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  • admin 9:54 am on February 18, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: Believe, , Hype, ,   

    Big Data in Utilities: Why You Shouldn’t Believe the Hype 

    Twelve months ago, this is what a typical meeting would look like for me – I’d kick off with an introduction to the data that Utilities companies had at their fingertips, and explain what they could do with that goldmine of data. I would talk about the types of analytics that some early adopters in the Utilities industry had done with their data and how they benefited. Kind of like the Beginners Guide to Big Data in Utilities.

    Fast forward a year later, and I find myself at European Utility Week 2014, where every other stand had an offering around ‘big data for Utilities’ or ‘smart meter and smart grid data analytics’.

    Talk about a gold rush on big data and big data analytics in the Utilities industry! While I’m optimistic that this is the ‘data’ awakening for the industry, I am also duty bound to advise caution. I’ve spent years consulting with Utilities companies, and I am not convinced that all the offerings I looked at hold water (pun intended). I foresee that these new entrants to the space can quickly mire the Utilities industry in confusion and misguided advice. Worse, it will not help deliver any real and tangible benefit to the business and cause the industry to become disillusioned with data.

    Big Data in Utilities: Why You Shouldn’t Believe the Hype

    So how do you differentiate between solutions that can deliver value and those that are just hot air? Here are two areas worth looking out for:

    #1. Beware of ‘slideware analytics’ They say: “Our analytics are so advanced that no other Utilities use many of the capabilities noted today, but, you could be the first.” Or, “We are looking for a Utility to partner with to develop analytics that will deliver all these great benefits.”

    Reality check: If no one is currently using these analytics, and no one is interested in taking them on, then you would have to question where there is a clear cut business case. What’s the proof that these analytics will result in a positive financial outcome? When you are evaluating a solution, ask for examples of what has been done with their technology by others in the industry. Those who have a solution that really exists beyond slideware should have scenarios and stories to substantiate their claims.

    #2. Too-good-to-be-true ‘out of box point analytics’ They say: “We have a solution that will solve your problem. Better yet, you just plug it in, and add your data.”

    Reality check: All Utilities are regulated, organised, and run differently. Each company is unique. Sure, all have data, but every company will have different data, often stored in different ways. It is incredibly difficult to ‘productise’ a standard solution that any and all companies can benefit from. Even if it this was possible, what benefit would this give one Utility over another? In a competitive market – there is zero benefit in having the same point solution as the next person.

    Consider also that the cost generally lies in collating and integrating the data – the execution of the analytics is often the easy bit! Imagine doing this for every point solution. Your costs and the amount of resources needed to manage it would quickly outpace any benefit.

    Clearly, that old adage stands true – if it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. A functional and practical long-term solution for Utilities should focus on flexible analytics platforms, from which data can be used time and time again, on a range of analytics that both fits your needs today, and can adapt to your changing needs in the future.

    Disclaimer: This article was originally published on the TeradataVoice Forbes website.

    Iain Stewart is the principal utilities expert for Teradata in the EMEA region, with over 13 years of experience in utilities sector. Iain also has in depth experience of both smart metering and smart grids, including how these link to and support the wider sustainability agenda. Other areas of experience include renewable energy, and smarter cities. Connect with Iain Stewart on Linkedin.

    The post Big Data in Utilities: Why You Shouldn’t Believe the Hype appeared first on International Blog.

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