You want to run a marathon. But it seems like a daunting task, so you enlist the help of friends and family who have already experienced race day. You also ask "experts" for their advice on effective training techniques: How fast should you run at each mile marker? How do terrain and elevation affect performance? What should you be eating? What time of day are you the fastest? Which brand of running shoes will help you perform better?
Whatever the challenge we may face, how we arrive at answers to questions or problems often is met with an overabundance of resources and data inputs that can seem impossible to process in a meaningful way. Technology today brings us endless access to possible inputs. Rapid advancements in computing, data science and the number of connected sensors in devices are growing at a rate that we cannot fully comprehend.
The more data, the better the feedback. Once you’re connected, you may not realize that you rely on advanced data science and even artificial intelligence to deliver insights designed exactly for you. As the marathon runner, you want to make sense of all the data from your fitness tracker, cell phone and everything else to ensure you can achieve your goal.
The same transformation holds true for the energy industry. Connected technologies and advanced data science are revolutionizing process, operations and safety. Now the reality of how to optimize their operations, energy delivery safety and security can be achieved through advanced insights never before available.
Just like the process an athlete goes through in preparing for a race, utility operations cannot be transformed overnight. The industry is rapidly evolving with edge-to-cloud solutions, seeking to enable local decisions and drive resiliency.
How can they turn data into meaningful, actionable and insightful information? What policy, regulation and data governance is needed? In the case of a marathon runner, knowing that you ran five miles in 40 minutes one day, and five miles in 50 minutes another day doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no progress in your training regimen. Factors such as weather, time of day, track conditions and diet must also be taken into consideration. You rely on advanced algorithms and consolidated views to provide consumable data and track your performance.
Energy providers are in the same situation. They need to work through the various stages of data strategies and how to apply them to their businesses. Big data and connected technologies enable operators to analyze data across systems and identify faults, risk, and outage potential in advance of downtime. As in running a marathon, the focus is on achieving peak performance and meeting key goals – solving problems, controlling costs and improving revenue. Utilities can transform their operations using a disruptive approach across verticals, from product design, operations, customer engagement, energy usage and demand, to the resources available to meet those needs.