SAP hopes to heat up IoT energy market with Centrica

SAP

German software giant SAP has high hopes for its SAP Leonardo product line. The company is using this new label in the hopes of encouraging customers to adopt a number of platform services and use them as a so-called ‘digital innovation system’ to explore areas such as AI, IoT and big data analytics.

Not every writer, analyst and commentator is convinced. At online news analysis site, Diginomica, writer Jon Read jokingly refers to Leonardo as ‘a next-gen kitchen sink‘. In other words, Leonardo’s role in the SAP solar system – and the wider software universe – is still evolving.

Heating up for Centrica

But such is SAP’s drive to show aptitude in all things IoT-related, we now see the company announce a new collaboration with British energy group Centrica. The new union focuses on services, with the aim of helping customers to manage assets and energy consumption based on information made available through IoT connectivity.

Centrica’s distributed energy and power business will be tasked with working with SAP Leonardo technologies. Centrica’s Panoramic Power energy management system, which it acquired in 2015, has over 40,000 sensors installed worldwide.

In addition to AI, IoT and big data analytics, Leonardo will also also introduce elements of machine learning and blockchain to what the company calls its ‘design thinking’ services.

Read more: Energy: How ENEL is using IoT to embrace the ‘energy revolution’

Energy just got personal

“Centrica and SAP will help to move [the energy market] to a more personalized, distributed software and services-based industry,” said Dr. Tanja Rueckert, president of IoT and digital supply chain at SAP.

“Combining connected energy technology from Centrica with our IoT solutions for connected assets promises new business value for our customers through the power of our growing Leonardo ecosystem.”

Both companies say they will also work to explore opportunities to develop energy IoT solutions for commercial and industrial customers, integrating Panoramic Power technology and machine learning algorithms running on SAP Leonardo IoT capabilities with SAP’s Asset Intelligence Network, a cloud-based asset information repository designed to connect manufacturers.

Read more: Centrica: Machines are ready to talk, but are we good listeners?

Optimized assets

Also in the mix here is the SAP Predictive Maintenance and Service solution with IoT energy capabilities and functionality.This technology will now dovetail with Centrica’s energy and power business to focus on asset optimization as well as on-site energy storage and generation.

“The advent of the Internet of Things is having a huge impact on the way businesses design, operate, maintain and monitor their assets,” said Yaniv Vardi, a regional director of Centrica Distributed Energy and Power.

“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.”

SAP Leonardo IoT capabilities for connected assets are designed to help companies track, monitor, analyze and maintain fixed assets by connecting production systems and assets with manufacturing and maintenance business processes. The end result, in theory, will help reduce operational and maintenance cost and increase uptime of assets.

Read more: Solar-powered smart windows could save energy and power IoT devices

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SAP and Centrica team up to bring efficient energy IoT management

SAP has partnered with energy and services company Centrica to leverage the use of IoT for better energy consumption management.

The partnership will bring together the powers of SAP’s digital innovation system, SAP Leonardo that combines the power of IoT, analytics, big data, machine learning and blockchain on SAP’s cloud platform using design thinking services and Centrica’s energy insights technology, Panoramic Power.

Centrica and SAP aim to provide new business value to customers by delivering a connected asset experience and digitally transform the energy market. The duo intends to find new avenues for introducing energy IoT solutions for commercial and industrial customers.

They plan to do so by integrating Panoramic Power technology and machine learning algorithms running on SAP Leonardo IoT capabilities with SAP Asset Intelligence Network, a cloud-based asset information repository connecting manufacturers, operators and third-party providers to improve collaboration on industrial machinery, and the SAP Predictive Maintenance and Service solution with IoT energy capabilities and functionality.

Centrica’s relationship with SAP has not always been this smooth. As Computer Weekly reported in March, the energy provider helped move its HR systems to the cloud, through a 13-month project where SAP was replaced by Workday’s cloud HR technology. Centrica made this move on learning that the support cost associated with the platform was more than modern cloud-based alternatives and also because of the difficulty in its usage for the staff. The technology also failed to provide full overview of the global workforce and the ability to gain insights from analysing workforce data.

