How to handle the challenges and opportunities in the Energy and Utilities sector in the digital transformation process
The perception of the potential of the digital transformation process in the Energy and Utilities sector is now a reality. The vast majority of organisations in the sector consider that their productivity will increase markedly with a greater boost to digitalisation in cooperative environments. Specifically, it is worth noting the move towards a sustainable model based on the application of technology through two very closely-related levers: automation and the use of Big Data. The first case mainly focuses on saving costs and reducing the number of errors, thereby improving operations and increasing productivity. In addition, the compilation, analysis and use of all available data throughout the production process also shares these same objectives, in turn promoting an improvement in energy efficiency and providing information for the taking of business decisions.
The last Smart Energy Breakfast of 2018, organised by Platform enerTIC, was attended by those in charge of innovation in the many companies in the Energy and Utilities sector (Acciona Energía, Axpo, EDP, EDF, Enagás, Engie, Naturgy, Galp, Repsol and Viesgo). With them were the suppliers of technological solutions, like GMV, experts in the improvement of energy efficiency and sustainability. During the event, there was a debate about the challenges and opportunities currently facing the sector, the spotlight being on the importance of collaboration with both established firms in the same sector and emerging companies, accelerators or universities.
At present, the energy and electrical sector is going through widespread change that takes various forms: the energy transition, new storage solutions, the arrival of disruptive technologies, now forms of mobility, or an increasingly distributed energy system.
Big Data, the Industrial Internet of Things, the Cloud, Artificial Intelligence, Artificial Vision, Traditional or Collaborative Robotics… these are some of the hot topics in a globalised sector in which profit margins and delivery periods are dropping year by year. In this digital environment, data are vital for the implementation of Industry 4.0 as a means of improving production optimisation, asset management, reducing energy consumption, identifying anomalies, servitisation or generating new business models.
With this type of technologies, it will be easier to be able to establish among all concerned a new business model to deal with the current and future challenges facing the sector. Similarly, all those attending agreed that these technologies are already being implemented successfully, and that they must act as facilitators in order to link together companies, businesses and clients.
In short, with the inclusion of innovative technologies and solutions in industrial environments, companies in the Energy and Utilities sector can move towards a digital transformation that makes it possible to deal with the challenges arising in the market, being more competitive and at the same time more efficient and sustainable.