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User Cases of Advanced Analytics in Utility Asset Management

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The utility sector encompasses a range of services that are generally the responsibility of a government to provide to its citizens. This includes industries such as water, wastewater, roading, energy, mechanical and more. Energy is a utility that sits at the heart of a range of other industries, as any sector requires enormous energy to function well. With the number of digital applications being developed, innovative technology plays a crucial role in infrastructure and asset development. Perspective and predictive analytics are used to ensure assets function in the long term. While predictive analytics can predict future trends and events, prescriptive analytics offers realistic solutions to address the problems highlighted. This article will explain the most critical use cases of advanced analytics in utility asset management.

How Is Advanced Analytics Beneficial in Asset Management

According to a report published by McKinsey & Company, the integration of asset management strategies in utility can unlock 10 to 20 per cent in savings whilst improving the overall reliability and performance of their networks. Here are a few ways advanced analytics are helping asset managers in the utility sector.

Improve Distribution

Asset managers are currently integrating the power of advanced analytics to assess utility demand. For instance, in water and wastewater industries, it does not make sense to distribute resources equally. This is because while on the one hand, one area could have a higher population, in another, there could be fewer people inhabiting the area. If such points are not considered when analysing how much water or wastewater should a specific location receive, a person living in populated areas will find be given access only to little water, whereas those in less populated areas may allow one person to use ample water. None of these situations is ideal, as water is a limited resource which must be used smartly. Advanced analytics helps asset managers automatically assess how many resources are appropriate to distribute to a specific area. In simple terms, advanced analytics helps in achieving equity in a nation.

Performance Management of Assets

Predictive analytics can detect anomalies in an asset in its earliest stages. Taking advantage of the cost-effective IoT sensors used to monitor the condition of assets in real time, the smallest change in data is enough for performance to get affected. Where performance is at risk, not only will it no longer be executing its intended role perfectly, but it will also lead to the asset’s eventual breakdown. This leads to increased downtime, affecting the supply that can be generated to the public. Traditionally, when an asset breaks, the time it takes to find the issue and then repair it is too much. Hence, enormous time is wasted trying to ensure that the mistake is not repeated simply. In other words, the traditional approach only allows managers to play a reactive role in anomalies. With advanced analytics, however, a more proactive approach is established.

Performance Management of Nonfinancial Metrics

When an asset breaks down, asset managers often note that it leads to monetary waste. However, not everything in the utility sector can be measured in financial worth. For example, climate change is an issue which impacts all industries, including the utility sector. How can asset managers ensure intangibles such as sustainability are measured? The good news is it advanced analytics can help in measuring carbon emissions. While common rhetoric today focuses on reducing carbon emissions, there first needs to be a way for asset managers to calculate how much one’s operations contribute to producing CO2 gasses. Advanced analytics can do just that. By providing asset managers with information on emissions generated in real-time, a realistic plan can be formed to tackle the increasing number of emissions released into the atmosphere. Moreover, such systems also allow asset managers to assess the number of energy wasted, with prescriptive insights on how to reduce it.

Helps Form Realistic Financial Budgets

As utility managers are often those belonging to the public sector, they have limited resources. Hence, investing in every trending technology tool in the industry is not easy, as only a limited number of finances are available for each sector. With the help of advanced analytics, asset managers no longer need to rely on financial advisors or experts. In minutes, automate a detailed report with sensitive information on predicting future financial performance. A good advanced analytically powered solution should be able to provide financial insights as far ahead as ten years into the future. Based on this information, asset managers can proactively find alternative solutions that will either address such financial pitfalls or help you to take prescriptive steps to guarantee financial feasibility in the future. Note that since asset maintenance is an important investment that needs to be made, one cannot ensure safety without confirming that enough finances are in store for routine maintenance. 

Advanced Analytics: A Mandatory Technology for Utility Managers

If there was one solution that utility managers have to choose from, advanced analytics should be one of the top three considerations. As these industries are asset-centric, often cover a wide geographical region, have complex networks and are too hard for humans to carry out routine checks and maintenance, advanced analytics is a one-stop solution that addresses many problems. Whether on the financial, sustainability or human safety, the multiple ways advanced analytics can help increase public trust in such sectors are enormous.

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