Elvira Wallis, senior VP for the IoT smart connected business at SAP Labs, writes on the benefits and features of SAP Leonardo IoT Bridge to increase the efficiency in managing supply chains. The solution combines the IoT data with business process data and offers pre-configured work environments for operations professionals designed as per their areas of responsibility, while providing helpful and intelligent business context and real-time visibility across the value chain helping them with decision support in case of uncertainties. Its reach can be extended beyond outbound-logistics by configuring SAP delivered scenarios to specific customer needs.

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Centrica: Machines are ready to talk, but are we good listeners?

Centrica machines can talk good listeners

John Hartley, head of propositions at Centrica Distributed Energy and Power, explains how the IoT can give critical assets a ‘voice’ and urges organisations to listen to what they say.

Just as the IoT is transforming all corners of our working and personal lives, it is also transforming the way organizations use, measure and manage their energy requirements.

John Hartley of Centrica Distributed Energy & Power

At Centrica, a key part of our offer to customers is Panoramic Power’s wireless sensor technology. Designed to be totally non-invasive, these tiny clip-on sensors turn virtually any energy-consuming device into a smart device, giving users real-time visibility of their energy use and insights to help them boost performance.

Panoramic Power is a global pioneer in energy management and has rolled out wireless sensors across 1,000 sites worldwide. Self-powered and wireless, they ‘snap and fit’ onto the outgoing electrical wire at the circuit breaker, tracking energy consumption and sending data to a cloud-based analytics system every 10 seconds.

Users are then able to monitor, measure, report, and understand electrical energy consumption. This information can be reported in three ways: first, via a mobile application that can be loaded on to a tablet or smartphone; second, through automatically generated reports that can be requested at regular intervals; and third, by logging on to an Internet-based application via a PC, which allows them to access highly specific data.

Listen and respond

This technology gives insights into real-time energy usage and allows users to optimize their operations, processes and maintenance resources, identifying which devices are using most energy.  With Panoramic Power, Centrica helps organisations find the insights in energy ‘big data’ to performance-manage their energy consumption. The level of granular detail available also means that it’s possible to proactively control and actively manage energy rates by shifting loads, or by reducing loads in real time.

Energy-intensive devices can be easily identified and improvements made, while benchmarks of consumption and historical data can be accessed, so that users can see what they used on the same day last year, for example, and identify anomalies at a glance. Automatically generated alarms and notifications can also be configured, so that users are alerted when energy consumption falls outside or exceeds pre-defined parameters.

The historical data created by this technology can be used to report on environmental impact and sustainability measures and objectives. Similarly, it can report accurate data to help comply with energy related regulations, environmental initiatives and industry standards.

Good communication skills

Adding intelligence to passive devices brings further advantages. Many of the machines and devices used across the workplace are smarter than we think, but they’re not very good communicators. Adding connectivity gives them a ‘voice’.

The benefits of that include making preventative and condition-based maintenance for plant equipment simple. So, if a chiller unit is short-cycling, the operator can be alerted and initiate measures to prevent damage and costly downtime. The technology can also highlight inefficiencies in the plant, thereby maintaining performance and productivity.

Put simply, empowering machines to capture information for analysis and action uncovers hidden value by allowing users to optimize their facilities and assets more effectively.

Read more: Teradata & Enedis: L’électricité for le smart city

Talking loud and clear

This technology is already being applied to a variety of industries from restaurants and retailers to manufacturers and universities, with some sectors reporting savings upwards of 50 percent on maintenance costs and prevented downtime.

The IoT is giving machines the ability to ‘talk’ and, in turn, it’s giving users in these sectors proactive control of their facilities, with a level of visibility that simply couldn’t have been achieved before. That visibility brings insights that will positively impact the whole organisation, inspiring better ways of working and informing fast, confident, business-building decisions.

Crucially, this new world of energy management is not reliant on single devices tapping responsively into the energy grid. Instead, it’s powered by the conversations between millions of IoT-enabled devices and the grid. This, in turn, allows suppliers and consumers to respond to energy demand in real time, increasing and decreasing generation, rates and usage as needed, instead of wastefully running at high capacity at all times.

At Centrica, our view is this: the IoT has given machines a voice. Those who want to control their energy should be listening closely.

Read more: Teralytics claims mobile network data lowers cost of tackling climate change

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