In a recent Intelligent Utility article, Phil Carson explores the implications of Big Data for electric utilities, describing how just as other industries have already been transformed, so will utilities experience a process of disruptive innovation. “The fact is, Big Data has been happening in many if not most verticals for some time. And many endeavors beyond vertical industries seek data analytics expertise. Electric utilities are relatively late to the game.”
Referencing a February 12 New York Times article called The Age of Big Data, the Intelligent Utility piece goes on to describe just how disruptive this force could become. “It’s a revolution,” said Gary King, director of Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science. “We’re really just getting under way. But the march of quantification, made possible by enormous new sources of data, will sweep through academia, business and government. There is no area that is going to be untouched.”
“The poster child for connecting Big Data and advertising—where the cash meets the road, if you will—is, of course, Google. The new “masters of the universe,” to borrow a phrase from author Tom Wolfe that he applied to Wall Streeters in the 1980s, may well be those who can extract insights from masses of data that can be spun into gold. That’s why the Times article cited the recent World Economic Forum’s focus on Big Data and its report, “Big Data, Big Impact,” that “declared data a new class of economic asset, like currency or gold.”
With the eruption of big data that is flooding the utility industry as a result of smart grid rollout, utilities are facing a wave of disruptive innovation so dramatic, it has the potential to revolutionize the business. Another recent article on Intelligent Utility asserts that individual meter reads alone will leap from 12 per year to 35,040. While this explosion of information represents a unique challenge for utilities, it also presents an exciting opportunity to leverage the data for improved customer engagement programs, turning big data into big results.
Standardized data formats such as those set by the Green Button initiative are already being adopted by many utilities. In addition, third party service providers such as Simple Energy are available to translate this data into a meaningful experience for customers, driving results in programs such as energy efficiency and demand response. With a recent demonstration in San Diego showing an average of 20% savings and up to 50% for top performers, programs that successfully leverage energy use data can be highly effective.
Learn more here about the potential for leveraging big data to create effective customer engagement and drive energy efficiency results.