Posted on Friday, November 20, 2020 by Bjarne Sig Halkjær
When deciding to go digital, district heating utilities need to be wary of tunnel-vision, focusing exclusively on the final destination and not considering the full scope of the journey towards it. Optimal implementation of digital tools is a process that requires collaboration between all parties.
It’s easy to be dazzled by the exciting and significant optimisations offered by digitalisation. After all, smart meters and analytics software have enormous potential for creating real and meaningful value for utilities. Paradoxically, the prospect of these gains may also be, in a sense, a hindrance to truly realising the full potential of digital solutions.
Some people can become so fixed on the possible results of going digital, that they risk underestimating or overlooking some of the steps it takes to get to their goal. Incorporating and implementing digital solutions is a process, which requires dedication from all parties involved.
Dedication is key
At Kamstrup, we’re dedicated to creating the best and most powerful digital solutions, like Heat Intelligence, for utilities, enabling them to solve some of their primary challenges and help move both our industry and society in a more sustainable direction. One of the ways we do this is by customising the analytics tool, ensuring it’s tailor-made for a district heating utility’s distribution network. Every distribution network is unique in one or more ways, and the software has to reflect this in order to unlock its full potential.
No piece of clothing fits better than the one made by a tailor who has honed his craft. Nevertheless, even the most skilful tailor will have to work with, and not just for his client, in order to make the perfect outfit. Much in the same way, utilities have a big part to play in getting the most out of digitalisation – and this should most definitely be seen as an advantage. Through close collaboration between technology providers and utilities, but also internally in the utility, correct measures can be taken, leading to the creation of a solution that suits its user’s situation like a glove.
Experts never stop learning
Experts don’t stay experts if they stop learning. It requires continuous effort to stay in the lead and maintain the will to keep pushing the limits, sometimes challenging oneself. As technology driven industry experts, we’re very much aware that we wouldn’t be, where we are today, if it wasn’t for the honest feedback we receive from our customers and their willingness to work together with us on developing new technologies.
When moving into new territory, a learning curve is expected for everyone involved. This includes technology providers who must get to know the utilities they’re helping, in order to develop and fine-tune solutions that are tailor-made. Likewise, the utility professionals must acquire new skillsets and competencies to work with the new tools given to them.
Finally, the solution often has to “learn” too. While Heat Intelligence is intelligent, it’s not knowledgeable. This distinction means it has to “taught” about the distribution network it’s supposed to analyse. Close collaboration between those who know most about their distribution network and those who know most about the software creates synergy and satisfying results for everyone.