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How are bots and automatic control integrated?


Max Kreimerman

One industry sector that meets all the requirements to take full advantage of Artificial Intelligence technologies is that of automatic process control. According to IDC, by 2017, 45% of the utility sector has invested in AI analysis.

But one of the least explored tools is the use of voice and text bots to help human operators optimize processes and shifts and better manage process alerts and interruptions.

In general, SCADA systems that store huge volumes of data. Also, customer data and intelligent data from a large number of Water, Electric and Gas meters are stored in ERP/CRM systems and multiple MDMs. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult for utilities to manage such a multitude of data systems, which does not allow for a single view of the data. This makes energy analysis for distribution management, operational intelligence, outage management, and predictive intelligence to create awareness and enforce energy conservation virtually impossible.

AI technologies, such as machine learning and predictive analysis, help observe a large number of parameters to detect anomalies/irregularities and automatically cure systems. It can help avoid an outright infrastructure disaster. Furthermore, AI will help to increase the economic efficiency of public services (and also of production chains with SCADA systems), which is one of the crucial elements of sustainability. Analysis of network performance data feeds can help utilities assess component lifetimes and raise flags whenever maintenance is required. Similarly, chatbots can help provide 24/7 customer service to answer consumer questions and provide information to quickly resolve issues, thereby improving the customer experience and reducing costs.
U.S.-based water utilities are using the Smart Analytics solution, developed by Saviant’s data analysis experts, and are saving billions of gallons of water each year. Utilities can now extract business intelligence from the vast amount of data collected through IO-powered smart meters. Using the system, they can monitor the health of field assets and execute predictive and proactive maintenance of infrastructure. Read the story.

The incorporation of 100% of Io capabilities in this sector is expected to be innovative; the catalyst that will help stakeholders in companies using SCADA systems to re-imagine their entire business model to achieve more productivity and efficiency.

Use Cases

San Diego Gas & Electric serves 20 million Americans through its complex and vast infrastructure. The company faced a daunting problem of power leakage in its complex distribution network, resulting in dissatisfied customers and a growing loss of revenue. The process of sending technical staff in each time to discover a problem was becoming tedious and costly.

This is when they decided to incorporate AI capabilities to try and solve the problem instantly. Machine Learning was used to capture and analyze data sets resulting from their control systems to pinpoint the exact problem helping to quickly resolve disruption issues without investing a lot of time or labor resulting in customer satisfaction and retention of brand value.
Exelon, which provides electricity and natural gas to 10 million Americans across Illinois and the East Coast was experiencing a large customer loss. Exelon consumers complained that they had difficulty accessing their utility information.

AI was successful in this case when Exelon decided to partner with Oracle to serve its consumer base by developing an agnostic channel chatbot that allows the customer to ask a variety of questions about a channel of their choice and access information on utility issues such as outages and bills. Exelon now has a lower turnover and has a deeper insight into the needs of its customers.

Business chat robots are increasingly driving customer interaction and keeping costs down due to lower labor costs. It is estimated that chat robots will explode the global market by more than $1.9 billion by 2020 and are expected to register a growth rate of more than 30% over the next decade. Read the story.

What does the future look like with AI and chatbots for industrial systems?

The future will see AI implementations across almost the entire operating mechanism of the industrial systems sector, reducing costs and increasing optimization and efficiency. Chatbots will be fundamental in maintaining lines and in customer service. This industry will see new ways of converting AI capabilities into emerging commercial domains.

Another example will be dialogues with associated tasks, asking the bot if it has performed or can perform a series of tests

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, half of the utility workforce will retire in the next 10 years and, as such, AI will be established to create new jobs for younger employees and automate processes. AI and Chatbot capabilities will help the utility sector lead the global revenue stream.

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