Artificial intelligence comes to the rescue of limited energy supply

Artificial Intelligence to the rescue of limited energy supply

by Johan Steyn

In a world where population growth is exceeding the availability of energy supply, there is a dire need to better manage our resources. Technology can play a significant role in this regard. OQLIS is a forward-thinking provider of AI and smart technology platforms that can help both small and large organisations to better manage their energy management needs.

With the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, the global approach to energy management could be drastically altered. By analysing data and recognising patterns, AI platforms can help optimise energy use and reduce waste, resulting in cost savings and more efficient use of resources.

AI may also improve the predictability and stability of energy infrastructure, which is essential for effective planning and management. This topic is especially relevant to the South African economy, as it has been plagued by electricity supply constraints for years. 

Can AI and data analytics be the answer to help companies improve the way they manage their energy consumption? To discuss this, I met with the co-founders of OQLIS, Shawn Winterburn and Andrew Bosma, a home-grown AI solutions provider who is expanding globally.


Data Analysis in Energy Management

Optimising energy utility expense

AI technology is rarely associated with energy management solutions. My first question in this regard was to Shawn, who explained that energy is a critical factor in terms of success for companies. “Energy has become quite a scarce resource across the world. I think in the world of wastage, AI can play a huge part in finding how to optimise our utility spend and how to avoid using it inefficiently.”

I was interested to hear how the platform designed by OQLIS could help us ensure that we have the resources that we need in the future. Andrew stressed that we have to be able to visualise and interpret the data produced by energy generation and consumption. “This is where the great intersection between IoT (the Internet of Things), and AI has come into play within the utility space. Think about smart energy meters that are gathering data daily. The first step is to drive efficiencies by actually seeing what’s going on.”

When businesses can recognise energy usage patterns, they will be able to drive down their consumption rates in a smart way. “Effective data gathering and interpretation allow business leaders to determine whether their energy utilisation is outside of the norm, and enable them to make corrective decisions. The idea is to be able to do more with fewer energy resources. We have to start looking at how we use energy in our own lives and try to optimise that to the best of our ability. And if we all do that we can all benefit”.

Effective energy consumption is a particularly relevant topic in South Africa where the energy supply is diminishing and under constant constraints. I asked Shawn to make this concept more tangible. We can not control how Eskom delivers electricity supply, so what can a business leader do? What data is out there that can help us utilise the energy resources that we have?

“There are several ways to predict where you should be using your electricity more efficiently. Utilising smart metering and AI algorithms, a business can use automated engines to determine when to switch off the lights or certain equipment in a building. You do not have to rely on people to make these decisions.”

Data to utilise energy expense

I wanted to dive deeper. With so much out of our control in how the government supplies utilities, how can business leaders use data to lower their energy consumption while remaining competitive?  

“Many of our clients have been sitting on a gold mine of data without realising it,” Andrew explained that the OQLIS platform provides a mechanism for their clients to mine that data. Energy consumption data can be “productised” in a way that benefits the whole business ecosystem. 

Imagine what a platform like OQLIS can do for small and large businesses around managing our resources and especially using the data that we produce as we utilise these resources.

You need a technology partner who is truly interested in your success and can take you by the hand on your journey from the data desert to the AI lake.