How Big Data & AI is enhancing innovation in the energy & utility sector
02 December 2020
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.
How ML & Smart Analytics are helping FinTechs understand their data
Date: 09/07/20 Time: 11:00-12:00
Join us, FinTech North, and Google to learn about the power of Machine Learning, and Big Query. Hear more on how FinTechs are driving their business forward thanks to Google Cloud. Understand how businesses are using data to gain a competitive advantage, and how Big Query is the tool that makes this possible.
How businesses can use the G Suite tool-stack to return to work
Date: 22/07/20 Time: 11:00-12:00
Sign up to our webinar to understand how businesses can use tools from G Suite to create a complex and intelligent booking system, to get your teams safely back up and running in an office environment.
Hear from Google and Netpremacy on what our plans are for getting back to the office, and how we are using tools from G Suite, App Script, and Data Studio to do so.
Manufacturing with G Suite during and post-pandemic
Date: 23/07/20 Time: 11:00-12:00
Sign up for our webinar to hear how manufacturers in the industry are increasing their agility and digitizing their way of working thanks to Google Cloud.
To sustain a business we must transform digitally and culturally. G Suite has been a go-to solution for many organisations within the manufacturing and distribution market, providing that competitive edge during times of uncertainty.
On 21st March, We hosted an afternoon of discussions, expert speakers and networking, all on the subject of creating intelligence from your data, and how Google Cloud is helping big businesses stay ahead of the curve. Joined by speakers from Google Cloud and Just Eat at Google Academy London, the exclusive Google Cloud event provided an atmosphere where clients, partners and friends gathered to hear impressive examples of Cloud in action.
Held in the funfair-themed surroundings of Google Academy London, the Create Intelligence From Your Data event began with an introduction from Netpremacy’s Commercial Director Andrew Martin on Netpremacy’s relationship with Google and their simple mission statement: to ‘solve complex problems with innovative technology’.
“Our motivation from a Netpremacy perspective, as with everything we do, is to bring technology to life for our customers. We started the business twenty years ago with the mission statement “to solve complex business needs using the most innovative technologies”, that statement today has never been more true, and the event that we have run ‘creating intelligence from your data’ is a perfect example of that.” – Andrew Martin, Sales director, Netpremacy
The first speaker of the afternoon and one of Netpremacy’s clients, Just Eat’s Matt Cresswell, offered the group a behind the scenes look at how Just Eat have recently transformed their data processes from Redshift to Google Cloud Platform, providing them with a holistic view of customers and in turn making their platform more algorithmic. Matt went on to explain how Machine Learning is powering personalisation and how Just Eat are working to ultimately collate a single view of a customer using the data they collect to personalise each customer experience.
“Data is all around us and the last few years, data has exponentially increased in organisations. Where Google’s big data products can help is by translating all of the data you have on premise in your organisation in a meaningful way where you can build solutions, and also drive solutions from the data that you already have and the data that you are building.” – Mike von Speyr, Google Cloud UK&I
Jon Watson, the next speaker of the day, gave a valuable insight on the business of AI from his position as a Google Cloud Engineering Lead. By 2021, 75% of enterprise applications will use AI, something which Jon explained using current examples, such as DPD, Ocado and Moorfields Eye Hospital. Jon also touched on the integration of human intelligence and AI, and how these processes can be streamlined with Machine Learning.
After a break for drinks and networking, Omer Mahmood, Customer Engineer at Google Cloud, gave the group a live demo of Geospatial Analytics and Machine Learning in BigQuery. Omer went on to explain the benefits of these processes in obtaining rich insights about your customers.
Ending the afternoon with networking, the group expressed how valuable the afternoon at Google Academy London was in educating each person in exactly how big businesses are using Google Cloud Platform to handle and process large amounts of data effectively.
We host a number of different events with different focuses throughout the year. Keep updated on our upcoming events here – we look forward to seeing you at the next one!
Communicate change, celebrate success: How communication can impact attitudes towards change.
A little about me
Firstly, I will introduce myself. My name is Francesca Clarke, I am a Training and Change Co-ordinator for Netpremacy Ltd, a Premier Partner of Google. I started this role after leaving the corporate banking world where I witnessed first hand the blunders that are often made during a change in a business.
In my previous role, I was heavily involved with training new starters and managing change projects. I found keeping the attitudes of others positive was an uphill struggle as systems were constantly changing with inadequate change management. This encouraged my passion for helping companies and individuals to understand the importance of managing change.
