Inspection solution reduces inspection times without compromising on safety or accuracy and makes organisations more efficient and sustainable.
Businesses also have the ability to build their own custom Machine Learning model with minimal effort and little to no Machine Learning experience.
AES is a Fortune 500 global power company that distributes sustainable energy in 15 countries. Their asset inventory is phenomenal, with a value of over £33 billion. They use Machine Learning and drone technology in their wind farms to monitor, manage, and maintain their assets.
This was the perfect solution, as it was in keeping with their greener vision and they were able to massively scale using Google’s powerful infrastructure. Learn more about their custom made solution powered by Google Cloud’s AutoML Vision here.
For most modern energy and utility companies, contributing to greater customer satisfaction is also an important identifier for success.
AI models like Contact Centre AI allows agents to assist with customer requests more efficiently, leading to shorter call times and improved outcomes, with much quicker resolutions. Learn more about Google Clouds CCAI and how companies are using this technology to modernise.
A smart future for the energy industry
Smart meters are the latest innovation to tackle the biggest challenges facing the industry today. By 2024, almost 77% of EU households will have one installed*.
This new technology brings multiple benefits such as delivering automated, real-time readings, giving consumers access to their own data; and being able to identify faulty appliances, reducing downtime, and enabling repair staff to be efficient and effective with their time. They also improve the awareness of energy consumption, allowing individual households and businesses to reduce their energy use and generate savings.
Of course, with all new technology advancements, comes an influx of data. Energy companies need a scalable data warehouse to be able to import, process, and anaylse this data. Google Cloud’s BigQuery streams data in real-time and can predict business outcomes with powerful built-in ML models; plus it runs on Google’s infrastructure and is a managed service, meaning companies spend less time developing technology and can focus on their service instead. Read how Halsfund, the largest power company in Norway, uses GCP and BigQuery for the new smart meter network here.
Being a successful energy and utilities company today requires the right technology to solve big business problems. However, in order to truly succeed, you must make the right decisions for your business by making the most of the information you gather.
Now you know what you can do with your data, are you using it to the best of your advantage?
Speak to one of our data experts and we can help you implement this technology and show you how to use it. Contact us here.
Christmas is just around the corner…
With the year coming to a close, and Christmas approaching (yes we are talking about Christmas already), many retailers will already be planning for massive shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and boxing day sales. However, there is no doubt things will be different this year.
Online shopping is going to explode even more than it already has as we approach a vital time of year for the retail industry. This means more data, more customers, and more manpower. Retail businesses need to prepare for a cyber influx more than in previous years due to the constantly changing lockdown rules and regulations. People are much less likely to be spending their Christmas shopping experience in physical shops, and will be steering towards a safer way of shopping, online.
Is your marketing as smart as your data?
As we approach the Christmas period, many businesses will have planned a marketing strategy to target their customers, and potential customers, to boost sales and promote special offers. However, many stores will be missing a trick, by not using the powerful AI tools that Google Cloud provides. Storing your new customer database is all well and good, but understanding it correctly with BigQuery is the next step to a more enhanced, and successful marketing strategy. These powerful tools will then be able to understand your data in seconds, and give your business powerful insights into your customer behaviour and predict what to market to your customers before they even know what they want.
New AI capabilities in Google Cloud means that you can more accurately analyse and understand the data that you are collecting so that you can market in a smarter and more efficient way, based on those particular customers’ spending and behavior patterns when shopping online. Due to the fact that the majority of people will be shopping online this year, it makes sense to invest heavily into your online advertising and marketing campaigns to ensure a maximum ROI.
Physical stores are depreciating
It was announced this year that “H&M will close 250 of its 5,000 stores next year as the world’s second-largest clothes retailer seeks to step up investments in its growing online business. CEO Helena Helmersson said sales in September were just 5% lower than last year and the company had returned to profitability after four in five stores were closed at the height of the crisis. Currently, 166 of its stores remain shut.”* This is terrible news for the high street, but means that online sales appear to be the way forward to stay ahead in this industry.
