The Future of Municipal Utilities is Digital. How to optimise utilities step-by-step with data and new technologies

Joanna Stefańska

An extensive amount of data from residents’ daily behaviour and needs and the operation of urban infrastructure is now easy to collect. Municipal utilities are a trusted partner to use this data to make consumers’ and businesses’ lives more efficient, convenient, and environmentally friendly. In times of a fuel crisis and the urgent need to move away from energy sources from Russia, it is important to use available resources and means of production as efficiently as possible and change city citizens’ habits.

At the same time, new technologies are becoming commonplace in municipal enterprises. The availability of new solutions combined with low-cost devices makes digitalisation an attractive way to decarbonise cities and improve living comfort. Digitisation provides an opportunity for utilities to tailor their offerings to meet customer expectations now and in the future. This flexibility is important when the reality around us is changing very dynamically.

Unfortunately, an increasing number of Stadtwerkes cannot meet customer expectations. They lose them to dynamically developing suppliers that can build a more appealing offering. The most important competitive advantage of the new players is their ability to bring technically innovative products and offerings to market promptly.

How to build a Digital Strategy to make good use of these opportunities?

Our company ConnectPoint supports the process of digitalisation in the industry, energy sector and public utility segment. Our customers range from major multinationals (RWE) to local energy, water and heat providers (Stadtwerke Leipzig, Veolia Warsaw). Our tested approach to this can be visualised as a pyramid.

.

The base is a Central Data Repository (CDR). It provides structured data for further use. Most importantly, it enables sharing of information and functionality throughout the organisation and integrates disconnected IT systems. In CDR, we collect and manage data from operations (SCADA, IoT, sensors), market data and business data, and we give processes a data context. The CDR allows us to manage and analyse data on a truly massive scale.

On top of CRD, we build digital services starting from real-time monitoring. Then we move into automatic reporting and expand into advanced analytics and optimisation.

The inspiration for your digital journey can be a vision of changes that AI can inspire in your operations – in production, distribution and customer service processes. At the same time, only with solid fundaments, we can successfully implement advanced technologies such as Predictive Maintenance, Digital Twin or reliable Production Forecasting.

The truth is that with well prepared real-time data, you can benefit from any of the mentioned technologies in different areas of the company:

  • Optimise water distribution;
  • Forcast energy usage or production for the next few days;
  • Work on the energy efficiency of your operations;
  • Monitor and influence consumer behaviour on an ongoing basis.

You pick your priorities, and we focus on delivering the suitable algorithms to meet your unique needs. Our team of Subject Matter Experts, project managers and technical experts will support you in the whole journey: from data sources audit to implementation of advanced analytics.

Stadtwerke Leipzig Journey

Stadtwerke Leipzig was one of the companies that went through the whole digitalisation journey with us as their technical partner. We helped Stadtwerke Leipzig become a digital organisation within a short time (24 months).

Today, Stadtwerke Leipzig can boast of being one of the most modern companies of this type in Germany. Together we developed an infrastructure (technical and design) that enables new functionalities and allows us to deliver new products to the market in an unprecedented time and budget. Now we focus on joint R&D work to bring top sustainable innovations to the city. We are currently working to develop a solution with IT support to deeply optimise heat supply to reduce the use of natural gas as much as possible.

„ConnectPoint was our first choice for building our flexible digital platform. They have mastered the latest technologies that we need in our municipal utility environment. In joint teams, we are driving forward the digitalisation of our various services in Leipzig. Thanks to their industry expertise, they also have a deep understanding of many areas of municipal utility operations. They can recommend custom-fit solutions and then implement them with us. I appreciate the professional as well as collegial cooperation with ConnectPoint and their reliability in delivering the projects on time.” – Uwe Fisher, Divisional Head IT Stadtwerke Leipzig.

Technical Partnership with ConnectPoint

Our mission is to provide organisations with a single source of truth about their infrastructure. We prepare the trusted operational data layer that our customers need to succeed with digitalisation. This system includes real-time monitoring and automation of widespread reports in the organisation like a shift report or production and sales analyses. The implementation aims to make processes transparent, eliminate duplication of work, provide tools and analyses for further optimisation of operations and create objectives for the future.

You can learn more about our projects with city utilities on our Implementations page. We encourage you to contact us directly and arrange an appointment through the form on the website.

The article originally was published in Polish in Kierunek Energetyka.