British utilities company Centrica is working with SAP to develop a range of solutions to help business customers better manage industrial assets with energy consumption-based insights from Internet of Things (IoT) sensors.
The first solution will focus on the delivery of Panoramic Power wireless sensor technology and analytics from Centrica’s Distributed Energy and Power business unit.
Centrica has already installed more than 40,000 sensors worldwide thanks to the acquisition of specialist vendor Panoramic Power in 2015. Through this brand Centrica provides customers with cloud-based analytics for real-time visibility into facility and device-level performance.
Centrica’s Distributed Energy and Power business has been established to help businesses and other large energy users to take control of their energy through a combination of energy insight and asset optimisation, with IoT forming a core part of this approach.
Now Centrica wants to leverage SAP’s expertise in the manufacturing industry to provide more operational insights from energy data.
Yaniv Vardi, a regional director of Centrica Distributed Energy and Power said of the partnership: “With Panoramic Power, Centrica offers cloud-based solutions that deliver energy and operational insights. We are pleased to work with SAP on energy IoT, coupling the expertise and capabilities of SAP and Centrica to provide customers with unique solutions for the digital management of their assets.”
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The data will be stored in SAP’s cloud platform and customers will get access to these insights through SAP’s asset intelligence network (AIN) or through a Centrica interface built on Fiori. So you will be able to deploy it as a standalone service or integrated with AIN.
Centrica will now look to leverage the machine learning capabilities at SAP to bear on customer’s energy data to do more predictive planning for energy and for asset maintenance.
Gil Perez, SVP digital assets and IoT at SAP told Computerworld UK: “The first thing you can do when you put these sensors on is energy management: am I using energy wisely. For example are people leaving the lights on overnight. That is the base level you get immediately.”
“Energy is a vital sign of the business, but just knowing that doesn’t mean much," Perez said. “The question is how do I take that information about energy going up, and if it means we are making a lot more revenue then great, but if it is just energy going up and we don’t see a correlation we need to understand why.
“IoT and energy are vital signs you need to combine to give the executive or manager the tools to start optimising.”
Perez sees this approach from Centrica as the beginning of a shift towards a more as-a-service approach in the commercial and industrial sector. As he explained: “The asset economy in the industrial sector has not gone there yet because people cannot quantify the performance of their assets.
“We are moving more to a service economy and people in the future won’t want to invest in buying an asset. With asset intelligence we are beginning the journey which is happening in other industries. Centrica is the first energy company really embracing that and jumping ahead and making the right investment.”
So the idea will most likely be for Centrica to sell the analytics and asset intelligence services as a value add when installing the Panoramic Power sensors.
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