Over the past few years, businesses have been placing greater focus on their energy consumption and its impact on operating costs and profitability as energy costs and economic uncertainty continue to mount.
If anything, organizational focus on energy management will continue to intensify as businesses rely on these efforts to remain competitive both from a financial and a corporate image perspective, according to a recent report by Deloitte Consulting.
For instance, a recent Gigaom article points to Stem, an energy management software and service startup, whose software uses data from multiple sources – weather, a building’s energy consumption, and electricity rates – to show customers their energy usage patterns and how much they’re paying for energy across different properties. Data analysis lets Stem’s customers forecast their electricity use and plan their energy budgets.
As energy markets and prices remain volatile, business leaders are devoting greater attention to energy management to manage costs and operations more effectively.
This partially explains why spending in the US industrial energy management software and services market is projected to surge from $960 million in 2011 to $5.6 billion in 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate of 21.6%, according to Pike Research.
Of course, data analysis and data visualization techniques as they can be applied to energy management aren’t limited to electricity and facilities management.
Ford Work Solutions is a prime example of how data analysis and data visualization can be applied to a fleet of trucks to monitor driver performance, vehicle maintenance, and even location. A feature called “Crew Chief” allows users to wirelessly capture important details about vehicle use and fuel consumption, guiding customers to identify ways to cut idling time, save gas, and improve their overall fuel economy.
Meanwhile, data visualization tools help customers identify opportunities for route optimization by mapping the routes used by drivers, and enabling them to make any necessary route changes. This results in lower fuel consumption and less time spent idling in traffic.
With the rise of smart grids and intelligent energy devices with embedded sensors, data analysis and data discovery techniques can be extended to entire cities. As Deborah O’Mara notes in a recent SecurityInfoWatch.com article, “Harnessing data is a challenge, but it’s getting easier with software and devices that interact.”
Technological advances, including the use of open standards and systems integration capabilities, are also making it possible for manufacturers to take advantage of modern energy management as well as data visualization and data discovery techniques instead of being hamstrung by aging facility equipment as well as outdated applications and IT infrastructure.
As emerging regulations around emission controls become more stringent, manufacturers can lean on data visualization – in addition to data analysis and data discovery techniques – aided by the use of intelligent equipment sensors, to help identify variations in equipment operations and energy consumption and respond quickly to address operating irregularities and deviations before they spiral out of control.
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