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Energy Managers: Embedding AI into your business strategy

With many future technologies encouraging automation, energy professionals now face the challenge of structuring how to embed AI (Artificial Intelligence) into their current systems. Inenco explore how AI can help businesses with their energy consumption and streamlining their inefficiencies.

Most energy managers will know that convincing key stakeholders to invest in new systems and processes can be challenging. If you’re looking for ways to implement a new technology, you will need to prove how it will contribute to the business’ overall objective. Not only that, you will also need to understand exactly how to implement the technology, embed it into your strategy and persuade the rest of the organisation to ‘get on board’ in order to build your business case. So what are the benefits of embedding artificial intelligence (AI) into your utility strategy?

AI is a synthetic systems intelligence which reflects natural acumen and has the ability to automate and improve process inefficiencies, so it’s no wonder it has become more prominent within utility management strategies over the last 12 months and it is expected to evolve further over the next few years. AI can provide future utility managers with consistent and accurate data to support with making better-informed decisions, positioning AI an invaluable asset for the future. Today, energy managers are collecting thousands, if not millions, of units of data which, without the correct tools, resource and analysis, is impossible to use to properly to inform and construct the necessary strategic plan.

According to research conducted by Ricardo, 70% of energy managers envisage using AI and IoT to optimise their energy costs in the future. This could mean that we will see minimal human interaction within the energy process, operations becoming more reliable, changes in performance can be closely monitored and adjusted to flag maintenance and outage issues. It will even mean we can have better control over systems running twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, to improve poor energy performance.

What tasks can be automated with the help of AI?

It could influence a number of aspects in business energy from smart meters to user interface control. Firstly, combing through your business and identifying which processes can be automated will help you to develop a plan.

One of the more impressive applications of AI is for demand side response, where AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) can help to drive energy consumption intelligence to each participant, informing users to either shift or lower demand for the National Grid. This could all be automated to the point where AI will be able to make a faster and more precise decision than a human.

A wider choice of supply will be available for businesses to not only choose where their power comes from, but also allows them to determine what mix of energy is right for them, including renewables and electric vehicles (EVs) along with battery storage.

AI and IoT could also enable utility managers to better regulate their buildings with management system controls, which can optimise heat, ventilation and light efficiency.

Eventually our buildings will become ‘smart buildings’ talking with other devices, such as computers, motion detectors and heat mapping to determine where needs power at any particular time.

What challenges will there be implementing AI?

From the applications of AI stated above, you can start to build a picture of how AI can help your organisation become more efficient and where AI automation can be implemented.

One of the challenges of implementing AI technology into your business is to simply convince key stakeholders in the business that although investment in AI doesn’t offer increased productivity and profit directly, it does offer more operational efficiency and in turn, this will enhance productivity and reveal cost saving opportunities.

Training and skills development will also be challenging to tackle when implementing AI as most people still focus on ‘what has always been done’. Therefore, the next step to take would be to offer training and development to inform colleagues about how they will benefit from accepting new technology within the business.

Cyber security is quickly becoming a top priority for most businesses and there is no exception when implementing AI and IoT. Many of our devices are connected to one another via the internet and the more connected devices, the weaker the security. Protecting your organisations’ data is vital, so when implementing AI into your energy strategy, you’ll need to ensure the systems and infrastructure of your business is secured to safeguard against cyber-attacks.

Preparing for the automated future

When it comes to futureproofing your utility strategy, you may already be thinking about investing and implementing AI and IoT.

For best practice and to prepare your business for upcoming changes and new technology, you should be:

    • Forecasting your energy consumption accurately
    • Relying upon accurate, real-time data to inform decision making
    • Continuously reviewing your utility strategy
    • Continually using and analysing the data collected

If you adhere to the list above, your business will not only benefit from accurate budgeting and better-informed decision making, you will also be in a position to recognise your strategy optimisation opportunities and realise additional cost savings as a result.

If you would like to speak to an expert about your business utilities, our team of knowledgeable advisors are on hand to help you. Call us on 08451 46 36 26 or email