“A recent study from NRF shows that 59% of consumers will do the majority of their shopping online in time for the holidays – and naturally, you’ll want to give them the best possible experience.”**
RF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers are prepared for an early start to the shopping season, offering discounts earlier to ensure consumers can find the gifts they want, in stock at the price they want to pay, delivered at the time they want to receive them.”**
Although the high street retailers will suffer, there is time to prepare for an inevitably busier Christmas period.
Storing your data & understanding it in the cloud
Our solutions help you to quickly leverage powerful machine learning algorithms to help gain meaningful insights from your existing product sales history, and much more. This is ideal for customers with no Google Cloud Platform estate, or for those with an existing data warehouse who wish to explore Machine Learning.
Google technology will help you to understand and plan for future inventory stocking levels across various product lines. This is a challenge that most retailers face; striking the appropriate balance between having enough stock on hand to meet customer demand without investing in product lines which are slow to sell, taking up valuable shelf or warehouse space, especially as the demands will begin to increase as we creep further towards Christmas, and the infamous boxing day sales.
How Netpremacy can help
Our team of data experts can help you to understand the next step into storing and analysing your data to gain the best ROI from the data you have collected. We have a dedicated solution that helps businesses to anticipate customer demand, through the use of Google technology, meaning you will be able to gain more meaningful insights from your data and be able to capitalize on it. This will ultimately lead to better business decisions and a smoother Christmas period.
Find out how to use Google Cloud technology to anticipate customer demand and gain a competitive advantage
We have put together a solution to help businesses anticipate customer demand, by using Google technology to help gain meaningful insights from their data, leading to better business decisions. Download our One-Pager if you are interested in finding out more about this solution.
To find out more, or to see how your organisation can benefit from this solution, contact us and speak to one of our specialists: firstname.lastname@example.org
Understanding Big Data with BigQuery
The way we collect, collate, and analyze data has drastically changed in the last 5 years. Gone are the days when we crammed servers and more servers into our office buildings to hold our information. Cloud computing brought with it a radical change in thinking about the way we collect and visualise the information we hold. Organisations want to know how to understand the data they have and how they can use this data to give themselves a competitive advantage.
Take the example of Retail. Retailers want to understand: buying patterns and behaviours; who to target at a given time and in what geographic area. Concepts like Data Warehousing, ML, AI and specific products like Google BigQuery are designed to help with that exact business case – by being able to collect and store data about the customer behaviours and analyse it in seconds allows organisations to react fast, and given themselves a competitive advantage in any market. After all, data is the most valuable asset on the planet.
Our question to organisations today is: Are you using your data to your advantage, and if not, what is stopping you?
Businesses are realising the power of data to predict future spending patterns, analyse spending cycles and understand geographical patterns in consumer behaviour. By using analytical tools and AI we can also ensure that if we are to enter times of uncertainty again, we can initiate and ensure our business continuity plans are in line with the insights our data has provided us. Google is often considered the market leader in data analytics capabilities, with a specific focus on its solution, BigQuery. BigQuery is your enterprise data warehouse, fully managed and completely serverless with built-in machine learning capabilities and is at the forefront of the innovative organisations that are using analytics to gain competitive advantage. Providing usable and easy to digest information is a must and BigQuery can run analytics at scale with 26%–34% lower three-year TCO than cloud data warehouse alternatives. Being resilient, scalable and cost-effective has provided customers with faith in Google Cloud services and there are many more benefits to this solution, click here to understand more about BigQuery.
What we want to understand is the use of BigQuery, some real-world data scenarios where companies have invested and had a tangible return by using this service to collect and understand the data they receive, and how partners like Netpremacy can assist you.
So with this in mind, let’s look at the example of how Enterprise organisations with multinational functions are using Google Cloud and Big Query. UPS are world-leading distribution organisation with a global footprint, but the perspective of their operations is definitely needed to understand the scale of this operation:
• Every day, UPS delivers 21 million packages in more than 220 countries worldwide. During the all-important holiday season, the number of packages delivered per day can reach its peak.
• The drivers who make that possible perform 120 pickups and dropoffs daily.
• The number of possible routes each driver can take from stop number one to stop number 120 is unthinkably large at 199 digits.
