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Smart City Sentinel

IoT in the Energy Sector, Impossible to Govern Without AI?

By Shrey Fadia

Like so many other business categories, the energy industry is moving from more mechanical methods to digitally enhanced operations, whether to accelerate the creation and consumption of renewable energy sources, or to streamline more traditional electric, oil and gas production, storage and distribution.

Renewables are becoming a significant portion of the world’s energy production, with the introduction of positively disruptive new technologies spurring advancements which are making the energy grid more productive, safer and reliable. New energy storage technologies are emerging, and all of this innovation is changing the way business models are developed and rolled out as new competitors enter the market following deregulation – while new regulations are being legislated to improve energy security around the world.

But there is no more impactful movement than the use of the public Internet, as well as public/private/multinetwork hybrids, and applications in the Industrial IoT (IIoT) as new solutions including advanced predictive maintenance, optimized generation, cost-efficient storage, energy exchanges to help manage peak demands, and “everything as a service.”

The increasing demand for cleaner air and water, in parallel with the need for more power and energy, even as climate change challenges continue is also motivating companies to invest in new connected solutions for the energy industry.

Based on its recent analysis of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the North American energy sector, Frost & Sullivan recognized Flutura Decision Sciences and Analytics (Flutura) with their 2018 North American Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award.

Flutura's Cerebra AI platform fosters a marketplace that encourages customers to upgrade from reactive to predictive maintenance solutions and create new digital revenue streams. Its technology has attracted a diverse consumer base and earned it a strong position in a highly competitive environment.

The company’s Cerebra AI platform enables customers to streamline their business processes and address new IoT requirements, such as security and connected-device management.

"Flutura employs cutting-edge AI technology to intelligently connect millions of sensors at many client locations, and applies powerful AI algorithms to leverage their flexibility," said Swagath Navin, Senior Research Analyst. "Its Cerebra industrial AI platform monitors, communicates with, diagnoses, predicts, and controls a large distributed network of sensors in generation facilities connected to the electricity grid. The 'portfolio effect' creates value in the form of reliable, automated, economic loss estimation; performance benchmarking; and baseline generation with zero impact on customers’ operational processes."

Flutura’s Cerebra platform has three key differentiating factors. First, it can be personalized to suit clients’ unique needs. Second, it is operational technology (OT)-friendly, which means that it is purposefully designed for engineering operations (EO) personnel, eliminating the need for data scientists with specific knowledge and skill in programming. Third, the solution is on-premises-centric and cloud-agnostic and employs an OPEX-based pricing model. Furthermore, from an environmental perspective, it will help cut carbon emissions by closely monitoring output from turbines and other generation assets.

“Our most significant market differentiator is that we deliver impact to our clients in 90 days or less,” said Greg Slater, General Manager, Flutura. “2019 is the year that companies need to move past the POC/pilot phase of AI and scale in order to start realizing the significant value that AI has to offer.”

Through Cerebra, Flutura delivers industrial process-specific AI assistants featuring finely balanced machine intelligence at both the edge and cloud level. It employs financial-level security as well as for offering a unique pay-per-equipment-connected pricing model, which is highly attractive to customers with budget constraints. This end-to-end platform enables visualization, control, and optimization of assets so that clients can unlock new revenue streams.

"Flutura has won accolades from diverse companies for its pioneering AI solutions and has established long-standing relations with leading-edge technology companies such as SAP, IBM, Hitachi, Siemens, Microsoft, and Intel," noted Swagath Navin. "Overall, its product scalability, competitive edge, and strong customer base have placed it in an ideal position to plug the market gaps and make the most of the significant growth opportunities in the AI market for energy and utilities customers."

Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated excellence in devising a strong growth strategy and robustly implementing it. The recipient has shown strength in terms of innovation in products and technologies, leadership in customer value, as well as speed in response to market needs. The award looks at the emerging market players in the industry and recognizes their best practices that are positioned for future growth excellence.

Frost & Sullivan Best Practices awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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