During my time at Netpremacy Ltd I have led numerous change initiatives and been part of too many to list all by name. Last year I had the pleasure of working with a particular customer whose goal was to implement Google Drive across the organisation within the space of two weeks. This was a challenging piece as time was of the essence, but by not sacrificing communication we had an undeniable success. We had great support from the customer as they understood the importance of communication in overcoming negative attitudes towards change. With great executive sponsorship and a willingness to be open, honest and empathetic to different skill levels the project was a triumph.
Understanding human reaction
Change management can and should be acknowledged and implemented through all aspects of life. ‘The change curve’ is a useful tool in understanding the human reaction to change of any kind; showing the different stages that people go through when faced with a change in any aspect of their life, it can also be used to understand why we act the way we do in both personal and business change scenarios.
The important thing to remember is that this is not a linear process. Whilst going through the curve, setbacks can happen and you may find that individuals or even entire companies can move back and forth through the different stages.
The following scenario is one that can easily be avoided when a company ‘Goes Google’: John works in a finance department that has always used Microsoft Excel, they have just been told that from now on they are to use Google Sheets. John has never used Google Sheets before and has not received comprehensive training or floor walking to help him through this change. John still has to meet his deadlines and has been left to struggle to meet these deadlines whilst using an unfamiliar product. John will probably have very strong negative feelings towards the new tools as a result of a lack of change management, therefore heavily impacting his productivity.
If John had been kept informed through communications, training sessions and post training support, this could have been avoided.
Taking these small steps could help someone feel confident and comfortable with change and eventually lead to this new product being integral into how the company works to achieve the goals of the project.
Working in change management, it is my role to orchestrate a plan that will guide people through these stages, prevent these setbacks and most importantly provide the correct guidance and support.
Keeping the change curve at the front of our mind, communication should be a present and persistent concern throughout every stage of a project or change. However, if you are thinking about executing a project without proper communication… This is a dangerous game to play.
How communications can make a difference
Communications are the lifeline of any project, they have the power to maintain the levels of positivity needed, stop incorrect information making the rounds and encourage individuals to be proactive in their own learning. It has been well documented that 70% of change initiatives fail. To measure how successful a change initiative is we examine the goals of the project and see if the change has achieved these goals. These goals should be explained and emphasised through communications to raise awareness of the desire for this change and how to achieve them to ensure success.
Ensure to choose the correct Executive Sponsor to deliver these communications. For example, if you are running an IT project the communications should not be coming from someone in IT, instead they should be coming from a well known face of the company. C-level management work best to stop the all involved from believing ‘it’s just another IT project… nothing to do with me’. (To find out more on the importance of Executive Sponsorship click here).
Another big faux pas is underestimating who needs to know about a change in the business or organisation, a change in the company. Everyone needs to know about any change – even if it will have a seemingly insignificant effect on their role, as even the smallest effect on someone can lead to negativity and this may have a domino effect throughout the company, leading to a failed change initiative.
Getting the word out
We are fortunate that in this day and age we have more available channels of communications than any generation that has come before. We should not limit our information distribution to merely emails and monthly newsletters, as you will find most people within a company can ignore these or at most skim read them not absorbing the important information often contained within them.
Today businesses have multiple internal communication channels at their disposal…emails, texts, letters, leaflets, posters, table stands, banners, internal communication platforms, public websites, videos and animations are just a few of the methods for little cost or none at all. So long as what you’re putting forward is eye catching and transparent in it’s content you can use any and every channel available. As part of Netpremacy our change team have delivered weekly broadcasts direct to users to brush up on useful hints, we have created corporate and fun animated videos to spread the goals of projects, used products at the customers disposal to create an open forum for sharing useful information, celebrating success and congratulating colleagues on achievements… but we can’t give away all our secrets!
As a customer facing trainer I have seen first hand the issues that arise from a lack of communication, for this reason when we take on a project the Change Management team and I will always ask which communication channels the company uses. If I am given more than two channels to use from the customer I am about ready to jump for joy, and let’s not even get onto how happy I become when I am told by a customer…“We have a great in house communications team.” This is the dream of anyone who specialises in change management, as from the start the customer already understands the importance of change management in any project and communications in general.
The need for a customer-driven focus on communication is essential in tackling opposition to change in the workplace. You will find that the strongest resistance can come from the most unsuspecting places, for the smallest of reasons. So facing this early in a change project is an absolute must!
One last thing…Empathy
Try to put yourself in the users shoes and explain in simple language. Never assume that anyone has any previous experience with what will be introducing. If you use jargon you run the risk of excluding people and this will cause a lot of issues that communications are designed to prevent. The idea is to remove boundaries and hierarchies and instead give those who would usually shy away from change a reason to embrace it and become an evangelist.
If you have any questions on the topic of this blog post or a general question contact us.
Blog post written by Francesca Clarke, Training and Change Co-ordinator, Netpremacy