UPS set out to use Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to design routing software that saved them on average $400 million per annum. GCP provided the platform scalability and security and BigQuery provided the machine learning to fundamentally change their operations in line with their data insights. The information they gained from that data help inform UPS on how to load delivery vehicles, make more targeted operations adjustments, and minimize forecast uncertainty, especially around the holiday seasons. Ultimately helping the organisation deliver more packages at a lower cost which in turn maximised their ROI.
Although the process of moving to the cloud, or setting up a data warehouse with BigQuery may sound daunting, Netpremacy are here to help. We can be your trusted advisors and partner throughout the whole process – from the initial stages exploring Google Cloud Platform services; to the commercial, deployment and aftercare of workloads. We help optimises spend throughout to ensure you are utilising your Google Platform at peak efficiency. Many data strategies start small and leverage the scale and power of Google to grow. No matter the size of the data you house, the information you gain will continue to grow. So even though most organisation’s data is not on the Petabyte scale, Big Data definitely starts with collecting lots of Small Data, and analysing that data to gain valuable insight is vital for organisations to move forward ahead of their competitors.
If you could analyse data, fast, concisely, with zero operational overhead and a helping hand from a Google Premier Partner, why wouldn’t you?
We are running a number of data related webinars over the course of July 2020, for our current customers and to organisations that want to find out further information surrounding Big Data and BigQuery. No matter the vertical or size of your organisation, data-driven strategies are vital to the success of your business in new and digital environments that we now face more than ever. Get in touch with our teams today. Or contact email@example.com
Netpremacy Next Highlights: Week 1
It’s fair to say that the opening week of Google Cloud Next online did not disappoint. With a range of product updates, industry insights and sessions on diversity and equality, Google hit the nail on the head with a strong and exciting start. We can’t wait to see what unfolds over the next 9 weeks.
We have compiled just some of the updates and sessions that stood out to Netpremacy in particular and have rounded up what each session covered, and how you can access the on-demand content.
The week began with the opening Keynotes from Thomas Kurian.
This session covered how Google, and companies across the globe have adapted to a changing world amidst a global pandemic, and how Google technologies have made that possible. Thomas spoke around how the future of work is going to be more digital and collaborative. He touched on how businesses have had to accelerate their digital transformation projects and bring them forward by 2-3 years to adapt to the changes that have happened since the pandemic. In addition to this, he spoke around how businesses are reimagining the way they work and that data powered innovation will make this possible. Watch the full on demand keynote here.
Google Meet in Gmail
Some exciting changes were announced around how Gmail is going to be made into a more collaborative space, with tools from Hangouts and more all being accessible in one interface. This change will be rolled out to G Suite users by introducing a dedicated Meet tab in the Gmail iOS and Android mobile apps. This means users will soon be able to join secure video meetings directly in Gmail without needing to open another app on their phone. The full update can be found here.
BigQuery omni release
Another exciting announcement was on BigQuery Omni. This is a flexible, multi-cloud analytics solution that lets you cost-effectively access and securely analyse data across Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and Azure. All of this is now possible without leaving the familiar BigQuery user interface. Using standard SQL and the same BigQuery APIs you will be able to gain critical business insights from a single pane of glass. Due to BigQuery Omni being powered by Anthos, businesses will now be able to analyse data without having to manage the underlying infrastructure.
Google Meet Updates
Next up was the announcement of many new changes coming to Google Meet in Q3, and how this can help businesses to become more seamless when communicating through Google Meet. There are many new features that will be rolled out soon that will make for a more streamlined and enhanced experience. We recently wrote a blog on the new features coming soon, read more here.
As well as product updates and announcements, Google released a series of online content that put into perspective how different industries have adapted along with the pandemic. These industry insights have helped businesses gain confidence on how they can successfully adapt and thrive due to Google technologies.
In this briefing, Google discusses the recent challenges in retail and what they are working on to help their customers. Digital transformation in retail has been happening long before COVID-19, but now businesses are seeing a sense of urgency to innovate faster. To help tackle these challenges, Google has been working on industry specific solutions, through driving operational improvements, capturing digital and omnichannel revenue growth, and helping make data driven decisions. Watch the full session here.
