Industry 4.0: New opportunities and challenges
Industry 4.0 or digital revolution
is coming to the energy industry. Renewables, distributed generation and smart grids require new capacities and will generate new business models, thus requiring new regulatory frameworks. Data collection and sharing are growing exponentially, creating digital threats but also valuable opportunities.
Competition for customers is shifting to the online channel; the Internet of Things promises new products and management options. Digital economy players are disrupting the Industry 4.0 landscape, while governments and regulators seek to encourage smarter metering systems and greener standards for generation and consumption. see services
To thrive in the midst of these challenges, the utility of the future will be a fully digital system. This means that today’s utilities are facing a digital transformation of their organization and business. This can start with quick moves to improve efficiency and expand the customer base. As transformation builds momentum, it should open up deeper digital opportunities across a broad field.
Industry 4.0 potential, at all levels.
Opportunities are present throughout the entire energy industry value chain. From the generation to the management of customer relationships, we are migrating to the digital era
. The effects of the new implementations are already being felt by retail customers.
Many utility companies have launched mobile applications for bill notification, filings and payments, as well as outage management. In a short time, mobile applications will extend to smart homes and connected buildings. Digital management of distributed energy resources, from individual sites to entire systems, has already begun. Many projects within the utility have a digital focus and are using techniques from the digital economy, such as agile development.
Frequently, however, the potential benefits of such efforts are underestimated. Experience in other industries reveals that the potential benefits of digitization will be greater than first thought. U.S. logistics firm United Parcel Service introduced “track and trace” for packages in the 1990s. The objective was to improve the offer to customers. Only later did it become apparent that the increased transparency gained through digitization allowed for better package management. Vehicle movements and distribution processes were more efficient. In the end, the company improved efficiency across its entire scope of operations and saved hundreds of millions of dollars.
Based on the experience of other industries, utilities can start with more ambitious digital goals. They can confidently plan for transformational improvements in productivity, reliability, safety, customer experience, compliance and revenue management. The dimensions of these exciting opportunities can be understood in three waves of development. So they understand productivity and efficiency, customer experience and new frontiers.
Improved productivity and efficiency