Big Data for Big Energy Savings.

Articles on big data and its many implications for the world around us are yet around for a while and numerous. From improving healthcare and optimizing firm performance to fooling terrorists plots by the NSA, big data’s reach touches nearly all imaginable facets of the modern world. The plots and marketing of the hit series House of Cards has even been based by its creators, Netflix, on observations from their 33 million users, a topic various authors discussed on this blog. These are all great examples of the seemingly unlimited applications of big data and the impact it can have on all of us.

Though, what seems to miss in all the buzz around Big Data is what it can do to help up face the probably biggest challenge of our generation; drastically decreasing our energy consumption.

Is this because of the reluctance of the consumer or are the large energy companies to blame?
Either way, the solution may very well lie in the use of Big Data.

If Netflix created House Of Cards success largely by using the known habits, preferences and ratings of its users available to them, why can’t the energy firms come up with personalized advices and energy saving offerings to its customers?

The Tata Consultancy Services 2012/2013 Big Data Study revealed that the Energy sector is one of least advanced sector with regard to the use of Big Data. Whereas in the same study is stated that Energy firms Big Data spending in 2012 resulted in a 60.6% return, the second highest score!


Table from The Tata Consultancy Services 2012/2013 Big Data Study

Energy companies could start right away with using the terabytes of data on past bills and participation in past energy saving initiatives to send out personalized advices on energy saving. Furthermore, they can send personalized offers for energy-saving products and measures. This can greatly increase the engagement of their customer and result in new revenue streams. And effectively face the greatest challenge of our generation.

How would you feel about receiving personalized advices and offerings to reduce your energy consumption from your energy provider, based on your past energy consumption behaviour?


The Tata Consultancy Services 2012/2013 Big Data Study, 2013, Tata Consultancy Services Limited

Why Big Data Analytics Could Spell Big Energy Savings, 27 February 2013, Spotfire Blogging Team


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2 responses to “Big Data for Big Energy Savings.”

  1. 417698tg says :

    Interesting idea, but this may be a little harder to implement.

    The energy companies may have terabytes of data from the past bills, but all they have is the units of electricity consumed in a particular month or quarter depending on the billing cycle. It would be very difficult to come up with personalized predictions. They would be able to predict trends using the fluctuations in billing cycles, but not enough to give personalized advice.

    I believe that if energy companies really want to use big data to promote energy consumption, they would need a lot more detailed reports about the energy consumption in a household. Daily energy consumption will data will help them identify trends according to the season. Hourly consumption data will help with identifying trends based on day and night.

    If the energy companies have data about the energy consumed by each and every household appliance, it would help them even further and they would be able to come up with truly personalized advice on how to conserve energy. That would give them huge returns. But setting up this system would also be very costly. Companies or homeowners would have to spend money to monitor their energy consumption, store it and then analyse it.

    The deeper they go with collecting data, the better their advice can be and also the more costly it will be.

    This is the paradox with Big Data. If you want truly spectacular results, you have to spend a lot of money, and right now there is no way to calculate the ROI on this investment for the energy companies.

  2. 419636sm says :

    The use of big data in the energy sector made me think of an interesting entrepreneurial idea I got familiar with last year. It goes by the name of Watly, and is a very ambitious project that seeks to provide Energy, Water and Connectivity to places where there is dire need for these things.

    Their primary focus is on helping developing countries gain access to those basic things, and the fact that they include Connectivity as a basic need in this day and age already tells a lot. Information technology shapes our world, and the opportunities it brings should also be available to those countries.

    The product they offer is a water-purifying machine, which operates solely on solar energy. So it is a sustainable energy provider, that also helps to provide people with clean water. To top it all off the machine also has a satellite connection, enabling the use of internet. This connectivity allows for the exchange of data between machines, and between communities, and this brings me back to Big Data. Such an innovation that could bring connectivity to developing countries, could also serve as a huge enables of information sharing, and information aggregation.

    Check it all out on their website:

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