Here Google addresses what the “new normal” is for businesses in the manufacturing industry, and how they have moved and adapted throughout the years when faced with serious disruption. We have witnessed unprecedented disruption to a strong economy and our daily lives. This has included dropping oil prices, record unemployment, demand uncertainty, supply chain disruption, major austerity measures, unprecedented government intervention and unstable credit markets. Watch the full session here to learn how manufacturing businesses have moved to a more digital environment to adapt and continue to thrive.
This session covers how healthcare has had to adapt their technologies and make changes that would have taken 10 years, in just 10 weeks. It explains how Google technology has been helping with the fight against COVID-19. Whether it’s been helping people access information, supporting hospitals and research, or working alongside customers to build a strong foundation for the future. In particular how Google meet has been used to replace in-person appointments when social distancing measures have not allowed face-to-face appointments. Technology has been shaping the world’s response to coronavirus and that doesn’t stop in just the healthcare sector. Watch the full session here.
A recent experiment using one of our subsea fiber optic cables showed that it could be useful for earthquake and tsunami warning systems around the globe. This is exciting news for the advancement in technology, and how it could potentially help us to avoid or cope with natural disasters in a much more controlled and successful way. Read the full blog post here.
These are just some of the announcements and links to the new content that Google Cloud Next has pushed out in week 1, and we can’t wait to see what week 2 brings. To see the full announcements and updates, head over to Google’s blog. To book onto week 2, productivity and collaboration head over to the Google Cloud Next website.
Keep your company’s data secure
Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to prevent your employees’ devices being lost or getting stolen from time to time. These things happen. However, it does not have to be such a worry when things like this do happen.
G Suite keeps your company’s data secure with mobile device management (MDM) policies. With basic management, you can ensure that mobile devices require screen locks and/or strong passwords on your employees’ devices, keeping your corporate data secure. In addition, G Suite allows you to erase confidential business data with device wipe, or selected account wipe for Android or iOS. This feature also allows you to wipe corporate information from devices if they have been lost or stolen. You can see the list of devices that are accessing corporate data in the Google Admin console.
Google Mobile Management means that you can manage, secure and monitor all mobile devices that are in your organisation. It is possible to manage a range of devices, including phones, tablets, and even smartwatches. People are still able to use their own personal devices for work (BYOD) as you will be able to wipe their corporate accounts on their devices, should the worst happen.
So, how does G Suite protect my data?
When you decide that you would like to store your data with G Suite, it is then protected in a number of different ways. This includes advanced phishing detection with the aid of machine learning, authentication with security key enforcement and also prevention of data leakage.
Due to G Suite being a 100% cloud-based system it means you can be protected from attacks such as Ransomware, viruses, and malware. There is no need to install a separate system for spam processing because Gmail uses Machine Learning to automatically filter any spam and to scan all emails for suspicious and dangerous content. The G Suite administrator can also control all attachments sent and received by your organisation so that nobody opens or sends anything that they shouldn’t.
2 Step Verification keeps your data secure
Using 2-Step Verification (2SV) provides users with a better option to secure their accounts. As well as 2SV over an encrypted connection, users can also block unauthorized access to their accounts with Google Prompt that delivers real-time prompts, telling the user when they have logged into a device.
This update comes through as a pop-up notification on the Google app. This allows users to answer “yes” or “no” when asked, “are you logging in?”
There are now new device rules for Mobile Management, which allows G Suite admins to define custom rules that create triggers for certain actions or events. For example, if somethingoccurs on one of your company’s devices that’s been specified in a custom rule, the corresponding action that’s been set will automatically be carried out. Some of these rules include;
- Approve select mobile devices when the device is enrolled.
- Block access to corporate data if a specific app is installed.
- Block access to account/wipe the device if the user has more than 5 failed screen unlock attempts.
- Block access to/wipe the account if there is suspicious activity found on the device.
3rd party app control
Google can also protect your data against phishing attacks. Google provides 3rd party control with OAuth apps whitelisting. This gives your company extra control over 3rd party applications that have access to your data. It is now possible for admins to specifically select which apps can have access to which users G Suite data. This keeps your data safe as it is ensuring that your users don’t accidentally grant access to apps that may be malicious.
How can Netpremacy help?
Our support team are highly skilled and have the knowledge needed to answer any questions you may have about your companies security, and how you can further improve it. If you have any questions regarding security, please feel free to contact us here.